Archives for category: Electronics

Today we have an eye opening info graphic about landfill statistics and what you can do to help @litterati

landfill green halo waste tracking system

We take this as inspiration to go out of our ways to pick up litter as we see it, and #litterati check out this video:

(Source: www.mnn.com/earth-matters/wilderness-resources/stories/infographic-how-a-landfill-works/?_nospa=true and http://instagram.com/litterati )

 

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solar power green halo waste tracking system green building guide

Choosing solar panels as a first timer isn’t easy, but this guide provides a short background on solar panel evolution for people who are looking to understand what might give them the best price to performance ratio.

First off, traditional solar cells are made from silicon and they are currently the most efficient solar cells available for homes. Traditional solar cells account for at least 80% of all solar panels sold around the world. In this category, monocrystalline silicon cells are the most efficient, at a rate of up to 24.2% per unit area but they costs are higher than most solar cells. Monocrystalline silicon cells require the most intensive manufacturing because the shape of the silicon cell is extraordinary and there is quite a bit of original silicon waste. The second most popular option is a polycrystalline silicon cell, and it is relatively inexpensive with an efficiency of up to 19.3% per unit area. The third type of traditional solar cell is known as amorphous silicon cells which is the type used in most calculators and other small electronic devices. The amorphous silicon cells have the lowest prices and have an efficiency of up to 10% per unit area. The area of this type of panel is often double the area of other panels to achieve the same power output. The beauty of the amorphous silicon cells besides the low cost are the flexibilities of the material and their ability to perform well at low and high light levels. Lastly, the hybrid silicon cells combine multiple materials in a cost reductive way which are also designed to increase efficiency and the lifetime of the cells.

The second-generation solar cells are usually thin-film solar cells that are made from layers of semiconductor materials. The materials that are used in this type of solar cell varies and they are known for being inexpensive.

Third-generation solar cells are currently being researched and they are made from different materials, new technologies, conductive dyes and plastics. The goal is to improve commercially available solar cells and more can be learned on this page developed for the latest in solar panel research:  http://www.solar-facts-and-advice.com/solar-research.html

For additional tips and specs to look out for, James Walker the Director of Energy Matters does an excellent job of explaining who to buy from and what factors should go into the decision making process here:

 

(Source: http://www.cnet.com/news/solar-junction-claims-cell-efficiency-record/

and http://www.solar-facts-and-advice.com/)

Another great Green article from Green Halo
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recycler_finderLandfill waste can be reduced from 40% to 30% by the year 2020 if people bought and sold reusable materials or salvage materials. RecyclerFinder.com makes it quick and easy to find recyclers near you for salvage materials and over 10 more categories of materials!

The cost savings of buying second doors, hardware for your home, tiles, cabinets and more is amazing. People who are into DIY or artists should also checkout a salvage yard sometime. Beyond the finds that you can give a new home, RecyclerFinder.com is also a great way to turn scrap into cash!

People who recycle in the U.S. and Canada will get money back for unwanted items and materials by simply finding facilities and making a few calls to find out how much they would be able to pay you that day!

The next time you need to recycle or dispose of cardboard, bottles, cans, plastics, metal, e-waste, construction and demolition debris, concrete, wood, hazardous waste, paint and more visit RecyclerFinder.com!

Another great Green article from Green Halo
Track your recycling at www.greenhalosystems.com
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Obama and the EPA 's fight on power plants, the epa, climate change and green house gas

We at Green Halo Systems have been following the news about the USA’s greenhouse gas policies since the beginning of the year when the Secretary of State John Kerry’s goal was to become the “lead broker of a global climate treaty” according to The New York Times. John Kerry has made President Barack Obama and millions of others focus on global warming in the past six months and today it was announced that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing a 30% cut from 2005 figures to all power plant emissions by 2030.

To review some of what has happened since the beginning of the year, this past February, the EPA drafted a new rule to regulate 1,500 power plans in America to curb climate change and to tighten the language on such a rule. Later that month, Pres Obama ordered the development of new fuel efficiency standards for the nation’s heavy-duty trucks through the use of executive authority. Days later, the Supreme Court considered the President’s orders when it comes to emissions from “stationary sources” such as power plants. Pres Obama’s use of executive authority has since become a popular topic.

