Conserving Resources: Producing Circuit Boards With Plasma

There should be an image here!Flexible circuits can be found in many devices where space and weight considerations are dominant in the design of electronics: in cars, in cameras and video equipment, in mini-computers for athletes or in inkjet printers. And the market continues to grow: according to the business consultancy Frost & Sullivan, sales in this area will grow to more than $16 billion by the year 2014.

At K 2010, the trade fair for plastics in Düsseldorf, Germany, scientists from the IST in Braunschweig will unveil a new reel-to-reel technology for the production of flexible circuits and biosensors; the new technology is known as “P3T,” which is shorthand for “Plasma Printing and Packaging Technology.” The benefits: P3T involves considerably fewer process steps than existing processes, and it conserves raw materials. Unlike previous methods, the researchers do not start with a polymer film metalized over its entire surface from which excess metal is then removed to create the circuits. Instead, to produce flexible circuit boards, they apply circuits made of copper to the film that serves as substrate. In the case of biosensors, palladium is used. They use plasma at atmospheric pressure and galvanization instead of vacuum-pressure and laser-based methods to achieve inexpensive and resource-efficient production.

Dr. Michael Thomas, director of the research group at IST, explains: “During production of circuits for an RFID antenna, you often have to etch away between 50 and 80 percent of the copper used. This results in considerable amounts of copper scrap that either has to be disposed or reprocessed using relatively elaborate methods.” The IST approach is different: there, scientists use the additive process to apply the structures they want directly to the substrate sheeting.

The first two process steps are plasma printing at atmospheric pressure and metallization using well-known galvanization methods. Plasma printing uses the kind of deeply engraved roller familiar from the area of conventional rotogravure printing. During the printing process, microplasms are electrically generated in the engraved recesses of the roller; these microplasms chemically alter the surface of the plastic substrate where the circuits are to be applied later in the process.

The process gas from which the plasma is created is usually a mixture of nitrogenous gases. As IST researcher Thomas emphasizes: “The chemical changes we need begin to form on the surface of the film; these changes ensure that the plastic can be wetted with water in these precise areas and will be metallizable using suitable plating baths. This means considerable savings of energy and material,” Thomas adds. And this is a decisive competitive factor: the prices for raw materials — for copper and palladium, for example — have risen by around 150 percent in the past three years.

In the joint P3T project sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) P3T, researchers are currently working very hard to improve the individual processes involved in the manufacture of flexible circuit boards and biosensors. They are closely scrutinizing all of the P3T production steps — from plasma printing to assembly and coordinating all of the processes with one another in a production line.

Dr. Michael Thomas @ Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft


Generating Energy From Ocean Waters Off Hawaii

There should be an image here!Researchers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa say that the Leeward side of Hawaiian Islands may be ideal for future ocean-based renewable energy plants that would use seawater from the oceans’ depths to drive massive heat engines and produce steady amounts of renewable energy.

The technology, referred to as Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC), is described in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, which is published by the American Institute of Physics (AIP).

It involves placing a heat engine between warm water collected at the ocean’s surface and cold water pumped from the deep ocean. Like a ball rolling downhill, heat flows from the warm reservoir to the cool one. The greater the temperature difference, the stronger the flow of heat that can be used to do useful work such as spinning a turbine and generating electricity.

The history of OTEC dates back more than a half century. However, the technology has never taken off — largely because of the relatively low cost of oil and other fossil fuels. But if there are any places on Earth where large OTEC facilities would be most cost competitive, it is where the ocean temperature differentials are the greatest.

Analyzing data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Oceanographic Data Center, the University of Hawaii’s Gérard Nihous says that the warm-cold temperature differential is about one degree Celsius greater on the leeward (western) side of the Hawaiian Islands than that on the windward (eastern) side.

This small difference translates to 15 percent more power for an OTEC plant, says Nihous, whose theoretical work focuses on driving down cost and increasing efficiency of future facilities, the biggest hurdles to bringing the technology to the mainstream.

