The History of Algae Biofuel

If humans may be called the microcosm of the universe, algae can be considered as the microcosm of environment-friendly energy coming from existing biological sources – the new green biofuel. Wile global scale production of oil from algae still needs to overcome certain practical challenges, the homework on producing an eco-friendly form of biofuel from algae has been completed and various environmental-friendly fuel companies are looking forward to cash this immensely valuable natural source of energy that is barely visible to the general attention of our species.

The history of algae biofuel dates back to 1978 when the Aquatic Species Program (launched in the US) started research on energy production from high-lipid algae that were grown in ponds. Trying, at first, to get hydrogen from algal population, the program later focused on oil production, especially biodiesel. In the mid 90s, the research program came to an end and the publications from the program came out by early 2001. It concluded that the green biofuel from algae would only be economical if oil prices would double than the existing (1998) ones. Today, that limit has been far exceeded and hence the increased interest in algae biofuel for large-scale energy production.

Microalgae grow much more rapidly than land plants used for biofuel extraction. Their yield per unit area is up to 30 times greater than the most productive terrestrial plants. Also, algae can grow in diverse environments ranging from entirely aquatic to dry deserts with only saline groundwater reserves. Some of them have the quality of converting about 60% of their biomass into fuel. Obviously, algae stand as the most suited candidates for biofuel production. One of the most remarkable merits of algae biofuel production lies in the prospect of saving valuable terrestrial plants for other uses, particularly as food.

Today, algae biofuel stands at the forefront of green energy projects, including production of transport fuel, with a number of advantages over conventional forms of oil-extraction from non-algal sources. While algal biofuel may come in various forms like biodiesel, biobutanol, biogasoline, methane, and straight vegetable oil (SVO), currently the primary interest of fuel companies is the production of biodiesel from algae; so far, it appears the sole viable form of alternative transport fuel on a global scale.

Currently, algae biofuel production is emerging out of experimental stages in different parts of the world. In the Netherlands, Algaelink has developed a new way of extracting oil from wet algae through centrifugation of the algae paste. This development is more environment-friendly and will save more time and energy than previous methods of oil extraction from algae. At the same time, the UK-based independent company Carbon Trust – working toward low-carbon economy – has announced the world’s largest algal biofuel project that aims at developing the technology required for commercial extraction of biofuel from algae.

Since algae also remove a significant part of the carbon dioxide in the air, their use for biofuel production may be accompanied by a parallel growth of additional algal mass so as to make environmental amelioration a two-fold progress. The microcosm of algae as environment-cleaners is thus a green dream coming true within a lifetime.

Bridge the Health Gap Between the Rich and the Poor

Greenery is central to eco-friendly communities and its role in improving health continues to be supported by scientific research. The latest evidence, corroborating the role of greenery in maintaining public health, comes from a study published in the renowned British medical journal The Lancet. It concludes that green spaces not only reduce blood pressure and stress levels, preventing heart diseases and stroke, but also bridge the gap between the health condition of the poor and that of the more well-off members of society.

The research has been conducted by Dr. Richard Mitchell (Glasgow University) and Dr. Frank Popham of (University of St Andrews). They analyzed the records of over 366, 000 people, who passed away between 2001 and 2005, concluding that even a little area covered with greenery plays a significant healing role in the health of the population that lives nearby. This finding is important in that it counters the mainstream belief that social class is the major determinant of health – rich people being privileged with better health due to their higher socio-economic profile.

For both health professionals and the general public, the health-friendly effects of green spaces denote a new hope of living longer and happier life without any demand for wealth. Local councils can bring about a notable improvement in people’s health by introducing more greenery in the locality.

From health’s viewpoint, poor people can get the same share in life as do the rich. What is needed is more volunteering for increasing the greenery in one’s area. Previous studies have proved the positive role of roadside trees in improving health in urban areas. The recent findings strengthen the belief in the environmental-friendly practice of plantation – an activity that literally promotes life against the threat of diseases.

