Nizhoni Elementary School in Shiprock, New Mexico has been awarded the first-ever Schoolyard STEM Lab from Samsung and the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF). The STEM Lab was donated during the 10th annual National Environmental Education Week.
The Schoolyard STEM Lab is an outdoor classroom space designed to work in any climate for a hands-on, immersive environmental education program that consists of a Growing Dome greenhouse where students can apply the scientific method to cultivation projects. The school’s plan is to have all students take part in exploring such topics as aquatic life, solar power and sustainability, conduct geothermal energy experiments, and conserve native plants and natural resources. The Growing Dome will help students better understand STEM, and will help them make connections between the natural environment and Navajo culture.
“We are excited to award Nizhoni with the Lab. It is a solid resource that they can use to leverage the natural environment to promote critical thinking and problem-solving skills in a way that is relevant to the community,” said Diane Wood, president of NEEF. “We thank Samsung for their financial support and Growing Spaces for its partnership and installation of the Schoolyard STEM Lab.”
Located on Navajo Nation in northern New Mexico, Nizhoni’s school is considered a turnaround school- Nizhoni Elementary went from an F in 2012 to a B in 2013 on the New Mexico Public Education Department’s School Report Cards. The school district is 100 percent Title 1 federally funded due to the high-level poverty within the communities it serves and provides free breakfast and lunch to all of its students. Despite these challenges, the school is committed to equipping its students with the necessary knowledge and skills they will need to succeed in pursuing post-secondary education and early career opportunities.
“Students at Nizhoni are eager to learn,” said Principal Patsy Marquez. “We have been working hard to raise our student’s levels of achievement in areas like math, science and technology. In doing so, we need to make sure that they have access to the tools that they need in order to learn. The Schoolyard STEM Lab is a great tool that we can use to accelerate student learning by introducing all of our students to the scientific inquiry process within the context of the natural environment.”
Jennifer Choate, Nizhoni’s gifted education teacher who submitted the winning application on behalf of the school, added, “The Schoolyard STEM Lab also provides an opportunity for students to harvest their own herbs and vegetables which can be shared with the community and used by the school to prepare more nutritious meals,” added
The world’s largest renewable fuels consulting group is expanding its team. Lee Enterprises Consulting has added five new engineers and two additional Ph.D’s to its worldwide team of experts. The company says it is also dividing itself into four internal teams to handle biodiesel, ethanol, emerging technologies and solar/wind projects.
“As the world’s largest consulting group of its kind, we have experts in virtually every area of alternative and renewable fuels”, says CEO Wayne Lee. He notes that the company has now grown to over fifty consultants, and has reached a point where each of these core businesses needed its own dedicated leadership. “[Dr. Gerald Kutney, who will lead the Emerging Technologies Team] is an imminently qualified expert, and his knowledge in the fields of pyrolysis, waste-to-energy (WTE), forestry bioenery/bioproducts, gasification and emerging technologies made him the perfect choice to lead the Emerging Technologies Team,” said Lee. “Likewise, [new Solar/Wind Team lead] Bob Parkins is a Civil Engineer and renowned solar expert, making him the perfect selection to lead our Solar/Wind Team”.
The group also owns National Business Brokerage, Inc., a full service business brokerage firm specializing in the buying and selling of alternative and renewable fuels plants.
NTEA Work & Truck Show took place this week in Indianapolis, Indiana and several propane announcements were made during the show including a new bi-fuel autogas conversion system. The news was delivered by BSI President Ed Hoffman, and said the Ford Transit 3.7L engine conversion to propane autogas was under development and expected to be submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for certification this spring.
Hoffman said the bi-fuel system conversion on the Transit requires no intake manifold drilling, cutting, or splicing of wiring, and the system provides OEM quality components and engineering with ½ the install time. He also noted with extended range capabilities the bi-fuel system insures a fleet gets where it needs to go.Twenty one gallons of propane will be added to the “tank” to be used in conjunction with traditional fuel. The Transit will be the first “plug & play” conversion to be installed by the Alliance AutoGas.
Replacing the Ford E-Series, the Ford Transit vans and wagons are in several configurations the wagon offers higher fuel economy ratings. The 3.7L Ti-VCT V6 surpasses the E-Series standard 4.6L V8 gas engine in EPA estimated highway mpg by 19 percent.
