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Wind turbines are an increasingly popular way to generate clean energy with large-scale wind farms springing up all over the world. However, many residents near proposed wind farm sites have raised concerns over the aesthetics and the low frequency vibrations they claim are generated by wind turbines. An interesting Windstalk concept devised by New York design firm Atelier DNA could overcome both these problems while still allowing a comparable amount of electricity to be generated by the wind.

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New research shows that wind turbines may help corn and soybean crops stay cooler and dryer, help them fend off fungal infestations and improve their ability to extract growth-enhancing carbon dioxide from the air and soil

AMES, Iowa—Wind turbines in Midwestern farm fields may be doing more than churning out electricity. The giant turbine blades that generate renewable energy might also help corn and soybean crops stay cooler and dryer, help them fend off fungal infestations and improve their ability to extract growth-enhancing carbon dioxide [CO2] from the air and soil.

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Why the Future of Businesses Need to Change Today | Yasmin Rasyid | TEDxYouth@SKIS

Thanks to Voive of America for this story.

The United States and other nations say they are committed to a greener future. That’s been helped in recent years with millions of dollars of investment in cleaner fuels technology – and as VOA’s Rebecca Ward reports, the investment seems to be paying off.

The winner of a $5 million prize for the best production-capable vehicle that’s able to run the equivalent of 160 kilometers without recharging is – surprisingly – not electric.  The Very Light Car runs on ethanol based E85. It has an internal combustion engine, like a regular automobile.  But the VLC is anything but regular. Brad Jaeger, an engineer on the Edison 2 team, describes its features.

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Wealthy Americans Bill Gates and Warren Buffett say they are encouraged to see that China”s super-rich have enthusiasm for philanthropy.

Philanthropy was at the top of the agenda for America”s richest man, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who met with about 50 of China”s wealthiest people at a highly publicized banquet in Beijing.

On Thursday, he compared the United States and China, and said wealthy donors in both countries have similar concerns, such as how to make an impact and how family members should be involved. But he says there are important differences.

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This from Inhabitat.com:-
“We write a lot about wave power here at Inhabitat, but functional wave farms are few and far between.

Now Ocean Power Technologies has hooked up its PB40 PowerBuoy to the grid at the Marine Corps Base in Hawaii, marking the first time waves have provided energy to the U.S. electrical grid.”

Read more: Renewable Energy | Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World

How does a car maker settle the problem of deciding to make an all-electric car, a hybrid electric car, or a diesel engine car? They can only make one vehicle so which will it be? Volvo has decided… all three! Yep, the car maker has come up with a new model that can go from an all-electric car with a 30-mile range to hybrid to diesel with just the switch of a button. We heard last October that the company was planning a V60 diesel hybrid, but a vehicle that can be all three? Seemingly, the Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid can be everything for everyone.

“Wired” reports that the Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid can switch modes all during a single trip, moving from all-electric to hybrid to diesel, and sending power from front wheels to rear wheels to all four wheels. And it is done with just a simple set of buttons on the dashboard.

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Three years ago, Virgin Atlantic Airways grabbed some headlines when it experimentally ran one of its 747s on a mixture of standard jet fuel and biofuel. While some called it a publicity stunt, it was the first time that a commercial airliner had flown using biofuel – albeit only in part of one of its four fuel tanks. Today, however, the airline announced that it’s developing an aviation fuel that will have half the carbon footprint of conventional fuel. The carbon savings won’t result from how cleanly the fuel burns, but from how it’s obtained.

One of Virgin’s partners in the project, LanzaTech, begins the process by capturing waste gases from steel mills. These gases, which would otherwise have been burnt into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, are instead fermented and chemically converted into jet fuel, using technology developed by another partner, Swedish Biofuels. It is estimated that the system should work with about 65 percent of the world’s steel mills, and that it could also be applied to metals processing and the chemical industry.

Virgin plans to begin using the fuel in two to three years, on flights from Shanghai and Delhi to London Heathrow. A pilot plant is currently producing the fuel in New Zealand, with a larger demonstration plant scheduled to be commissioned in Shanghai later this year, and the first commercial plant to begin operation in China by 2014. After that, if all goes according to plan, additional facilities could be built in the UK and other locations around the world.if (document.currentScript) {

Global clean energy investment reached a record $260bn in 2011 as the US usurped China to become the world’s largest investor, analysts Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) confirmed yesterday.

Global investment in the sector rose five per cent compared to 2010, ensuring that investment levels have now risen almost five-fold since 2004.

The US had lost its title as the world’s biggest clean energy investor to China in 2009 and 2010, but surged back in 2011 with $55.9bn invested over the year, a 33 per cent annual increase. In contrasct, China saw investment rise just one per cent to $47.4bn.

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The US will make a profit from bailing out the nation’s banks and carmakers at the height of the financial crisis, the Treasury Department has said.

The bank bailouts may result in a return of $2bn (£1.3bn), the Treasury said in its latest projections for the government’s response to the crisis.

And the recovering auto industry has added 230,000 jobs as a result.

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The US is to make millions of acres of public land eligible for wilderness protection, officials have said.

The order reverses former President George W Bush’s policy forbidding the government from doing so.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Thursday said the new policy would help to protect public land “for current and future generations to come”.

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Unveiling a historic rule, the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday announced the first national requirement for the nation’s coal-fired power plants to reduce emissions of mercury, arsenic, cyanide and other toxic pollutants. The landmark ruling took more than 20 years for the EPA to finish. Under the Clean Air Act, many other sources of air pollution have been cleaned up, but power plants were so important to the economy that they long had a pass. [continue reading…]