Stories tagged green


AFS Trinity XH-150
AFS Trinity XH-150Courtesy AFS Trinity

Just plug it in

AFS Trinity corporation is hoping to convince auto makers to incorporate their "Extreme Hybrid" technology into their vehicle fleets. When bursts of energy need to be expended or stored (accelerating and stopping), use of ultracapacitors will prevent overheating of the batteries. The AFS Trinity batteries will only hold about 40 miles worth of power (78% of Americans drive less than 40 miles per day).

First 40 miles require no gasoline

If you drive 40 miles per day for 6 days and you drive 100 miles on the 7th day, how many gallons of gasoline do you need? AFS Trinity claims that one of their "extreme hybrid" technology equipped vehicles was able to do this with less than two gallons of gas (340 miles with 2 gallons of gas = 150+ mpg). The electricity which powered the car for the first 280 miles cost $7.58 (based upon $.06/kwh).

When can we get one?

Extreme Hybrid technology in commercial production is expected to cost around $8,700 more than current, gas-only SUV’s. Based upon today's gas prices and the weekly driving pattern above, the payback period would only be a few years.

"If car makers decide not to take advantage of this offer, AFS Trinity intends to raise the funds to begin modifying existing hybrids or manufacture its own 150 mpg SUV’s and, eventually, 250 mpg sedans. We believe such production models could be available for sale in three years.” (AFS Trinity CEO Edward W. Furia)

Learn more about the AFS Trinity Extreme Hybrid SUV


A solar powered telephone: And you thought the Death Star was sinister? Well that never destroyed our planet, so no. (photo by redjar on
A solar powered telephone: And you thought the Death Star was sinister? Well that never destroyed our planet, so no. (photo by redjar on
According to Dr. Jesse Aubusel, the Director of the Program for the Human Environment at The Rockefeller University, renewable energy isn’t a super good idea. That is to say, he thinks it’s a pretty bad idea.

Using math and numbers, Dr. Aubusel figures that the amount of land necessary for “green” energy sources makes them extremely impractical, especially when compared to nuclear energy. According to Aubusel, were we to flood all of Ontario (900,000 square km), it would only provide 80% of the energy that Canada’s 25 nuclear power stations could produce. I guess that’s the end of my plans to flood Ontario. Or, to provide enough electricity for New York City, all of Connecticut would have to be turned into a wind farm (although, who’s to say that Connecticut would mind). Also, to grow a single pot of basil, it would take more dirt than there is in my whole room. So no basil.

Aubusel, in this article, always brings the issue back to the matter physical space required for renewable energy, and the number of watts produced per square meter. “Nuclear energy is green,” he states. He’s not referring to its radioactivity, I think, so much as to its relatively small physical footprint, and the potential to use already existing infrastructure.

It might seem to some that this is a pretty simplistic way of looking at things, but we should all make sure that we’re doctors before we disagree.

When asked if he could imagine technology that uses and creates energy more efficiently than those he based his research on, Doctor Aubusel states, “No.” When asked if he could possibly try, he replied, “That’s not really my style.”


Eco Model Haus open meeting and Green Institute tour
Thursday, March 29th
Tour: 5:30-6:30; meeting to follow
The Green Institute, 2801 21st Ave S, Minneapolis

There are many green buildings built from the ground up, but there are not any options for showing what residents can do with their existing homes to live more sustainably. The Eco Model Haus will be an existing home that will be remodeled into a green model home. It will display ways that residents can make changes to their homes from very easy and affordable actions such as a display of fluorescent or LED lights and information on how they are more efficient and what they cost (i.e. Science Museum signage) to more expensive or technical actions such as solar panels. We are working towards finding a location off of the Greenway (bike trails) and/or Lightrail to make the connection to alternative transportation as well and easy to access. This will be a space for homeowners, apartment dwellers and students to tour with hands-on and interactive displays.

Rain barrel (top detail): Rain barrels like this one collect rain so you can use it to water your garden later. The screens keep children, pets, and mosquitos out, while letting water in. (Photo by chrisdigo)
Rain barrel (top detail): Rain barrels like this one collect rain so you can use it to water your garden later. The screens keep children, pets, and mosquitos out, while letting water in. (Photo by chrisdigo)

Other examples of what could be displayed in the Eco Model Haus include:

  • Permeable surface options
  • Compost bin displays with plexi glass showing the decomposition
  • Green rooftop with stairs to view it
  • Rain barrels and options for children to water a nearby garden with the rain barrel water
  • Hybrid (HOURCAR) parking spot
  • Rain garden and native plants
  • Recycling and composting set up inside the home
  • Non-toxic cleaning samples and station to make your own to take home with a recipe
  • The Sustainable Living Resource Center will offer a library, product sample displays, experts on hand, a meeting/workshop space and the Twin Cities Green Guide™'s office. The Eco Model Haus will offer a green model home to Minnesotans to tour, attend workshops, lectures, and do research.

    * For the next six months they will be offering open meetings to the public and professionals to offer opinions on what this space will look like and to assist in the planning and execution of the Eco Model Haus. They hope to obtain a space in 2007, begin planning and creating the space in 2008 and open to the public for tours in 2009 or 2010. And they anticipate a large portion of the project will be planned and installed by volunteers (community members and professionals in the field).


Renewable fuel
Renewable fuel

Iron Range generator burns local wood

If you shop locally, your dollars help your local economy, creating jobs, cash flow, and tax revenues. Electric utilities in Hibbing and Virginia, working jointly as the Laurentian Energy Authority, plan to buy local wood to fuel their electric generators. They hold a contract to sell 35 megawatts of biomass power to Xcel Energy.

According to early reports, the project is anticipated to bring in more than $704 million over 20 years, with $20 million spent in labor, fuel and materials. Up to 70 jobs are expected to be retained, with a possibility of 100-plus new jobs in the wood yard, transportation and tree growth parts of the operation.

Local representative Tony Sertich, commented on the project. “We tend to look for a win-win situation, but I say it’s a win to the power of four. This project is about economy, environment, economic development and innovation.”

$25 million tree farm

The Biomass Mandate from the Prairie Island Nuclear Power Plant compromise from 1994 requires that 25% of the fuel must come from closed-loop biomass, aka tree farms specifically grown for this project. About $25 million was anticipated to be invested in tree farms for the project. One of the farms is in Aitkin.

District heating, too

Excess heat generated by the project will provide district heating for the two cities. Word on the street is that the electricity contract is in excess of 10 cents/kWh. Commercial operation is slated for year’s end.

Source articles via Solar Kismet
Making Biomass a Reality Mesabi Daily News
Bring on Biomass Hibbing Daily Tribune
Iron Range biomass projects unveiled StarTribune