June 30, 2008

The Ecoffice makeover

Office products supplier Corporate Express launched its Ecoffice Makeover contest to all US businesses with the winner receiving $5,000 worth of office supplies,janitorial facility products and business furniture from the company's Ecoffice catalog.

Entrants must submit a presentation why their company deserves an Ecoffice makeover.

Not that I'm ridiculing the idea (I think it's great!) but as a fan of the tv show The Office, this is one great plot to work on!

Green burnout for the blog

For those who can't get enough of solar information (I have), here's another solar study from research firm Clean Edge and green-economy organization Co-op America.

The study finds, among others, that solar photovoltaic prices are projected to decline from an average 15-32 cents kWh today to 8-18 cents kWh in 2015, and to 4-8 cents kWh by 2025.

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Politics and green in Denver

Here's a very interesting article from the Wall Street Journal on how the organizers of the Democratic convention to be held in Denver are trying their best to be the greenest show on earth come November.

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June 29, 2008

Weekly News Roundup

Better late than never I always say. Here's this week's roundup after frantically scouring the net all day today for green news.

Fuel cell for US Army
DuPont and SFC Smart Fuel Cell AG launched the M-25 portable fuel cell for a limited use for the US Army. The light-weight fuel cell uses Dupont's methanol technology with SFC's fuel cell systems.

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June 27, 2008

Should GreenPeace attend chemical conferences?

This group was able to get in a major coal conference in New York this week using a phony name, ads and brochures (for a sponsorship fee of $8,500), according to this article from Reuters.

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The Future of Energy from The Economist

On my way back to New York from Paris, I was able to grab a free copy of The Economist's June 21st issue from an American Airlines stewardess as their copies of Vanity Fair magazine (featuring Angelina Jolie) were already gone.

I guess I am unable to escape my green blogging job as the issue's special report featured what else but all about solar, wind, biofuels, hybrids, carbon capture, geothermal, and other renewable energy sources.

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California implements emissions reduction plan

California plans to reduce the state's greenhouse gas emissions by 30% over the next 12 years, according to the California's Air Resources Board (ARB).

Central to the plan is a cap and trade program covering 85% of the state's emissions.

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June 26, 2008

Bees and pesticides don't mix

Pesticides and other agchemicals can still be a factor for the disappearing of bees that started last year, according to this article from ICIS News.

In a House subcommittee hearing, scientists from the US Department of Agriculture still can't determined the cause of the disappearing bee colonies epidemic but said that they have not yet ruled out chemicals.

Whether the problem is from chemicals or other reasons, I hope they find the cause soon because if this continues, it will be a catastrophe to consumers who are already suffering from food price hikes.

June 25, 2008

New soy chemicals

My good friends at the United Soybean Board sent me their recent newsletter about newly developed/commercialized soy chemicals and products:

Soy Bumpers Hit the Road
Polycon Industries, a division of Magna International, recently
introduced car bumpers made with a 50 percent soy polyol blend. Polycon developed the bumpers through a partnership with Dow Automotive, using a Reaction Injection Molded (RIM) fascia. The soy bumpers pass all automotive physical and paint adhesion test requirements.

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June 24, 2008

New cleaning chemicals launched

Companies such as BASF and Genencor grabbed the opportunity to introduce their new eco-friendly or sustainable or natural-based cleaning chemicals at the CESIO World Surfactants Congress that I'm attending this week in Paris.

BASF says its new cost-effective detergent surfactant Lutensol M is not subjected to environmental classification because of its eco-friendly properties. The ethoxylate can also be marketed as energy-reducing surfactant because of its high detergent efficiency at low wash temperatures, the company said.

Genencor, meanwhile, said its new protease enzyme Excellase for auto dishwashing detergent, can perform in wide-range dishwashing temperature, as well as in non-phosphate detergents.

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June 23, 2008

Views on green cleaning

ICIS Chemical Business (disclosure: I work for ICIS) published its second soap and detergent issue for the year and like the first one, the global cleaning industry continue its major focus on sustainability, regulation and innovation.

