Monthly Archives: February 2011

Sunlight converted to Hydrogen using Spinach


A system that converts the energy of sunlight directly into hydrogen has been discovered at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Scientists there have managed to design what they call a “biohybrid photoconversion system,” which consists in the interaction of plant proteins responsible with photosynthesis and a synthetic polymer they created.

The Light Harvesting Complex II proteins (LHC-II) in a spinach plant have been determined of being able to self-assemble with polymers in a synthetic membrane structure which can produce hydrogen from water in the presence of sunlight. The researchers used a technique called “small angle neutron scattering” at ORNL’s High Flux Isotope Reactor.

“Making a self-repairing msynthetic photoconversion syste is a pretty tall order. The ability to control structure and order in these materials for self-repair is of interest because, as the system degrades, it loses its effectiveness,” ORNL researcher Hugh O’Neill, of the lab’s Center for Structural Molecular Biology, said.

The discovery is not new – ORNL researchers had previously determined the light conversion properties of platinized photosystem I complexes and based their present achievements on this data. “We’re building on the photosynthesis research to explore the development of self-assembly in biohybrid systems. The neutron studies give us direct evidence that this is occurring,” O’Neill said.

Eventually, hydrogen will get transformed into electricity through fuel cells and used to power electric motors. This is yet another points where energy is lost through inefficiency, but I tend to think it’s better to directly generate the gas than generate electricity through solar cells, then turn it into hydrogen and then into electricity again. Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?

Posted by Graeme D February 18, 2011 at 7:23 PM under Alternative Energy Environment
Wash full loads to avoid waste

Here are some great ideas to save you time and money.

Wait until you have a machine full of clothes before you wash a load. Don’t wash a load of clothes just because you want to wear the same pair of pants the next day! When washing your clothes be sure to use the economy mode and this will save you both water and electricity! This goes for dishwashers, too. Load the dishwasher but don’t overload it.

Once your clothes are washed consider drying them on a clothesline either outdoors or indoors if it is too wet. This will save electricity and your laundry will smell fresh.

Posted by Jean S February 17, 2011 at 6:38 PM under Environment
Saving Water starts with you!

There are a number of ways to save water, and they all start with you.

  • Run your clothes washer and dishwasher only when they are full. You can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
  • When washing dishes by hand, don’t let the water run while rinsing. Fill one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water.
  • Some refrigerators, air conditioners and ice-makers are cooled with wasted flows of water. Consider upgrading with air-cooled appliances for significant water savings.
  • Adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.
  • Choose shrubs and groundcovers instead of turf for hard-to-water areas such as steep slopes and isolated strips.
  • Install covers on pools and spas and check for leaks around your pumps.
  • Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Compost vegetable food waste instead and save gallons every time.
  • Plant in the fall when conditions are cooler and rainfall is more plentiful.
Posted by Nicholas G February 16, 2011 at 6:19 PM under Environment News and Events
Biofuel and Booze from same plant!

This may be the way of the future for fuel.

Researchers at the University of Illinois claim that the Agave plant (used in making tequila) could be a great source of biofuel.

According to some articles published in the journal Global Change Biology Bioenergy, two Agave species greatly exceeded the yields of other biofuel feedstocks such as sorghum, corn, soybean and wheat.

“We need bioenergy crops that have a low risk of unintended land use change. Biomass from Agave can be harvested as a co-product of tequila production without additional land demands,” said Sarah Davis, a bioenergy analyst.

In different locations from Mexico and Africa there are a few abandoned Agave plantations (that had been used to support the natural fiber market) that could be reclaimed as bioenergy croplands.

“More research on Agave species is warranted to determine the tolerance ranges of the highest yielding varieties that would be most viable for bioenergy production in semi-arid regions of the world,” she added.

As the scientists said, Agace is the perfect source of biofuel, having the possibility to be cultivated in Australia, Mexico and Africa.

Read more:

Posted by Nigel M February 15, 2011 at 8:17 PM under Environment Home Living Tips News and Events
Top Selling Family Clothesline and Laundry Lines in USA

This website has a huge range of products all designed to help run your home more easily and efficiently

Listed you will find the top selling family clothesline models for families in the USA and Canada. We have included large capacity clotheslines that

are quality products that won’t let you down even with the biggest family wash.

We have based our recommendations on a number of key points which include country of manufacture, value for money, guarantee and usable line space.

Family image

To see the full range of useful products we can offer go to:

Posted by Rachel G February 14, 2011 at 7:49 PM under Home Living Tips
Obama wants more electric cars by 2015

It will be interesting to see what happens with this. Will the large oil companies block this initiative?

Eight years ago, President George W. Bush proposed a $1.2 billion program to help develop fuel-cell vehicles and hydrogen storage systems. Now, in 2011, the U.S. still has no hydrogen fuel cell cars in commercial production.

At the State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama stated that his goal is to make the United States the first country with one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.

According to Michael Omotoso, director of global powertrain forecasting at J.D. Power and Associates in Troy, Mich., the limited market for short-range compact cars and the high cost of batteries could be real obstacles to reaching Obama’s goal.

The first vehicles planned to be on the road will be the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf. General Motors wants to expand its production to 120,000 Volt units by 2012. So far, a total of 19 Leafs and 326 Volts have been sold in the U.S.

As the Energy Information Administration claims, automakers will sell about 281,000 light trucks and electric vehicles from 2011 through 2015.

