Daily Archives: September 4, 2006

The green city of the future

Since we should all be Living Green all the time, it’s time for another post in the green series. Since my last post, it’s been a little quiet on the blogs on the green front, but lots has been happening. On a positive note, a recent article on CNet reports that investments in clean tech have climbed rapidly in the last two years, from less than $300 million in the second quarter of 2004 to more than $840 million in the second quarter of this year.

First of all, I’d like to point out that News.com is following the lead of the Green Thinking bloggers everywhere and devoting special coverage in their special Green tech section which notes that from solar-powered Wi-Fi to robots fueled by bacteria, researchers are rethinking the way we power our lives.

With articles on Clean Energy, Solar Wi-Fi, and Ethanol BioFuel, you know you can at least clean up the way you operate your business even if you don’t immediately cut costs from your supply chain in the process.

However, one recent article that really caught my attention is the one about the biodegradable forks manufactured by Cereplast. Cereplast’s plastic is composed of organic material and the items made from it will dissolve in a compost pile in 180 days or less. Compare that to regular plastic, which can take 100 years or more. The reality is that we have morphed into a disposable society, and if we aren’t going to change our ways, we should at least make sure we don’t continue to damage the environment with our actions. Moreover, if you can’t save money, you can always make decisions that will make money by designing products that will be perceived as more valuable and sell better in the marketplace, especially when it doesn’t cost you to do so. As the article notes, a pound of Cereplast’s resin sells for around 58 to 60 cents while a pound of petroleum-based polystyrene, meanwhile, sells for around 60 cents.

Another article that caught my attention was the Business 2.0 article that told us How Australia got hot for solar power. It seems that Australia is planning to build a 1,600 foot-tall solar tower that can power a small city. More precisely, a 260-foot-diameter cylinder taller than the Sears Tower encircled by a two-mile-diameter transparent canopy at ground level.

About 8 feet tall at the perimeter, the solar collector will gradually slope up to a height of 50 to 60 feet at the tower’s base. Acting as a giant greenhouse, the solar collector will superheat the air with radiation from the sun. Hot air rises, naturally, and the tower will operate as a giant vacuum. As the air is sucked into the tower, it will produce wind to power an array of turbine generators clustered around the structure. The result: enough clean, green electricity to power some 100,000 homes without producing a particle of pollution or a wisp of planet-warming gases. Mix in a few green roofs and some ground heat pumps, and you’re on your way to your perfect pollution free city (as long as the automotive manufacturers step up their clean car initiatives and produce enough hybrid biofuel/electric vehicles to meet the population demand, after all we can build biodiesel boats). (Alternatively, maybe someone will figure out how to scale up hydrogen fuel cells.)

Maybe my fellow blogger from Australia will jump in and add his thoughts to the project and the ongoing cross-blog green series (which also includes Supply Excellence and eSourcing Forum, on occasion) now that he’s back in the blogsphere.