“Testing that was done in the 1980s clearly demonstrates the feasibility of this technology,” he says. “Now it’s just a matter of paying for it.”

More information in the project can be found here.

Jason Socrates Bardi @ American Institute of Physics

[Photo above by troymckaskle / CC BY-ND 2.0]

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Latest 'Green' Packing Material? Mushrooms

There should be an image here!A new packing material that grows itself is now appearing in shipped products across the country.

The composite of inedible agricultural waste and mushroom roots is called Mycobond, and its manufacture requires just one eighth the energy and one tenth the carbon dioxide of traditional foam packing material.

And unlike most foam substitutes, when no longer useful, it makes great compost in the garden.

The technology was the brainchild of two former Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute undergraduates, Gavin McIntyre and Eben Bayer, who founded Ecovative Design of Green Island, N.Y., to bring their idea into production.

“We don’t manufacture materials, we grow them,” says McIntyre. “We’re converting agricultural byproducts into a higher-value product.”

Because the feedstock is based on renewable resources, he adds, the material has an economic benefit as well: it is not prone to the price fluctuations common to synthetic materials derived from such sources as petroleum. “All of our raw materials are inherently renewable and they are literally waste streams,” says McIntyre. “It’s an open system based on biological materials.”

With support from NSF, McIntyre and Bayer are developing a new, less energy-intensive method to sterilize their agricultural-waste starter material — a necessary step for enabling the mushroom fibers, called mycelia, to grow. McIntyre and Bayer are replacing a steam-heat process with a treatment made from cinnamon-bark oil, thyme oil, oregano oil and lemongrass oil.

The sterilization process, which kills any spores that could compete with Ecovative’s mushrooms, is almost as effective as the autoclaving process used to disinfect medical instruments and will allow the Mycobond products to grow in the open air, instead of their current clean-room environment.

“The biological disinfection process simply emulates nature,” says McIntyre, “in that it uses compounds that plants have evolved over centuries to inhibit microbial growth. The unintended result is that our production floor smells like a pizza shop.”

Much of the manufacturing process is nearly energy-free, with the mycelia growing around and digesting agricultural starter material — such as cotton seed or wood fiber — in an environment that is both room-temperature and dark. Because the growth occurs within a molded plastic structure (which the producers customize for each application), no energy is required for shaping the products.

Once fully formed, each piece is heat-treated to stop the growth process and delivered to the customer — though with the new, easier, disinfection treatment, Bayer and McIntyre are hoping the entire process can be packaged as a kit, allowing shipping facilities, and even homeowners, to grow their own Mycobond materials.

Based on a preliminary assessment McIntyre and Bayer conducted under their Phase I NSF SBIR award, the improvements to the sterilization phase will reduce the energy of the entire manufacturing process to one fortieth of that required to create polymer foam.

“This project is compelling because it uses innovative technology to further improve Ecovative’s value, while also providing the environmental benefits that NSF is looking for,” said Ben Schrag, the NSF program officer who oversees Ecovative’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award. “The traction that they have gotten with their early customers demonstrates how companies can build strong businesses around products whose primary competitive advantage lies in their sustainability.”

In addition to the packaging product, called EcoCradle, Ecovative has developed a home insulation product dubbed greensulate. Comparable in effectiveness to foam insulation, it has the added benefit of being flame retardant.

Ecovative is already producing custom protective packaging products for several Fortune 500 companies, though they are leveraging the new disinfection process to produce turnkey systems that they plan to deploy to off-site customers and do-it-yourself homeowners by 2013.

Joshua A. Chamot @ National Science Foundation

[Photo above by Edward Browka, Ecovative Design]

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The Ultimate Home Brewer’s Recipe Book

There should be an image here!The Ultimate Home Brewer’s Recipe Book gives the beginning and advanced brewer, alike, 600+ clone beers and original home brew recipes (including ciders, meads, and wines)!

