Tags >> technology
Oct 20
2009

Bio-converter

Posted by Bruce Robinson in water , waste , technology , speaker , Science , Santa Rosa , resources , invasive species , Ideas , government , garbage , environment , design , conservation , climate change , chemicals , carbon , alternative energy , agriculture

Bruce Robinson

Sonoma County inventor James McElvaney (right), has developed a system to convert organic waste into energy and other beneficial byproducts, one that creates the energy that powers it in the bargain.

Bob Hillman, McElvaney's partner in their start-up,  Bioconverter LLC,  sees their new technology as a tool to capture greenhouse gases while also combating invasive, non-native plants, such as the Ludwigia, or Creeping Water Primrose, now prevalent in the Laguna de Santa Rosa.

The company offers a more comprehensive explanation of their processes on the FAQ page of their website, but you can read an overview here.

The primary process of bioconversion takes place in a series of vertical tanks, such as those seen at left.  In addition to the environmental benefits of bioconversion, Hillman notes that it has the economic potential to actually fund some of those productive outcomes.

 

 

Sep 29
2009

Bill McKibben and 350.org

Posted by Bruce Robinson in water , waste , technology , Santa Rosa , resources , policy , ocean , international , Ideas , events , environment , climate change , carbon , author , alternative energy , activism

Bruce Robinson

Global warming has moved from a looming problem to an imminent crisis, warns environmental writer Bill McKibben, and the international campaign to demand action rests on a simple three digit number.

The urgency that underscores the 350 campaign is tied to the newly realized effects of the well-documented one degree increase in the temperature of the world’s oceans. Noted environmental writer Bill McKibben says that until recently, it was believed that was not enough of a difference to trigger the cascading changes that are now being documented.

 

Even if humankind is successful in tempering the worse effects of global warming, McKibben says it will take generations to bring atmospheric carbon levels back down to 350 or less.

 

  Bill Mckibben is the author of The End of Nature and numerous other books on environmental issues, including the newly published Bill McKibben Reader. He’ll be talking about the 350 campaign  on Friday, October 2 at Sonoma County Day School in Santa Rosa.

 

 

Sep 15
2009

Sonoma Coast Wave Power

Posted by Bruce Robinson in West County , weather , water , technology , Sonoma County , resources , planning , ocean , fish , environment , design , conservation , community , coast , climate change , California , alternative energy

Bruce Robinson

Wave power off the Sonoma County coast is a potentially carbon-free source of electricity, but it faces big questions about environmental impacts and economic viability.

You can read more about the project on the Water Agency's website.The image at right shows one prototype of a low-profile generator which could be deployed in an array of dozens of individual units, as illustrated below, to power a sizable area.

The Sonoma County Water Agency's first informational meeting about the wave power studies was held in Gualala on September 9th. Most of the people there, reports Richard Charter, knew nothing about the project before that meeting.


Two other study projects on the Northern California coast have received permits from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), both issued before the Sonoma County Water Agency's application was approved. Cordell Stillman (left with Water Agency boss Randy Poole) says both sites were sought by PG&E, but other than that, they are quite different in status and approach.

While the entire concept of wave-generated electricity is in its very earliest stages, Richard Charter  (left) observes that it holds some benefits from an environmental perspective, but it is hardly a clear or easy solution to meeting future power needs.

 

Aug 30
2009

Renewable Energy

Posted by Bruce Robinson in wildlife , weather , technology , speaker , politics , nonprofit orgs , legislation , government , environment , economy , climate change , California , alternative energy , activism

Bruce Robinson

Legislation to commit California’s utilities to a higher standard for developing and using renewable energy is heading for a final decision in Sacramento.

State Senator Joe Simitian (D-San Mateo) left, the author of SB 14, says his measure offers multiple benefits, including some that extend well beyond California.

 

Glynnis Hokenson,  Kate Goltermann and Bret Fanshaw (l-r) from the  Environment California Research and Policy Center in Sacramento,  brought the white wind turbine mock-up to the steps of Santa Rosa City Hall last week to call attention to their campaign in support of the "Triple It" bill to increase California's requirements for new, renewable energy sources.

 

 

Go here to read an analysis of SB 14 by the Consumer Federation of California.

Both bills are also being supported by the California League of Conservation Voters.