Monday, December 28, 2009

World’s Largest Solar Energy Office Building Opens in China.

A vast fan-shaped compound in China has officially taken the title of “largest solar-powered office building in the world“. Located in Dezhou in the Shangdong Province in northwest China, the 75,000 square meter structure is a multi-use building and features exhibition centers, scientific research facilities, meeting and training facilities, and a hotel – all of which run on solar power.

See more...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

India approves new policy to promote biofuels. The Economic Times:

NEW DELHI: In a bid to promote cost-effective clean energy sources, India on Thursday approved a new policy that calls for blending at least 20 percent biofuels in diesel and petrol by 2017, apart from extending incentives to encourage its production in wastelands.

"The policy endeavours to facilitate and bring about optimal development and utilisation of indigenous biomass feedstock for production of biofuels," an official statement said, after a meeting of the cabinet presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

"The Indian approach to biofuels is based solely on non-food feedstock to be raised on degraded or wastelands that are not suited to agriculture, thus avoiding a possible conflict of fuel versus food security," the statement added.

The salient features of the National Policy on Bio-fuels include:
-Setting up of a National Biofuel Coordination Committee under prime minister for broader policy perspective
-Setting up of a Biofuel Steering Committee under the cabinet secretary to oversee implementation of policy
-Bio-diesel production to be encouraged from non-edible oil seeds in waste, degraded, marginal land
-An indicative target of 20 percent blending of bio-fuels in diesel and ethanol by 2017
-Minimum support price to be announced for farmers producing non-edible oil seeds
-Financial incentives for second generation biofuels, including a national biofuel fund

The ministry of new and renewable energy will be the co-ordinating ministry for biofuel development and utilisation, with scientific agencies being assigned specific roles.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Cyanobacteria: the new biofuels platform?

Cyanabacteria — also known as blue-green algae though not hailing from the same biological neighborhood — may well be the hottest bioenergy platform in 2010.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Science news highlights of 2009. BBC News

It was the year we learned of a spectacular smash-up in space, and scientists working on the world's biggest physics experiment delighted at collisions of an entirely different sort.

There were shockwaves, too, in Copenhagen, as the summit failed to reach a consensus on tackling climate change, instead merely noting a deal struck by major powers including the US and China.

The BBC's science reporter Paul Rincon looks back at the twists and turns of a year in science and the environment.

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Ultra-Lightweight, Bendable Batteries. AlternativeEnergy

December 23rd, 2009
Stanford scientists are doing the unbelievable. Who could have thought of ordinary papers as batteries and super capacitors? But Stanford scientists are harnessing nanotechnology to quickly create ultra-lightweight, bendable batteries and super capacitors utilizing everyday paper. They have prepared ink with of carbon nanotubes and silver nanowires. Silver nanowires are highly conductive storage device. They are coating the sheet of papers with ink of carbon nanotubes and silver nanowires.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Climate summit: Where's the beef? BBC News

By Paul Reynolds
World affairs correspondent, BBC News website

He came. He did a quick deal. He left.

That was how US President Barack Obama intervened in the global warming conference in Copenhagen and whether he saved it from total deadlock or condemned it to issuing a powerless piece of paper depends on your point of view.

The result was a political commitment not a treaty.

And it was worked out by the United States with China and a handful of others. The rest of the conference simply "took note of it", most with resignation, many with anger,

The words sound fine enough. "We emphasise our strong political will to urgently combat climate change."

And: "We shall, recognising the scientific view that the increase in global temperature should be below 2C, on the basis of equity and in the context of sustainable development, enhance our long-term co-operative action to combat climate change."

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

15 Airlines Take Groundbreaking Step in Alternative Fuel Deployment... AirTransportAssociation (ATA):


WASHINGTON, Dec. 15, 2009 – The Air Transport Association of America, Inc. (ATA), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, announced today that a core group of airlines has signed groundbreaking memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with two different producers – AltAir Fuels LLC and Rentech, Inc. – for a future supply of alternative aviation fuel.

Twelve airlines from the United States, Canada, Germany and Mexico – Air Canada, American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta Air Lines, FedEx Express, JetBlue Airways, Lufthansa German Airlines, Mexicana Airlines, Polar Air Cargo, United Airlines, UPS Airlines and US Airways – have signed MOUs with both producers. In addition, Seattle-based Alaska Airlines and Honolulu-based Hawaiian Airlines signed the MOU with AltAir Fuels, and Orlando-based AirTran Airways signed the MOU with Rentech.
These alternative fuels will be more environmentally friendly, on a life cycle basis, than today’s jet fuels. This domestically produced fuel will create jobs and bolster U.S. energy independence.

“Today’s announcement reinforces the proactive steps that airlines are taking to stimulate competition in the aviation fuel supply chain, contribute to the creation of green jobs, and promote energy security through economically viable alternatives that also demonstrate environmental benefits,” said Glenn Tilton, ATA board chairman and UAL Corporation and United Airlines chairman, president and CEO. Tilton also noted that discussions with a number of additional alternative-fuel producers about other projects are underway, as are discussions with the U.S. military regarding other cooperative opportunities.

“Our intention as an airline industry is to continue to do our part by supporting the use of alternative fuels. We urge the U.S. government and the investment community also to do their part to further support this critical energy opportunity,” said Tilton.

Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Randy Babbitt said, “Today’s announcements reaffirm the airlines’ commitment to a greener, more stable and secure energy future, reinforcing the spirit of innovation and openness that is the essence of the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative.”

AltAir Fuels Founder and CEO Tom Todaro said, “The airlines’ pledge to use renewable jet fuel sends a clear and unmistakable message to policymakers, investors and industry leaders that AltAir Fuels has entered a new era of more sustainable aviation.”

D. Hunt Ramsbottom, Rentech president and CEO, said, “This agreement is a significant step forward, establishing a framework for a large group of diverse carriers to negotiate a definitive fuel purchase agreement.”

