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Just Keep on Trikking

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Always on the hunt for new alternative energy products, I was extremely excited when I came across a company in California that manufactures a hybrid electric powered tricycle. It is not the kind of tricycle that you may be imaging. This tricycle is very cool.

Fun Fitness Ride

The Trikke began as a body powered vehicle (bpv) which utilizes the upper body, lower body or both. Which gives the rider a full body workout. The unit operates using a patented stability and comfort platform. By moving the handle from side to side and pushing the platform petal with your feet, similar to skiing, it creates forward momentum. Because it has three wheels, it is very stable and from the videos that I seen, a blast to ride. Fun Fitness on three wheels: Carve off the pounds – outside – on a whole new kind of ride. See the new Trikke Carving Vehicles.
Seven models are available in the Trikke line. Ranging from a expert model to units for children 6-11 years of age. In fact the children’s Trikke T5ws was awarded the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Award in 2004 and the National Parenting Seal of Approval 2004.
Personally, I can’t wait to get my hands on the T8 Sport or the T78 Air. Because the Trikke gives the rider a full body workout, many riders report weight loss. Some of the reports are of substantial weight loss. I know that I could drop a few pounds.
But this being a blog focusing on alternative energy, let’s look at the newest model in the TRIKKE line. Recently, they have branched into electric powered hybrid vehicles. It’s a hybrid, because you can supplement the electric battery power with human power. Trikke Tribred Electric Vehicles are front wheel drive with dual rear brakes. Trikke has reported that the Tribred can reach 17 mph and can travel 12 miles before it needs a charge. By supplementing a little personal muscle power the Tribred is a socially responsible hybrid commuter vehicle with an average mileage of 3 mile per penny.

A great feature of the Tribred is the fact that it can be folded up, making it compact for storage. Sailors and other travelers can easily stow it until they arrive at their destination and then motor around for errands and sightseeing.
Because it is inexpensive to operate and stable, it makes a great workhorse for government agencies, manufacturing facilities and tour companies to name but a few.

It stuck me that this something that my readers could really benefit from, so I became an affiliate.

Click to See the Pon-e in Action

The Tribred is a fun, functional and environmentally sustainable mode of transportation. Continue Reading…

Energy from Waste, or How We Eliminate Landfills

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

How many times have you thought as your carrying your garbage to the curb or driven by the landfill, there must be a better way to dispose of all the waste that is created.  As the land is being converted to just a place to “get rid of garbage.”

As the population continues to increase, so does the amount of waste created.  It is a particular problem as wealth increases in countries like China.

And how many times have you, like me, wondered how we as a nation could find an alternative to fossil fuels to feed the needs of the increasing populations?

What if there was an answer to both of these problems and the answer is here in the United States.  It does exist.  One of the answers is energy-from-waste or EfW.

One corporation that is not only working on the problem, but is in full operation.  Covanta Energy Corporation has over 40 facilities in operation worldwide.  The majority are here in the United States.

Looking at several companies in business currently, Covanta Energy appeared be the only one that converses the waste into electricity.  In fact, according to company information on their website,  they have turned 20 million tons of waste into 9 million megawatt hours of clean renewable electricity each year.  In addition, the process has provided 10 million pounds of steam for industrial use.

In layman’s terms, this is how it works.  You and I take our trash to the curb.   The garbage trucks comes and collects that garbage, but instead of transporting that waste to a landfill that pollutes the environment, the trash is taken to a facility that heats that waste at a high temperature creating steam which is turn is used to create electricity.   Instead of using coal, which is bad in so many ways.  Strip mining comes to mind (see earlier post of strip mining in Appalachia, one of the most beautiful areas of America).  In fact for every ton of waste processed through their plants, it eliminates the need to use 1 barrel of oil or one ton of coal.

Landfills generate methane through the decomposition process.  Methane is a green house gas that has been linked to global climate change and is released into the atmosphere from these landfills.   For every ton of waste processed at  Covanta Energy plants almost a ton of green house gases are avoided.

Their system has drawn the attention of the Army Corps of Engineers for use on the battlefield.  Trash generated by remote bases can through this system be used to create diesel fuel.  In 2008, the Department of Defense supplied more than 68 million gallons of fuel every month to support the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.  This according to the Government Accountability Office.  (Info from Scientific American )

By converting our waste into energy, we can lessen or eliminate our need to drill and strip mine fossil fuels.  At the same time create a cleaner environment for ourselves and future generations.

National Wildlife Federation

Solar Energy-President Obama approves $6 Billion for Solar Project

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

President Obama approved the largest solar project on public lands.  This project and the other six approved projects will create more than 2,000 jobs during construction and several hundred permanent positions after completion.  This highlights the commitment to alternative energy and solar power by President Obama and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administrations.

Approval by the Interior Department was given in October for  construction on 7,000 acres in the Mojave Desert near Blythe California.  Named the Blythe Solar Power Project, it is being developed by Solar Millennium, a German solar developer.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar stated that the project showed in a real way how harnessing their own renewable resources could create good jobs at home.

The Interior Department has approved six solar projects on Federal lands and is expected to approve a seventh project.  These projects are located in California and Nevada.

After going on line the seven will generate more than 3,000 megawatts of power.  Enough electricity for two million homes.

Sources for this story:

The Sacramento Bee

Where Do We Go From Here?

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

It is not usually my habit of injecting my opinion into articles. I prefer to report facts regarding innovations in the field of alternative energy; however recent discussions and current events have forced me to revise that position.
This small spaceship which we call Earth is danger, not from a foreign invader, but from actions of man. The very thing that makes this planet different from those that are uninhabited is the presence of water. Opponents of drilling in the oceans have warned that an “accident” would occur and it would seem that they were correct. Now we are facing a disaster. A disaster of a scale that many have not yet fully come to terms with.

DeepWater Horizon and ensuing oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico

Oil is escaping at a rate that has been underreported. Estimates change each time more information is received from surveys conducted at the scene of the leak. It was recently reported that the equivalent of an Exxon Valdes spill is being released into the Gulf of Mexico every four days.

The environmental impact of this is staggering. Reports are coming in of the mounting death toll to sea turtles, dolphins and other aquatic life. Chemicals being used to dissolve the oil are reported to be hazardous to ocean dwelling creatures, adding to the number killed.

As the oil comes ashore, coastal habitats, that are the nesting areas for birds, will be destroyed. Many species of fish lay their eggs in the waters beneath the mangrove trees that line the coast.

Continue Reading…