Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sustainable structures of future will rely on renewable energy, grow own food, maximize use of resources, says green architect Stan Sersen

The sustainable workplace and residence of the future will not only use energy very efficiently and get all of its power from renewable sources, says visionary architect Stan Sersen. It will also grow much of its own food and use all resources as sustainably as possible, says Sersen, founder of the EnviroCenter, a highly sustainable center for green organizations located in Jessup, Maryland. And Sersen plans to make this vision a reality as soon as possible: a much-expanded EnviroCenter now in the works will encompass all of these concepts.

Sersen presented his vision for a more sustainable future – in which we not only employ renewable energy but also integrate where we live with the food we eat and the resources we need – at the February Earth Forum of Howard County, held Feb. 21 at the First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, Md.

The original EnviroCenter, housed in a converted 1905 farmhouse and now also known as “Phase I,” is very innovative and sustainable itself. It includes features such as rainbarrels, use of recycled and sustainable materials in construction, very efficient insulation, daylighting tubes to maximize natural light, and both passive and active solar design.

The expanded, LEED-platinum EnviroCenter will take Phase I as the departure point for a much bigger (20,000 square feet) and even more sustainable workplace and environmental center. Phase II also will feature:

  • Highly efficient design and construction to minimize need for external energy sources.
  • Geothermal power, in addition to solar, to produce the energy that is needed
  • Natural daylighting and ventilation throughout.
  • Comprehensive rain water harvesting and re-use, which, says Sersen, will mean zero water runoff from the busy road where the building sits (even in a 100-year flood), as well as reclamation and reuse of “grey water” (from sinks, etc.).
  • Use of as many locally sourced, recycled and rapidly renewable materials as possible in construction.
  • On-site biodiesel and electric vehicle recharging stations for employees.
  • On-site, biointensive vegetable and cultivation both indoors and outdoors, with tenants able to buy produce through “tenant-supported agriculture” (a modification of the already popular community-supported agriculture).
During the forum, Sersen also cited several other innovative examples of how vegetation, especially in urban settings, can be part of our sustainable future (and in some cases present):

  • “Greenhouse barges” already operating in New York Harbor where vegetables are grown organically for use by area restaurants.
  •  The Baltimore City Schools’ effort, under director of food services Tony Geraci, to not only provide as much healthy food as possible from local sources but also involve students directly in growing and harvesting the food they eat in their schools.
  • A new type of photovoltaic cell now being developed that is based on how sponges very efficiently absorb solar energy; Sersen called this “the next thing in solar.”
  • Covering the south side of a building with vegetation (such as vines) to help keep the heat down as well as capture runoff water.
  • More broadly, using “vegetables as landscaping” in your home or workplace.
To learn more about the EnviroCenter and Phase II, go to

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Offshore wind could provide all electricity Maryland needs, improve economy and environment, new study finds

Offshore wind power could provide for two-thirds of Maryland’s electricity needs using current technology and nearly twice as much as the state needs after the technology improves, a new study finds. In addition, relying on wind power would help Maryland’s economy while cutting greenhouse gases and improving air quality, says the study, which was sponsored by the Abell Foundation.

With existing offshore windpower technology, this renewable power source could provide 67% of the electricity Maryland now needs, the study says. And offshore wind could generate 179% of the state’s current electricity needs as the industry matures and deeper water techniques come into production, meaning that offshore wind could provide some electricity for inland states as well.

Development of offshore wind “appears to be the easiest and most cost‐effective way to meet Maryland’s renewable portfolio standard” – which requires generating a certain portion of its energy renewably – “with instate generation, serve increasing electric load with new generation as needed, improve on environmental goals of reducing CO2 and improving air quality, and modernize and diversify its economy,” declares the study’s executive summary.

To read a summary of the study, which was prepared by the University of Delaware's Center for Carbon-free Power Integration at its College of Earth, Ocean and Environment, go to, and to see the whole report, please go to

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

“Advancing the Green Rider Revolution:” Electric bikes and scooters, common in Europe and Asia, start catching on in U.S.

Ray Carrier owns Green Rider, a store in Baltimore, Maryland, that sells and rents a wide variety of state-of-the-art Light Electric Vehicles, i.e., electric bicycles and scooters. He recently wrote an article, “Advancing the Green Rider Revolution,” that was published in two electric vehicle (EV) publications, EV World and Electric Vehicle News, and touts the economic, health and environmental benefits of light electric vehicles. The Solar and Wind Expo considers this an inexpensive and very ecologically friendly form of transportation that doesn’t get a lot of attention. Here are a few excerpts from the article, along with a link to the whole piece if you want to read more:

“Most of the attention about this topic in the news recently has been focused on electric cars, but for the next few years prices for many of these new products will remain fairly high and unaffordable for most consumers as the technology remains in the development stage. However here in the USA, unlike in many other areas of the world such as Europe and Asia where gasoline is more expensive and people are not so strongly attached to their cars, large portions of the population have already taken a different approach to realize significant savings, improve their health and help the environment by using Light Electric Vehicles (LEVs) - specifically electric bicycles and scooters - for much of their short distance travel.