At the end of March the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change report warned that climate change is having a “sweeping effect worldwide” that is likely to grow worse unless greenhouse emissions get under control. The report gave weight to Pres Obama’s effort to use his executive authority under The Clean Air Act.

During April the United Nations report said that the United States needs to develop a climate change law so taxing carbon pollution was up for discussion. Paul Krugman’s response to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s statement was that economists’ optimism about limiting emissions of greenhouse gases is due to technological innovations that have decreased the cost of renewable energy.

At the beginning of May, Pres Obama announced investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy. The President campaigned to build support for the EPA’s carbon pollution limits on pollution from coal-fired power plants. Also in May, research about the giant glaciers’ “tipping points” as proof of global warming was scrutinized by The New York Times. Pres Obama also recently stated that the proof of climate change makes this issue “not some distant problem of the future”.

And so now, in the beginning of June, Pres Obama reiterated the importance of climate change policies in his second-term agenda. On June 1st, 2014, the Obama administration proposed what might be the most ambitious climate change mitigation strategy in the USA so far. The proposal is that the entire power sector (America’s largest carbon polluter) must bring its emission levels down by 30% from what they were in 2005 by the year 2030.

Another great Green article from Green Halo
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A list of kids’ responses on the KidsCom® Web site showed what many kids thought would be a great invention for the earth:

http://www.parentstalk.com/kidseyes/ke_wkt_apr01.html

One thing that we found of particular interest from this list is that an overwhelming amount of children wrote in about how robots and machinery should be used to save the planet.

kids with robots

(Pictured above are children who built robots out of recycled materials in their first grade class)

It makes sense that since being responsible for our waste is extremely important to many but not necessarily to all, that robots could help pick up what others left out. Litter is an unsightly, and devastating issue that many cities have, and truth be told the main method of picking up others’ litter (clean-up crews) is usually not enough. The solution of having people pick up waste for community service hours is a good remedy but clean up and being responsible for our waste in the first place should be improved.

robot

In a world where robots are being used to assemble cars, package goods and to perform numerous other functions, it seems reasonable to consider building more robots that benefit our environment.

A company in Israel called Water-Gen has come up with a more feasible solution for gathering drinkable water for those in remote areas. These new water gathering, and filtering solutions pull water out of thin-air. David Gillo, Water-Gen’s VP of business development said that Water-Gen is meant for remote and emergency situations, and their line includes water generators that sit on the ground or in vehicles. All of these options include faucets to deliver the water, portability, and of course, the ability to gather water from the air (even in dessert-like locations)! Water-Gen can be solar or electric-powered, and best of all each produces between 10 and 20 gallons of fresh, cold drinking water per day since the technology that is used is similar to A/C and dehumidifying units. Here is the company video:

 

Gillo said that Water-Gen is one of the most innovative companies of 2014 according to Fast Company because of the new technology behind their products: “Taking water from the atmosphere has not been done correctly. The tech has not changed for many years. It was based on bad assumptions, the tech was inefficient and it was very expensive…We brought it to a place where it’s efficient, energy-saving and affordable enough where it’s being seriously considered.”

water-gen

Seriously considered it is. Spring, is a newer product of Water-Gen’s and it is a portable water purifier that can purify even the most toxic water and it can be worn as a backpack. Spring was used by an Israel Defense Forces team to help the areas of the Philippines that were affected by Typhoon Haiyan.

 

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HYT is a start-up watch brand that hopes to make it big in the industry.

Video:

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Consumers heading down to their local Best Buy for a new laptop or microwave will now be able to pick up solar panels as well. Best Buy and SolarCity have announced a new partnership to sell off-the-shelf photovoltaic systems in 60 Best Buy stores in Arizona, California, Hawaii, New York, and Oregon. To give the new program an exuberant kick off, SolarCity is giving every customer a $100 Best Buy gift card when they sign up for solar service through Best Buy before Earth Day on 22 April, 2014.

Green Halo - Best Buy Now Sells Solar PanelsThe San Mateo solar company hopes this new partnership will reach homeowners too wary or intimidated by installing solar panels on their homes. The initiative is an expansion of a pilot program the two companies carried out last year at Best Buy stores in California and New York. Previously, the company also teamed up with the Home Depot and Honda to provide affordable solar panels.