The AltAir Fuels project contemplates the production of approximately 75 million gallons per year of jet fuel and diesel fuel derived from camelina oils or comparable feedstock, refined at a new AltAir Fuels plant to be located at the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes, Wash. The Rentech project in Adams County, Miss., contemplates the production of approximately 250 million gallons per year of synthetic jet fuel derived principally from coal or petroleum coke, with the resultant carbon dioxide sequestered and the carbon footprint potentially further reduced by integrating biomass as a feedstock.

ATA airline members and their affiliates transport more than 90 percent of all U.S. airline passenger and cargo traffic. For additional industry information, visit

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Bacteria engineered to turn carbon dioxide into liquid fuel.

ScienceDaily (Dec. 11, 2009) — Global climate change has prompted efforts to drastically reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas produced by burning fossil fuels.

In a new approach, researchers from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have genetically modified a cyanobacterium to consume carbon dioxide and produce the liquid fuel isobutanol, which holds great potential as a gasoline alternative. The reaction is powered directly by energy from sunlight, through photosynthesis.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

NREL Breaks Down Walls for Biofuels.

by Heather Lammers, NREL
Published: December 9, 2009

Colorado, United States []Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and ethanol producers are racing to come up with ways to make ethanol from cellulosic biomass that are cheaper and easier to produce than current methods. But they are hitting a wall. Cell walls in plants are making the production of cellulosic ethanol a challenge. So researchers are creating their own computer program to help model and break down the tiny fibers of cellulose — or fibrils — found in plant cells.

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Global Potential for Bioenergy Sufficient to meet Global Energy Demand. WorldBioenergyAssociation

A position paper by World Bioenergy Association (WBA) based on a report by the Department of Energy and Technology at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) shows that the global potential to produce biomass for energy in a sustainable way is sufficient to meet global energy demand.

The estimated potential for bioenergy production is 1135 – 1 548 EJ (ExaJoule) in 2050, based on different scientific studies. The global energy consumption is 490 EJ today, and could reach well over 1000 EJ in 2050, according to IEA projections.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

COP15 Copenhagen climate summit: Day 1. BBC News

BBC - Richard Black's Earth Watch: COP15 Copenhagen climate summit: Day 1:

This decade 'warmest on record'. BBC News

By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website, Copenhagen

The first decade of this century is "by far" the warmest since instrumental records began, say the UK Met Office and World Meteorological Organization.
Their analyses also show that 2009 will almost certainly be the fifth warmest in the 160-year record.

Burgeoning El Nino conditions, adding to man-made greenhouse warming, have pushed 2009 into the "top 10" years.

The US space agency Nasa suggests that a new global temperature record will be set "in the next one or two years".

World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and Met Office scientists have been giving details of the new analysis at the UN climate summit in Copenhagen.

The WMO said global temperatures were 0.44C (0.79F) above the long-term average.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

USA remains most attractive country for renewable energy.

07 December 2009

The United States remains the most attractive country overall for renewable energy, but China has moved ahead of Germany to take second spot in the rankings released by Ernst & Young.

The quarterly Renewable energy country attractiveness indices provide scores for national renewable energy markets, infrastructures and their suitability for individual technologies. The weighting in the latest rankings has been amended to give 68% for wind (both onshore and offshore), 15% for solar (PV and CSP) and 17% for biomass and other renewable energy technologies.

The USA scores in top spot in the ‘All Renewables’ index, with a 70 comprised of 71 for wind, 75 for onshore wind, 59 for offshore wind, 72 for solar PV, 76 for CSP, 64 for biomass / other, 67 for geothermal, and 68 for renewable energy infrastructure.
China moves from third spot to second with an overall renewable energy score of 67, with high marks in onshore wind and infrastructure. Germany drops to third spot with a 66 overall, with high scores in offshore wind and solar PV.

Other countries in the top 10 for renewable energy include India (61), Spain (59), Italy (59), UK (57), France (57), Canada (54) and Portugal (53). In descending rank, the balance of the top 25 countries are Greece, Ireland, Australia, Sweden, Netherlands, Poland, Denmark, Belgium, Brazil, Norway, Japan, New Zealand, Turkey, South Africa and Czech Republic.

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Study shows variability in ocean's CO2 uptake. BBC News

By Mark Kinver
Science and environment reporter, BBC News

Writing in Science, an international team of researchers said the ocean's uptake of carbon varied by as much as 10% over the space of a few years.

The data set, described as the largest of its kind, was gathered by devices fitted to a fleet of commercial ships.

The world's oceans are believed to absorb about half of the total carbon emissions from human activities.

"Out of all the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, about half of it does not stay there," said lead author Andrew Watson, a researcher from the University of East Anglia's School of Environmental Sciences.

"It is taken up by the natural world; half of it is absorbed on land, and half of it ends up in the oceans."

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Friday, December 4, 2009

First Passenger Flight Powered by Biofuel--But Are the Petroleum Alternatives Ready to Takeoff?: Scientific American

December 3, 2009
Test flight results have been good, but questions remain whether jet biofuel be produced in large quantities--and sustainably
By David Biello

Dutch airline KLM has completed a fifth jet biofuel test flight—and the first with passengers other than flight crew. Using a 50–50 blend of regular jet fuel and biofuel refined from camelina oil in one of its four engines, the flight carried 42 "observers" for an hour on November 23 from Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, enough to fill business class, according to chemist Jennifer Holmgren, who was on board.

"The civil aviation authority in the Netherlands said we've seen enough of this fuel that I'm comfortable putting people on it," says Holmgren, who works for refiner UOP, a division of Honeywell International. "We went from people saying we couldn't do this three years ago, to making a drop-in sustainable aviation fuel today."

The test flights are part of an aviation industry plan to derive 1 percent of jet fuel from petroleum alternatives by 2015, or roughly 600 million gallons a year. Already, biofuel producers are gearing up production. Camelina grower Sustainable Oils—which provided the camelina oil to make the 1,000 gallons of jet fuel needed for the KLM flight—plans to cover more than 20,000 hectares in Montana with the weedy relative of canola, enough to deliver some 9.5 million liters of raw oil. And algae grower Solazyme recently won a contract to supply more than 75,500 liters of fuel derived from algae oil to the U.S. Navy, which would be a first for the industry.

