The Briefcase Solar Generator will supply power when there is no electricity around, when camping or when needed in a boat, vehicle or motor home. Use it for your laptop, cordless tools, or other small devices. It features a blinking charging indicator and a built-in diode that will save it from reverse charging. It comes in its own briefcase with battery clamps and car cigarette lighter plug.
Infinite Power Solutions has developed a thin film solar cell that can recharge itself about 75,000 times, possibly the life of the device. Current ones can only be recharged between 300 - 1,000 times and a previous model of IPS was capable of 10,000 turns. These Thinergy batteries are 0.17 mm thick and can be implanted into RFID cards, remote sensors, Bluetooth devices and quartz watches. Don't expect to see them en mass any time soon as it may be a while before the cost becomes affordable.
It seems that the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" in the central North Pacific Ocean has increased in the past forty years 100 times over to envelop an area that is about the size of Texas (although there have been conflicting opinions as to its size.) Even worse, water striders (aka sea skaters) are laying eggs in the plastic trash and insect predators in the area, like fish and crabs, are now showing up with pieces of plastic waste inside.
Scripps Institution of Oceanography and UCLA recently released a paper in the journal Biology Letters detailing the increase. Sadly, Curtis Ebbesmeyer, the oceanographer that named the area, claims that it is too large to clean up and keeps growing so the only solution is to switch to biodegradable plastic and allow the garbage to eventually disperse.
Natcore Technology has been working on ways to improve solar power to help make it more efficient and affordable. Their latest solution is a black surface for silicon that reflects a mere 0.3% light, giving 99.7% absorption. This new process also has the benefit of performing better during morning hours, evening hours and cloudy days.
The company has been working with the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) since 2010 to get an average 4% reflection down to about 2% after being granted an exclusive license to develop and commercialize the black cells. Next up is working with equipment manufacturers that will create a tool that can make 2,000 wafers per hour. Natcore says it has already been in talks with Italy, China and India as potential customers.
Place this clear box in a sunny window and its solar Floating Butterfly will hover over the center flower. What a great way to cheer up an invalid or a buddy at work. If you prefer your butterflies free-flying, the Monarch can be mounted or placed on a stand and will show off its 4 3/4" wing span.
This Solar Amphibious Flower and his green leaves will bounce around when struck by the sun and you can watch this Frog swing on a sunny day.
It's Earth Day, so take some time to participate in one of these ideas. A Lot To Say creates clothing, tote bags and other products out of 100% Post Consumer Recycled Plastic. Visit or join Recycled Products, a co-op with plenty of solutions.
The Earth Day Network has a list of events nationwide, many of them include recycling projects. At the very least, recycle some of your unusable newpaper, cardboard, plastic, or glass at your local center. For more ideas, visit the official Earthday Network.
Honest Tea has started a project that it hopes will eventually lead to recycling as many bottles as it sells. The Great Recycle is starting off in NYC by collecting a day's worth (47,000 empties) in a 30 ft. tall bin in Times Square Monday, April 30. If you want to attend, bring yours and you will get points that can be redeemed for more Honest Tea, t-shirts, and tickets to concerts, sporting events and Broadway shows.
McDonald's previously removed Styrofoam in its food packaging and has now decided to partially wean out polystyrene beverage cups in favor of double-walled paper. The move comes after a 2011 shareholder resolution from environmentalist group As You Sow. The measure didn't pass but the fast food company decided to replace the cups in about 15% of its U.S. locations, about 2,000 restaurants total.
We guess that is a good start. Even Starbucks is switching over to cups that are either reusable or recyclable. Outdated and unusable electronics are now recycled by businesses and soda companies reuse much of the plastic in their containers We cringe every time we are given our restaurant leftovers in a Styrofoam container to the point where we bring our own plastic containers.
Companies like As You Sow make a difference. Around since 1992, they are concerned with saving the planet and release studies concerning business practices and their efforts to reduce waste. They recently reported that over 200 billion beverage containers were sold last year and over 130 billion of those were either incinerated or left in landfills. AYS further noted that recycling occurs only 33% of the time, down from 54% twenty years ago.
So it sounds like it is up to all of us to pick up the fight. Consider alternate energy forms like solar and wind. Buy rechargeable batteries, bring your own containers, recycle your old papers and go paperless when it comes to bills. Most importantly, work with programs like As You Sow that are trying to make a difference. They have certainly earned the honor of being a Solar Snob Site O' the Week.
Easter is coming up April 8 and instead of the usual plushies and chocolate eggs, how about a Bobblehead Bunny? Good for sunny windowsills , he will shake his paws and move his head when hit by the sun. This 4-pack contains 2 4.5" blue bunnies and 2 pink ones.
If you want a chorus to go with your bunny, these 4" Dancing Chicks come in a 3-pack. They flap their wings and move their heads in that avian kind of way.
Pres. Barack visited Boulder City, Nevada to tour Sempra Generation's Copper Mountain Solar Facility last Wednesday. He spoke briefly and admired both the system and Hoover Dam, commenting that "This city has always been about the future." While some believed the move to be political and were disgruntled that tourists would be denied road access, the mayor saw it as a way to bring attention to the growing industry.
While the area already houses 700,000 solar panels, Mayor Roger Tobler says that in the next 3 - 5 years, there will be the potential for 1,500 to 3,000 new jobs. As the area has had its share of economic problems the past few years, an increase of revenue and extra employment should give them a welcome boost.