Although there were less than 100,000 LEVs sold in Europe only 5 years ago, in 2009 it is projected that annual sales will reach as many as 750,000, a 300% increase in sales over just 2 years since 2007, with 1 in 4 bike buyers in Holland buying LEVs. Germany is now starting to approach the numbers in Holland, and 1 in 10 people doing the same in mountainous Switzerland. It is estimated that more than 100 million people own LEVs in China alone today, and trends demonstrate that this is rapidly escalating. Elsewhere around the world, 170 nations bought e-bikes from China in 2008, and demand just keeps on rising. More than 23 million electric bicycles were sold in 2008, and Electric Bikes Worldwide Reports forecasts that globally E-bike sales will more than double by 2012.

Electric bicycles, commonly referred to as E-bikes, are still fairly new in the USA, with less than 200,000 sold to date, but they are rapidly emerging as a viable alternative form of transportation for those millions of people who enjoy and would rather ride a bicycle to get around and get some exercise from riding them to help stay in good physical shape.”

To read the complete article, go to

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Monday, February 15, 2010

EcoloCap Solutions, Inc. (ECOS) is one step closer to finalizing its CNT Batteries to compete against battery companies like A123 Systems, Inc. (AONE) and Advanced Battery Technologies, Inc. (ABAT) among others.

The company has delivered the first CNT Batteries to the United States for independent testing and analysis. Once the brief independent testing is completed, the company will quickly move forward with its planned market and production program.

After years of development, EcoloCap (ECOS) has delivered the first Carbon Nano Tube Technology battery for independent testing in the U.S. Once the tests completed the company will move forward with its planned marketing and production program.

EcoloCap Solutions Inc. (ECOS), an innovator of alternative energy products, today announced that the first shipment of its CNT-Battery Technology has been delivered from its Korean facility to the Company’s US headquarters for independent testing. The battery will be tested for all technical aspects, including reserve capacity, cell voltage, thermal efficiency and charge time. Results will be published as soon as available.

Michael Siegel, President and CEO of EcoloCap Solutions and its subsidiary Micro Bubble Technology, stated: “It has been a long road to get us to this point. Our scientists have come up with results worthy of all the attention the product has attracted worldwide in the last six months. We are looking forward to publishing test results that will confirm the advance billing of that new technology and put to rest all questions on the product”.

The CNT Battery was developed by K-MBT Inc., the Company’s Seoul, Korea subsidiary. EcoloCap’s line of 12 volt CNT-Battery, constructed with advanced Carbon Nano Tube technology, offers significantly enhanced performance characteristics and lower operating costs for a variety of industrial and automotive applications.

Mr. Siegel also announced that the Company is completing the development of a next generation Nano Lithium battery. More specific information about this technology and its performance characteristics will be made available shortly.

Further information on EcoloCap’s CNT Batteries can be found at

About The Company: EcoloCap Solutions Inc. (OTC.BB:ECOS – News) and its subsidiaries Micro Bubble Technologies Inc. (“MBT”), K-MBT Inc., and EcoloCap Solutions Canada Inc. are an integrated group of environmentally focused technology companies that utilize advanced nanotechnology to design, develop, manufacture and sell alternative energy products. Their portfolio of products and services include MBT’s Carbon Nano Tube Battery (CNT-Battery), a rechargeable battery that surpasses the performance capabilities of any existing battery, MBT’s M-Fuel, an innovative suspension fuel for non-gasoline applications that exceeds all conventional fuel’s efficiency, and EcoloCap Solutions Canada Inc. a comprehensive Carbon Credit Trading and Certification consultancy service. EcoloCap markets its products worldwide, directly and through agreements with distributors. For additional information, please visit the EcoloCap website,

This press release may contain statements of a forward-looking nature regarding future events. These statements are only predictions and actual events may differ materially. Please refer to documents that EcoloCap Solutions Inc. files from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a discussion of certain factors that could cause actual results to differ materials from those contained in the forward-looking statements.

This Article was written by Justin Kuepper and published at For more information contact: Daniel Minton, Managing Director, 406-862-5400,
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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

RETECH 2010: Cool renewable energy on display despite advancing “Snowmaggedon”

With the Washington, D.C. area bracing for a truly major snowstorm, crowds were smaller at the last day of RETECH 2010 than the first two days. But there was still lots of exciting and innovative renewable energy technology on display at the show.

