Archive for November, 2009

From Christmas Tree to Biofuel

        On Friday in downtown Portland, exactly at 5:30 pm, a huge Christmas tree has been lighted. The Pioneer Square was crowded with many people who came to watch this amazing event, of course I was there!! However, a question has come to my mind that I could not wait to get home and look it up on internet. I was wondering where the old tree went and what are they going to do with the new one after the charismas time is over.

 So I looked it up and I found some interesting information.  Approximately 200 million Christmas trees are bought each year worldwide. That is a lot, yet the good news is that they have found a way to reuse them instead of throwing   them on roadside. Christmas trees can be recycled to make ethanol that can be used in cars. Actually according to the DSM Company, “if all the Christmas Trees in the US were recycled to make ethanol, 1,200,000,000 kilometers could be driven – that’s the equivalent of driving around the world 29,943 times.” The DSM website has also included other interesting facts about the number of Christmas trees that has been sold in many countries around the word and the amount of fuel that can be produced from them. Go ahead and check it out.

Needa L

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Chena Hot Springs and Geothermal Energy

In Alaska there is a man named Bernie Carl. He is the pioneer of geothermal energy. He came up with the idea of geothermal energy while trying to power his hotel. His hotel is not like your average hotel, because it is made entirely of ice. The hotel at first was powered by diesel generators, until the ice hotel melted after the first it’s first summer. The ice hotel was actually voted the dumbest business idea of the year by Forbes magazine. Instead of giving up, Carl found a new way to cool the ice hotel. He found that by taking luke warm water from the spring and pumping it through a heat exchanger. The heat exchanger heats up the refrigerant vaporizing it into gas. The pressured gas the spins the turbine, which spins the generator. His hotel now stays up all year. There are only three geothermal generators which power everything. There are vegetables grown all year and it powers and additional forty-four buildings. The geothermal generators are replacing five hundred barrels of oil every day. It is expected that by 2025 that ten to fifteen percent of all our energy will be geothermal.
Alex Wallaert

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Christmas is a time for joy for many children and adults. The highlight of this holiday are the lights and the gifts, but even though it is a very joyous holiday, it is unsustainable as well. All across the country thousand pounds of waste are created from wrapping papers and each house is using thousands of extra kilowatts of electricity. By using fewer lights and switching to energy efficient lights, one can cut there energy bill 80%, but who wants to see less lights for Christmas. So I was wondering if there were any other alternatives to be sustainable during the holidays, but still keep it festive and cheerful.


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A more eco-friendly Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving was two days ago now, and I couldn’t help but think about the environmental impact of every single American family’s demand for a turkey dinner. These turkeys must be produced in such a ridiculous quantity just for one day out of the year, but this is not something that many people think–or care–about. Even some vegetarians eat turkey on this day. There is also the fact that there are millions of people driving or flying home for this holiday, and I would imagine a lot of food gets wasted. Though Thanksgiving has already passed, here is an article that gives some good ideas about how to have a more environmentally friendly Thanksgiving.


Matt Z

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