Building Energy Efficient Homes

Energy efficient homes are a sparkling example of applying creative thinking for developing environmental friendly communities.

These houses are built by paying special attention to the construction details and various other elements of the house – all serving to cut down on the total energy consumption. This approach has a number of environment-friendly implications.

First, it helps conserve the energy budget of our ecological system.

Secondly, it prevents environmental damage that is caused by the emanations of pollutants associated with the consumption of some fuels. This in turn signifies better health. In addition, energy efficient houses save a good deal of money that is spent on paying for the energy required to run homes. It is important to mention that, according to studies on community development, the money thus saved becomes a source of generating wealth within the community.

Energy efficient homes vary in the number and style of elements employed in their construction and operation. Central to all of them are some basic features like:

•    Minimization of Heat Transfer
•    Proper Ventilation
•    Efficient Cooling and Heating Systems
•    Use of Energy Saving Appliances

Besides the advantages to environment and community development mentioned above, energy efficient houses have generally been found more comfortable, especially in terms of temperature stability and desirable levels of humidity. The passage of air in and out of the house is kept at an optimum level by specialized insulation techniques.

For lovers of quite environs (and who isn’t these days), energy efficient construction of houses also filter out most of the noise and keep the inside of the house peaceful. The main disadvantage of building these kinds of houses, at this point in time, is the high cost of construction. Also, the constructor needs to be experienced in handling such projects – something not yet very common. However, energy efficient houses do pay in terms of environmental amelioration and quality of domestic life, once they stand completed.

In the 21st century, the use of advanced computer technology promises cost-effective solutions to some heretofore costly procedures involved in the assessment of a particular area for constructing energy efficient houses.

This includes recording and processing of data relating the suitability of the location, mapping of the buildings, and limitations that need to be considered before squaring out for construction. For the green living motto of environmental friendly communities, energy efficient houses literally instantiate the (modified) adage of

Making a Simple Green Community

A green community can and is a happy community. It can all be a possibility and really isn’t’ all that hard to accomplish in today’s modern world. When I was younger the idea of solar energy was a great one but we didn’t’ have the technology to make it worth the expensive to create the solar panels and the idea of using old used cooking oil to power diesel engines wasn’t even thought of. Now we have hybrid electric gas cars and quite a few trucks that now run on used vegetable oil.

All of these steps are ways that we can make a more green community. Building more energy efficient homes with more efficient appliances keeps not only the running cost of the equipment but lower the amounts of emissions that are emitted not only from the appliance but from the power plants were the electric it produced.

Less energy needed less coal and oil burned fewer pollutants filling the air making the air just a bit cleaner for you and me to breath and for the plants to grow in. all this is possible for our community to achieve. Now a day’s we have cell phones that are basically hand held computers.

If we put that kind of effort into making cheaper to produce solar panels for houses we can cut our energy consumption quite a bit, like the hybrid cars find a nice mix of solar power during the day and the coal power plants for night time.

We have all been sitting at a stop light with an 18 wheeler sitting next to us as it release out  a nice bit puff of black foul smelling smoke from the exhaust pipe.

A simple way to lower the pollutant emission of those huge diesel trucks is the looking into of alternative fuels like used cooking vegetables oil from deep fries. with all the McDonald’s  and other fast food restaurants that are out there collecting their used vegetable oil from their deep fryers along with the few house hold deep fryers would lessen the need for diesel fuel in freight trucks or even in the simple school bus that takes children to and from school.

Even if we are unable to get a 100% dependence on alternative fuels if we can even just get around 50% half of the cars and trucks in the United States alone would lessen the amount of pollutants in the air substantially.

Even if it turns out that global warming is real and we are the cause of it having that many vehicles releasing a significantly less pollutant will really help the planet and ourselves by lowering our dependence on foreign oil supplies.

When you support these type of idea in the community and have laws passed that will help bring ideas like this to life we will all have a more green eco friendly community in no time. Everyone can make a difference in the world it isn’t all that hard to do.