Perhaps the most unusual was a corkscrew-like device known as the ECO-Auger, which is designed to draw power from tidal inlets and which was awarded the 2009 ConocoPhillips Energy Prize (from among 175 entrants). A major advantage of devices that draw on tides is that the energy they generate is very predictable because the tide always flows at a steady rate, says Scott Anderson, who invented the ECO-Auger and is CEO of Smart Product Innovations, Inc. ( In addition – and this is unique to his device because of its design, he says – fish flow through unharmed rather than being chewed up by blades.

Right next to the ECO-Auger exhibit were two interesting-looking, innovative solar energy devices made by Timber Rock Energy Solutions ( The first is the EverGreen Oasis, a platform mounted on poles on which solar panels are then arrayed. The structure is cheaper, easier to install and more versatile – it also provides shaded work or play-space – than traditional roof-mounted photovoltaic panels, says Brent Hollenbeck, founder and CEO. Timber Rock’s PV Trees are turnkey, highly portable, solar-powered generators that can power a job site or provide power in remote areas without relying on a fossil fuel source.

Next was a device that uses solar power to produce clean water, and is currently being used to provide this absolutely vital resource to thousands of refugees in Haiti. DynGlobal ( has donated four of its DG 24/7 portable, solar-powered water filtration systems – each of which can purify 6,500 gallons of water a day – to the stricken nation, and plans to send at least one more. DG filtration systems remove 99.99% of heavy metals as well as other harmful substances, its literature says, and the company produces a full range of water purification systems.

Suniva ( says its photovoltaic cells provide higher efficiency and more power at less cost than its competitors, and that its cells are all manufactured in the U.S., with 90% of its “Powered by Suniva” modules also produced here. Suniva says its goal is to reduce the cost of P.V.-generated energy to match that of conventional grid power.

Japan-based Nikko ( makes small wind turbines, including the 1 KW model that was on display at RETECH and which Nikko plans to launch in the U.S. this summer. (It’s already in use in Japan.) The turbine features a coreless generator that starts the blades spinning and producing power at very low speed (5.6 mph), and the blades also adjust to capture wind at the most efficient angle, thereby maximizing efficiency.

There were also a number of related businesses at RETECH, such as the Reznick Group (, which provides tax, accounting and business advice on renewable energy from 10 offices across the U.S. With renewable energy such a relatively new industry in the U.S., it’s difficult to know all the tax advantages and angles related to renewable energy, especially since these vary depending on the state as well as the type of energy, and it’s the job of companies such as the Reznick Group to make this task easier for consumers and businesses.

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Monday, February 8, 2010



Function: noun

Inflected Form(s): plural syn•er•gies

Etymology: New Latin synergia, from Greek synergos working together

1: SYNERGISM; interaction of discrete agencies (as industrial firms) or conditions such that the total effect is greater than the sum of the individual effects; broadly: combined action or operation

Pronunciation: \ˈsi-nər-ˌji-zəm\

2: a mutually advantageous conjunction or compatibility of distinct business participants or elements (as resources or efforts)

Synergy conveys that one group is thinking of another group in a positive light, finds its capabilities appealing, that working together can enhance eachother’s capabilities, and thus greater things can happen to each group, their industry, and ultimately the world. Synergy is what The Solar and Wind Expo is creating for you.

Consider our recent blog ( about the 2010 Washington Auto Show held just last week. Did you ever think that green automotive technology can be applied to other forms of renewable energy? This kind of synergistic cross-fertilization of alternative energies represents an exciting, outside-the-box example of how different forms of renewable energy could complement each other.

What holds even more synergy for exhibitors of The Expo is the publicity we have garnered from the renewable energy industry through our efforts to establish a significant venue. The Expo is on an ever increasing number of events calendars. Our logo is on our exhibitors' and supporters' websites. Organizations and followers that we have not yet spoken with directly have picked up on our extensive efforts, blogging and writing about The Expo on their own, having heard about The Expo through word of mouth from our supporters who are their colleagues. Everyone recognizes that The Expo is unique and will drive the industry forward. Click here for a partial list of where anyone can reach The Expo and thus our exhibitors.