Despite these efforts, a recent SolarCity survey of U.S. homeowners detailed that only 45 percent of residents thinks that solar power is more affordable than it was three years ago. SolarCity has a long history of experimental strategies to reach more consumers. Before this new program, the company provided systems for free in exchange for long term contracts, or financing installations through investment institutions like pensions and hedge funds.

If you would like to get in on the deal, you can sign up here for a free consultation to discuss a plan. SolarCity promises to install photovoltaic panels for free with no up front costs. As long as the customer is enrolled they will receive green, renewable energy at a lower price than they currently spend on electricity.

Another great Green article from Green Halo
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Pomegranates are a super-food for humans, and now they’re inspiring scientists to make super batteries for your smart phone and other devices. Researchers at Stanford University have taken inspiration from the pomegranate to design a supercharged anode battery. Working in collaboration with the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, the team used the pomegranate’s unique seed design to make a battery that can store 10 times more charge than a standard rechargeable lithium-ion battery.

Green Halo - Stanford Scientists Engineering Pomegranate Powered Batteries to be used on Tech Devices

The pomegranate project could lead to smaller and lighter silicon anode batteries that could power cell phones, tablets and other devices. The silicon anodes could store 10 times more power than traditional graphite anodes, operating at 97 percent capacity even after being charged and used 1,000 times. Clustered like pomegranate seeds, the silicon anodes are light and powerful, encased in carbon shells that conduct electricity.

Traditional graphite anodes are also grouped in clusters, but during the cycling process they form gunk which gradually deteriorates the life of the battery. The silicon anodes, arranged like pomegranate seeds, are smaller than their carbon outer casing, which enables more leeway when cycling, and prolongs the life of the battery. As the silicon is charged, it expands within its carbon shell, which keeps the anode safe and intact and acts as a perfect path for electrical currents. The scientists are currently working on perfecting the process, and sourcing lower priced silicon nanoparticles to make the battery affordable for the consumer market.

Another great Green article from Green Halo
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A research team from Virginia Tech led by Y.H. Percival Zhang just developed a battery that runs on natural sugar that could replace conventional batteries within three years.

Most gadgets today run on lithium-ion batteries, which are costly. Lithium is a limited resource with the majority of the world’s supply found in Bolivia, China, Chile, Argentina, and Australia. Sugars, on the other hand, are abundant in supply and safe to use. The battery technology could serve as the next generation of green power sources.

The sugar battery is cheap, refillable, and biodegradable, and it could be used to power cell phones, tablets, video games and other electronic Green Halo sugar powered batterygadgets in the future. “Sugar is a perfect energy storage compound in nature,” Zhang said. “So it’s only logical that we try to harness this natural power in an environmentally friendly way to produce a battery.”

Researchers have used sugar to power batteries before, but they were not able to store that much energy. Zhang claims his prototype has an energy density of a higher order of magnitude than others, which allows it to run longer before needing to be refueled.

The impact of disposable batteries on the environment has been well documented – billions are thrown away in the US alone every year. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), improperly disposed batteries pose a risk to both human health and the environment, but Zhang says his sugar replacement could stop hundreds of thousands of tons of batteries from ending up in landfills.

The sugar battery combines fuel – in this case maltodextrin, a polysaccharide made from partial hydrolysis of starch – with air to generate electricity, and water is its main byproduct. “We are releasing all electron charges stored in the sugar solution slowly step-by-step by using an enzyme cascade,” Zhang said.

However unlike traditional batteries, the fuel sugar solution is neither explosive nor flammable and it has a higher energy storage density. The enzymes and fuels used to build the device are also biodegradable, and it can also be refilled, much like a printer cartridge.

Even though the sugar battery stores a high amount of energy for its mass, the maximum amount of power it can put out is still lower than that of lithium-ions, thus limiting its potential applications to portable devices (you couldn’t use a sugar battery to run vehicles, for instance).

The team says that the sugar fuel cell could be ready to integrate into our electronics in three years and will eventually be at least one-tenth the cost of lithium-ion batteries.

Green Halo Virgina Tech Sugar Battery

Another great Green article from Green Halo
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