Sydney's Solar Ferry


The Solar Sailor – the world’s largest solar vessel and the first to be totally powered by the wind and the sun – sailed for the first time into Sydney Harbor, Australia in June 2000. This revolutionary new ferry has been in service for over a year as a tourist ferry there. It has demonstrated the technical feasibility and commercial viability of this new hybrid power technology. Solar Sailer is the brainchild of Dr. Robert Dane, formerly a country physician practicing about three hours from Sydney. A $1 million grant from the Australian Greenhouse Office’s Renewable Energy Commercialization Program funded its development. Its ground breaking solar wing technology makes renewable energy transport a reality. The mounted wings harness the sun and wind and can be adjusted to adapt to prevailing weather conditions. It uses four power sources: solar, wind, battery and a backup LPG gas generator. They can be used individually or in combination. When fully loaded with 100 passengers it reaches speeds of 5-7 knots on solar power alone, and 10-12 knots sailing in trade winds. Solar Sailor won the gold medal at the 1999 Asian Innovation Awards and the 2001 Australian Design Awards for engineering. With many waterways […]

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Hawaii Veggie Fuel


Few people associate clean transportation with the smell of french fries sizzling in hot grease, but used vegetable oil can be converted into an alternative fuel with many environmental advantages. In 1995, the Hawaiian island of Maui became concerned about environmental and health problems resulting from restaurant grease clogging its landfill. Operators complained that static pile fires were becoming more frequent, and the oil could leak into groundwater. Robert King, owner of King Diesel on Maui, spearheaded the formation of Pacific Biodiesel (PacBio) in 1996. PacBio receives used oil directly from pump trucks that service restaurants and hotels, and the company converts this into 150,000 gallons of premium biodiesel each year. This fuel, made totally from recycled cooking oil, is used in generators, commercial diesel equipment, boats and vehicles. More than 40 tons of used cooking oil is recycled each month. Customers range from private businesses to farmers who fill their five-gallon buckets with fuel for their tractors. Biodiesel is safe for use in all conventional diesel engines, says King, and requires no engine modifications. Torgue, horsepower, and fuel economy characteristics are similar to regular diesel fuel. Engine durability may even be increased because lower sulfur content results in more […]

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Making Environmental Management Systems Work


Help for Small & Medium-Sized BusinessesThe “Efficient Entrepreneur Calendar” looks like an ordinary hardcopy calendar with days and weeks and months. But to “smaller” businesses, it is much more. It guides you in implementing an EMS month-by-month, by introducing performance measures that are easy to assess and evaluate. Companies can measure where their inefficiences are (how much energy, water and raw materials they consume; how much pollution they produce), where costs can be reduced and employee and customer satisfaction improved. Companies can learn how to make simple process and product adjustments and how to communicate their achievements to their stakeholders.The calendar is available in English, French and Spanish. It was developed by UNEP’s Division of Technology, Industry and Environment and the Eco-Efficiency and Sustainable Enterprise Group at the Wuppertal Institute in Germany [sorry this link is no longer available][sorry this link is no longer available]In cooperation with the U.S. EPA, NSF-ISR has developed a set of practical EMS implementation guides and case studies. One report, geared toward small and medium-sized organizations, describes the experiences of 18 businesses and government agencies of various sizes and types. (Environmental Management Systems — An Implementation Guide for Small and Medium-Sized Organizations.) On the other […]

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