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Desalination – Can We Drink the Oceans?


As our freshwater sources continue to dry up, water is becoming an ever more valued resource.  In these thirsty times, desalination companies are making considerable headway in solving our water shortages by creating drinking water out of ocean water.  The process, however, has been known to be energy-intensive, very costly, and disruptive to marine life.  The following companies are making great progress in trying to tackle some of these problems.

Water Corporation

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Because desalination plants are so energy-intensive, using renewable energy sources to power these plants is hugely advantageous.  In Perth, Australia, Water Corporation recently built the Kwinana Desalination Plant (opened in 2007), which runs on wind energy from the Emu Downs Wind Farm, about 160 miles south of the city.  Consisting of 48 wind turbines, there is enough energy to power the entire plant, which produces about 40 million gallons of drinking water per day.  That’s approximately 20 percent of the city’s daily consumption, all made available by wind energy.

NanoH2O

Revosmosis.gifNanoH2O is a new desalination company that emerged from research at UCLA.  The company has developed a membrane that attracts water molecules while repelling other molecules, making the membrane much more productive in the reverse osmosis process.  This means less energy consumption and increased productivity.  Inventor Dr. Erik Hoek projects that the total energy consumption of a plant can be reduced by up to 20 percent, depending on the plant’s design.  The company’s technological advancements look promising in the pursuit to solve our shortage of freshwater.

NRG Energy

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Persistent droughts have especially injured California’s freshwater supplies, and this arid state is looking at desalination as favorable option.  In southern California, NRG Energy has proposed a desalination plant along the Carlsbad coastline.  Their air-cooled plant has an environmental advantage over other plants that use seawater to cool its steam turbines.  Those plants often trap and kill fish in the process, whereas NRG Energy avoids the process entirely, protecting its surrounding marine life.  Also, the plant’s two-part power generator is reported to increase energy efficiency while maintaining a low carbon footprint.  For more details visit carlsbadenergy.com.

(Update: links removed)

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Whole Foods Launches a Bag to Crow about


wf1_1_1.jpgI’ll be heading to Whole Foods to pick up some essentials, but I also want to check out their  first-ever, designer reusable bag, which launches in-store today.  Made from 80 percent post-consumer plastic bottles, this Better Bag features Sheryl Crow‘s words, (I love my home…planet Earth.  Every bag counts), written specially for this project.  Created to help shoppers reduce consumption while raising awareness for the NRDC‘s Simple Steps program, this handy tote comes in two sizes — large and small — only 99 cents and 79 cents, respectively.  They’re ideally suited for lots of other purposes, not only trips to the market. And, if it wears out, they’ll replace it for free.

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a mixed bag of green news


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Feed Granola – worth waking up for


What gets me out of bed in the morning? Breakfast, that’s what. Most mornings I fix a big, yummy bowl of granola, yogurt, and blueberries.

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I recently discovered a new brand of granola called Feed, which I’m really loving right now. Feed was started by a couple of pals in New York City who believe that healthy food should taste good.

Feed granolas are made with organic ingredients like multigrains, flaxseeds, and such natural sweeteners as molasses, clover honey, cinnamon, and nutmeg, combined with other bits of deliciousness like almonds, pecans, cranberries, coconut chips, walnuts, and, wait for it … dark chocolate chunks.  My current favorite flavor is Cranberry Coconut, but I can’t wait to try the other four flavors, Raisin Nut, Blueberry Almond, Bittersweet-ness, and Apple a Day. Visit the feedgranola.com to find your local retailer and let me know what you think!

(Update: link removed)

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