Sustainability Science
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Sustainability Science
How might we keep the lights on, water flowing, and natural world vaguely intact? It starts with grabbing innovative ideas/examples to help kick down our limits and inspire a more sustainable world. We implement with rigorous science backed by hard data.
Curated by PIRatE Lab
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Use of Nuclear Power Is in Decline; Why?

Use of Nuclear Power Is in Decline; Why? | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Nuclear energy has proven to be effective at producing large amounts of power with small amounts of fuel; this video explains some of the problems involved.
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Who owns the wind? We do, Wyoming says, and it's taxing those who use it

Who owns the wind? We do, Wyoming says, and it's taxing those who use it | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The world is ready to pay for more renewable energy, and Wyoming has lots of wind. Who owns it? Wyoming decided it did.
PIRatE Lab's insight:
Somehow, I don't think anyone ever asked oil: "tell us how much we can tax you before we drive you out of business."

Can you say double standard for renewables vs. fossil fuels.
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California closing last nuclear plant after 3 decades

California closing last nuclear plant after 3 decades | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and environmental groups said Tuesday that the Diablo Canyon plant will close by 2025. The electricity it generated will come instead from solar and renewable energy.
PIRatE Lab's insight:
This is the beginning of the end of public nuclear power in California.  We still have years to go, but the last act is being written now.
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PUC calls for revisions in San Onofre shutdown cost settlement

PUC calls for revisions in San Onofre shutdown cost settlement | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
An agreement on paying for the closure of the San Onofre nuclear power plant near San Clemente needs to be more favorable to consumers, state regulators said Friday.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

When we calculate the direct costs (leaving aside the issues related to waste internment and multi-millenium storage of highly radioactive substances) of nuclear power, decommissioning must be in the equation.  I have found such costs rarely are accounted for.  When they are the estimates are typically rarely close to the actual amounts we have seen (e.g. >$4 billion for this SONGS example).

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PIRatE Lab's curator insight, September 6, 2014 10:49 AM

When we calculate the direct costs (leaving aside the issues related to waste internment and multi-millenium storage of highly radioactive substances) of nuclear power, decommissioning must be in the equation.  I have found such costs rarely are accounted for.  When they are the estimates are typically rarely close to the actual amounts we have seen (e.g. >$4 billion for this SONGS example).

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Is pee-power really possible?

Is pee-power really possible? | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Over one billion of the world’s population still lack access to basic electricity. Could tech that tries to generate power from urine be the answer?
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Are U in?

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How to Make a Cheap Battery for Storing Solar Power

How to Make a Cheap Battery for Storing Solar Power | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Aquion manufactures cheap, long-lasting batteries for storing renewable energy.

Via Organic Social Media
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Interesting innovation.  Great idea for slow power-ups and trickle charging.  Good solution for low power consuming, more off-grid users.

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Organic Social Media's curator insight, February 28, 2014 12:27 PM

How to Make a Cheap Battery for Storing #Solar Power via @TechReview #energy #sustainability

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Ad Agency Designs And Makes Brochures Without Using Electricity

Ad Agency Designs And Makes Brochures Without Using Electricity | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

The Leo Burnett agency in Lisbon was commissioned to create a brochure for the EDP Group’s Access to Energy (A2E) campaign, which aims to bring electricity to communities in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Amazon.
This campaign also sought to show that many developed countries waste electricity, so the creative team challenged themselves by designing a brochure without using any energy.
Paper was made, pressed and dried, and the two colors of the brochure were printed manually on the paper. The last step was perhaps the easiest—folding these brochures by hand.


Even the process was documented without electricity—film cameras were used, and the amount of effort put in can be seen in the video at the link.


Via Lauren Moss
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Cool demo, but the future is clearly not abandon electricity.  The pollution associated with the film camera world has a host of problems as well (mercury, etc.).  But I like the idea here and the notion of being able to do things outside of the widely accepted standards of production.

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ramiro alonso's curator insight, February 4, 2014 7:20 AM

Una campaña para una empresa de electrificación realizada sin electricidad.

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New report reveals U.S. military's renewable energy victories

New report reveals U.S. military's renewable energy victories | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
According to Pew, private sector partners and creative financing are accelerating the military's quest to slash energy intensity and increase the use of clean tech. 
PIRatE Lab's insight:

It is still amazing to me the number of folks who don't know how much the military is pushing to get off of fossil fuels.  From the Navy experimenting with alternative liquid fuels to the mobile army detachments using solar to power field equipment, the U.S. armed forces see getting onto renewable as a security priority.