  • All grain, partial mash, and extract recipes available
  • Dozens of clone beer recipes
  • Hundreds of original recipes
  • A wide variety of styles, from a light fruit beer to a heavy porter
  • Everything backed up with a satisfaction guarantee

Instantly download your copy of The Ultimate Home Brewer’s Recipe Book and have your hands on it within minutes.

Waste Could Generate Up To 7 Percent Of Electricity In Spain

There should be an image here!Researchers from the University of Zaragoza (UNIZAR) have calculated the energy and economic potential of urban solid waste, sludge from water treatment plants and livestock slurry for generating electricity in Spain. These residues are alternative sources of renewable energy, which are more environmentally friendly and, in the case of solid urban waste, more cost effective.

Using waste to generate electricity has economic and environmental advantages. “It gives added value to waste, because it can be seen as a type of fuel with zero cost, or even a negative cost if taxes are paid to collect it,” Norberto Fueyo, lead author of the study and a researcher at the Fluid Mechanics Group of the UNIZAR, tells SINC.

According to the researcher, generating electricity from waste avoids “pernicious” impacts. Waste in landfill sites releases methane and other polluting gases, so incinerating solid urban waste will reduce the volume of waste that reaches the landfill sites in the first places, as well as the implicit risks of landfills themselves (possible emission of methane into the atmosphere).

The study, published in the latest issue of the journal Renewable Energy, has shown that waste in Spain could generate between 8.13 and 20.95 TWh (terawatt hours). “This electricity generation was 7.2% of electricity demand in 2008,” says Fueyo.

The researchers stress that the amount of methane generated from different kinds of residues is equivalent to 7.6% of gas consumption in 2008.

In terms of the economic cost, “solid urban waste is the most cost-effective,” according to the researcher, because local authorities carry out the waste collection and local inhabitants pay for it. Since the waste is transported to large landfill sites or waste treatment plants, installing electricity generation systems “could take advantage of economies of scale due to the large volumes involved.”

Cost depends on the heat generated

According to the study, incineration of waste and degasification of landfill sites are the electricity generation technologies with lowest financial cost. Producing electric energy through anaerobic digestion (a biological process in which organic matter decomposes into biogas in the absence of oxygen and through the action of a group of specific bacteria) is much more expensive.

“However, its profitability relies on being able to get value out of the heat generated during the process,” explains Fueyo, who says this technique is “not competitive, but makes use of the heat to offset the costs of generation.” However, the researchers point out that “directly applying this waste to agricultural land as fertiliser could contaminate groundwater with nitrates.”

In order to evaluate the potential and the cost of generating electricity, the researchers applied the methodology in municipal areas (in the case of solid urban waste and sludge from water treatment plants) and regional areas (for livestock slurry) throughout the whole of Spain.

The work shows that the centre and south of the Iberian Peninsula, the Balearic and Canary Islands have the “greatest interest” in putting technologies into place to use solid urban waste.

In terms of using water treatment plant sludge, the coastal areas of Galicia. Valencia and Alicante, as well as central and southern Spain, were also areas of interest. The study also shows that certain areas of Aragon, Castilla-La-Mancha, Castilla-y-León, Extremadura, Galicia and Andalusia “would be effective” for using livestock slurry.

The EU 20-20-20 package

The research into electricity generation comes in response to the European Union (EU) objective to fulfill the 20-20-20 package for the year 2020, in other words to substitute 20% of the total energy consumed in Spain for energy from renewable resources, reduce CO2 emissions by 20% in comparison with 1990 figures, increase biofuels used in transport by 10%, and achieve energy savings of 20%. “For Spain, each one of these targets alone is a challenge, which becomes much bigger when they are all taken together,” underscores the scientist.

Norberto Fueyo says the most problematic objective is that relating to increasing the amount of biofuels used in transport by 10%. “It is not achievable and is socially and environmentally questionable, because of the amount of land it requires and because it means using foodstuffs to produce fuel.”