As far as the green cleaning trend goes, eco-labeling seems to be a very hot topic within North America and Europe. Pls. check out my article for more information and views on green labelings, certification and guidelines (mostly in the US).

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June 20, 2008

Plumping plastics with ethanol

The US Department of Agriculture's research unit discovered that distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS), a coproduct of ethanol production, could be used as plastic fillers.

DDGS concentrations between 25 and 50 percent worked best, according to the researchers.

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Weekly News Roundup

Posts next week might sputter a bit as the blog prepares for another conference involving sustainability and environmental issues in the global surfactants/detergents industry.

For now, here are this week's green news roundup.

Biomass plastic in cars
Mazda Motor launched its Bioplastic Project with Hiroshima University aiming to develop plastics made from non-food cellulosic biomass. The bioplastics are expected to be ready for vehicle use by 2013.

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ex-Fujicolor guy fined for green crime

A former employee of Fujicolor Processing recently plead guilty to cherry-picking samples of the company's wastewater effluent In Terrell, Texas.

According to the Department of Justice, Gerald Lakota presented on their monthly discharge monitoring reports only good sample to meet their facility's effluent limits required by the discharge permit.

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June 19, 2008

Who's the most sustainable of them all?

This new report from the Roberts Environmental Center of Claremont McKenna College might answer the question of what companies are the most sustainable in California.

Titled "Analysis of Sustainability Reporting of Fortune Companies in California," the report contains a compilation of Pacific Sustainability Index scores evaluating the environmental and social reporting of all California companies on the 2006 Fortune 1000 list

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To help the weary green travelers...

Unlike other travel review sites, the newly launched social network iStayGreen.org will help eco-conscious travelers find their dream green lodgings, according to the site's founder.

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Green hydrogen for sale

Hydrogen it seems is becoming a very important feedstock for the green future.

To make hydrogen production more green (and maybe get it cheaper??), InEnTec Chemical developed its mobile Plasma Enhanced Melter (PEM) that produces hydrogen-rich synthesis gas from chemical residues that are usually treated as hazardous waste (which are incinerated).

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June 18, 2008

Perc got a reprieve in New Jersey

Perchloroethylene in drycleaning might get a temporary break as two senators from New Jersey proposed a bill that will continue its use through 2011 while the Department of Environmental Protection conducts a study on alternative drycleaning solvents.

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EU emissions down in 2006

Member states of the European Union are happy to note that their overall greenhouse gas emissions in 2006, as reported by the European Environment Agency, is down 0.3% from 2006 for EU-27 and 0.8% for EU-15.

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Hot air news

My pile of wind news is bursting at the seams so I'd better released them now...

Major wind energy generator GE said it achieved more than 115 million hours of operation through its installed global fleet of 1.5 megawatt wind turbines. The company also said today that federal tax incentives for wind energy projects (which is set to expire on December 31) need to be renewed immediately as benefits from wind farms' tax revenue more than offset tax incentives.

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Advocates demand asbestos ban

I would have thought that asbestos is already banned in the US.

Public advocates Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) and the John McNamara Foundation formed a committee early this month that calls on legislators to eliminate manufacture and use of asbestos in America.

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June 17, 2008

Hydrogen vehicles now available...to few

Honda's US launched of its FCX Clarity hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicle yesterday has been all over the news but don't go trading your gas-guzzling car as of yet.

According to Honda, only 200 vehicles will be produced in the next three years and the first five were already promised to three Hollywood celebrities and two business owners and fuel cell car enthusiasts.

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Eco-friendly green bombs?

Here's another interesting insight from my colleague Ivan Lerner about the conundrum of responsible destruction on this week's issue of ICIS Chemical Business.

Calling Doctor Strangelove...

16 June 2008

Someone has noticed that dropping bombs and explosives is dangerous to the environment. Next week: water is wet. And ice is cold

By Ivan Lerner/New York

IN THE June 24 issue of the American Chemistry Society's magazine Chemistry of Materials, University of Munich chemists Thomas Klapotke and Carles Miro Sabate will detail their research concerning the replacement of trinitrotoluene (TNT), cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine (RDX) and other explosives, with tetrazoles Bis (3,4,5-triamino-1,2,4-triazolium) 5,5'-Azotetrazolate (G2ZT) and 5,5'-hydrazinebistetrazole (HBT). TNT derives its explosive energy from carbon, but tetrazoles derive energy from nitrogen.