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Infographic: Owning Electric Cars, BEVs, and PHEVs

Infographic: Owning Electric Cars, BEVs, and PHEVs | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Based on a 2013 survey by Consumers Union and UCS, 42 percent of U.S. households could use an electric vehicle—far more than the less than one percent who currently have one.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

One obstacle we’re up against is the misperception that innovative solutions like electric vehicles can only work for a select few people with short commutes and access to fancy charging stations. But that's not true. A commissioned survey of American drivers showed that more than 40 percent of U.S. households with cars could use today's plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles without changing their driving habits. And electric vehicles are just one of the many exciting oil savings solutions making their way out into our nation's transportation system.

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LED Christmas Lights: Merry, Bright, and 17X Cheaper to Power

LED Christmas Lights: Merry, Bright, and 17X Cheaper to Power | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

Via Anita Woodruff
PIRatE Lab's insight:

LEDs are a much improved option over the traditional indandescents. While we should also be striving to use fewer lights in the first place (i.e. sunlight is better than LED light), this is one area where I am happy to have the technilogy of diodes illuminating these cold wintre nights!

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A runaway energy industry is costing California billions

A runaway energy industry is costing California billions | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The state has more than enough power. So why are we paying higher prices and building new plants?
PIRatE Lab's insight:
Nice visual intro to the new investigative series by the LA Times on California power generation by public utilities since 2001.
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Los Angeles Times Summit: Powering Forward | Excerpt: Nancy Sutley

Los Angeles Times Summit: Powering Forward | Excerpt: Nancy Sutley | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
LA Times Summit Energy Panel Nancy Sutley
PIRatE Lab's insight:
Quick summary of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's view of changing power mix.
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Researchers' idea will blow you away: 656-foot long blades on wind turbines

Researchers' idea will blow you away: 656-foot long blades on wind turbines | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Efforts to increase wind power mean that turbine blades are getting bigger and bigger. But a new design in the works takes the idea to levels most people can barely imagine: Blades up to 656.2 feet long — more than two football fields. Today's longest blades are 262.5 feet. The blades at Imperial...
PIRatE Lab's insight:
Massive blades.
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The U.S. relies on transformers - and that's a little scary

The U.S. relies on transformers - and that's a little scary | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

BAnThe failure of just nine utility substations, and the closing of one factory, could blackout the entire U.S. for 18 months.

PIRatE Lab's insight:

Bang, bang, bang...and no more power.

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Wind Turbines Generate “Upside-Down” Lightning [Video]

Wind Turbines Generate “Upside-Down” Lightning [Video] | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

Lightning strikes have been known to incapacitate wind turbines by destroying their blades. But while most tall structures are prone to lightning strikes, wind turbines seem to be especially susceptible.

PIRatE Lab's insight:

Super cool slow mo video of lightning running up from the metal superstructures.

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Huge Solar Farms On California’s Public Lands Could Power 170,000 Homes

Huge Solar Farms On California’s Public Lands Could Power 170,000 Homes | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

The Obama administration on Wednesday announced that it has given final approval to two sizable solar projects on public lands near the Nevada-California border, which when operational are expected to provide a combined 550 megawatts of renewable energy, or enough to power about 170,000 homes and create 700 jobs.


Via Organic Social Media
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Interesting framing: public land-producing fossil fuels or public land producing renewable energy.

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Organic Social Media's curator insight, February 27, 2014 11:31 AM

Huge Solar Farms On California’s Public Lands Could Power 170,000 Homes via @EcoWatch

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Next-Generation Wood Fiber Solar Cells Could Dwarf Current Efficiency Levels

Next-Generation Wood Fiber Solar Cells Could Dwarf Current Efficiency Levels | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

There are two key factors that affect solar cell performance; high "optical transparency" to allow for good light transmission, and a high "optical haze" which increases the scattering and therefore the absorption of the transmitted light within the...

PIRatE Lab's insight:

Wow...interesting properties.

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Spain breezes into record books as wind power becomes main source of energy

Spain breezes into record books as wind power becomes main source of energy | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Sector covered 20.9 percent of total demand last year followed by country’s nuclear plants, which met 20.8 percent

Via Organic Social Media
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Awesome!  Now if we can just get this to happen in a country that isn't in an economic slump/isn't suffering from reduced energy demands.

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Organic Social Media's curator insight, January 17, 2014 1:26 PM
#Spain breezes into record books as #wind power becomes main source of #energy #sustainability
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Megatons To Megawatts: Russian Warheads Fuel U.S. Power Plants

Megatons To Megawatts: Russian Warheads Fuel U.S. Power Plants | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
After the Cold War, Russia converted surplus uranium to nuclear fuel for power plants — in the U.S.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

While there are significant issues/downsides to nuclear power, clearly using nuclear weapons for power generation is nothing but a positive.

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