Phoebus Energy, founded in 2007 with $2 million in seed funding from Terra Venture Partners, has developed a hybrid heat pump system that integrates with existing oil-based systems to make them more efficient. Newly appointed CEO Yaron Tal told The Jerusalem Post says that Phoebus Energy’s system saves between 50 and 70 percent of oil and reduces pollution by 80 to 90% compared to a traditional heat pump system.
“The Phoebus system is based on a complex algorithm that we developed which governs when to use the oil-based system and when to use the heat pump. It constantly monitors many parameters to decide which way is most efficient to generate heat,” Tal said.
“The system measures such parameters as the temperature outside, the temperature of the water, and the price of the oil. Several of the parameters change a number of times throughout the day,” he continued.
Phoebus Energy has already installed its system in eight locations in Israel, from kibbutzim to community centers to hotels, according to The Jerusalem Post. Phoebus Energy’s solution targets medium and large water heating systems, such as those found in hospitals, hotels, factories and large apartment buildings. The company is also already in negotiations with potential clients abroad, Tal told the Post.
Heat pumps had been around for a long time as a means to heat water, Tal said. Phoebus Energy heat pumps take an ecologically safe version of freon to transfer energy to water. The freon flows at high pressure at a temperature of 5º Celsius. Air is then pushed into the freon, which heats the freon. At 12º, the freon turns from a liquid into a gas. The gas is then mixed with the water, which heats the water, Tal said. The company managed to get the pumps to heat water to 55-60º Celsius, as opposed to other models that only reached 30-40º, he said.
The use of heat pumps cut oil use tremendously, thus reducing costs and pollution, he said.
Shalom Turgeman, who runs the Gilo community center, said in a statement, “The expected savings run into the hundreds of thousands of shekels, but the real point is that we are taking a step for a greener Earth and fighting the air pollution in the Gilo neighborhood.”
Until now, the community center, one of the largest in the country, burned more than 100,000 liters of oil per year to heat the swimming pool, water for the showers and bathrooms, and the gym.
Yaron Tal, previously the President & CEO of TopSpin Medical, was appointed CEO of Phoebus Energy earlier this month. Yoav Ben Yaacov, the Founder and former CEO of Phoebus Energy, is now the company’s VP Marketing & Sales.
It was reported last month that Phoebus Energy recently completed a financing round of $1 million from Galilaea Fund.
These days it seems there are plenty of reasons for homeowners to consider the switch to solar power, not the least of which is a pretty attractive tax rebate from the good ‘ole federal government. But for those who also take aesthetics into consideration in their home improvement decisions, there has always been the pesky issue of plunking the somewhat bulky panels on top of your roof for all the world to see…until now.
Thanks to the work of SRS Energy, a Philadephia-based company that develops and manufactures premium solar roofing tiles designed to seamlessly integrate with traditional roofing products. (See image above where blue solar tiles have been added to a traditional mission-style tiled roof). Marketed as the Solé Power Tile™, these SRS Energy roofing tiles are designed to capture and convert sunlight into cost-saving electricity without compromising aesthetics. The tiles are offered as an integrated upgrade to a traditional roofing purchase. Added to the protection and curb appeal expected from a premium roofing system, homeowners are able to capitalize on solar electricity as sustainable value
This lightweight, recyclable-plastic tile is the first solar roofing system designed for traditional California architecture. Its tough, molded-plastic body is fused with a sheet of flexible solar chips from Uni Solar that give it its distinctive blue color. And although its noncrystalline silicone cells gather less energy than conventional tilt-up panels with stiff crystalline cells, they react to a broader spectrum of light even on foggy, cloudy days. (Zahid Sardar, SF Chronicle)
Another huge advantage of the Solé Power Tile is that it is far less sensitive to sunlight than traditional solar cells, and thanks to the unique design that allows each tile to connect to its neighbor almost like Legos, homeowners can be confident that the power transfer will continue, even if one tile in the chain becomes damaged or stops working.
(Image Credit: SRS Energy)
Eco Tech: Energy-producing microbes generate electricity from mud
Anupam | 5 hr. ago
Eco Factor: Energy scavenging microbes use mud for electricity, ready for use in microbial fuel cells.
The latest research conducted at the University of Massachusetts could herald new fuel cell designs that generate electricity from mud. Geobacter, a microbe that generates when placed in mud and wastewater, is about 20,000 times finer than a human hair and according these researchers it has a unique ability to transfer electrons which enables it to extract energy from biomass.
by Lloyd Alter, Toronto 08. 6.09
Houses in North America all look alike; you can find the same gablegablegable or faux chateau style from Calgary to Tuscon. But before thermostats, people designed to suit the climate, and did a damn fine job of it. Justin at Materialicious points us to a wonderful site , eartharchitecture.org, where I learned about Syrian beehive houses.
Designed for the desert climate, the beehive homes keep the heat out in a few ways. Their thick mud brick walls trap in the cool and keep the sun out as well (beehive homes have very few, if any, windows). The high domes of the beehive houses also collect the hot air, moving it away from the residents sleeping at the bottom of the house.