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Green-struck hollywood

The land of glitter and glamor added green to their fashionable G-list.

To coincide with the recently released "the Incredible Hulk", Universal Studio hooked up with conservation group the World Land Trust in developing the 'Incredible Hulk Carbon Calculator'. Both said Hulk's greenness might drive fans to analyze their own by balancing their carbon emissions.

World Land Trust said:
"There is no need to rip your shirt off before turning green, simply visit the calculator and offset your CO2. If only someone would tell the Hulk it's that easy!"

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June 16, 2008

Talk green with Samsung

Electronic giant Samsung officially launched its new bioplastic-based cellular phone in Korea today.

The W510 model also uses water-soluble coating while the F268 (including accessories) do not contain brominated flame retardants and polyvinyl chloride, the company said.

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Tyson's 'chicken or egg' suit

Are chickens antibiotic-free if antibiotics are administered on pre-hatched eggs?

US producer Tyson seems to think so and recently sued the Department of Agriculture (USDA) for its supposed inconsistent labeling rules on antibiotic-related product claims, according to this report from Reuters.

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June 13, 2008

Weekly News Roundup

Severe weather in the Midwest is threatening the feedstock supply for biobased chemicals and fuels; chemical registration for Europe's REACH started this month, and the rest of this week's news are focused on hydrogen, algae, and green investments.

More hydrogen stations
General Motors and Clean Energy Fuels opened a hydrogen fueling station in Los Angeles, and plans to expand more hydrogen infrastructure. The LA station will start operations in early fall.

Europe's new carbon pool
New York-based Natsource LLC formee pool, which will purchase carbon credits that participants can use to comply with Kyoto Protocol's emissions targets, has a Euro 200 million target.

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What smells worse than manure?

The answer to that is crude oil extracted from pig manure, according to these resourceful and brave chemists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).



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Beware of hybrid hype

With fuel prices so high these days, consumers (such as my sister) are looking towards hybrids as a solution to their driving problems. Consulting firm ABI Research, however, warns of the hybrid pitfalls in their latest study.

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Is wood flooring environment friendly?

According to the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA), wood flooring is the only flooring option available that is completely sustainable. The group released a study on the environmental impact of wood flooring & several flooring alternatives.

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June 12, 2008

Don't sniff your shower curtain

Is it just me or is chemical paranoia among consumers seems to be much worse these days?

Take for example these news regarding vinyl shower curtains and compact florescent lamps or CFL (which I thought are already considered green and more safe).

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Construction gets healthy with soy

If you want your house and other buildings to look healthy and strong, feed them with soybean-based chemicals and products.

According to the United Soybean Board, products such as adhesives, coatings, lubricants and plastics made from soybeans are increasingly being incorporated in the construction industry.

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June 11, 2008

Airlines cut costs with eco-wash

I guess charging earphones and checked-in baggages; starving their customers; and removing in-flight magazines, are not enough to compensate for skyrocketing jet fuel costs for airline companies.

They are now turning their attention to using more efficient engine washing system that could save millions of dollars of jet fuel costs, according to commercial jet engines service provider Pratt & Whitney.

The company said it is now providing its EcoPower engine wash system to United Airlines and Southwest Airlines. The system also reduces carbon dioxide emissions.

Bubbling green goals for Wal-Mart

Speaking of cleaning industry, Wal-Mart said it completed its goal of selling only concentrated liquid laundry detergent in all of its US and Canadian stores.

Wal-Mart said it expected to save more than 400 million gallons of water, more than 95 million pounds of plastic resin, and more than 125 million pounds of cardboard with this goal.

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Are you buying really green products?

How will consumers know if they're just being greenwashed when buying eco-friendly, sustainable and ethical products and services?

This report from CBS news talked about supposedly green products that do not stand up to the test.