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Global biodiesel demand to double in 5 years. BiodieselMagazine

By Susanne Retka Schill
Posted December 1, 2009

The driver for biofuels usage is not limited to the United States and Europe, but is also growing in the Asia-Pacific and Latin American regions, according to Tammy Klein, executive director of global biofuels services for Hart Energy Consulting. She spoke about the global biofuels outlook on the opening day of the Canadian Renewable Fuels Summit held Dec. 1 and 2 at Vancouver, British Columbia.

Thirty countries are implementing biofuels targets in 2010 alone, she said, with many of these countries in the developing world encouraging biofuels as a means of building energy security and improving their rural economies. Biodiesel demand is expected to double between 2009 and 2015, while supply is expected to grow threefold. “Currently there is massive overcapacity on a global basis in the biodiesel industry and utilization rates are generally below 50 percent,” she added. Current global biodiesel capacity is already large enough to supply the demand projected for 2015 of 10 billion gallons per year.

Currently, 30 countries worldwide are blending biodiesel, with the typical B5 beginning to inch upward. Several countries in Europe are moving towards B7, with Brazil moving towards higher blends and Indonesia considering B10. In 2009, developing countries represented 17 percent of biodiesel demand and almost 50 percent of global supply. That is expected to grow to 42.6 percent of biodiesel demand and 59.2 percent of global supply by 2015. Much of that demand among developing countries will be for domestic use, she added. African nations are looking towards biofuels for job creation, economic development and domestic energy supply and are not likely to become international players. In the Asia-Pacific region, the big four—Indonesia, Malaysia, China and the Philippines—represent 74 percent of biodiesel demand in the region. Brazil is likely to produce biodiesel to satisfy its internal markets and continue to raise blending limits to absorb capacity.

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Biofuels ethanol and biodiesel decrease GHG emissions significantly: Canadian report.

02 December 2009

Ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 62% over conventional petrol, when compared on a fuelcycle analysis, while biodiesel will drop emissions by 99%.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Converting Water and CO2 into Fuel. Alternative Energy

December 2nd, 2009

Researchers are trying to duplicate the natural process of photosynthesis. If successful, we can use the “evil” carbon dioxide emitted by power plants and industrial units to good use. This way, industrial units don’t have to establish new subsidiary units for the treatment of carbon dioxide. Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have developed a prototype machine that utilizes the sun’s energy to convert water and carbon dioxide into the molecular building blocks that can be utilized as transportation fuels. If researchers can make this device produce twice the energy generated by the natural process of photosynthesis, it will do great service to environment. It will pave the way to recycle CO2.

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Turning Heat to Electricity.

MIT research points to a much more efficient way of harvesting electrical power from what would otherwise be wasted heat.

by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office
November 25, 2009

Boston, United States []In everything from computer processor chips to car engines to electric powerplants, the need to get rid of excess heat creates a major source of inefficiency. But new research points the way to a technology that might make it possible to harvest much of that wasted heat and turn it into usable electricity.

That kind of waste-energy harvesting might, for example, lead to cellphones with double the talk time, laptop computers that can operate twice as long before needing to be plugged in, or power plants that put out more electricity for a given amount of fuel, says Peter Hagelstein, co-author of a paper on the new concept appearing this month in the Journal of Applied Physics.

Hagelstein, an associate professor of electrical engineering at MIT, says existing solid-state devices to convert heat into electricity are not very efficient. The new research, carried out with graduate student Dennis Wu as part of his doctoral thesis, aimed to find how close realistic technology could come to achieving the theoretical limits for the efficiency of such conversion.

Theory says that such energy conversion can never exceed a specific value called the Carnot Limit, based on a 19th-century formula for determining the maximum efficiency that any device can achieve in converting heat into work. But current commercial thermoelectric devices only achieve about one-tenth of that limit, Hagelstein says. In experiments involving a different new technology, thermal diodes, Hagelstein worked with Yan Kucherov, now a consultant for the Naval Research Laboratory, and coworkers to demonstrate efficiency as high as 40 percent of the Carnot Limit. Moreover, the calculations show that this new kind of system could ultimately reach as much as 90 percent of that ceiling.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sweden Aims to be World's First Oil-free Nation. Issues

Using Renewable Energy, Sweden Plans to End Oil Dependency by 2020
By , Guide

Sweden has moved to the forefront of the world’s “green” nations by setting an ambitious goal to achieve a completely oil-free economy by 2020—and without building more nuclear power plants.

Motivated by global warming and rising oil prices, the Swedish government says it intends to replace all fossil fuels with renewable alternatives before climate change undermines national economies worldwide and diminishing oil supplies force astronomical price increases.

"Our dependency on oil should be broken by 2020," said Mona Sahlin, minister of sustainable development, in an interview with The Guardian newspaper. "There shall always be better alternatives to oil, which means no house should need oil for heating, and no driver should need to turn solely to gasoline."

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Monday, November 30, 2009

The Royal Society puts historic papers online. BBC News

One of the world's oldest scientific institutions is marking the start of its 350th year by putting 60 of its most memorable research papers online.

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Cabinet set to meet in Everest.

Sunday, 29 November 2009 10:17

As a symbolic call to the world community to see the impact of climate change in the Himalayas, the government is all set to hold a cabinet meeting at the foothills of Mt Everest on December 4.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

YouTube - Biofuels: Think Outside The Barrel

Monster Waves on the Sun are Real. NASA

November 24, 2009

Sometimes you really can believe your eyes. That's what NASA's STEREO (Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory) spacecraft are telling researchers about a controversial phenomenon on the sun known as the 'solar tsunami.'

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Monday, November 23, 2009

India questions climate change impacts on the Himalayan Glaciers: Nepal Silent.


On 9 November, “Himalayan Glaciers: A State-of-Art Review of Glacial Studies, Glacial Retreat and Climate Change,” a report challenging climate change’s impact on glacier retreat, was published by India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests on its website.