Even if the figure of 10% of biofuels in transport is achieved, “there will need to be an increase of around 45% in the contribution of renewables (including hydroelectric energy) to electricity generation in order to achieve a figure of 20% of renewable energy within total consumption,” the expert says. The scientist adds that, in order to achieve the objective, it will be “essential” to promote energy saving and efficiency “and consider all possible sources of renewable energy, including waste.”

SINC @ FECYT, Spanish Science and Technology Foundation

[Photo above by Christopher Dale / CC BY-ND 2.0]

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Americans Favor Conservation, But Few Practice It

There should be an image here!Most Americans like the idea of conservation, but few practice it in their everyday lives, according to the results of a national survey released today by researchers at Yale and George Mason universities.

A majority of Americans say that it is “very important” or “somewhat important” to turn off unneeded lights (92 percent), to lower the thermostat in winter (83 percent), and to use public transportation or a carpool (73 percent), among other conservation behaviors. Yet the study found that:

  • 88 percent of Americans say it is important to recycle at home, but only 51 percent “often” or “always” do;
  • 81 percent say it is important to use re-usable shopping bags, but only 33 percent “often” or “always” do;
  • 76 percent say it is important to buy locally grown food, but only 26 percent “often” or “always” do;
  • 76 percent say it is important to walk or bike instead of drive, but only 15 percent “often” or “always” do; and
  • 72 percent of Americans say it is important to use public transportation or carpool, but only 10 percent say they “often” or “always” do.

“There are many possible explanations for the gap between people’s attitudes and their actual behavior,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change. “For example, public transportation may not be locally available or convenient. Overcoming barriers such as these will make it much easier for people to act in ways consistent with their values.”

The survey also found that approximately 33 percent of Americans in the past year rewarded companies that are taking steps to reduce global warming by buying their products, while slightly less refused buying the products of companies that they perceive to be recalcitrant on the issue. Finally, 11 percent of Americans have contacted government officials in the past year about global warming, with seven in 10 urging officials to take action to reduce it.

“When it comes to taking a stand against global warming, concerned Americans are much more likely to take action through consumer purchases rather than as citizens,” said Edward Maibach, director of the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University. “This lack of citizen engagement may help to explain why Congress is being so timid in addressing climate change.”

The results come from a nationally representative survey of 1,001 American adults, age 18 and older. The sample was weighted to correspond with U.S. Census Bureau parameters. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 percent, with 95 percent confidence. The survey was designed by researchers at Yale and George Mason universities and conducted from December 24, 2009, to January 3, 2010, by Knowledge Networks, using an online research panel of American adults.

David DeFusco @ Yale University

[Photo above by Mary Beth Griffo Rigby / CC BY-ND 2.0]

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The Sustainable Network

There should be an image here!The Sustainable Network demonstrates how we can tackle challenges, ranging from energy conservation to economic and social innovation, using the global network — of which the public Internet is just one piece. To help solve a myriad of problems today, author Sarah Sorensen points out that the best tool for enacting change already exists, lying literally at our fingertips. This book demystifies the power of the network, and issues a strong call to action.

What technologies do we need to solve the complex environmental, economic, social, and political challenges facing us today? As this thought-provoking book reveals, one tool for enacting change is already at our fingertips: the global network.

Consider the private domains of companies, governments, and institutions along with the public Internet: we have an immense communications network that connects billions of people in ways we never thought possible. In this book, author Sarah Sorensen clearly demonstrates why this network is the best sustainable technology available to help us tackle a wide range of problems.

If each of us represents a node on this network, then it’s time we realize the potential we hold. The Sustainable Network is a call to action, urging individuals, governments, markets, and organizations to put the power of this network to good use.

  • Discover how the sustainable network connects us all, with examples of how it’s already effecting change
  • Understand how this network magnifies the impact of even the smallest change and newest idea
  • Explore the role that various market and political forces play
  • Learn how the network can be improved to better address environmental, economic, and social conditions
  • Get practical advice that you or your business can follow now

Living Green: The Missing Manual

There should be an image here!Taking care of the earth is more important than ever, but the problems we’re facing can seem overwhelming. Living Green: The Missing Manual helps make earth-friendly decisions more manageable by narrowing them down to a few simple choices.