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DSM offers halogen-free plastics

I came across this news from DSM regarding their green engineering plastics and flame retardants. The products are halogen-free (in response to concern about halogenated flame retardants) but at the same time still deliver the required electrical, mechanical and processing performance, according to the company.

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June 10, 2008

Solar is killing me!

Here's several recent solar news to share before my brain shuts down from the 100 degree [F] temperature here in New York:

Akrion and CEA-Liten will collaborate on advanced solar cell development

Amtech announces $8.5 Million in New Solar Orders

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National Conventions renewably energized

Renewable energy is one of the topmost agenda by both US presidential candidates, John McCain and Barack Obama, and they will be happy to note that their national conventions will be aptly powered by solar and wind electricity.

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News catch-up

I'm back just in time to face the heat wave in New York. Tornadoes, flood, heat wave, earthquake -- some people are wondering if climate change is in play. Here are some noteworthy news that I came across while on semi-vacation:

1. While gasoline and diesel prices reached record high, theft for waste grease (used as biofuel feedstock) are increasing across the US. Here's a
commentary
about it from my ICIS colleague Ivan Lerner.

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June 3, 2008

The green blog goes black

This is not a protest to my blog boss or that I'm being fired. Rather the blog's author is going to get her much-awaited vacation -- if you can call flying to the other side of the US to attend a wedding as a maid of honor a form of vacation.

I will be posting furiously next week Monday (June 9), and maybe add some wedding tidbits as long as I can find a green connection to it. For now, I'll leave you with this important news about green lingeries being produced from Sri Lanka to hit the UK market this month.

Carbon Market: The good, the bad and the money

After finding some of the pros and cons of cap and trade carbon schemes in the US, several studies were recently published on the carbon market's global bottomline: How much should energy-intensive industries pay for compliance?

According to market analyst Point Carbon, global carbon markets could be worth almost 2 trillion (USD $3.1 trillion), with total transaction volume forecast at 38 billion tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (Gt CO2e) per year by 2020.

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Climate change post footnote

Also check out this week's issue of ICIS Chemical Business (Disclosure: I work for ICIS) featuring global regulatory issues such as Europe's REACH, worldwide climate change, California's Green Chemistry Initiative, and other environmental/health concerns challenging the chemical industry.

Climate change debate heats up

The pending senate vote on the Lieberman-Warner climate change bill is producing outpour of support as well as disapproval across the board.

According to ICIS News (I apologize for those who don't have the subscription for the service) , President Bush reportedly warned the Congress on the potential costs of the bill on the US economy and ultimately to consumers. Bush said he would veto the measure.

The US chemical industry is generally opposed to the bill. Check out this recent interview of the American Chemistry Council's Jack Gerard regarding his take on the pending policy.



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June 2, 2008

Green banking: Is it worth it?

According to this report from Javelin Strategy & Research, green banking habits are still lagging in the US with 3 out of 4 consumers continue to prefer paper statements.

The consulting firm offered five tips to make green banking for consumers as easy 'as screwing in a CFL bulb':

Turn off paper statements. This is the easiest and most widely available way to make an immediate, substantial impact on your carbon footprint and lower your risk of identity fraud.

My take: True but what about online identity fraud? A lot of banks offer security for this but with a price. They should make this service free. Also, it may be hard to believe but there are people who do not have access to the internet or who do not like to do their banking transactions via internet (such as my parents). Another reason why paper statements are still popular is because it physically reminds them to read it and [or] pay their bills if applicable.

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Green chemicals bloom in May

It's that time of the month to check out some newly launched green-hot chemical products. More environment- and health-friendly plastics continue to be developed; the solar energy and hybrid transportation markets are getting new technology boosts; and in between are air pollution control and new water treatment technologies.

1. Honeywell's solar shield - It is not natural or renewable based but Honeywell's UV-, moisture- and weather-resistant PowerShield PV325 does protects photovoltaic modules -- including their critical components that convert sunlight into electricity -- in all types of environments.

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US energy emissions are up

Consumers emit more greenhouse gas emissions than from the industrial sector, according to this preliminary analysis from the the Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration (EIA).

EIA reported that carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels increased by 1.6% last year...

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