Archive for April, 2009

A $208 Z5 Retrofit By Israeli Wunderkind Saves Emissions And 40% Gas

If you could spend $208 on a small device that fitted to your car engine, saving you up to 40 percent on your gas consumption, the earth from pollution, and which also gave your car more power, you’d think it was too good to be true, right? Well this is exactly the promise of a new invention, the Z5, devised by an Israeli teenager Zion Badash when he was only 16.

After two years in the works, Badash started selling his device a few months ago, with road tests to prove it. Car manufacturers around the world are lining up for stakes in this wunderkind’s new device.

Badash came up with the idea while he was walking down a smoggy street in Tel Aviv one day, and noticed all the pollution belching out of the cars. “That bothered me,” he tells ISRAEL21c. He hadn’t even started studying for his driving license at that time, and had no idea about the cost of fuel. It was the environmental cost of pollution that put his gears in motion.

Less fuel, more power, slashes emissions

“Especially being a young kid, I had no idea what was the cost of gas or the fuel consumption for regular cars,” says Badash, now 18. “I realized if [the solution] comes before the combustion itself, the effect will not only be on emissions — it will also affect emissions, save fuel and make the more car powerful,” the young brainiac continues.

Of course, more energy savings is “a big and important effect,” he says, but it “wasn’t my main concern.”

Though Badash learned physics at high school and is already doing math at university courses, the knowledge he needed to come up with the special metal alloys in his device didn’t come from either of these places. “I realized that there has to be something with all the technologies around us that isn’t done, that could be,” he says.

The device he developed changes — for a fraction of a second — the way air behaves when going into the combustion chamber. This change allows the engine to use air more efficiently, saving fuel and giving more thrust at the same time.

After developing the prototype of the Z5, Badash went on to found a three-man company. It’s a family business run by Badash’s brother-in-law Eli Mor, with headquarters in Tel Aviv and a manufacturing and distribution outlet in Turkey. The Z5 is now available through mail order via the company website, and already thousands of units have been sold so far.

Car manufacturers look to Badash

All of the world’s large car manufacturers have been in contact with Mor, he tells ISRAEL21c. They are looking for ways it can be fitted directly into their vehicles. “Ford, Mazda, all the large companies have been in contact with us, and we are in talks with them,” says Mor, who sees the environment as the main priority for the business: “This is the top of the work. We don’t look at fluctuating gas prices.”

What the alloy is made from is a secret, of course, and Badash admits he isn’t quite sure how it works, but road tests on emissions show that it certainly does work. It can be fitted to new cars, or old ones, diesel, hybrid, buses — basically any combustion engine, even power plants – says Badash, who is about to be recruited to the army.

“Using it in an open combustion chamber brings a maximum effect. You can see fuel consumption [go down] very clearly,” he says. “It can be used everywhere. I am not exaggerating,” says the teen convincingly, pointing to the company’s website and recent emissions monitoring done by the authorities in Israel.

Fitted onto the air filter that goes to the combustion chambers, the Z5 is as easy to use as changing a tire. And for $208, this teen may be onto something that could revolutionize the auto industry. His brother-in-law seems to think so. He thinks Badash should win a Nobel Prize for the Z5.

::Z5 website

(This article was reprinted with permission from ISRAEL21c http://www.israel21c.org.)

A $208 Z5 Retrofit By Israeli Wunderkind Saves Emissions And 40% Gas | Green Prophet

April 29, 2009 at 2:57 am 2 comments

EnviroMom: Mulching veggie garden with coffee grounds

Coffeemulch You may be thinking: “Wow. That EnviroMom must have one heck of a big dog to fill a bread bag half full with dog poop.” But that would not be the case. We don’t have a dog! And I haven’t turned into such an EcoFreak that I’m gathering up the dog poop of others.

This is a bag of coffee grounds. Collected by my husband from his workplace, and delivered to our home via bicycle in a reused bread bag (how’s that for green?). We are a family that takes some ribbing for it, but hates to see anything go to waste. That is why we triumphantly brought home the extra cake from a picnic we attended last Saturday chanting “We won the cake!” after the hostess sheepishly asked if she could beg us to take it off her hands. Well, no problem there. We ascribe to the “Leave no cake behind” theory.

