Mid-Month Cleantech Link Drop

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We can’t cover every cool clean tech story on here every day (and probably shouldn’t), but to share more cool stories with you that we don’t have the opportunity to get to, I’m going to start a weekly or bi-monthly “link drop” here on Cleantechnica. Most sites do this, so I imagine you know what I’m talking about. In one post, I will “drop” the title, link, and a short intro or quote to 10 or so stories for you to quickly scan through (or read about in more depth, if you like). Here 11 cool stories from the first half of December.

Using Waste, Swedish City Cuts Its Fossil Fuel Use

When this city vowed a decade ago to wean itself from fossil fuels, it was a lofty aspiration, like zero deaths from traffic accidents or the elimination of childhood obesity.

But Kristianstad has already crossed a crucial threshold: the city and surrounding county, with a population of 80,000, essentially use no oil, natural gas or coal to heat homes and businesses, even during the long frigid winters. It is a complete reversal from 20 years ago, when all of their heat came from fossil fuels.

But this area in southern Sweden, best known as the home of Absolut vodka, has not generally substituted solar panels or wind turbines for the traditional fuels it has forsaken. Instead, as befits a region that is an epicenter of farming and food processing, it generates energy from a motley assortment of ingredients like potato peels, manure, used cooking oil, stale cookies and pig intestines.

Urban Rail Network to Underpin Qatar World Cup

QATAR: The successful bid to host the football World Cup in 2022 includes plans to invest US$24bn in transport infrastructure, including high speed rail lines to Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and construction of a 340 km public transport network serving Doha and its environs.

The proposals are based on the Transport Master Plan adopted in 2006 to support Qatar’s unsuccessful bid for the 2016 Olympic Games.

EU Sets Sail for Solar-Powered Space Travel

The EU has pledged €1.7m (£1.44m) to an innovative project that aims to build a spacecraft which will use an “electric sail” capable of harnessing the power of solar winds to explore the galaxy.

The Finnish invention will aim to exploit the solar wind, a continuous plasma stream emanating from the Sun, and when built, is likely to be the largest and fastest exploration vessel ever made.

GE Hits Target of $6 Billion in Renewable Energy Investments

It has become a trend over the last year for companies and governments to set renewable energy goals and targets, but meeting those targets has been an entirely different scenario. In this sense, with its latest announcement, GE Energy Financial Services, a unit of General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE), seems to be ahead of the curve.

GE has announced that it has hit its multi-year target of US$6 billion in renewable energy investments by the end of 2010.

With projects spanning 14 countries, 95 wind farms, 40 solar installations, six hydroelectric projects, 12 landfill gas facilities, and 15 projects involving other technologies, across a wide spectrum of capital, GE claims to have helped grow the US renewable energy manufacturing industry while reducing the world’s carbon footprint by 23 million tons a year.

How Does Your State Rank in Clean Energy?

The U.S. Clean Energy Leadership Index, by Clean Edge, ranks the usual suspects at the top of the list.

Leading the pack are California, Oregon and Massachusetts. New Jersey, which might have taken the third spot (except for Gov. Chris Christie’s raid on the clean energy fund early in the year to balance the state’s budget), stands at number 10.

Emirati Man Undertakes 200-Mile Desert Journey in Solar-Powered Wheelchair

Anything is possible with determination and a little help from modern technology. That’s the message of Haidar Taleb’s inspirational 200-mile journey across the desert of the UAE in a solar-powered wheelchair of his own design. Completion of the voyage on December 2 will break the world record for distance traveled in a solar-powered wheelchair – a record he already holds for a 14-hour, 80-mile trip from Abu Dhabi to Sharjah. That trip was taken mere weeks ago, yet Taleb is already setting off again, in honor of the UAE National Day.

Chinese Cow Manure Generates Electricity In Largest-Ever Methane Capture System

A gigantic Chinese dairy farm is now the world’s largest methane farm, turning a massive source of greenhouse gas emissions into a lucrative renewable energy source.

Huishan Dairy in northeast China has installed gas-powered generators that will capture methane from fermenting cow manure, reports Technology Review. Its system is 10 times the size of typical cow manure methane capture programs — fitting for an operation with a quarter of a million cows.

The plant will process the waste from 60,000 of Huishan’s 250,000 cows to produce 5.66 megawatts of power. This is enough electricity to meet the needs of 3,500 American-size households, Tech Review says — which means it will service many more Chinese ones, because they use less energy.

Man Invents Machine To Convert Plastic Into Oil

Mexico City Passes Historic Climate Change Bill

Mexico City just passed a historic climate change bill aimed at regulating greenhouse gas emissions and creating a carbon market.

Just one city? Well, technically yes, but that one city is home to 20 million people. It is the 3rd largest city in the world (or, is basically tied with Seoul, South Korea for 2nd). It’s actions with regards to this matter are huge.

New Zealand Wind Farm to Power 70,000 Homes

After a $150,000 legal battle, the New Zealand group Contact Energy has won clearance to build a $400 million dollar wind farm in New Zealand’s Puketoi Range to power 70,000 homes.

The proposed wind farm went through significant opposition from local residents and the Waitahora-Puketoi Guardians, who were concerned about the farm altering the landscape.

West Virginia McDonald’s to Have First Car Charging Station in the U.S.

A newly built McDonald’s in Huntington W.V will be the first franchise in the United States to have Level 2 Electric CarCharging Stations. This is something that will soon catch on at other fast food restaurants. When Ray Kroc opened the first McDonald’s restaurant in Des Plaines, Illonois i’m sure he had no idea that his fast food chain would someday be a charging station for electric vehicles.

Photo Credit: NapaneeGal via flickr (CC license)

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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