Eco-Friendly Cars for Reducing Global Warming

The recent crisis in global economies has made several industries revise their production plans. For the advocates of environmentalism, this depression has brought good news as the European Union (EU) has pressed on auto-makers to produce eco-friendly (green) cars. The EU policy of replacing traditional cars with energy-efficient green cars primarily aims at cutting the vehicular emissions of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide, by as much a one-fifth of the existing amount of emission, by the year 2012. The production of green cars will also help sustain the auto industry without losing business.

The sharp fall in the purchase of cars has not only affected the European auto industry but also the car-manufacturers in the United States where lawmakers are asking auto-manufacturers to raise the mileage of an average car from 35 miles per gallon of fuel to 50 miles per gallon. Given the fact that vehicular emissions are the second major source of greenhouse gases in America, the US government is keen on replacing gasoline cars with electric cars.

Electric cars stand as the prime candidate for green cars. An electric car runs by means of a rechargeable battery. Instead of a gasoline engine, electric cars carry an electric motor that is powered by the controller, which in turn gets electric power from the batteries. Electric cars, especially the hybrid electric cars (carrying both an electric motor and another type of fuel engine), are more energy-efficient and their vehicular emissions are minimal. Thus, electric cars are also health-friendly in that they would prevent the formation of smog that causes lung diseases and premature deaths in a large number of patients.

At the moment, the main problem with mass-producing eco-friendly electric cars is their high cost. Currently, Tesla is the top auto company for producing eclectic cars and it has only produced some 80 cars, so far, each of which costs over a hundred grand. The US government plans to donate $400 million to Tesla out of the tax money received from people. Since the electric cars produced with these funds will be unaffordable to the average American citizen, the issue involves ethical concerns. Now, Tesla is working on a more affordable green car, costing around 60 grand, though there is still a lot to do before making green cars a reality for the mainstream.

Benefits of Organic Fertilizers

If you ever look around one day in the grocery store you will notice how many synthetically produced products there are in the world. Even if food such as fruits and vegetables have had contact with synthetically produced chemicals in the form of fertilizers and pesticides.

While synthetically produced products have helped us greatly they have also hurt us as well. The DDT pesticide that was responsible for a major environmental impact and subsequently banned for agricultural use, along with plastics that will never biodegrade are just a couple of the many synthetic materials that helped us but in the long run will ruin the environment for future generations.

There is a simple yet effective way to help control this type of problem in your own house, just go organic. Organic living really isn’t all that hard a type of life style to get use to. You don’t have to jump right in it immediately and do a 180 in your lifestyle. You can slowly ease your way into organic living or at least take up a few habits of the organic life style.

Organic gardening is a good way to slide into the organic lifestyle. For those of you with gardens or wanting to start a garden in the house there are many ways to have an organic garden in your house. Using compost from your house which is just a pile of organic materials such as grass clippings, dog feces, and organic left over from meals left to rot and decompose into fertile soil. Or you can buy organic fertilizer from the store.

Cow manure is the most popular kind but they have it in granules you can spread over the garden and yard as well as liquid that can be spread used a hose. With an organic garden you don’t even have to worry about using synthetic pesticides on your organic garden. There are a few ways to prevent pest from attacking and eating your garden.

One good way to keep pests away as an organic pesticide is companion planting. What that does is it naturally reduces the amount of pests that are attracted to the plants.

A few examples of companion planting are cucumbers planted with beans, sunflowers, and corn. Or if you don’t want to companion plant then a simple mix of crushed onions or garlic in a spray water bottle with a bit of vegetable oil mixed in.

Spray the plants and it will stay on the plant and the pest when they land or if they are on the plants. That will kill them in a safe plant organic way. Just a simple way to start and maintain a little organic garden for yourself you can even save a little bit of money on buying vegetables from the market place.

Green Living Organic Gardening

One of the reasons why organic gardening can come as a real challenge is the limit on insect (pest) control methods. Green living means saving the ecological habitat from noxious pesticides. While environment and health may be smiling in relief at the non-use of toxic chemicals, our eco-conscious gardener is apparently at a loss here. But not really! A number of safe and environmental-friendly means of pest control can be practiced to obtain a healthy yield in plenty.