Posted by Victor M February 13, 2011 at 7:42 PM under Alternative Energy Environment
Safety tips for clothes Dryers

Used correctly, your clothes dryers is a great help. However it can also be a dangerous appliance if not used properly.

  • Always clean the lint filter before use. Even if it looks lint free, this is a good habit to get into.
  • Spin your washing as dry as possible to reduce time in the clothes dryer.
  • Never leave the dryer on when you leave the house. Built up lint outside the drum can ignite.
  • Don’t overload the dryer. Washing will dry better with a lighter load.
  • Install a smoke alarm in your home and test it regularly to ensure that it is working.

Only use the dryer when you really need to. Use the clothesline to save power and money.

Posted by Nigel M February 12, 2011 at 7:37 PM under Home Living Tips
The choice – top or front loader?

While front load washing machines are becoming more popular, each machine type has its pros and cons. If you’re shopping for a washing machine, here is a list of things to consider for both kinds of washer.

Water leakage

Top loading machines are less prone to leakage. Front loading machines require a seal on the front door, and similarly the front door must be latched during operation to prevent opening, lest large amounts of water spill out. This seal may leak or require replacement. Many current front-loaders, though, can be stopped and added to or removed from, by way of keeping the water level in the horizontal tub below the door level.

invest to energy concept - euro in bulb - piggybank

Energy usage

Front loaders use less energy, water and detergent and clean more effectively than the best top loaders.

Water usage

Front loaders generally use less water than top-loading residential clothes washers. Estimates are front loaders use anywhere from about one third ) to one half as much as top loaders. Needing less water means that front loaders use far less soap, too.


Front loading machines may be installed underneath counters. A front loading washing machine, in a fully-fitted kitchen, may even be disguised as an ordinary base cabinet/unit. They may also be convenient in homes with limited floor area, since the dryer may be installed directly above the washer.

Clothing lifespan

With their lack of an agitator, front loaders are less likely to damage clothing in a variety of ways. They are less likely to stretch, shrink or felt knits. They can also be less damaging to decals on T-shirts, though it is always a good idea to take precautions like separating and turning them inside out. Even less delicate clothes will last longer with gentle treatment.

Laundromat Dryers

Spin-dry effectiveness

Front loaders also offer much higher spin drying speeds of up to 2000 RPM. This makes it possible to dry clothes very quickly by hanging them on washing lines or airing racks or can substantially reduce the length of time required in a tumble dryer.


Front loaders tend to operate more quietly than top loaders, since there is less of a tendency to imbalance.

Accessibility and Ergonomics

Front loaders are more convenient for little people and those in wheelchairs, as the controls are front-mounted and the horizontal drum eliminates the need for standing and/or climbing. For people who are sufficiently tall and can stand, top-loaders may be easier to load and unload, since reaching into the tub does not require stooping. However, this issue can be mitigated due to the offering of risers (usually with storage drawers underneath) to raise the front loader door opening closer to the user’s level.

Each type of washing machine has advantages and disadvantages. We hope we have helped you choose the right washing machine for your home.

Posted by Janine P February 11, 2011 at 12:16 AM under Clotheslines and Laundry

Here are some interesting facts about something we all take for granted.

A hamper is a primarily British term for a wicker basket, usually large, that is used for the transport of items, often food.

In North America, the term generally refers to a household receptacle for dirty clothing, regardless of its composition, i.e. “a laundry hamper“.

In agricultural use, a hamper is a wide-mouthed container of basketwork that may often be carried on the back during the harvesting of fruit or vegetables by hand by workers in the field. The contents of the hamper may be decanted regularly into larger containers or a cart, wagon, or truck.

The open ventilation and the sturdiness offered by a hamper has made it suitable for the transport of food, hence the use of the picnic hamper.

At one time it was common for laundry services to leave a large basketwork container with a lid which is now commonly referred to as a clothes hamper. The same type of container would be used to return clean clothing, which would be put away by the laundry service and the empty container left in place of the full container for later pickup.

This type of daily or bi-daily hamper service was most common with Chinese laundry services in 19th century England and America.

Wicker hampers

Posted by Andrew T February 10, 2011 at 9:18 PM under Clotheslines and Laundry
Stay safe in the Big Freeze!
Tips for Staying Warm
•Wear a hat, hood, or scarf, as most heat is lost through the head.
•Wear layers, as they provide better insulation and warmth.
•Keep fingertips, earlobes, and noses covered if you go outside.
•Keep clothing dry; if a layer becomes wet, remove it.

For Motorists:

If you must drive a vehicle, monitor weather and traffic reports for the latest road conditions.

  • Use major streets or highways for travel whenever possible as these roadways will be cleared first.
  • Drive slowly. Vehicles, including those with 4-wheel drive, take longer to stop on snow and ice than on dry pavement.
  • Keep the name and phone number of at least one local towing service in your car in case you break down or become stuck in the snow.
  • If you get stuck on the road stay with your car and contact a towing company.

For Pedestrians:

  • Exercise caution and avoid slippery surfaces.
  • Wear layers including a hat, gloves and scarf to stay protected from the cold. And, keep clothes and shoes dry.
  • Have heightened awareness of cars, particularly when approaching or crossing intersections.
Posted by Gary Nickless February 09, 2011 at 5:26 PM under Environment