China’s Solar-Powered City: Rizhao

Rizhao City, which means City of Sunshine in Chinese, has a unique dedication to the sun. In Rizhao, 99% of households in the central districts use solar water heaters, and most traffic signals, street and park lights are powered by photovoltaic solar cells. In the suburbs and villages, more than 30% of households use solar water heaters, and over 6,000 …

360 Vodka: Green Bottling

A new eco-friendly vodka has been launched by McCormick Distillery. The bottle is 80 percent recycled glass with a unique closure that looks a little like the Grolsch beer bottle. It seems like the vodka is not organic, which is disappointing (we sent a email to the company to confirm this. In the meantime you can see our organic vodka …

New Plastic Solar Cells Mimic The Veins In Tree Leaves

Researchers at Wake Forest University have announced they they have created plastic solar cells with an efficiency of 6%. Researchers say that have achieved record efficiency for organic or flexible, plastic solar cells by creating “nano-filaments” within light absorbing plastic, similar to the veins in tree leaves. This allows for the use of thicker absorbing layers in the devices, which …

Blueberries Used To Capture Solar Power

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We just reported on the breakthrough in solar dyes in New Zealand. Now, researchers in Italy have discovered that blueberries have natural pigments that absorb sunlight extremely well. Apparently, dark-colored berries outperform most other plant species when it comes to spectral absorption of sunlight. The blueberry pigment, called, anthocyanine, can be used to make dye-sensitized solar cells, which require no …

IKEA To Start Charging For Plastic Bags

IKEA will begin charging customer five cents for disposable plastic bags. IKEA hopes that this move will be the first step in ending their use altogether. The company said the decision was aimed at reducing the amount of plastic bags that are thrown away. IKEA is believed to be the first major retailer in the U.S. to undertake such a …

New Biofuel Cells: Electricity From Hydrogen and Thin Air

Science Daily reports that British scientists have developed a “biofuel cell” that generates electricity from air spike with small amounts of hydrogen. These cells are an inexpensive, renewable alternative to “fuel cells” that have been closely associated with the “hydrogen economy”. At a recent meeting of the American Chemical Society, Fraser Armstrong, described how his research group at Oxford University …

Zero-Energy House: It Uses Solar Power and Hydrogen

The New York Times just published a report on home that uses a unique system to generate hydrogen using solar power. The system was built by Mike Strizki, the 50-year-old director of Advanced Solar Products, a solar installation company, designed a backyard power plant that provides all the house’s energy, using a combination of solar panels and solar-generated hydrogen. Here’s …

A Towel Made Out Beech Wood: The Millennium Towel

Bonjour of Switzerland has released a towel collection made from Micro Modal, a fiber made with 100% beech wood cellulose. Modal is softer than terry toweling and 50 percent more absorbent than cotton. It dries quicker too. Bonjour of Switzerland uses only environmentally friendly dyes in production. The towels range in price from $12 for a wash cloth to $65 …

Anti-Metaefficient: PBDE: A Poison That Is Now Everywhere

PBDE (polybrominated diphenyl) is a toxic flame retardant used in many products, including computer cases, carpet pads and foam cushions in chairs and couches. This recent article in the The Oregonian sums up the problems for humans: Research has shown that the levels of PBDEs in American women are doubling every two to five years. Even low-level exposure, particularly for …

Renewable, Modular Carpet Tiles: FLOR

“Interface FLOR” carpet tiles are made from renewable materials that can recycled easily. They are also built to be modular: if an accident happens, you can clean them in the sink put them back on the floor. They are held down by “low tack” adhesive dots. You can also create new designs by rearranging the tiles.