Produced by G.B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment & Development, it was authored by V.K.Raina, the former Deputy Director General of Geological Survey of India. Since then, it has become the infamous Raina Report.

While the report has only been recently published, the ‘White Paper’ had been discussed as far back as August 16, when Indian news media quoted India’s Minister of Environment and Forests (MoEF) Jairam Ramesh as having said, “The Himalayan Glaciers are in trouble. The paper finds that some are retreating, but others seem to be advancing. However, there is no robust evidence to suggest that climate change is causing the retreat.”

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Welcome Essar's proposal.


The proposal presented by Essar Oil Limited, which has the second largest oil refinery in India, to the government of Nepal to induct it as an alternative fuel supplier for Nepal is encouraging. The government must welcome the company with open arms, because doing so will break the long-standing monopoly of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) -- it being the sole supplier of fossil fuel to Nepal. It is true that IOC has been supporting Nepal through thick and thin, however, monopoly in any market comes at a price that may not always be in favor of the consumers. Hence, the government must end the monopoly by allowing another oil supplier to cater to the Nepali market.

Ending the monopoly of a supplier spurs competition among suppliers to supply goods at the lowest possible rates, ensuring better quality and consistency of supply. In the absence of competition, Nepali petroleum consumers have long suffered.

An overhaul of the nation’s fuel supply mechanism is also necessary if we consider the various high-level government-formed commissions formed in the past which pin-pointed that by importing crude oil Nepal can lower its import cost by 10 percent as opposed to directly purchasing refined oil from IOC.

However, we would like to stress that introduction of a new petroleum supplier alone will not straighten things out for Nepal. And this is where the issue of reforms in NOC and also the petroleum sector as a whole comes in.

While the government needs to act strongly to plug leakages at the corporation, it must also take steps to raise its level of competence level to handle international deals, local inventory management, distribution network and quality control. Enhancing its efficiency at all levels is a must. And this will not be a reality until and unless NOC is subjected to competition. The corporation’s past activities have long proven that the institution will not improve until and unless it is forced to do so. Unfortunately, a bill to end its monopoly by opening petroleum imports to the private sector has long gathered dust in the cabinet in the absence of leaders’ political will to end petty politicking on petroleum prices. This must change. The government should welcome the private sector. Likewise, the dual role that NOC is playing at present as an Oil Marketing Company (OMC) and sectoral regulatory authority should end. Its function should be confined to that of an OMC. And a separate independent, competent, well-equipped and autonomous Petroleum Authority must be set up to regulate the sector. Only will this pave way to ensure fair play in the market and protect the consumers and the country.

Electro Tech 2009 to start soon.

Sunday, 22 November 2009 13:23

With an aim to contribute to energy saving, Nepal Electrical Association (NEA) is holding 'Philips Electro Tech 2009' from December 1 to 5.

With the theme "Save Energy - Protect Environment", the expo will showcase a number of products that consume less energy and will also be holding seminar on ways to save energy.

The five-day event will be held at Exhibition Hall, Bhrikutimandap, Kathmandu.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Fossil fuel carbon dioxide emissions up by 29 percent since 2000.

ScienceDaily (Nov. 17, 2009) — The strongest evidence yet that the rise in atmospheric CO2 emissions continues to outstrip the ability of the world's natural 'sinks' to absorb carbon is published November 17 in the journal Nature Geoscience.

An international team of researchers under the umbrella of the Global Carbon Project reports that over the last 50 years the average fraction of global CO2 emissions that remained in the atmosphere each year was around 43 per cent -- the rest was absorbed by the Earth's carbon sinks on land and in the oceans. During this time this fraction has likely increased from 40 per cent to 45 per cent, suggesting a decrease in the efficiency of the natural sinks. The team brings evidence that the sinks are responding to climate change and variability.

The scientists report a 29 per cent increase in global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel between 2000 and 2008 (the latest year for which figures are available), and that in spite of the global economic downturn emissions increased by 2 per cent during 2008. The use of coal as a fuel has now surpassed oil and developing countries now emit more greenhouse gases than developed countries -- with a quarter of their growth in emissions accounted for by increased trade with the West.

Lead author Prof Corinne Le Quéré of the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the British Antarctic Survey said: "The only way to control climate change is through a drastic reduction in global CO2 emissions. The Earth's carbon sinks are complex and there are some gaps in our understanding, particularly in our ability to link human-induced CO2 emissions to atmospheric CO2 concentrations on a year-to-year basis. But, if we can reduce the uncertainty about the carbon sinks, our data could be used to verify the effectiveness of climate mitigations policies."

The main findings of the study include:

* CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels increased by two per cent from 2007 to 2008, by 29 per cent between 2008 and 2000, and by 41 per cent between 2008 and 1990 -- the reference year of the Kyoto Protocol.
* CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels have increased at an average annual rate of 3.4 per cent between 2000 and 2008, compared with one per cent per year in the 1990s.
* Emissions from land use change have remained almost constant since 2000, but now account for a significantly smaller proportion of total anthropogenic CO2 emissions (20 per cent in 2000 to 12 per cent in 2008).
* The fraction of total CO2 emissions remaining in the atmosphere has likely increased from 40 to 45 per cent since 1959, models suggests this is due to the response of the natural CO2 sinks to climate change and variability.
* Emissions from coal are now the dominant fossil fuel emission source, surpassing 40 years of oil emission prevalence.
* The financial crisis had a small but discernable impact on emissions growth in 2008 -- with a two per cent increase compared with an average 3.6 per cent over the previous seven years. On the basis of projected changes in GDP, emissions for 2009 are expected to fall to their 2007 levels, before increasing again in 2010.
* Emissions from emerging economies such as China and India have more than doubled since 1990 and developing countries now emit more greenhouse gases than developed countries.
* A quarter of the growth in CO2 emissions in developing countries can be accounted for by an increase in international trade of goods and services.

