Imagine warming your hands at a campfire that is also lighting up a Christmas tree in DUMBO.
What’s going on here?
Have you ever felt a regular light bulb after it has been on for a while? It’s hot because a side effect of using electricity is that some of the energy is wasted as heat. Unless the heat produced is hot enough to boil water, producing steam that can turn turbines, it is typically wasted. However, an innovative technology called a Peltier Junction can use the difference in temperature between two surfaces to create an electric current. It is this technology that’s used in the Biolite stoves to generate electricity with which you can charge your phone or power Christmas lights.
What implications does this technology have?
Fuel Reduction: Transforming waste heat into electricity allows a more sustainable combustion of wood. The electricity produced powers a fan that improves combustion, reducing the fuel needs by 40%. Increasing fuel efficiency represents a needed innovation because one of the major issues with using wood as a renewable resource is overharvesting. At Freshkills we have embraced other forms of renewable energy by transforming the landfill gas produced into methane that heats ~22,000 Staten Island homes and by planning to install the city’s largest solar array.
Human Health: The stove produces 90% less smoke, which can improve air quality and decrease health risks. By using profits from their camp stove to subsidize low-cost home stoves, the Brooklyn-based company has started to make this off the grid technology available in several developing countries. Imagine the impact this could have in places where woman have to walk miles to gather wood, wood burning is often done in enclosed huts, and there is limited access to electricity.
The Arsenal Gallery at Central Park will host Freshkills Park on Wednesday July 10th at 6:00 p.m. as Angelyn Chandler, Capital Program Manager at Freshkills Park, discusses the park’s history and future plans. The event is free and part of the Land Art Generator Institute exhibition, please RSVP with email@example.com . Join us and learn more about the development if this world-class park!
It is inarguable that trees are an integral component of a healthy life. Despite this fact, the case for trees in urban environments needs to be continually proven in order to prevent their elimination. As Atlantic Cities reports, the City of San Diego is setting an excellent precedent by collecting data which demonstrates the overwhelmingly positive mental and physical effects of trees on densely populated environments. San Diego County Trees has created a fascinating interactive map (with much of the information contributed by the county’s own residents), showing the precise economic and energy benefits that each tree has on its surrounding neighborhood. As the reporter Kaid Benfield explains, this kind of information becomes critical when other cities such as Washington D.C. are actively trying to reduce its tree canopy out of fear of damaged power lines and pressure from energy companies. More cities should feel inspired by San Diego’s initiative in order to make a stronger case for the preservation of trees as an essential part of their urban fabric.
(via Atlantic Cities)
A closed landfill in Canton, Massachusetts plans to implement solar power infrastructure that will generate $16.3 million for the city. The landfill sat unused for over 20 years when city officials decided to build a solar array on the site that will include 19,844 solar panels, citing the relatively low investment and significant return. Additionally, this system involves a ‘non-invasive’ mounting system that was developed to prevent landfill cap disturbance. City officials reported the solar generation won out over other options because of the return on investment and relatively short timeframe – one year from construction to operation.
A new method for lighting spaces adjacent to urban waterways uses renewable energy powered by water currents. The ‘Light Reeds,’ from New York City-based Pensa, mimic the reeds you might find along creeks or other natural waterways and provide a more ambient light source than harsh street lights. The Light Reeds are powered by the water currents and an underwater rotor, and even sway with the currents. There’s a video of the innovative sustainable lighting product.
‘Renewable energy can be beautiful.’ That is the tagline for the 2012 Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) international design competition. The open LAGI competition calls for ideas to “design a site-specific public artwork that also functions as clean energy infrastructure for New York City.” This year the contest partners with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and the site is within the 2,200 acre Freshkills Park on Staten Island. There is a $20,000 jury-awarded prize and a related $1,000 design prize for high school students. The competition opened January 1, 2012 and will close on July 1, 2012.
Methane gas produced from decomposing waste at Fresh Kills landfill is generating revenue for the City of New York of up to $12 million each year as the site is developed into a 2,200-acre park.
With the help of advanced landfill gas collection infrastructure throughout the landfill, the New York City Department of Sanitation is actively harvesting methane, through rigorous state and federal public health and safety guidelines, from the decomposing waste buried at Fresh Kills landfill. This methane, enough to heat approximately 22,000 homes, is sold to National Grid and the city generates approximately $12 million in annual revenue from the sale of that gas. Gas recovery and sale will continue until the amount of gas produced by the landfill is minimal enough as to no longer be economically viable, at which point it will be burned off at flare stations onsite.
With the objective of minimizing energy consumption within new buildings and infrastructure systems at Freshkills Park, the Department of Parks & Recreation is also exploring the use of emerging energy technologies to supply as much of the park’s energy as possible.
The Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) team recently announced the release of their Field Guide to Renewable Energy Technologies, a free resource they hope will prove useful to “all designers, homeowners, urban planners, students, artists, architects, landscape architects, engineers, and anyone else interested in a clean energy future”.
The 70-page document provides dozens of renewable energy generation technologies within major categories such as solar, wind, water and biomass. This first edition defines each system and provides its conversion efficiency when applicable; a second edition will include pros and cons, lifecycle carbon costs, and more detailed diagrams of the technologies.
The guide should come in handy for those working on the 2012 LAGI design competition, which of course is being held for a site within Freshkills Park.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved a 1 megawatt tidal power project on the East River, granting Verdant Power a license to generate and sell electricity from underwater turbines. It is the first commercial license for tidal power ever to be issued in the United States.
The pilot project, known as the Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy (RITE), will be comprised of up to 30 turbines in the East Channel of the East River. Verdant, an NYC-based company, will test, demonstrate and deliver commercial electricity from their Free Flow Kinetic Hydropower System.
The project has been in the works for nearly a decade, with Verdant testing prototypes from 2002-2006 and demonstrating on a smaller scale from 2006-2008. Over the demonstration period, six turbines delivered 70-megawatt hours of energy total to two separate facilities on Roosevelt Island.
(Via Eco Politics Daily)
Earlier this month, the 2012 Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) ideas competition, in partnership with New York City’s Department of Parks & Recreation, opened with a call for large-scale artwork proposals with the ability to generate renewable energy for New York City. The design site: Freshkills Park.
Sustainable energy has been a key part of the conceptual master plan for Freshkills Park from the start. Currently the methane gas that is generated by the capped landfill is being purified and sold to a local utility in amounts capable of heating 22,000 homes. The competition addresses the potential for aesthetically-minded renewable energy generation above the landfill cap as well.
As the design brief notes:
The expansiveness of the design site at Freshkills Park presents the opportunity to power the equivalent of thousands of homes with the artwork. The stunning beauty of the reclaimed landscape and the dramatic backdrop of the Manhattan skyline will provide an opportune setting from which to be inspired, and it offers the perfect environment for a showcase example of the immense potential of aesthetically interesting renewable energy installations for sustainable urban planning.
Registration opened on January 1, and submissions will be received until July 1, 2012. A jury will then select the winning entry based on the judging criteria explained in the brief. The winner will be announced at an award ceremony in October, followed by a public exhibit of qualified entries. The monetary prize award ($15,000 First Prize, $4,000 Second Prize, $1,000 High School Edition Winner) will not guarantee a commission for construction; however, LAGI will work with stakeholders both locally (NYC) and internationally to pursue possibilities for implementation of the most pragmatic and aesthetic LAGI designs.