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Posts Tagged: "Earth Day"

Biofuel Innovations Look to Sustainably Fuel the Future

Although the consequences posed by climate change could be dire, there’s no reason to believe that human ingenuity and innovation cannot provide a path forward to answer these challenges… Methods of developing fuel from biological sources on the earth is often a less energy-intensive process than mining for oil or natural gas deep below the earth’s crust, further reducing the production energy required and, subsequently, the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere. Private sector investment in biofuels has been increasing. In 2012, bio-based chemicals and biofuels were responsible for $96 billion in U.S. business-to-business economic activity, according to the National Research Council. Near the end of March, Colorado-based Red Rock Biofuels recently announced a $200 million biofuels refinery that it would be operating in Lakeview, Oregon; the facility will refine pine needles and sawdust into a jet fuel that will be used by Southwest Airlines.

Earth Day turns political with focus on climate change

To celebrate Earth Day we will profile green technologies and environmentally friendly innovations, like we always have. We will not, however, buy into the political rhetoric or hysterical claims pedaled by environmentalists as dogmatic fact. The truth is the predictions of environmentalists and climate scientists have never been accurate. Mainstream scientific publications are finally starting to recognize that for most of the last generation there is no evidence of global warming, the predictions made by environmentalists have been wrong and their factual claims to support their political agenda are false. For example, did you know that sea ice in Antarctic has been increasing, not decreasing?

For a Greener Footprint: Innovating to Capture Carbon Dioxide

Although carbon capture technologies exist, the scale of carbon dioxide that needs to be drawn from the atmosphere to combat the effects of climate change is very discouraging. We seem to be many years, if not decades, away from any realistically deployable solution. Nevertheless, we wanted to wrap up our coverage of Earth Day 2014 at IPWatchdog, albeit a little bit late, with a look at developments in this very important technological field. To do this we profile recently published patent applications found in our search of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office database, focusing on carbon capture and mitigation technologies.

Innovation Focus: Water Treatment & Desalination

We’ve noticed a great deal of inventions that involve desalination techniques to turn saline water containing a lot of salts into fresh, drinkable water. Desalination is capable of reducing salinity in water from 35,000 ppm, the typical salinity of ocean water, to 1,000 ppm, and many of these innovations are designed to help people apply desalination techniques on a wider scale at lower costs. We’ve also noticed some developments that might help communities derive water from sources other than rivers and streams, such as the atmosphere. As I conducted my research I was struck by how many of these inventions for creating clean water involved other recycling or sustainable technologies, addressing many environmental concerns through one novel system or apparatus.

University Research Leads to Biofuel Breakthrough

Exciting new innovations being patented and licensed by American universities may provide some effective answers to issues that have been vexing biofuel developers for years. Wilkerson described the breakthrough in Science, explaining that poplars can be specifically designed for deconstruction. “Poplars are dense, easy to store, and the flourish on marginal lands not suitable for food crops, making them a non-competing and sustainable source of biofuel,” said Wilkerson. According to Jennifer Gottwald, a licensing manager with the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), the basic technology applied here to poplar trees could used in a variety of other plant life, even grasses.

Earth Day 2014: A Salute to Recycling Innovations

Today is Earth Day 2014, and with that in mind we will be taking some time today and throughout the week to take some time to look at the progress of sustainable, environmentally friendly technologies… We’ve searched the recently published patent applications and issued patents coming out of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to find the most unique innovations in the realm of recycling technologies. We’ve found an assortment regarding novel systems for improving retrieval of recyclable material, as well as new systems of recycling existing waste products… We also found some recently issued patents related to recycling technologies including a couple of original systems for recyclable collection, including one method of shredding mixed waste to remove glass, metal and other recyclables, as well as new methods of recycling disposable materials, such as artificial bait.

Examing Hybrid Electric Vehicle Patents of Ford, Chrysler & GM

Hybrid electric vehicles pose a number of potential environmental and economic benefits that make it an important sector within green technology. Hybrids store an electrical charge in a battery that either reduces the amount of power required from an internal combustion engine or, in the case of all-electric vehicles, powers the entire car. This technology is in many ways still in its early developmental stages, but already some car manufacturers are selling hybrid models that reach 100 miles per gallon of gasoline, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. This reduces the amount of gasoline needed from imports and reduces fossil fuel emissions to almost nil.