Organic gardeners, unless they are just about to begin with the gardening practice, know that selective plantation of certain plant species/families obviates the need of using any insecticides. A large number of herbs and vegetables – including radish, pea, turnip, sweet potato, beet, and onion etc – develop with little threat from insects. However, there are crops that fall a prey to garden bugs. These include potato, cauliflower, broccoli, beans, cucumber, pumpkin, and many other food plants. The first thing to do for an organic gardener, therefore, is to mark the pest-resistant and pest-prone varieties of crops.

Companion planting has been tried by many a gardener for pest prevention. What they do is grow certain varieties of plants – edible, flowering, and/or herbal – next to one another. This contiguity is believed to prevent certain pests from invading the plants due to an aversion of the neighboring vegetation (on account of aromas or other qualities disagreeable to insects). Remarkable as it sounds, companion planting is not backed by scientific studies. In fact, some research studies conducted on the putative benefits of companion planting show that there is more assumption in it than truth.

Realizing the need to use some kind of non-toxic, health-friendly, and pro-environment source of insect control, organic gardeners have often tried natural pest control strategies. Releasing ‘beneficial’ insects, like ladybirds and lacewings etc, is still considered a natural remedy for insect pest. But their effectiveness is quite limited. In many instances, these ‘control insects’ start eating one another or sometimes just leave the garden without doing their job. Though not totally useless, insects are not a very reliable means of controlling pest.

Another method that works against some pests is biological control, i.e. using living organisms to check the invading population of harmful insects. Certain varieties of Bacillus bacteria are available in commercial organic formulas and are useful in growing healthy crops of Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and potatoes. The organisms used for pest control do not harm useful insects and thus are also cherished for use in growing economically important crops.

A specialized form of organic pest control is the botanical control – extracts of plants that function as natural pesticides while they are effective in short-term and small-scale action against some insects, many of these natural pesticides are not friendly to the environment or ecological health. Using insecticide soaps and rotating crops are also used as complementary methods of pest control. Removing or destroying crop refuse and disposing it safely are considered an important part of organic gardening.

At the movement, no single pest-control method is known to get over the problem of bugs in organic gardening. Pest-control is done effectively on an ‘as needed’ basis – a time to time and persevering job.

Danger of Chemical Household Cleaners

Whenever it comes to a general discussion of hazardous chemical products, most people tend to feel worried about industrial wastes that are contaminating the air, water, and land around us.

To give you all goose bumps, the threat of toxicity is more immediate – lying next to our daily life inside our very own houses. True that the levels of toxic chemicals used in households is usually much lower than those dealt with in industries or workplace.

Nevertheless, houses do carry a threat to health and environment due to hazardous chemical products. While different substances in the house may contain higher than safe levels of toxic chemicals, household cleaners are particularly infamous for posing greater risks to health.

Aside from the composition of household cleaners, the latter are of worse concern to health-conscious families because they are used throughout the house for cleaning purposes. Since water is used with many of them, the vapors formed indoors may affect all the inhabitants of the house.

Within a house, various cleaners of toxic composition are used in the kitchen, bathrooms, garages, and virtually anywhere. Two main reasons appear to be responsible for the use of potentially harmful chemical cleaners in our modern day houses. First, synthetic chemical cleaners are quick to use and help save the consumer’s time. Secondly, they are easier to use than many natural cleaners that were used prior to the popularity of synthetic cleaners. Given the health and environmental effects (both actually related) of synthetic cleaners, spending more time and effort is worth adopting.

Prior to going for natural and safer cleaners at home, it is important to identify hazardous cleaning agent used for household cleaning. This is easy since most of such cleaners are labeled with one of these three main alarming words: Danger, Warning, and Caution.