Now that theory has been applied to coffee grounds. Years ago, while I was making feeble attempts at gardening, a friend suggested I use coffee grounds as an organic slug barrier around tender plants. A new friend — a highly successful backyard gardener in my pilates class — has reaffirmed the coffee grounds treatment. Now, I’ll admit my past application of coffee grounds was fairly feeble (equal only to my gardening of a few years’ ago), and was not successful. It seemed to have no impact on my slugs, who just plowed on through. But this friend insists it works. She says she gets coffee grounds by the wheelbarrow-ful from Starbucks.

Any rational person might have headed down to their local coffee shop to ask for a big helping of coffee grounds (“Hands up in the air, barista! Give me all the coffee grounds, and no one gets hurts!”). But no. Not me! I’m not a frequenter of coffee shops, so that isn’t my style. Instead my dear husband has volunteered to bike it up to our house one day at a time, relieving his office of their coffee ground waste. It looks like a lot in the bag, but once I apply it to the garden, it looks rather small. So we may need to resort to going to a coffee shop after all. I’d better work on a more diplomatic way of asking…

Happy Earth Day everyone! Welcome to the EnviroMom community if you are a new reader. Here at Enviromom, we celebrate and live like every day is Earth Day. Now that you’re here, let me ask. Would you care for some fair-trade, shade-grown, organic coffee? I’d love to brew you a cup… My lettuces and spinach may depend on it.


EnviroMom: Mulching veggie garden with coffee grounds

April 23, 2009 at 1:20 am Leave a comment

10 Kid-Friendly Earth Day Activities

by <!––> Beth Shea <!––>

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Children are inherently curious, enthusiastic nature lovers. Just try to get a child to not jump and splash gleefully into a puddle, giggle at a squirrel, chase a butterfly or smell a flower. They are impressionable and eager to learn about their surroundings, and Earth Day presents a precious opportunity to take them by the hand and lead them down the emerald path to a life of green thinking and earth loving. Here are 10 kid-friendly activities to help you celebrate Earth Day with your children.

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1. Plant a tree, or start a garden

Let your children literally feel the earth in their hands by digging through soil and into the ground to plant a tree, or garden. If you lack outdoor space, plant an herb garden in a window box or on your balcony. Or get involved in a community garden project in your area. These activities will enable kids to take pride in growing their own food or fauna, as well as giving them a sense of responsibility in caring for the planet’s offspring.

2. Explore nature in your own, or in your city’s backyard

Whether you simply take your children on a nature walk around your neighborhood, or to municipal gardens, forests, oceans, rivers, or mountains, get outdoors with your children and teach them to appreciate the miracles of nature.

3. Give away stuff you don’t need

Ask your children to fill a large bag with toys, books and clothing items they no longer use or wear. Then donate these items to local organizations. Note: Most libraries gladly accept children’s book donations.

earth day, kids activities for earth day, ideas for celebrating earth day with kids, kids and earth day, 10 kid friendly earth day activites

4. Go bird watching

…and then come home and build a birdhouse out of recycled materials. This will instill in your kids an affinity for our feathered friends that will spread to all wildlife. See how one clever mom made the cardboard birdhouse above, here.

5. Get crafty with household items

There are countless ways to upcycle things you no longer use around the house. The more you spin old wares into new ones, the more your children will take up this way of life and perpetuate the craftiness. To get you started and give you some inspiration, visit Recycled Crafts, and peruse Inhabitat’s Spring Greening contest winners.

6. Reduce Reuse Recycle!

Dump out your recycling bin and ask your kids to find ways to reuse the contents. Glass jars could be used as vases or frames, milk cartons may be made into birdhouses, egg cartons can be used as organizers for jewelry and other small treasures… their imagination is the limit!

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7. Watch the new film “Earth,”

…and have a discussion afterward answering all of your child’s questions, and asking them their thoughts on the movie. Encourage their sense of wonder.

