Friday, January 26, 2007

Building-Integrated Wind Turbines

turbine_up, originally uploaded by windswimin.

Blue Green Pacific is a renewable energy company that's working towards making microwind energy generation ubiqitous in the urban environment.

As an intial step, they've installed a small Windside turbine on a San Francisco residence. This is the first residental wind turbine installed in the city.

The heavily monitored, seashell shaped turbine is nearly silent, aesthetically unobtrusive, and does well in turbulent, shifty wind environments - all crucial in an urban setting.

It's a great first step in a promising direction. Blue Green Pacific will be collecting data on the turbine's performance to ensure that the economics are compelling. Let a thousand little wind machines bloom!

On a whole different scale, the recently announced "Zero Energy High Rise" in Guandong, China is also an exciting project aiming to bring renewable energy generation to high-density urban setting. The project, commissioned by the Guandong Tobacco Company (!?!) for their headquarters, will supposedly require no net energy to operate due to advanced energy efficiency features, integrated wind turbines, and PV. Hopefully, it will come to pass as envisioned by the architects.

One of the most intriguing possibilities that Building Integrated Wind Turbines (or BIWT) allow is the use of the structure's architecture to accelerate wind flow around and through buildings, and thence into the turbines, improving their performance. Conversely, wind machines could be used to absorb energy from the wind, in effect providing a mechanical shelter belt or wind break in areas where trees - used for millenia in this role - are impractical.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Biodiesel Council Of California

I'm happy to announce my election to the Advisory Council of the Biodiesel Council of California (BCC). In this role, I hope to work with the BCC staff, general membership, and other AC members to guide the BCC's activities this year. I am also looking forward to continuing my education on all things biodiesel and what needs to be done to advance it in a sustainable manner.

On the Advisory Council, I particularly see myself as a consumer advocate - unlike most people active in the BCC, I don't make a living by producing or distributing fuel. If you are a California biodiesel user, I'd like to hear about your experiences and any concerns you may have. If you are interested in using biodiesel but something is stopping you from doing so, I'd like to hear about that as well. Please email me.

The BCC has declared 2007 to the "The Year of the Farmer", with an focus on working with the agricultural community to produce sustainable, local feedstocks for the California biodiesel industry. This is a very important piece of the picture and something I'm excited to learn more about.

I'll post on the BCC's activities regularly as things unfold.

If you are interested in the development of a sustainable biodiesel industry, please consider joining the BCC and supporting their work.