The researchers called for more work to be done to improve our understanding of the land and ocean CO2 sinks, so that global action to control climate change can be independently monitored. The sinks have a major influence on climate change and are important in understanding the link between anthropogenic CO2 emissions and atmospheric CO2 concentration. But so far scientists have not been able to calculate the CO2 uptake of the sinks with sufficient accuracy to explain all the annual changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration, which hinders the scientists' ability to monitor the effectiveness of CO2 mitigations policies.

YouTube - A Smart Grid for Intelligent Energy Use

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Bioethanol plant in Denmark inaugurated -

By Lisa Gibson
Posted November 19, 2009, at 1:25 p.m. CST

The Inbicon A/S bioethanol plant in Kalundborg, Denmark, will be prepared to distribute its first stock of fuel next year, with the capacity to produce 5.4 million liters (1.4 million gallons) annually.

The facility, one of the world’s first demonstration plants for second-generation bioethanol, was inaugurated Nov. 18.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

First test for record solar plane. BBC News

The prototype of a solar-powered plane destined for a record round-the-world journey has made its first trip across a runway.

On Thursday, the plane covered at least 2km at speeds of up to five knots on the landing strip in Switzerland.

This week saw the Solar Impulse plane outside its hangar for the first time, with tests of its motors and computer.

As wide as a jumbo jet but weighing just 1,500 kg, it will be piloted by Swiss adventurer Bertrand Piccard.

The plane's maiden flight is scheduled for February, and a final version will attempt to cross the Atlantic in 2012.

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"Recent Biofuels Discovery Can Eliminate Dependence on Natural Gas -"

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Earth 'heading for 6C' of warming. BBC News

By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website

Average global temperatures are on course to rise by up to 6C without urgent action to curb CO2 emissions, the lead author of a new analysis says.

Emissions rose by 29% between 2000 and 2008, says the Global Carbon Project.

All of that growth came in developing countries, but a quarter of it came through production of goods for consumption in industrialised nations.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Everyone in Britain could be given a personal 'carbon allowance'.

Published: 7:00AM GMT 09 Nov 2009

Lord Smith of Finsbury believes that implementing individual carbon allowances for every person will be the most effective way of meeting the targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

It would involve people being issued with a unique number which they would hand over when purchasing products that contribute to their carbon footprint, such as fuel, airline tickets and electricity.

Like with a bank account, a statement would be sent out each month to help people keep track of what they are using.

If their "carbon account" hits zero, they would have to pay to get more credits.
Those who are frugal with their carbon usage will be able to sell their unused credits and make a profit.

Lord Smith will call for the scheme to be part of a "Green New Deal" to be introduced within 20 years when he addresses the agency's annual conference on Monday.

An Environment Agency spokesman said only those with "extravagant lifestyles" would be affected by the carbon allowances.

He said: "A lot of people who cycle will get money back. It will probably only be bankers and those with extravagant lifestyles who would lose out."

However, some have criticised the move as "Orwellian" and say it will have a detrimental impact on business.

Ruth Lea, an economist from Arbuthnot Banking Group, told the Daily Mail: "This is all about control of the individual and you begin to wonder whether this is what the green agenda has always been about. It's Orwellian. This will be an enormous tax on business."

Under the Climate Change Act, Britain is obliged to cut its emissions by 80 per cent on 1990 levels by 2050. This means annual CO2 emissions per person will have to fall from about 9 tonnes to only 2 tonnes.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Hydropower Less Than 700 MW In 98 Years! The Rising Nepal

Friday Supplement: 2009-11-06 21:51:43
Yogesh Pokharel

It has been about 100 years since the Chandra Jyoti Power House, the first power houses of Nepal, was installed in Pharping, Kathmandu in 1911. Built with the financial support of the British Government, the 500 Kw Chandra Jyoti Power House was also one of the oldest hydro power projects in Asia. Running for 70 years successfully, the historic power house was shut down in 1981 after the water used for the plant was diverted for drinking purpose. Even now, this plant can be restarted if the supply of water is made possible.

But, unfortunately in these 100 years less than 700MW of hydropower has been generated in the country. None of the government formed after the installation of the first hydropower station seriously thought about exploiting the water resources available in abundance in the country in a proper way.

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Jomsom under climate change threat.


RAXAUL, Nov 15: People in the remote district of Mustang have been experiencing the worst nightmares in terms of the effects of climate change in their livelihoods and economy. This year, the Jomsom valley saw no snowfall in the town area and no rainfall at all. The maximum temperature rose to 27 degree Celsius in comparison to 24 degrees last year. Similarly, the minimum temperature was recorded at 13 degrees, whereas in previous years, the temperature usually dipped to less than minus four degrees. The temperature fluctuation has also had an adverse effect on the snow fall pattern.

Alarmingly, the snow-line has gradually been moving up to an altitude of 5,000 meters, thereby leaving mountain rocks bare. Since snow is melting fast, tree lines are moving up as well.

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Job creation major agenda in next 3-year plan. MYREPUBLICA.COM


KATHMANDU, Nov 15:National Planning Commission (NPC), the apex government body that deals with national development, will take employment generation as one of its major objectives in the coming three year plan. High-ranking officials of NPC told that the next three year plan, which will go into implementation from coming fiscal year, will focus on creating 450,000 employment opportunities each year to deal with the worsening employment situation of the country.

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Antarctica Glacier Retreat Creates New Carbon Dioxide Store; Has Beneficial Impact On Climate Change.

ScienceDaily (Nov. 10, 2009) — Large blooms of tiny marine plants called phytoplankton are flourishing in areas of open water left exposed by the recent and rapid melting of ice shelves and glaciers around the Antarctic Peninsula. This remarkable colonisation is having a beneficial impact on climate change. As the blooms die back phytoplankton sinks to the sea-bed where it can store carbon for thousands or millions of years.

Reporting recently in the journal Global Change Biology, scientists from British Antarctic Survey (BAS) estimate that this new natural 'sink' is taking an estimated 3.5 million tonnes* of carbon from the ocean and atmosphere each year.