Those marked with the word ‘Danger’ are the most toxic followed by those with ‘Warning’, and products labeled with ‘Caution’ are rather low in toxicity (though still not advisable for use). Generally, caustic and highly evanescent (solvent) substances used at home are mostly toxic to health. In the long term, they cause a large number of health problems ranging from skin problems to cancer.
For general safety to your health and environment, proper disposal of all waste/left-over materials is indispensable.

Following the instructions on the container is the best way of safely using the product it contains. All labels need to be duplicated and affixed to a new container in case the user needs to change containers.

People with access to the Internet (and who hasn’t got it these days) can get plenty of free information on safe disposal of household products. It goes without saying that all chemical cleaners need to be kept out of the reach of kids.

What is Composting? How to Composte.

Composting is the natural decomposition of weeds, manure and other yard waste, fruit and vegetables. The breakdown of these organic materials produces compost which can be made into fertilizer to enrich soil. By composting we do not only help conserve our environment by reducing the amount of garbage sent to landfills, we also help promote healthier soil where we can grow healthy flowers or fruit and vegetables like tomatoes, carrots and herbs.

There are many ways to compost. Some make bins from recycled materials or buy one at the store. Others go binless, by digging a hole directly on the ground. But there are some basic composting dos and don’ts.

Compost is full of microbes or those tiny little things like fungi and bacteria that eat the compost materials and break them down. And since microbes are living organisms, they need air to breath. Unaired compost heaps smell like rotting garbage, this is due to slow decomposition. So make sure that your compost heap has a lot of air passage ways.

Compost also need water. Your compost heap should be moist in order to let your microbes spread faster. Ideally, a compost heap should be as moist as a “wrung sponge”. Too dry and your compost heap decomposes slowly, again leading to the garbage smell.

Your microbes also need to eat. So make sure they have a supply of “browns” and “greens”. Browns are fallen leaves, straw, wood chips and the like. Greens are vegetable scraps, kitchen fruit, green leaves, ground coffee beans and tea bags. Make sure to moisten the browns before putting them in the heap. A balance between browns and greens is essential to make your compost moist.

Of course there are stuff that should not go to the compost bin. Chemically treated wood contain arsenic which is bad for the environment should be excluded. Human and pet wastes contain diseases which can infect humans.

These wastes can be composted but it is not safe for backyards. Stubborn weeds like Morning Glory, Ivy and bindweed can resprout from their shoots or stems and might grow on compost heaps. Meat, bones and other fatty food wastes attract pests like rats and should be disposed in a different manner.

Composting takes around 3-4 months. There are other ways to speed up the composting process like adding worms and fungus like Tricho which can shorten the composting period to 3-4 weeks. Finished compost smells like soil and is brown, moist and crumbly. You can add it to your garden soil, lawn or potted plants.

Bottled Water vs. Filtered Tap Water

Water is something that every human needs to survive. Everyday in the United States people either purchase water bottles at there near by supermarket or simply just drink out of the tap. However, is bottled water even filtered; is it even regulated by the government?

Bottled water can be glacial water, purified water, and spring water. It is said that even most bottled water companies simply put regular ‘tap water’ in each bottle. Of course doesn’t that mean that bottled water isn’t filtered? In the year of 2007, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) had announced that they have carried out a four-year study on bottled water. The results were startling; it showed that one-third of the bottled water tested high for contamination.

Numerous corporations are making a large effort to promote tap water over bottled water, since tap water can be filtered unlike the average polluted bottled of water. It has been said that Americans purchase approximately 28 billion water bottles a year, and 80 percent of those bottles end up in landfills. The average cost in the U.S. for a bottle of water can cost between $0.25 and $2 per bottle; whilst tap water cost less then a penny. According to the NRDC about 90 percent of manufacturer’s costs is from making the bottle, label, and cap.

Even if you still consider to purchase a water bottle, recycling is something that everyone should take part in. Each water bottle ultimately becomes a pollution problem for our planet. However, not everyone takes part, or considers the well being of mother earth. So every time you or someone else buys a water bottle, ask yourself this one question…what’s in the water?