The clean energy industry in North Carolina is netting the state $4.8 billion. The NC Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) says the sector is a key driver in the state’s economy, growing by about 25 percent since 2012 – outpacing the growth of other industries in the state.
“This year’s Census not only reveals good news for the clean energy industry; it demonstrates powerful news for all of North Carolina,” said NCSEA executive director, Ivan Urlaub. “Consider the rise of clean energy business sectors like building efficiency and energy storage, which are creating immediate jobs and lowering business expenses, while preparing our state to affordably meet future energy demand. Our state is not only better off with clean energy, it’s thriving – and becoming a national model for how clean energy development can help strengthen economic competitiveness.”
Driven largely by the state’s market-based clean energy policies, North Carolina was recently named one of the fastest growing markets for clean energy solutions, and is ranked fourth nationwide in installed solar power. NCSEA created the Census in 2008, a first of its kind nationally, to help measure the impact of North Carolina’s clean energy policies and identify where policy is and is not achieving the results that policymakers, economic developers and industry members envisioned. One such policy is the Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit, which has reportedly returned $1.93 for every $1.00 utilized by state and local governments.
NCSEA is also crediting growing success in the biomass sector, with animal waste, poultry litter-to-energy and swine-waste-to-energy projects helping fuel the clean energy growth.
You can read the full 2014 North Carolina Clean Energy Industry Census report here.
The Calgren Ethanol Biodigester is off and digesting waste from dairy farms into ethanol. The ethanol will be used by consumers in California’s Central Valley. The Two-Stage Mixed Plug Flow Digester was designed by DVO, Inc. and built by Regenis. The partners said it is the first California digester to use agricultural waste to create renewable natural gas to power another renewable energy facility, creating a step forward in a virtuous, zero waste lifecycle.
The process begins with local dairy, Four J Farms, sending their cow waste to the Calgren digester, which captures methane and burns it as clean biogas. While Calgren will be utilizing the renewable gas to power its facility, the digester will also greatly reduce bacteria and pathogens so dairy farmers can reuse the liquids (water) safely on their crops.
“I am proud of the contribution that Calgren can make to this incredibly green, low-carbon intensity project,” said Lyle Schlyer, president of Calgren Renewable Fuels. “Digesters are often talked about, but actually building one and getting it into operation doesn’t happen all that often. This is a marriage of industrial and dairy interests.”
The California Energy Commission (CEC) invested $4.6 million in the project. In January 2015, CEC issued rules that could increase the number of digester projects around the state. Today California imports over 90 percent of its natural gas and in 2013 the state constructed nearly half of all the new natural gas-fired power plants built in the U.S. The need to import the energy is fueling the state’s commitment to supporting locally produced alternative forms of power.
“The San Joaquin Valley is challenged with some of country’s worst air pollution,” noted Janea A. Scott, Commissioner at the CEC. “The Pixley Biogas anaerobic digester is the first anaerobic digester on a California farm permitted to use all feedstocks, including municipal green waste and food processing waste. This type of innovative technology helps California meet its clean air, petroleum reduction, and climate goals.”
MagneGas Corporation has completed construction of its Venturi sterilization system at a major hog farm in technology. The company has developed a patented technology that converts liquid waste into hydrogen-based fuel. Venturi will process hog manure into a low-oder fertilizer that can be safely used on crops. In addition, MagneGas fuel will be produced as a byproduct that can be co-fired with propane or natural gas to reduce other fuel needs.
Following a successful demonstration, the Indiana farm owner has indicated that he plans to purchase the system to use for his manure sterilization needs and partner with MagneGas to launch the market for the use of MagneGas systems in the agricultural industry worldwide.
“I am excited that MagneGas has achieved this significant milestone. Having the ability to test our new high flow Venturi system in a real world environment with such a highly respected stakeholder in the agricultural industry speaks volumes as to how far we have come as a company,” said Ermanno Santilli, CEO of MagneGas. “We are looking forward to working with such a cutting edge farm on a system that we believe will change the way the world looks at liquid wastes.”
MagneGas and its partners have demonstrated that a wide variety of liquids wastes can be sterilized such as blood, sewage, manures, leachates and a variety of sludges. As recently as July 2014, MagneGas corp confirmed that it meets EPA 503.32 by sterilizing hog manures taking coliform bacteria counts to “Undetectable Levels”. The company believes meeting this rule transforms this Class B Manure into Class A suitable for land application and in some cases fertilization.
Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition Executive Director Mark Bentley and President Phillip Wiedmeyer have been honored for their work in making Alabama cities cleaner places to live, work and play by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). National Clean Cities Co-Director Linda Bluestein recently inducted the pair into the Clean Cities Hall of Fame where representatives from nearly 100 Clean Cities coalitions from across the country gathered for the 2014 Clean Cities Coordinator Workshop.
In 2013 alone, the Alabama coalition saved more than 3 million gallons of petroleum and averted more than 12,000 tons of greenhouse gases through the deployment of alternative and renewable fuels, advanced vehicles, idle reduction and fuel economy improvements. The coalition has developed effective programs to support fuels such as ethanol, biodiesel, natural gas, propane, electricity and hydrogen. These accomplishments contributed to Clean Cities’ major milestone in 2013 of reducing U.S. petroleum consumption by one billion gallons in a single year for the first time ever.
“For many years, Mark and Phillip have proved themselves to be true pioneers and have made a significant impact in the deployment of alternative fuels and advanced vehicles, both in their coalition area as well as nationally,” said Bluestein.
Bentley has been the executive director of the Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition since 2006. Wiedmeyer has served as president for the coalition since 2002.
“It’s been our privilege over the years to promote the use of alternative fuels that are better for our environment, easier on our wallets, good for our local economy and a step toward energy independence for our country,” Bentley said. “We are delighted to be recognized for this important work.”
Carbridge Pty. Ltd., Australia’s leading airport ground transportation provider, has begun a six-month testing program with an Electric Bus at Sydney International Airport. BYD Company built the bus that was selected for the pilot program. The EV bus has been touted for its industry leading operational range and will be used as an airport passenger shuttle.
During a launch ceremony held at Sydney International Airport, BYD Asia Pacific General Manager Liu Xueliang said, “Compared with fossil-fueled buses, BYD’s pure electric bus has zero emissions, doesn’t make noise and ensures a comfortable ride without disturbances associated with conventional buses of combustion engines. These characteristics will provide a great experience for visitors to the Airport.”
Some unique features of the bus include the BYD Iron-Phosphate battery, in-wheel hub motors and regenerative braking system. According to BYD, the iron-phosphate battery is fire-safe and non-toxic; there are no caustic materials contained in the battery, no toxic electrolytes or heavy metals and the battery can be completely recycled.
Sydney Airport plans to electrify their entire bus fleet in the coming years.
A new website focused on Hawaii’s multifaceted approach to renewable energy is now live. The website for the Asia-Pacific Technology and Education Partnership (APTEP) is sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR). The military organization notes Hawaii is fast becoming ground zero for the Navy’s drive to develop green technologies.
According to ONR, APTEP approaches the issue from three angles, supporting cutting-edge energy research; educating students and teachers in energy-related fields; and supporting businesses trying to bring alternative energy products to the marketplace.
“Everyone is focused on Hawaii right now,” said Dr. Richard Carlin, head of ONR’s Sea Warfare and Weapons Department. “The studies we’re conducting there and technologies we’re developing will not only help the Navy reduce its need for fossil fuels, but also move the country closer to energy independence.”
October was National Energy Action Month and Hawaii took center stage. For example, in September, the Department of Energy signed a memorandum of understanding reaffirming its commitment to alternative energy efforts in Hawaii, dubbed Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative 2.0. At the same time, ONR, as part of the APTEP program, is sponsoring a new study of technologies and power systems-such as smartgrids and microgrids at three Navy installations on the islands.
Carlin added, “Once we figure out how to make these bases more energy efficient, we can take these new technologies and concepts to other naval bases and ultimately achieve the Navy’s energy goals.”
There is a new app for propane. The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) released a suite of cost calculator tools designed for customers in three of the industry’s fastest-growing markets: agriculture, commercial landscape, and on road fleets. The calculators estimate potential fuel savings and ROI when using propane as compared with conventional fuels such as gasoline and diesel.
“One of the main reasons fleets, agribusiness operators or commercial landscapers consider making a switch to an alternative fuel like propane is simple: They want to improve their bottom line,” said Tucker Perkins, PERC’s chief business development officer. “With these new applications, equipment dealers, propane providers, and customers can easily calculate fuel costs with propane specific to their market and operations. And with the online and mobile tools, they can share results on the spot via email.”
The PERC cost calculator series currently includes the Propane Irrigation Engine Calculator, Propane Mower Calculator and Propane Autogas Calculator – all available in multiple different platforms.