Archive for the ‘Energy’ Category

lightbulb.jpgCredit to Rebecca James in the Syracuse Post-Standard:

You can build a better light bulb – one that uses less electricity and saves money – but how do you get people to use it?

Environmentalists from Cornell University, Ithaca and the nearby town of Caroline are betting that if you deliver a free compact fluorescent bulb to each person’s door, tucked into a reusable fabric bag, people will see the light.

On April 19, a team of more than 100 volunteers on bikes, on foot and in cars plan to deliver the bulbs to all 1,400 households in the town of Caroline, a sprawling, rural community in Tompkins County.

<!– if (parseFloat(navigator.appVersion) == 0) { document.write(”); } –>”We’re trying to show how a small, rural town can take matters into our own hands and say: This is up to us. Our international leaders and national leaders are not moving fast enough to protect our future,” said Dominic Frongillo, a Caroline town board member.

A Cornell junior from Pompey, Shawn Lindabury, wrote a grant that helped fund the project, which is aimed at increasing awareness about how people can live greener lives.

“A lot of people aren’t aware of the benefits of these bulbs,” Lindabury said. “We’re saying, hey, you can save $55 over the course of the lifetime of the light bulb and help reduce energy use in Caroline.”



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ceaaconf-2008_3.jpgCredit to Abubakar Jalloh in the Cornell Daily Sun:

“Green is becoming everyone’s favorite color … green power, green building, green chemistry …”

Such was the comment made by Dr. Jeff Tester ’66, professor of chemical engineering at MIT’s Laboratory for Energy and the Environment, at the 25th Annual College of Engineering Alumni Association Conference held at the Statler Hotel this weekend. 300 people participated in the event whose theme was “Sustainable Energy Systems: Investing in Our Future.”

The event constituted a series of talks given by prominent figures, who have dedicated their time offering working solutions that are economically viable and environmentally friendly.

According to Tim Dougherty ’88, assistant dean of alumni affairs and development for the College of Engineering, 40 percent of the 300 people who registered for the conference were students, another 40 percent were comprised of alumni and the rest included faculty and staff.

“This is by far the most interesting topic in 25 years,” said Dougherty, especially in that the conference is not one-sided; rather it aims at “working on a better mix of choices.”

Friday afternoon was marked with concurrent sessions at the Beck Center in the Statler Hall. Flexible as it was, some presentations that went on earlier in the morning were repeated in the afternoon for those who missed them. Among those repeated talks were Dr. Michael Graetzel’s presentation on “Power from the sun; molecular photovoltaic cells mimic photosynthesis.”


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bilde.jpgCredit to Linda Stout in the Ithaca Journal:

ENFIELD — Meghan Murphy figures she’s one of the only people she knows who’s happy to see petroleum diesel jump in price. She’s a member of Ithaca Biodiesel, a cooperative that turns old French fry oil into fuel. “It makes it easier for us to compete in the market,” she said.

She said petroleum diesel and gas were previously artificially low-priced because taxpayers subsidized infrastructure like fuel pipelines.

“There’s no infrastructure like that for biodiesel,” Murphy said. “These companies have huge advantages.”

The operation in Ithaca is still tiny, making about 100 gallons of biodiesel for those who pay a $25 lifetime membership.

But it’s a start, she said. Biodiesel manufacturing from waste oil potentially helps the local economy keep the money local in comparison to petroleum fuel, where only 2 percent, she said, is made locally. For instance, the money the cooperative spends goes to Bishop’s, a local hardware store, or into the pocket of the local welder working on the manufacturing equipment.

Murphy said that creating biodiesel from used restaurant oil keeps waste oil out of sewers and landfills, which she said accounts for 40 percent of sewer backups.

Diesel prices are up because of the relatively low value of the dollar and supply and demand, said Clayton Boyce, vice president of public affairs for the American Trucking Association.

In addition, he said, “Speculators are betting the dollar will continue to weaken in the future, and they’re buying with the hope of selling at a higher price in the future.”

Truckers are trying to improve fuel efficiency, he said.