Inside, its high dome serves to collect the hotter air, and outside to shed rainfall instantly, before the brick can absorb it and crumble. Its thick roof-cum-wall is an excellent low-velocity heat-exchanger, and keeps interior temperatures between 85° and 75° F. while outside noon-to-midnight extremes range from 140° to 60°.
Clearly, we have to start building these in Phoenix. Saudi Aramco World provides more detail:
Restricted choice of building methods and materials left the north Syrians few alternatives, mostly painful. Their houses had to resist the mechanical stresses of wind pressure and the minor shocks of the frequent earthquakes which afflict the region. Door and window openings had to be few and small to minimize the sun’s glare and the entry of hot air during the day as well as cold air at night. And they had to have a high-heat-capacity roof to absorb the sun’s rays during the day, and slowly reradiate it toward the interior during the cool night; the roof, furthermore, should have a continuous surface to provide a maximum of shade with a minimum of area exposed to the sun, and it should slope steeply to shed the occasional but torrential rains. All this—and it had to built of the only abundant material locally available: adobe brick.
The beehive house was the answer, and one that a computer could scarcely improve upon. Its conical shape presents almost no structural difficulties, requires no high-tensile-strength reinforcements, and can be built quickly by unskilled labor. Inside, its high dome serves to collect the hotter air, and outside to shed rainfall instantly, before the brick can absorb it and crumble. Its thick roof-cum-wall is an excellent low-velocity heat-exchanger, and keeps interior temperatures between 85° and 75° F. while outside noon-to-midnight extremes range from 140° to 60°. Nothing cheaper—nor more rugged, more efficient, and easily serviced—can, be built at the same site from local materials. The beehive house, moreover, attains that ideal that architects eternally seek but so seldom find: it combines functionalism with simplicity, elegance and beauty.
Eco Factor: Concept air conditioner powered by solar energy.
With the summer sun getting hotter each year due to global warming and the rise in pollution, it gets really tough to stand all that heat without turning on the air conditioner shows its end impact on your electricity bills. Industrial designer Philip Stankard has tried to prove that you can remain comfortable during the summer months without exactly worrying about the utility bills. Philip has designed a concept air conditioner, dubbed Frost, which works by converting solar energy into electricity and using it to keep your home’s interiors cool.. However, like most energy-eating appliances, cooling your interiors using an
Eco Factor: Car air conditioner made from recycled materials.
While Toyota’s Prius will sport on-board that will take care of the car’s air conditioning and ventilation needs, Instructables user CameronSS has tried to find a way everybody can flaunt a green AC in their vehicles. CameronSS has made an air conditioner that works on a 12V DC supply from materials that might be present in your garage.
While I am finishing up my vacation, hope you find this post from 2007 helpful in your “green” quests!
By now I am sure that most of you know that bleach is incredibly toxic to both you and the environment around you. As I have mentioned before, chlorine bleach releases dioxin, furans and other organochlorines into the air, can cause sore throats, coughs, wheezing, shortness of breath, fluid in the lungs and studies have shown a relationship between dioxin exposure and cancer, birth defects, and developmental/reproductive disorders. Sounds like something you should be using to wash your clothes in, right? And although the above is all true, bleach is still the chemical of choice for whiter whites…but there are alternatives that are much safer for your family that you could be using. Let’s take a look.
First up, you should look at the ingredients in whatever product you use. The following ingredients can be used in varying amounts to whiten and clean your clothes: vinegar, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide, oxygen, borax, washing soda, sodium hydrosulfite (salt & water). Do not combine them all together…who knows what would happen! I just wanted to let you know that these ingredients are much safer alternatives to chlorine bleach. Hydrogen peroxide, which sounds the most dangerous of all the above, breaks down into water and oxygen in the wastewater.
Besides making your own versions of whiteners from lemon or vinegar or borax, there are several brands available that come pre-made and ready to use. They are proven to be very effective in getting your clothes whiter while being safe for use around your family.
Seventh Generation Chlorine Free Bleach – Is color safe, non-toxic, biodegradable, phosphate-free, safe for septic systems and is not tested on animals. Consists of natural oxygen safe bleach, oxygen bleach stabilizer, deionized water.
Ecover Non-Chlorine Bleach – No chlorine or optical brighteners, completely biodegradable, not tested on animals and is even approved by the Vegan Society. Consists of 100% percarbonate, which is composed of salt, limestone and oxygenated water.
Bi-O-Kleen Oxygen Bleach Plus – No chemical cold-water activators or optical brighteners, no metasilicates, borax, or caustics, chlorine and borine free.
Earth Friendly Oxo Brite Non-Chlorine Bleach – Ingredients are sodium percarbonate and sodium carbonate. Free of enzymes, phosphates, chlorine, DEA and petroleum ingredients.
Of course, this post is mostly about bleach alternatives for washing your clothes, but the same type of ingredients can be used to clean your kitchen and/or bathroom. Bon Ami makes a great safe scrubber and vinegar makes a real good mold killer. So the next time you are about to pick up a bottle of bleach, do yourself a favor and try out a bleach alternative…your family and the environment will thank you!