8. Make Earth Day resolutions

Sit down as a family and make a list of things you’re all willing to do to save the earth year round. Go veggie? Switch your light bulbs? Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth? Write down your resolutions and post them where you may all be reminded of your new earth loving habits.

9. Hit the Farmers Market

Many cities and towns host Farmer’s Markets on Wednesdays, so take your kids to your local farmer’s market to buy fresh, organic, locally grown fruits, vegetables and flowers. They’ll learn to support their local farmers and they’ll appreciate how food gets from the farm to the dinner table. Encourage your kids to strike up conversations with vendors and farmers to learn more about their methods and crops.

earth day, kids activities for earth day, ideas for celebrating earth day with kids, kids and earth day, 10 kid friendly earth day activites

10. Get eco-literary

Buy used books about animals, (hungry catepillars!) plants, nature, trees, and the planet to add to your child’s book collection. Reading these stories on a regular basis will foster an ongoing appreciation for the world and all creatures. Read them on Earth Day and every day.

HAPPY EARTH DAY!

earth day, kids activities for earth day, ideas for celebrating earth day with kids, kids and earth day, 10 kid friendly earth day activites

Inhabitots » 10 Kid-Friendly Earth Day Activities

April 23, 2009 at 1:09 am Leave a comment

Chrysler Unveils Four All-Electric Minivan Prototypes to USPS; Applying for Grant for Nationwide Demo

Chrysler unveiled four all-electric Chrysler Town & Country minivan concepts to the US Postal Service (USPS) in Washington, DC, as part of the USPS Earth Day celebration. Chrysler LLC, in conjunction with the USPS and select energy service providers, also announced that the company intends to apply for the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Transportation Electrification stimulus program for a federal grant, which would enable Chrysler to establish a nationwide demonstration fleet of zero-emission electric minivans that could be used by the US Postal Service for mail delivery.

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Uspsmini
One of the electric mini-van prototypes. Click to enlarge.

Chrysler’s ENVI group leveraged the flexibility of its electric-vehicle strategy to demonstrate an all-electric version of its best-selling minivan. These electric minivan concepts are targeted specifically for use by the US Postal Service for mail delivery.

Because robust grid integration is essential for widespread customer acceptance of electric vehicles, Chrysler has enlisted the involvement of key utility partners, including Duke, ConEd and DTE. Each has signed a letter of intent (LOI) with Chrysler to equip post offices in strategically selected regions of the United States with a charging infrastructure for the envisioned program. The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) also has signed an LOI to provide USPS integration tools.

Earlier this month, Chrysler announced A123Systems as one of its strategic partners and production battery supplier for the company’s initial production electric vehicles. Chrysler LLC and A123Systems signed an agreement stating that A123Systems will supply energy storage systems for Chrysler’s first-generation ENVI Range-extended Electric Vehicles and battery-only Electric Vehicles.

Green Car Congress: Chrysler Unveils Four All-Electric Minivan Prototypes to USPS; Applying for Grant for Nationwide Demo

April 23, 2009 at 1:02 am Leave a comment

Vatican Turns to Sun God

By James Murray, BusinessGreen

VATICAN CITY, VA — The European solar energy sector is about to get a new player, and this one has God on its side.

Fresh from turning on its own rooftop solar array late last year, Vatican officials have caught the renewable energy bug and are reportedly pressing ahead with plans for a €500m solar farm north of Rome that could become Europe’s largest solar facility.

According to Bloomberg reports, the Holy See is planning to invest €500m in the 100MW project, which is expected to come online in 2014 and will generate enough energy for 40,000 homes.

“Now is the time to strike,” Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, the Vatican City’s governor, told the news agency. “One should take advantage of the crisis to try and develop these renewable-energy sources to the maximum, which in the long run will reap incomparable rewards.”

The solar farm is to be located at a site to the north of Italy that also homes a radio mast for the Vatican’s broadcasting service. The solar panels are expected to provide nine times the energy required by the radio mast, allowing the Vatican to sell the remaining power to local energy suppliers and take advantage of Italy’s generous solar subsidies.