The Energy and Environmental Innovation Conundrum: Can the Patent System Protect New Ways of Using Old Technologies?

The field of clean or green technology is one of those areas where innovation is desperately needed if our planet Earth is to survive as a place where all living things can thrive. But what if a “new” and needed technology is not really new, but rather a new way of doing something which builds on a known (and patented technology where the exclusive protection period has expired)? And, what if the “new” technology cannot find its way to market (i.e. real-world application) unless there is funding? And, what if that funding requires some type of market exclusivity (such as patent protection) be in place first?

IPO Inventor Award Rewards Green Technologies

Four times over the past nine years the Intellectual Property Owners (IPO) Education Foundation has recognized inventors of green technologies as the Inventor of the Year. This trend is certainly not accidental given the growing interest in green technologies and the increased importance they will play as the global economy shifts from a carbon-based energy platform to more sustainable and environmentally friendly sources of energy. Will the IPO continue its recent trend and recognize a green innovation in 2013, making 5 out of the last 10 years a celebration of environmentally friendly technologies? That is at least in part up to the community. The IPO is currently looking for nominations for the 2013 Inventor of the Year Award, which will be handed out in a ceremony in Washington, DC, in December 2013. The nomination deadline is May 15, 2013.

Innovations for a Greener Future: Recycling 2013

Many recent patents and patent applications have been released within the month by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office that either improve on recycling methods or make better use of recycled material. A fully-recyclable cardboard bicycle that can bear heavy loads is the subject of one application. Halliburton Energy Services has also filed two applications for recycling asphalt and ceramic materials while drilling wells. Another application from fabric developer Tintoria Piana looks to reclaim cotton from old mattresses. Even diesel soot may see more reuse through recycling, thanks to an application assigned to Dearborn Financial. We’ve also found one very interesting patent awarded to a solo inventor from Missouri that can allow for the reuse of rubber from tires through heated vapor distillation.

Sun Power: Keeping it Green with New Energy Technologies

Solar energy is one of the alternative energy forms that many believe can be an effective part of the new alternative energy that replaces our current carbon-based fossil fuel situation. However, solar radiation can be inconsistent based on time of day or weather, and large surface areas must be used to collect enough solar energy to generate a meaningful amount of electricity. In most of these applications, we can see solar cell panel technology being applied to individual devices and machines, collecting enough energy to charge a battery or at least reduce energy used from other sources. These patent applications describe cars, digital cameras, irrigation systems and even digital cameras with solar energy collection technology.

Being Green: Bayh-Dole Makes Every Day Earth Day

Normally when we discuss the impact of the Bayh-Dole Act, allowing universities and small companies to commercialize inventions made with federal support, we focus on the life sciences where the resulting new drugs and therapies dramatically improved lives for millions around the world. However, the celebration of Earth Day is an appropriate time to consider the contributions our publicly funded research organizations– partnering with an entrepreneurial private sector– make in protecting our environment.

Celebrating Earth Day 2013 Innovation Style

Let’s face it, squeezing more energy from the suns rays is not an easy challenge otherwise we would have done it already. Capturing power from the winds isn’t the silver bullet solution and many more advances need to take place. Geothermal energy solutions are promising, but a long way away from scalable reality. Growing food in a sustainable, affordable manner without the use of harsh and dangerous chemicals presents extraordinary challenges. Resorting ecosystems where there are disasters is a long, slow process. All of this costs money, takes time and requires there to be profit potential if they will be commercialized on a broad scale. Without widespread adoption those who are committed and live a good, clean life with minimum negative footprint can only do so much. Thus, the patent system will play a big role in getting from where we are today to where we want to be.

Earth Day 2012: 5 Green Innovations to Celebrate

I thought I might take the occasion to identify Green-Tech innovations that relate to recycling technologies, energy conversion and conservation of energy that are worthy of celebration on Earth Day 2012. The following innovations all recently received U.S. patents. What do they have in common? As I was searching for them they caught my eye and I found them to be cool, interesting or exciting. I hope you do too. Whether or not any of these innovations ultimately become adopted in any large scale way is irrelevant if you ask me. The more we search for solutions the more we will find. For innovation to march forward we need creative minds applying their skills. A tip of the hat to all innovators operating in this space is well earned!