Author Nancy Conner says, “The book takes a three-pronged approach to green living: healthy living, energy efficiency, and environmental stewardship. Readers will be able to make improvements in all of these areas. They can eliminate harmful chemicals from their households and food, replacing them with healthier alternatives. They can find ways to reduce their carbon footprint and save money on utility bills. And they can start to make an immediate difference in the health of the planet. The book emphasizes that each choice we make has consequences and helps readers to make greener choices.”

This all-in-one resource is packed with practical advice on ways you can help the environment by making simple changes in your home routine, work habits, and the way you shop and get around town. You don’t have to embark on a radical new lifestyle to make a difference. Living Green: The Missing Manual shows you how small changes can have a big impact.

Nancy emphasizes the simplicity of these decisions: “Life is full of conveniences, but it can be easy to lose sight of what those conveniences cost in terms of their effect on the earth. People don’t have to give up their conveniences, but they do have to become aware of how their personal choices affect the world. Living Green: The Missing Manual helps people understand environmental issues and make informed choices in all areas of their lives. Anyone who’s concerned about the world their children and grandchildren will inherit understands that we need to take action now.”

With the help of Living Green: The Missing Manual, you will:

  • Learn how to make your home energy efficient and free of toxic chemicals
  • Discover how to reduce waste, repurpose and recycle, and do more with less
  • Build and remodel earth-friendly homes with new techniques and materials
  • Learn tips for buying organic food and what it takes to grow your own
  • Get helpful information on fuel-efficient cars, including hybrid and electric models
  • Make your workplace greener and more cost-effective — from changes at your desk to suggestions for company-wide policies
  • Explore how to choose renewable energies, such as wind and solar power

The book also provides you with ways to connect with like-minded people and offers a survey of exciting new green technologies. Learn how you can help the planet with Living Green: The Missing Manual.


Going green isn’t just a trendy concept anymore because it’s actually becoming a way of life for many folks. Using things that are better for us and the environment makes a lot of sense, and while some people become fanatical about it, there is a balanced view that is more reasonable for people to cultivate. You may have used certain products for a number of years, but if you found out that there are other alternatives that are better and safer, you’d probably be inclined to make the switch. Finding this information is the hard part, but GoodGuide will keep you informed about what you should know.

I’m sure most of us would be surprised to find out out how bad many of the things in our houses are for us. Ignorance isn’t always bliss, and GoodGuide tells you the truth about popular products while also giving you recommendations for products that may be a better fit for you. Once you’ve found what you like, you can even assemble a personalized shopping list. Using GoodGuide effectively may force you to change your habits, but a little change is advantageous from time to time.

Ballmer – No Printed Newspaper Or Magazines In 10 Years

Steve Ballmer, the new spokes person for the mighty software empire from Redmond aka Microsoft, is now making predictions about the future of newspapers and magazines. In his wisdom he believes that within 10 years we will no longer be able to view newspapers or magazines in print form. But in an article over at the San Jose Mercury news, this one statement[s] expressed my feelings when I read what Stevie had to say:

Technology has yet to deliver a replacement for the convenience of having a paper product to take along on the subway, to the bathroom (insert joke here), to the doctor’s office and to read at the checkout stand.

We are all aware that one can read the latest news on your iPhone or other gadget, but the one word that sticks out is convenience.  Putting the issues of being ‘green’ and saving a tree aside, tossing out printed material may be harder than one might think.

But what do you think? Is Ballmer onto something? Or should he stick to computers and his quest of Yahoo?

Share your thoughts.

Comments welcome.