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Fuel crisis deepens in eastern region.


BIRATNAGAR, Nov 14: Petroleum crisis has deepened in the eastern region as all refilling stations in the region have remained closed from the last four days due to the strike called by the workers affiliated with Unified CPN (Maoist). The number of vehicles plying on the road has gone down sharply and the talks meditated by the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) and local administration to end the strike have failed repeatedly.

All Nepal Petroleum Workers Union enforced closure of 450 dealers operating in the region, demanding the dealers to permanently appoint workers who have worked for 240 days.Transporters said the strike has affected their business badly. “Fuel we had on stock too has dried up. Now no passenger buses will ply on the road,” an official of Koshi Zonal Bus Entrepreneurs Association (KZBEA) told“Due to fuel shortage, 75 percent of vehicles are already stranding in garage.”

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UK announces $80 m to Nepal for tackling climate change.

Friday, 13 November 2009

The United Kingdom has announced $80 million (£50 million) to Nepal to tackle climate change and improve lives of poor people.The Department for International Development (DFID) of UK will be spending the amount over the next 10 years.UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown today said, "Countries right across the world need to take urgent and radical action to tackle climate change. The poorest and most vulnerable countries need our help to do so.""That is why we are announcing today a £50m ($80m) package of support to work with Nepal to tackle climate change and deforestation," he added.

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

DOE to accelerate algae-based biofuel development -

By Anna Austin
Posted November 11, 2009, at 12:56 p.m. CST

Valerie Reed of the U.S. DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy talked about the direction the DOE is taking to accelerate the development of algae-based biofuels at the Pacific Rim Summit on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy held this week in Honolulu, Hawaii. She said the agency intends to develop advanced biofuels—hydrocarbons and other high-density fuels that can be drop in replacements for diesel and gasoline—in a more accelerated fashion than cellulosic ethanol.

“We learned a lot over the past 20 years, and we believe we can apply that to a faster deployment phase,” Reed said, adding that biomass-based liquid transportation fuels are going to be the only adequate displacements for jet fuel. “This is now becoming a priority fuel we need to consider, and that’s why we’re moving into the advanced biofuels arena,” she said.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Genomes Of Biofuel Yeasts Reveal Clues That Could Boost Fuel Ethanol Production Worldwide.

ScienceDaily (Nov. 6, 2009) — As global temperatures and energy costs continue to soar, renewable sources of energy will be key to a sustainable future. An attractive replacement for gasoline is biofuel, and in two studies published online in Genome Research, scientists have analyzed the genome structures of bioethanol-producing microorganisms, uncovering genetic clues that will be critical in developing new technologies needed to implement production on a global scale.

Bioethanol is produced from the fermentation of plant material, such as sugar cane and corn, by the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, just as in the production of alcoholic beverages. However, yeast strains thriving in the harsh conditions of industrial fuel ethanol production are much more hardy than their beer brewing counterparts, and surprisingly little is known about how these yeast adapted to the industrial environment. If researchers can identify the genetic changes that underlie this adaptation, new yeast strains could be engineered to help shift bioethanol production into high gear across the globe.

Two studies published in Genome Research have taken a major step toward this goal, identifying genomic properties of industrial fuel yeasts that likely gave rise to more robust strains. In one of the studies, researcher Lucas Argueso and colleagues from Duke University and Brazil have sequenced and analyzed the structure of the entire genome of strain PE-2, a prominent industrial strain in Brazil. The group's work revealed that portions of the genome are plastic compared to other yeast strains, specifically the peripheral regions of chromosomes, where they observed a number of sequence rearrangements.

Interestingly, these chromosomal rearrangements in PE-2 amplified genes involved in stress tolerance, which likely contributed to the adaptation of this strain to the industrial environment. As PE-2 is amenable to genetic engineering, the authors believe that their work on PE-2 will open the door to development of new technologies to boost bioethanol production.
In a second study published in Genome Research, researchers from Stanford University and Brazil led by Boris Stambuk and Gavin Sherlock have also analyzed the genome structure of industrial bioethanol yeasts, searching for variations in the number of gene copies in five strains employed in Brazil, including PE-2. Stambuk and colleagues found that all five industrial strains studied harbor amplifications of genes involved in the synthesis of vitamins B6 and B1 -- compounds critical for efficient growth and utilization of sugar.

The group experimentally demonstrated that the gene amplifications confer robust growth in industrial conditions, indicating that these yeasts likely adapted to limited availability of vitamins in the industrial process to gain a competitive advantage. Furthermore, the authors suggest that this knowledge can be utilized to engineer new strains of yeast capable of even more efficient bioethanol production, from a wider range of agricultural stocks.

It is evident that an expanding human population will require more energy that exerts less impact on the environment, and the information gained from these genomic studies of industrial bioethanol yeasts will be invaluable as biofuel researchers optimize production and implement the technology worldwide.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

NEA to give NT 10% in Upper Tamakoshi- PM briefed on 3 hydro projects.


KATHMANDU, Nov 7: After a month-long disagreement over equity participation, Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has finally agreed to provide 10 percent equity shares to Nepal Telecom (NT) in the 456-MW Upper Tamakoshi hydroelectric project. The decision to this effect was taken at a meeting organized to brief Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal on the project at Singha Durbar on Friday.

During the briefing, the PM directed NEA to work toward the financial closure of the project. According to the sources present in the meeting, NEA had to give in to NT´s demand as Minister for Information and Communications Shankar Pokharel had directed NT not to invest in the project unless equity shares worth the investment were provided to it. He had cited poor management and over-politicization of NEA as reasons behind such a stand.

“NEA is willing to award up to 10 percent equity participation to Telecom as per its stance,” an NEA official told, adding, “The formal decision to this effect will be taken soon.”

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Climate Change: The Melting Himalayas

An interesting Scientific American video from Bhutan
in the following link...