The project will be put up for tender, but German company Solarworld is expected to have an inside track after installing the Vatican’s rooftop solar panels last year. Company chief executive Frank Asbeck said he was “quite confident” the firm would secure the deal.

The project is the latest in a series of moves from the Vatican designed to enhance its environmental credentials. Alongside the rooftop solar panels, officials are looking at plans for a biomass facility at the pope’s Castel Gandolfo summer residence, while proposals for a low carbon “popemobile” have also been muted.

Pope Benedict has also taken a more active stance on environmental issues than his predecessor and last year the Vatican included pollution as one of seven new “social sins”.

Vatican Turns to Sun God | ClimateBiz

April 23, 2009 at 12:57 am Leave a comment

100 mpg Idea light truck

brightideatruck.jpg

Bright Automotive unveiled what they call “the world’s first purpose-built 100 MPG vehicle” at an event in Washington, DC yesterday.  The Idea is intended as a fuel-saving, lower emissions option for commercial and government fleets. The multi-use, hybrid vehicle falls into the light truck classification.  The company announced it plans to produce 50,000 vehicles annually by 2013, providing businesses and government agencies with a highly durable, cost-saving and eco-friendly vehicle, and potentially creating thousands of American jobs.  Bright Automotive showed a fully operating concept version of the vehicle to a crowd that included Members of Congress, White House Officials, media, customer and supplier representatives.

more @ brightautomotive.com

100 mpg Idea light truck

April 23, 2009 at 12:47 am Leave a comment

Cleaning with Essential Oils


Cleaning with Essential Oils

April 16, 2009 07:00 AM
 

Many herbs have antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and even antibiotic properties. Using these herbs in essential oil form (or even dried form, from your garden) all you to create many natural cleaners inexpensively.

Here are some suggestions for how to use herbs in essential oil form, followed by a list of which herbs have which properties.

Dishwashing liquid – Fill a 22 ounce squirt bottle with fragrance-free castile soap. Add in 25-30 drops of antibacterial essential oil. Good options: lavender, lemon, lemongrass, orange. Use 1-2 T with each dish load.

Dishwasher powder – Combine 2 cups each of washing soda and borax, followed by 20 drops of antibacterial essential oil. Use 2 T with each dish load.

Floor cleaner – Combine the following in a large bucket: 1 gallon of hot water, 2 T castile soap, 15 drops sweet orange essential oil, 8 drops lemon essential oil. Use a mop to clean the floor. Rinsing optional.

Fine washables laundry detergent – Combine 1 ounce liquid castile soap with 1 cup of rosemary infusion (or 3 drops of rosemary essential oil).

Stain pre-soak – Combine 1 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup salt, 3 drops tea tree oil. Add to clothes washer with clothes, allowing clothes to soak for at least one hour. Then wash as normal.

Essential oils:

Antibacterial: Bay, camphor, cardamom, chamomile, citronella, cypress, eucalyptus, ginger, juniper, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, lemon verbena, lime, marjoram, orange, pine, rosemary, sage, sandalwood, spearmint, tea tree oil, thyme, wintergreen

Antiviral: Cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, oregano, sandalwood, tea tree oil, thyme

Antifungal: Eucalyptus, juniper, lavender, lemon, patchouli, sage, sandalwood, savory, tea tree oil, thyme

Antibiotic: Bergamot, chamomile, clove, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, lime, nutmeg, oregano, patchouli, pine, tea tree oil

Infusions: If you have your own herbs and would prefer making your own infusions, you can do so by steeping a few stems of herb or 1 teaspoon of dried herbs in 1 cup boiling water, then strain.

Purchasing essential oils: When you purchase essential oils, ensure that you are buying the pure form, and not a diluted version. For example, oils that you burn to scent the room in an oil burner, are diluted, which is why they are inexpensive. Essential oils should come in either a blue or brown bottle in order to retain their potency. You can purchase essential oils at places such as Whole Foods, or online at auracacia.com or mountainroseherbs.com, among others.

Cleaning with Essential Oils | Budget Ecoist

April 18, 2009 at 12:36 am Leave a comment

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