Hacked Asus Eee PC Commands A Hefty Price Tag

Over at eBay there is a hacked Asus Eee PC which according to the seller is loaded with the following features:


The base model is the Asus Eee PC 8GB white laptop. I hack The Asus Eee PC’s and other hardware professionally, I have a killer job! Well I hacked this Asus 8GB white Eee PC so it now comes with the following:

8gb solid state drive
32gb patriot xt drive
2gb RAM
Intel Wi-Fi A/B/G/N upgraded card
GPS with Sirff III
7″ LCD with touch screen
Air Play installed so you can transmit all of your sound to an FM radio
Custom copper heatsink installed because it’s overclocked
bluetooth adapter
2 usb hubs so all the USB devices can hook up to the Eee PC
web cam
3 USB ports
one external VGA port so you can hook up an external monitor
Windows XP Professional SP3 With all the drivers installed and tested
Screen resolution is set a 1024×768 with the hacked Video Driver

Amazingly enough I managed to fit all thin inside this little laptop and it weighs less that 3.5  pounds!

Best of all data loss is almost null and void with the (Solid State Drive) SSD. Having no moving parts, the SSD stores and retrieves data faster and safer than normal a Hard Disk Drive (HDD). Normal HDD’s have two motors, one spins up the platters that hold your data and one moves arms with read/write heads that float on air less than a human hairs thickness from the data. With your valuable data spinning at 7200 RPM or faster one little bump could smash those floating heads into the platters and cause data loss. The SSD again has no moving parts, therefore can overstep this problem with HDD’s as well as dramatically increasing data transfer rates.

At 22 watts of electricity consumption, you could call this a green, environmentally friendly laptop.


Priced at $1499 and a $25 shipping fee, this little laptop leaves nothing to be desired. But the big question remains. Is this worth the price tag?


What do you think? Would you buy a unit in this price range?


Comments welcome.



Google Donating $10 Million For Green Cars

Not many companies put their money where their mouth is, but Google seems to be the exception. The folks at Google take serious the green house effect and how vehicle emissions are contributing to this global problem. So Google is offering up to $10 million for companies who are working to solve these worldwide pollution problems. On their blog Google states:

Today, has issued a request for investment proposals (RFP) to the tune of $10 million in order to advance sustainable transportation solutions. We are inviting entrepreneurs and companies to show us their best ideas on how they can contribute to this important cause. We need catalytic investments to support technologies, products and services that are critical to accelerating plug-in vehicle commercialization. That is why we have structured this RFP to offer investment dollars to for-profit companies to promote social and environmental change. The severity of global warming requires solutions from NGOs, governments, individuals and (very importantly) the private sector. We have already made $1 million in grants to a group of outstanding non-profit organizations, and want to expand our impact by spurring innovation in the private sector. While $10 million is a fraction of the total investment needed to transform our transportation sector, we hope this RFP will help catalyze a broader response. We need the automakers to bring these cars to market, but plug-in vehicles also need an entire ecosystem of companies to flourish.

We realize that this type of open call for proposals is not the usual model for investment, but we wanted to use a process that was open to new ideas and new entrants. Part of our goal is to get as many people as possible to work on solutions to our vehicle emissions challenges. We welcome and expect to receive submissions from a wide variety of companies — from cutting edge battery technologies to innovative service businesses – and from companies of all sizes. We also encourage participants from all over the world to submit proposals. This is a global challenge, and it will take all of us to solve it.

So if you are the inventive type with an no idea on how to solve the vehicle emission problems and cut down on pollution, this is your chance to get in on the action and get some funding.

Full blog article is here.

[tags]google, vehicles, funding, green, house, emissions[/tags]

Should Companies Such As Google Be Required To Build Their Own Electric Plants?

I am sure that any of you who have read my past articles know, I am a Google supporter and believe that overall the folks at Google are doing a great job. Google has also jumped on the ‘green’ band wagon and we have read about their interest in hybrid cars and also other energy initiatives such as solar energy. But as a consumer it makes me wonder how can a company that is using incredible amounts of electricity, while reporting record profits, continue to be allowed to squander our natural resources at an alarming rate, so we can have the benefits of finding our favorite chocolate chip recipe quickly on the Internet?