Friday, November 6, 2009

छतछतबाट घामको बिजुली: नागरिक

विश्वमणि पोखरेल
काठमाडौं, कात्तिक २०- उपत्यकाका घरधनीले छानाबाट बिजुली उत्पादन गर्न सक्छन्, विद्युत प्राधिकरणलाई बेच्न पनि सक्छन्। त्यसले हिउँदको चर्को लोडशेडिङ केही कम गर्न पनि सक्छ। प्रशस्त घाम लाग्ने यहाँका छतबाट सोलार प्यानलले के व्यवसायिक रूपमा बिजुली उत्पादन गर्न सक्लान्? सौर्य उर्जाविद् भने सम्पन्न घरबालालाई बिजुली उत्पादक बनाउने अवधारणामा सरकारसँग लविङ्ग गर्दैछन्।

पूरा पढ्नुहोस

Thursday, November 5, 2009

First Hydrogen Power Plant in Italy. AlternativeEnergy

August 21st, 2009:
Italy has come up with world’s first hydrogen power plant. This power plant is situated in Fusina, near Venice in the Veneto region of Italy. Enel is constructing this power plant producing no undesirable greenhouse gases. It is Italy’s largest power company with a track record of fifty million power and gas customers. Enel is procuring hydrogen from an accompanying production from Polimeri Europa’s petrochemical plant. This hydrogen will be brought to the establishment by especially built pipelines. Polimeri produces a wide range of petrochemical products, and its ethylene-cracking process will be responsible for the hydrogen feedstock. This hydrogen power plant will be operational in 2010. It will provide power to 20,000 households.

This hydrogen power plant is an off shoot of the Environment and Innovation Project known as Hydrogen Park. 7.4 billion euros will be assigned for the whole project by 2012. Another 40 million euro plant will be established on the line of Enel’s existing coal-fired power station in Fusina. It will have an investment of 4 million euros from the local Veneto region. According to Enel this power plant will save the emission of more than 17,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. This power plant has a capacity of 12 MW and burns hydrogen gas in a turbine developed in partnership with General Electric.

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First Solar Powered Passenger Ship for Berlin. AlternativeEnergy

August 25th, 2009: Alternative Energy Manufacturers who are concerned not only about profit but about future too are developing such products that are clean and green and run on alternative fuels. Though currently clean and green products are costly, efforts are on to make them easy on pocket too. Solon SE is a Berlin-based solar company that has produced a zero emission solar ship. Berlin’s mayor Klaus Wowereit was present at a ceremony to launch the “SOLON.” It is Berlin’s first passenger ship deriving its power from solar energy.

Solon SE also supplied the 24 solar modules with a capacity of 5.6 kWp.

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Dirt-Powered Bacteria Batteries. AlternativeEnergy

October 21st, 2009:
Bacteria are one of the most abundant organisms on the planet and also one of the most studied. Today, scientists use bacteria for genetics research, antibiotics, and yes! Even biofuels. Recent technological advances have made a battery running on bacteria a reality. Known as microbial fuels cells or MFCs, batteries running on bacteria and other microbes have been keenly researched by scientist for decades.

How bacteria powered batteries work
Contrary to popular belief, bacteria do not directly produce electricity in a MFC. Bacteria powered batteries use the chemical energy generated by bacteria, and convert it into electrical energy using a relatively simple mechanism. Like most batteries, a bacteria powered battery has an anode (the negative end) and a cathode (the positive end). In addition to the anode and cathode, a bacteria powered battery also has a membrane capable of filtering electrons (anions) and protons (cations) produced during the chemical breakdown of substances by bacteria.
Once the bacterial breakdown starts producing ions, the anions are transferred from the cathode compartment via an external circuit and the protons are sent to the cathode from the anode. In a nutshell, the chemical energy generated by bacterial activity is converted to electrical energy.
Unfortunately, not all bacteria are electrochemically active and require a substance known as a ‘mediator’ to facilitate the flow of ions. Substances like thionine, methyl viologen, methyl blue, humic acid and neutral red were used as mediators but their toxicity was a major concern for scientists. A few years back scientists engineered electrochemically active bacteria, and the science of bacteria powered batteries took a huge leap forward. Mediator less MFCs can run on everything from waste water to a simple saline solution and are truly environment friendly batteries.

Recent developments
Harvard scientists working under the Lebone banner have created a bacteria powered battery that uses bacteria found in African soil. What is truly remarkable about the MFC created by Lebone is that the battery uses a layer of sand as the ionic membrane, mud with manure as the bacterial substrate, and a graphite cloth as the anode.
Like most eco-friendly and renewable solutions, the MFC created by Harvard scientists uses substances readily available throughout Africa and is expected to provide electricity in remote parts of Africa. In fact, the only non-biodegradable substance used in the bacteria powered battery created by Lebone scientists is probably the 5 pound plastic bucket used to case the battery. Although the amount of energy produced by the bacteria powered battery is far from amazing, it can produce enough power to run a few LED lights and small electronics.

The future of bacteria powered batteries
Organizations like Lebone are one of the many organizations that are investing time and money in creating truly eco-friendly renewable energy options. The quest for a truly eco-friendly energy source may not have ended with bacteria powered batteries, but MFCs are a step forward in the right direction. With regular batteries clogging waste grounds the world over, recyclable energy sources like bacteria powered batteries are necessity.

Osmotic Power Plant Set To Open. AlternativeEnergy

November 4th, 2009:
With the big push on alternative energy sources, world leaders everywhere are pushing for new power technology to create power plants that will use different resources to keep the earth greener. Her Royal Highness, The Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway has just made a huge step as a leader in this movement as she has announced the opening of the world’s first osmotic power plant, due to begin operations on November 24, 2009.

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International Conference on Renewable Energy Technology for Sustainable Development (RETSUD-09)

12-14 November 2009
Kathmandu, Nepal
Click for details

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Indian Oil becomes fifth oil major, first NOC, to join algal fuels race; signs with PetroAlgae.

In India, Indian Oil Company became the fifth oil major and first national oil company (NOC) to decisively enter the algal fuel race, signing a MOU to enter into an agreement with PetroAlgae to license micro-crop technology for the large-scale production of renewable fuels.

