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green and sustainable business

Archive for July 2010

Recycled Plastic Boat Arrives in Sydney

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A short update on the Plastiki: The 60-foot catamaran made out of more than 12,000 recycled plastic water bottles  arrived in Sydney, Australia Monday after sailing some 8,000 nautical miles in 130 days.

The journey’s intent was to show that trash – mainly in the form of plastic water bottles – can be made useful, to publicize the huge area of plastic trash and other debris known as the Great Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch and to demonstrate a new approach to boat-building, namely one sans fiberglass.

A major goal on the voyage from San Francisco to Sydney was to draw attention to the health, mostly the lack of it, of the world’s oceans. The vessel’s itinerary brought it close to Hawaii, the Bikini Atoll, and the Tarawa Islands. Its course also followed the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, where floating plastic covers an area twice the size of Texas.

David de Rothschild, the youthful heir to the European banking fortune, environmentalist, adventurer and head of Adventure Ecology, lead the Plastiki Expedition. The expedition was launched in March.

Plastiki’s crew also included Skipper Jo Royle, Co-Skipper David Thomson, Olav Heyerdahl, Graham Hill, Luca Babini, Matthew Grey, Max Jourdan, Singeli Agnew and Vern Moen.

Its hull is made entirely out of recycled plastic bottles filled with carbon dioxide. Nearly everything on the boat from the hull to the sails is made from recycled materials.

Solar panels, wind and sea turbines generates power. It also has an on-board exercise bike to provide extra power for electronics, including a laptop. An onboard hydroponic garden provided fresh greens for the crew, including

The catamaran’s frame uses a new plastic product called self-reinforced polyethylene terephthalate, or srPET. Developed in Europe, it is similar in strength to fiberglass, but unlike fiberglass it is made of 100 percent recyclable plastic.

A photo slideshow that the crew published illustrated an ancillary benefit of the expedition: That  an 8,000 catamaran-trip across the Pacific is a great way to lose weight.

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Written by William DiBenedetto

July 27, 2010 at 10:37 am

PNW flys with biofuel

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Pacific Northwest aviation businesses and airports are flying together to promote aviation biofuel development in the region.

The “strategic initiative,” launched this week, includes Alaska Airlines, The Boeing Company, Portland International Airport, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Spokane International Airport and Washington State University. The  “Sustainable Aviation Fuel Northwest” project is the first regional assessment of this kind in the U.S., according to a joint announcement from the group.

It will examine all phases of developing a sustainable biofuel industry, including biomass production and harvest, refining, transport infrastructure and actual use by airlines. It will include an analysis of potential biomass sources that are indigenous to the Pacific Northwest, including algae, agriculturally based oilseeds such as camelina, wood byproducts and others. The project is jointly funded by the participating parties and is expected to be completed in about six months.

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Written by William DiBenedetto

July 15, 2010 at 9:03 am

Juice is juicy, gas is too gassy

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J.D. Power is weighing-in with a degree of optimism on the future of electric-powered vehicles as a power behind the drive to “go green.”

A recent report from the customer satisfaction, buyer behavior and product quality rating firm says global alternative vehicle sales are rising and that sales will get a further lift when battery electric vehicles (BEVs) start to enter the market in larger numbers next year.

But while the percentage increases look good, sales on a unit basis will remain small, hardly a blip in the overall scheme of things. And this sector, which includes hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), will remain dominated by the gas-electric hybrid segment for the immediate future.

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