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Sewage Sludge: Everything You Wanted to Know but Were Afraid to Ask

I've been looking into sludge.  It's not a pretty picture.   I am working on a profile of Micromidas, a Clean Tech Open finalist that aims to make the business of treating raw sewage a bit less messy by extracting carbon from sludge and turning it into biodegradable plastics.  But more on that later this week.   Sewage, sludge, human waste  ... it's a dirty problem and one of the major by-products of human civilization.   I came across this fascinating writeup -  Civilization & Sludge: Notes on the History of the Management of Human Excreta. 

I remember mulling over this problem as a child (kids are fascinated with poop) .... where does it all go?  This article traces the history of mankind's battle with with their by-products.  It's been ugly and we have just been moving the problem from one place to another.   Whether it has been cesspools polluting private property, open city sewers causing mass outbreaks of cholera, typhoid when the sewage was dumped into nearby rivers or disgusting beaches when we pursued dumping sewage into the ocean with a "solution by dilution" approach. ... read more

Waste Heat - Alphabet Energy Tackles a Hot Problem

Have you ever opened and worked on your car engine while it is still hot?  Ouch - the average temperature of a running engine is 170-200 degrees farenheit. One thing I have never considered - cars (and basically all things that run hot) are creating heat waste.   Wasted heat  is created as a by-product of the conversion process of fuel into usable energy. 

HeatHeat

One of the ideas that really caught my attention at the Cleantech Open was presented by finalist Alphabet Energy Inc.  They are working on technology that will recapture waste heat.   According to Alphabet Energy, the average power plant is only 30% efficient and the same efficiency number has been cited for automobiles. ... read more

Al Gore on 30Rock "Everything Must be Recycled, Even Jokes"

Al Gore shows that he can be both green and funny!!! Definitely a must watch! (Actually, the whole episode is a must watch on Hulu).

Clean Tech Open Gala Awards

I was fortunate enough to attend the CleanTech Open this week in San Francisco.   The  CleanTech Open is a business plan competition in the Green sector and they provide mentoring and  significant funding (and media and VC attention) to Green start-ups.   These were their Academy Awards at the beautiful Masonic.   I particularly enjoyed the variety, creativity and potential of the finalists  and imagine  there are many great ideas that didn't make it to the finals.  This gave me a lot to write about and even one product to lust about.  I want one of these 3 wheeled vehicles which will get 100 mpg and bends into a turn like a motorcycle (from Green Lite Motors).... read more

Green Lite Motors

CleanTech Open Gala and Awards

CleanTech Open Gala and AwardsCleanTech Open Gala and AwardsIf you are in the San Francisco Bay Area and interested specifically in new green technology, then I suggest you check out the Cleantech Open Awards Gala coming up at the Masonic in San Francisco on Nov 17.   I'll be there and I am really excited to see first hand how the entrepreneurial spirit is one of the strongest weapons in protecting our environment and freeing us from our dependence on fossil fuels.&nbsp... read more

Berkeley’s Solar Plan to Serve as a Model for Biden’s Plan

Solar PanelsSolar PanelsThe dilemma for the environmentally conscious consumer often comes down to dollars and cents.    That problem is particularly acute when it comes to solar systems where the investment in a solar panel system can cost on average of more than $20,000.   Yes, there is monthly savings but the payback period can be as long as 10 years.   That’s a tough pill to swallow, even for the most enthusiastic, green-eyed Prius owner, not to mention the average consumer who is just becoming aware of the global warming and energy crisis.

Enter the plan trialed in Berkeley, CA and followed up in several U.S. cities.  Homeowners pay zero upfront dollars.  The plan is financed by the government and paid off with a monthly tax surcharge over twenty years.  The energy savings offset the monthly tax bill.  This makes the upgrade a virtual freebie and may even improve the market value of the home.

... read more

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Where Do Our Recyclable Electronics Go? The Electronic Wasteland!

Okay - I admit it - I am just 1 year into my Blackberry contract and I am already lusting for a new one.   My Bad!  What about the environmental impact for tossing away my cell phone as 100 million people in the U.S. do each year?

No worries - I'll recycle and feel totally guilt free as I stroll into my neighborhood Sprint store and toss down my plastic.   My Good?  My Bad? It all depends.

Recycling is a great mechanism to make ourselves feel good about all the waste we produce. But what happens to the electronics we recycle?  According to a 60 Minutes expose that was rerun this past Sunday, it is often not what you think.

Recycled Electronics

... read more

KeenForGreen Family is growing

A big congratulations as our lead blogger (Sean) and one of other bloggers, Michelle (hub and wife) just had a beautiful baby yesterday.  In fact, Michelle's last post about green vacations was written while she was in early labor!   Let's all wish them a happy, and greener, cleaner, keener, safer life together!  And a message from Sean - the Daily Greening will return with daily tips in a couple of days.

Mark

Hara Helps You Profit From Going Green

On Monday, Hara became public and offers organizations and companies ways to profit over going green.  Hara is live with Environmental and Energy Management software offered online as a for-fee service that identifies how efficient and green operations are being with their energy, water, and waste.

The service is a hosted software application called Hara Environmental and Energy Management, which gives large organizations a way to monitor their water and fuel consumption and to lessen their environmental impact by planning ways to cut greenhouse gases and waste.  According to Hara, companies that factor environmental sustainability into their operations outperform peers by 10 to 15 percent.... read more

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