The announcement is also the first between an oil major and an algal fuel developer expressly aimed along a commercialization path. Previous tie-ups have featured early-stage investment and R&D partnership.
In a statement, Indian Oil Company said that the two companies will initially partner on adapting the algal strains and technology developed by PetroAlgae to suit Indian conditions. Thereafter, a pilot facility is proposed to demonstrate the commercial viability of the technology, with a 60 Mgy commercial production facility proposed for the the near future, along with a high-value protein that can be used as feedstock for animal feed production.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Species' extinction threat grows. BBC News

More than a third of species assessed in a major international biodiversity study are threatened with extinction, scientists have warned.
Out of the 47,677 species in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, 17,291 were deemed to be at serious risk.
These included 21% of all known mammals, 30% of amphibians, 70% of plants and 35% of invertebrates.


ग्याँस टेम्पो नहटाउन आदेश: नागरिक

काठमाडौं, कात्तिक १७ - सर्वोच्च अदालतले उपत्यकाबाट तीन पाङ्ग्रे ग्याँस टेम्पो विस्थापन गर्ने निर्णय तत्काल कार्यान्वयन नगर्न श्रम तथा यातायात व्यवस्था मन्त्रालयलाई आदेश दिएको छ।
न्यायाधीश ताहिरअली अन्सारीको एकल इजलासले मन्त्रालयको निर्णय तत्काल लागु नगर्न मंगलबार अन्तरिम आदेश दिएको हो। इजलासले अन्तरिम आदेश निरन्तर हुने नहुने बारे कात्तिक २२ गते छलफल गर्ने पनि जनाएको छ। उपत्यकाबाट तीन पाङ्ग्रे ग्याँस टेम्पो विस्थापित गरी त्यसको सट्टा १४ देखि १६ सिट क्षमताका चार पाङ्ग्रे सवारी ल्याउन इजाजत दिने भनी मन्त्रालयले गत भदौ २४ मा निर्णय गरेको थियो। मन्त्रालयको उक्त निर्णय गैरसंवैधानिक भएकाले तत्काल कार्यान्वयन रोक्न स्वरोजगार यातायात व्यवसायी संघका अध्यक्ष रामकुमार भ्लोनले रिट दिएका थिए।

पूरा पढ्नुहोस

Lonely Planet names top 10 destinations for 2010. BRISBANE TIMES

November 4, 2009:
Lonely Planet has picked the brains of its authors, staff and travellers and come up with the top 10 countries to visit in 2010:
  6. NEPAL
  10. USA


भ्रमण गर्नैपर्ने देशको सूचिमा नेपाल: नागरिक

सिंगापुर, कार्तिक १७ (एजेन्सी)- सन् २०१० मा घुम्नैपर्ने उत्कृष्ट १० देशको सूचीमा नेपाल परेको छ। अस्ट्रेलियामा केन्द्रीय कार्यालय भएको 'लोन्ली प्लानेट ट्राभल गाइड'ले सोमबार सार्वजनिक गरेको २०१० मा घुम्नैपर्ने उत्कृष्ट १० देशको सूचीमा नेपाल परेको हो। प्लानेटको यो पाँचौं वार्षिक प्रकाशन हो।

लोन्ली प्लानेटको यो सूचीमा एसियाबाट नेपालसँगै मलेसिया पनि परेको छ। 'यो गन्तव्यहरूको संग्रह र अनुभवको संगालो हो,' प्लानेटका एसिया प्रशान्त सञ्चार प्रबन्धक एडम बेनेटले भने, 'यी गन्तव्यले तपाईंलाई परिवारबाट धेरै टाढा लैजान्छन्। त्यहाँका भौगोलिक, साँस्कृतिक, प्राकृतिक र त्योभन्दा पनि बढी तपाईंले आफ्नो ट्राभल ब्यागमा पाउन सक्नुहुन्छ।'
यो सूचीमा परेका अन्य देशमा न्युजिल्यान्ड, एल साल्भाडोर, जर्मनी, ग्रिस, मोरक्को, पोर्चुगल, सुरिनाम र अमेरिका परेका छन्।

पूरा पढ्नुहोस

Friday, October 30, 2009

Internet addresses set for change. BBC News

The internet regulator has approved plans to allow non-Latin-script web addresses, in a move that is set to transform the online world.

The board of Icann voted at its annual meeting in Seoul to allow domain names in Arabic, Chinese and other scripts.

More than half of the 1.6 billion people who use the internet speak languages with non-Latin scripts. It is being described as the biggest change to the way the internet works since it was created 40 years ago.
The first Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs) could be in use next year.

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नेपालमै सोलार कार

दीलिप पौडेल, बाग्लुङ,कात्तिक ११-

बाग्लुङस्थित अमृत आदर्श उच्च माविमा कक्षा १० मा अध्ययनरत १६ वर्षका कुशल केसीले सम्भवतः देशमै पहिलोपल्ट सोलारबाट चल्ने कार बनाएर गुडाएका छन्। उनले न कुनै तालिम लिएका छन्, न कुनै वैज्ञानिक वा प्राविधिकको सहयोग। उनले आफैं दिमाग लगाएर सोलारबाट चल्ने कार बनाएका हुन्।

पूरा पढ्नुहोस

About this journey: The beginning

I am studying at School of Renewable Energy Technology (SERT), Naresuan University, Phitsanulok, Thailand. After finishing my semester exams of the 1st semester last month, I traveled to some parts of Thailand and also to the capital city of Laos. I also started to think about my topic for my dissertation. I started searching relevant articles published in different journals/ periodicals, mainly in Science Direct.

After starting my studies at SERT, "facebooking" has become my number one hobby. It provides me platform to interact with a lot of friends and acquaintances at one go and gives me opportunity to learn something as well.
Recently, I see many friends doing "blogging". It seems like that blogging is a good way to share about own experiences, interests, feelings etc. with the rest of the world. So, today I decided to start blogging. Let's see how the journey moves ahead!!