Google employs what are called server farms. These farms of computers are what fuel the quick search results that Google has become famous for. It has been estimated that these farms comprise of hundreds of thousands of computers [no one except Google knows the exact number] all of which require electricity to run and electricity for cooling to run efficiently. If we look at just a theoretical number of say 100,000 computers using say $300 a year each to run, that is only $30 million per year. Cheap when compared to the billions of dollars the company takes in yearly.

So my thinking is this. Google should be required to build its own electrical generating plants using the latest in ‘green’ technology to power their money making empire, thus relieving the strain on our fragile electrical grid? By doing this Google would demonstrate that it is a good neighbor, that they are REALLY concerned about the environment, and that they can play well with others. Or is their motto of ‘do no harm’ just words?

So what do you think? Should Google provide their own electricity for their mega million watt consumption that now falls onto our already failing electrical system? Or should the consumers just be happy campers knowing a fast search result far outweighs anything else?

Comments welcome.

[tags]google, electricity, environment, green, [/tags]

Zonbu Follow Up – It Is For Real!

I just got back from San Francisco last night after an evening of being tortured at Chicago O’Hare airport. :-) But I was finally able to get a flight home and in checking on the comments, I had received a message from Gregiore Gentil, who is the founder of Zonbu asking I take a look at his site.

This is what he wrote:

I’m the founder of Zonbu and I would like to invite you to our Web site so that you can realize that Zonbu is real and really cool.

After looking at the information posted on the site, it does appear that Zonbu is for real, and looks very promising. The site states:

Welcome to a new generation of environmentally responsible computing. Zonbu is ready to go right out of the box. All you need is a broadband connection. Nothing to install. Nothing to buy. Nothing but fun and foolproof ways to get more out of your digital life.

Starting at $99 (*) and with plans at $12.95 a month, Zonbu is the low-cost, zero-maintenance computer. And it includes over $2,000 worth of pre-installed applications. It’s so affordable and trouble-free, in fact, that everyone in the family can have one. Add one to the kids’ room, your workshop hideaway, the family room, or your vacation home.

This small wonder consumes just one-tenth the power of a typical desktop machine — which means you save on electricity bills and you save the planet by reducing CO2 emissions. And, by eliminating fans and hard drives, advanced Zonbu is completely silent, a nice plus for your home environment, too.

I look forward to seeing Zonbu in action and maybe, just maybe, Gregiore will be kind enough to send me a unit once they are available to play with. Hint-hint. :-)

Take a look and see what you think.

Zonbu here.

[tags]zonbu, new, computer, green[/tags]

Being Green – What Is It ?

When I first read that Micheal Dell was touting ‘being green’ at the Consumer Electronics Show, in las Vegas, my first thought was recycling computer parts to save our landfills from toxic waste. During the next few weeks after the show had ended, I read more articles which explained exactly what some of the major companies were doing and I had a better understanding what ‘being green’ was all about.

So I thought I would pass on some of things I learned from my research.

‘Being green’ does include recycling old computers systems. Some of the large OEM’s provide a Free service and will take that old PC in for recycling, when you buy a new PC from tehm. One company that does this is Apple.

Other companies have reduced the amount of packaging for their products, to reduce excess waste.

And reducing energy use is now a prime concern of both Intel and AMD. Where once they touted the speed of their chips, they now also include how energy efficient they have become. By using less energy, the chips also produce less heat, which in turn reduces cooling costs as well.

Hewlett-Packard will pay you to return your used print cartridges. I know that Staples is involved in this effort as well. The print cartridges are then recycled when possible.

And other major companies also have their specifics on ‘being green’ And states are also getting into the act and either impose a recycle fee and hold vendors responsible for recycling their products.

Here is one figure I stumbled on in my research:

‘Gartner estimates 925 million PC’s, will be replaced worldwide between 2006 and 2010.’

Now that’s a eye opener.

Comments welcome.

[tags]dell,green, recycle, waste, [/tags]