It’s that kind of boomerang effect that makes The Expo imperative for you to be a part of and add to. We will all benefit from this kind of natural synergy.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Washington Auto Show II: Many (exicting) ways to go electric

We wrote about the Washington Auto Show last week after touring its “Advanced Technology Superhighway” (its “green” section), but there were so many exciting vehicles and companies on display that we felt they deserve some more attention. Here are highlights of what we saw:
Neighborhood (low-speed) electric vehicles. Columbia ParCar Corp. says it has the widest range of fully electric vehicles anywhere, and from their display and material, it looks like it – including a two-passenger car, its MEGA utility van, a flat-bed truck and even a garbage truck. E-Cruisers uses nifty, versatile GEM (Global Electric Motors) vehicles, carrying anywhere from two to eight passengers, to shuttle people quietly and pollution-free at various venues; GEM also offers other versions.
Small full-speed electric cars. The Wheego Whip Life will be available later this year in dealerships around the country (including locally at Apple Wheego in Columbia, Md.). Wheego anticipates having a four-door full-speed version available next year. THINK’s City can be paired with a charger made by AeroVironment, Inc., that enables a zero to 80% charge in just 15 minutes (as fast as gassing up your car!). THINK is developing this fast-charging capacity in major U.S. cities, which will make the Think City that much more versatile. The Mini-E, made by BMW, is a fully electric version of the nimble and popular gas Mini and can be outfitted with rear seats, too.

Larger full electrics. The Nissan Leaf was awarded Green Car Journal’s “Green Car Vision Award” for 2010 at the show and features “one-stop shopping,” in which consumers can also take care of home charging directly through the dealership. The much-anticipated Chevy Volt, due in showroom floors later this year, will go up to 40 miles without using any gas at all. And for BMW customers who want a full-size car, the company is offering the Active-E. And let's not forget those who are already out there. Toyota of course had its plug-in hybrid Prius on display, while Honda, in addition to its new Insight hybrid, displayed a very sleek-looking, 5-passenger fuel-cell sedan.

Vans. The Boulder, a full-speed, highly aerodynamic all-electric delivery truck, can carry nearly 6,000 pounds – more than it weighs – up to 120 miles before recharging. Bright Automotive offers the sleek-looking, plug-in hybrid IDEA van, and plans to build 50,000 of these useful vehicles annually.

Suppliers. Magna, the fourth-largest auto parts supplier in the world, is making the powertrain for the all-electric Ford Focus, offers an advanced lithium-ion battery – and is exploring how it could use its gearboxes to help run wind turbines as well as solar-tracking arrays.

While at the show, we kept thinking how in 10 years, there will be so many EVs on U.S. roads, saving consumers tons of money while making us more energy-independent and polluting much less, putting us in line with where Europe is now.

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

U.S. wind industry breaks all records, installs nearly 10,000 megawatts in 2009, AWEA reports

The U.S. wind industry broke all previous records by installing nearly 10,000 megawatts (MW) of new generating capacity in 2009 – enough to serve over 2.4 million homes – but still lags in manufacturing, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said last week in its fourth-quarter report.

These new projects place wind power neck and neck with natural gas as the leading source of new electricity generation for the country. Together, the two sources account for about 80% of the new capacity added in the country last year, AWEA said.

“The U.S. wind energy industry shattered all installation records in 2009, chalking up the Recovery Act as a historic success in creating jobs, avoiding carbon, and protecting consumers,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. “But U.S. wind turbine manufacturing – the canary in the mine – is down compared to last year’s levels, and needs long-term policy certainty and market pull in order to grow. We need to set hard targets, in the form of a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES), in order to provide the necessary stability for manufacturers to expand their U.S. operations and to seize the historic opportunity we have today to build up a thriving renewable energy industry.”

Early last year, before the economic Recovery Act (ARRA), the industry anticipated that in 2009 wind power development might drop by as much as 50% from 2008 levels, with equivalent job losses, said Bode. The clear commitment by the President to create clean energy jobs and the swift implementation of ARRA incentives by the Administration in mid-summer reversed the situation, AWEA said. Recovery Act incentives spurred the growth of construction, operations and maintenance, and management jobs, helping the industry to save and create jobs in those sectors and shine as a bright spot in the economy.

At the same time, the continuing lack of a long-term policy and market signal allowed investment in the manufacturing sector to drop compared to 2008, with one-third fewer wind power manufacturing facilities online, announced and expanded in 2009. The result was net job losses in the manufacturing sector, which were compounded by low orders and high inventory. Looking forward, the critical Recovery Act manufacturing incentives that were announced only at the start of this year will also need to be supplemented with the hard targets of a national Renewable Electricity Standard.

U.S. wind projects today generate enough to power the equivalent of 9.7 million homes, protecting consumers from fuel price volatility and strengthening our energy security. In addition, America’s wind power fleet will avoid an estimated 62 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, equivalent to taking 10.5 million cars off the road, and will conserve approximately 20 billion gallons of water annually, which would otherwise be consumed for steam or cooling in conventional power plants. You can learn more about the AWEA’s fourth-quarter report as well as access it directly at

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