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pg-1-biofuels-by-aw_thumbnail.jpgCredit to Wendy Wang in the Cornell Daily Sun

As corn becomes an increasingly popular ethanol source, the spotlight falls on the biofuels field as its researchers study how to convert crops like switchgrass and woody plants into energy. This is evident at Riley-Robb Hall, where the east wing is being converted into a new biofuels research laboratory. Prof. Larry Walker, biological and environmental engineering, is spearheading the large-scale project, slated for completion next January.

Walker received a $10 million grant from Empire State Development Cor­poration, with $6 million going towards the east wing renovation and the other $4 million to equip the new laboratory with incubators, fermentors and other machinery necessary to allow Cornell to convert cellulosic material, like switchgrass and other perennial grasses, into ethanol,from start to finish.

“We can do what we call pretreatment of the materials to make this material more amenable to enzymatic biodegradation,” said Walker. “We have the capability of generating the enzymes needed to convert the biomass into fermentable sugars. We will then have the capability of taking the fermentable sugars to ethanol, butanol and other biofuels.”

Walker emphasized the importance of ethanol as one of the few renewable energy sources that can directly replace gasoline and the fact that by 2025, about 80 percent of ethanol production will come not from corn, but from cellulose materials, those primarily studied at the current biofuels lab on campus.


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green-basics-cfl-white.jpgCredit to Brian Karlovitz in the Cornell Daily Sun:

In the latest step toward achieving energy independence from traditional fuel sources, the nearby Town of Caroline will receive compact fluorescent lightbulbs as part of an initiative called Energy Independent Caroline. EIC participants are planning to distribute one bulb to each of the town’s approximately 1200 households in April.

The Carbon Flourescent Lightbulbs last eight to 10 times longer than the average incandescent bulb and consume 75 percent less energy than conventional bulbs. Ithaca College and Cornell students, along with other community members, will help distribute the bulbs.

Founded in 2005 when Caroline became the state’s second municipality to purchase wind power for 100 percent of its electricity use, EIC’s ultimate goal is for the town to generate its own wind power instead of purchasing it from outside sources. The light bulb campaign is just the newest initiative taken on to achieve this goal.

One of the group’s leaders, Dominic Frongillo ’05, a Town of Caroline Board member, explained that the group grew out of worries about dependence on fossil fuels.


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Credit to Justin Wheeler in the Cornell Daily Sun:

So we’re told that the average American puts 20 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. But talking’s not enough.

We’re told about how our thirst for oil is contributing to habitat and species elimination, placing, at times, entire ecosystems in jeopardy. Not even close.

We’re told global warming is a reality, and that proactive change on the part of consumers will inhibit its consequences. It’s not enough.

For whatever reasons, this country lacks enthusiasm (real enthusiasm) over the idea of civic responsibility with respect to the global climate of … um … the global climate. Sure, it’s easy to change our incandescent bulbs to energy efficient fluorescents. And it’s not too hard to shut off the lights before leaving our rooms. But, alas, the trick to doing this dance right lies in the subtleties. As with everything, real change takes genuine effort.


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solar-energy.jpgCredit to Jasmine Marcus in the Cornell Daily Sun

On Dec. 4, U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-22nd District) announced that Cornell will be one of five universities joining New York State’s Solar Energy Consortium, which he helped create.

The consortium, according to a press release, is “a not-for-profit solar consortium driven by industry, in collaboration with public, private, academic, environmental, labor and economic development partners – with the goal of creating fully integrated solar-powered systems.”

The consortium, whose members include Clarkson University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the State University of New York, Binghamton and The State University of New York at New Paltz, will be based in Kingston, N.Y., and is expected to generate thousands of jobs over the next few years.

According to Prof. George G. Malliaras, materials science and engineering, director of the Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility, solar energy is “a green technology that harvests energy from the sun.”

Solar energy is produced by solar cells, which are also known as photovoltaic devices. The cells are flat structures that absorb the solar energy in sunlight to produce electrical energy. This electricity can be used directly in homes and businesses to power a variety of appliances.


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