ENERGY LOFT Website for alternative news and products

Dr Helen Caldicott – Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

August 17th, 2011

Just Keep on Trikking

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

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

Thoughts on Alterative Energy

December 8th, 2010

Due to obligations, I have been away from posting on a subject that is near to my heart.  That is the search for alternative sources of energy.  Looking at this planet from space, one cannot help but be awestruck.  Here sits a home to a vast array of species, oceans and seas of blue, land masses of green and brown, and the poles covered (for now) in ice, the gem of the solar system and perhaps our galaxy.  And yet, through greed or ignorance or nearsightedness, we strip that natural beauty wantonly for its resources.

Having been born in the eastern hills of Kentucky, the grandson of a coal miner on my mother’s side and a gentleman farmer on my dad’s, I frequently visited those mountains and hollers.  Hollers are the valleys between the mountains in Appalachia.  These Appalachian Mountains contain a magic and beauty that only ancient beings can attain.  For these mountains are alive.  But because of greed of large corporations, these manifest ranges are being leveled.

Fog in the Valley

Fog in the Valley-Beech Mountain-Gregory Colvin Photography

This kind of destruction continues throughout the planet.  Forests clear cut in Brazil to grow cattle.  Oil, its exploration and pumping have lead to massive leaks that soil our shorelines and disturb migrations of wildlife necessary for the existence of Native American tribes in the north .  This will lead to a path that will create a planet that our children will find hostile and uninhabitable.

Yet the answer to sustainable energy is so close.  There exists all the energy that we need in the nature that surrounds us every day.  It can be harnessed, harnessed without the need to destroy this precious gem orbiting in a vast universe. A nightmare that haunts me is one where the earth becomes another cold, barren rock circling the sun.

We must do what can be done to preserve this space capsule we live on.  It is all we currently have.

“This we know: the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth.  All things are connected like the blood that unites us all.  Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it.  Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.” Chief Seattle  Suquamish Native Americans

Google Enters the Alternative Energy Market

December 8th, 2010

Google always on alert to new markets announces that it will invest in offshore cables for wind farms.

This from National Public Radio
Google is making a huge investment in a massive off-shore cable that would eventually carry power from off-shore wind farms to cities along the Atlantic seaboard. The Atlantic Wind Connection will lie 15-20 miles off shore and run from New Jersey to Virginia. Google says the cable will be able to carry 6,000 MW of wind power. The aim is to make off-shore wind farms feasible and cheaper to build. Farms that are built closer to shore, like the Cape Wind project off the coast of Massachusetts, face objections from people who fear the turbines would clutter the ocean view. Farms miles off-shore would barely be visible from the coast.

google awc project map provided by Google of the project.

The eventual cost of the backbone cable will be in the billions. Google and Good Energies are both investing 37.5% of the initial costs of the project, but are expected to bring in other investors.

Google announced the project last night on its blog, saying:

Why offshore wind and why the Mid-Atlantic? Many coastal areas in the United States have large population centers on an overstretched grid but limited access to a high-quality land-based wind resource. These coastal states can take advantage of their most promising renewable resource by using larger wind farms with larger turbines that can take advantage of stronger and steadier winds offshore.

Even before wind farms are built, when complete the cable would take power from Southern Virginia, where it’s cheap, to New Jersey, where it’s expensive. It would also bypass an area where the electrical grid is already congested.