Coordinated Chemistry Yields Green Solutions for More Efficient Gas Storage

Metal Organic Frameworks (commonly called MOFs) are intricate crystal structures that can store or separate individual elements in a highly efficient manner. MOFs are materials made by linking inorganic and organic units together with strong bonds formed through coordination chemistry. MOFs are not only leading the way in providing clean technology solutions, but are actively being explored by the energy, transportation, and pharmaceutical industries to deliver new applications (for energy storage).

Since the technology was introduced, scientists have found applications for gas separation and storage as well as other promising applications within the green industry. Framergy™ is a company on the cutting edge of this industry. Their new class of MOFs has been built from the nano-level to more closely mimic nature thereby leveraging the attributes of MOFs to increase working capacity and stability.

Because MOFs have the highest surface area known to man, extreme amounts of a selected element, like methane, can be separated and stored within them opening up new energy solutions for gas storage at low pressure.

MOFs began as a solution for the hydrogen vehicle. In 2012, framergy’s Chief Scientific Advisor and founder, Hong-Cai “Joe” Zhou of Texas A&M University was awarded his second highly selective ARPA-E award to develop MOFs for low-pressure vehicle storage of natural gas.

Once thought of as impossible, in less than two years, these exclusively licensed materials have increased performance (the selection, storage, and applicability) of MOFs through rational design, while reducing costs 4,000 fold. In addition, framergy has developed water and ACID-stable MOFs for industrial performance.


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Categories: Environment
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American Energy Sources

The terms energy and fuel are on our minds constantly, and you might find yourself wondering where does the energy come from.  Here is a quick list of some types of energy we have here in the US and some sources for it.

Nuclear Power

It may sound very scary, and after what happened to Fukushima a few years back, we may be a little apprehensive about it.  BUT, Nuclear Power is actually very clean and rather safe.  The accidents are very rare (one of the lowest if not the lowest in the energy industry) but the media likes to harp on them.  Nuclear Power produces lots of electrical energy for American consumers, such as those who get their power from Nine-Mile Point in New York.

Oil and Gas

One of America’s biggest industries.  Oil and gas are great boosts to the economy, and provide lots of jobs, and of course energy.  Drilling efforts are proceeding all over the United States, in order to provide consumers with energy, with the world’s most efficient source of it.  Companies such as Cunningham Energy drill horizontal shaft oil wells and focus on American drilling efforts and get all their oil from here in the US.

Wind Power

This form of energy has been around for a while (windmills anyone) and is expanding across the Midwest and West Coast of the United States.  Wind Power is used to generate electricity and requires lots of room in order to be able to operate, making it not ideal for urban areas.  Texas has been having an expansion of wind power, with the introduction of more wind farms such as The Roscoe Wind Farm, which is the third largest wind farm in the United States.

Solar Power

The power of the sun.  Solar energy uses sun absorbing panels in order to generate electricity, or heat certain areas.  In a few countries, solar panels are used to heat water for things like hot showers.  California is very involved in incorporating solar power into their energy use, and have just recently finished construction on the Ivanpah Solar Power Facility in San Bernardino.


The truth is without it what would we do?  Most other energy sources are specifically used for generating more electric energy.  Whether turning a light on, or your car on, electricity is needed everywhere.

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IKEA’s Green Efforts Lead to New Business Opportunities

The big, blue, reusable shopping bag is a nearly iconic symbol of greenness, but far beyond its long-standing policy of not using throw-away plastic bags, IKEA has also committed to aggressive measures to make itself as green as possible. Its strategy includes 100% reliance on sustainable, clean energy sources by 2020. IKEA also plans to provide affordable means for its consumers who are also interested in living greener lifestyles.

When IKEA looked into the future, it saw itself with a huge carbon footprint. It saw it was tied to energy sources with prices and availability that could neither be controlled nor accurately budgeted. So it tightened up.

IKEA warehouses became energy efficient by replacing HVAC units with newer, less wasteful ones. It also recycled construction materials, and made a major commitment to the LED light bulb by becoming the first major retailer to quit selling incandescent light bulbs. LED bulbs are now the bulb of choice because LEDs have a three-time greater life expectancy than even compact fluorescent bulbs. IKEA sells the LEDs at a moderate price because it feels sustainability should be financially in reach of everyone and that going green should not carry a premium.

Beyond the warehouse measures, IKEA also committed to protecting the wood forests from which it got supply. It now grows more trees than it uses. And IKEA has been educating its wood suppliers on sustainability and helping them maintain their forests. IKEA tries to manufacture more laminated wood furniture now than solid wood. While the look is the same, the price and carbon footprint are much lower.

To reach its goal of being more sustainable, IKEA has begun transitioning its stores to renewable energy sources. As the second largest private commercial solar owner in the United States, IKEA says that it will potentially have excess energy to sell to its consumers by 2020. Although becoming an energy supplier was not the reason for seeking energy self-reliance, IKEA sees the potential excess as an added bonus.

IKEA firmly believes the only companies that will survive the next 30 years are those that embrace resource sustainability. It is taking a firm stance and in doing so is creating new business opportunities for itself. This year customers in the U.K. can purchase solar cell panels in IKEA U.K. stores. If that market test is successful then U.S. customers will be next in line.

Categories: Energy
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Home Remedies to Get Rid of Spiders

Most people would rather not deal with a spider infested home. However, when an infestation occurs, it is important to know how to get rid of spiders. In addition to calling an exterminator, you also have the option of trying a number of different home remedies.

You may think that a vacuum cleaner is nothing but a noise maker, but if you really want to get rid of that family of spiders, crank up the sucking machine and point it in the direction of those unwanted guests. Insect repellant does not have to be expensive. In fact, you could easily put together your own concoction of 5 tablespoons of liquid soap, 5 tablespoons of citronella with a quart of water to create a spray that has been known to wipe out any spiders it comes in contact with.

If you prefer to work with a spray, you might want to try putting 1 quart of white distilled water and 1 teaspoon of coconut oil in a spray bottle. There are certain oils that react negatively to insects, so when you really need to get rid of spiders you might want to give them a try.

In case you did not already know, the powder known as Borax is extremely poisonous to pests. Therefore it serves as an excellent solution for getting rid of these long legged insects when sprinkled around certain areas of the home.

Although it may not kill them, it appears that spiders do not like certain kinds of citrus such as Osage Oranges. This may not work for every spider, however, a few slices of this particular kind of citrus has been known to send some spiders in the opposite direction.

If you appreciate the smell of Eucalyptus, then you are in luck, because this will not only make future spiders avoid your home like the plague, it also makes everything around you smell great. Considering the fact that this is nothing but a great smelling leaf, it is good to know that it has more than one purpose.

The smell of kerosene is as unpleasant for human beings as it will be for two generations of spiders, so if you are serious about finding new home remedies to get rid of spiders, do not forget to include this option. Remember that kerosene is flammable, but after a while the fumes will dissipate into thin air and you will no longer be at risk of starting a fire.

Categories: Home Improvement
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Innovation in US Aerospace

The aerospace and aviation sector in the United States is one of the most advanced in the world. While NASA has a long history of space exploration, these days there are numerous American companies beginning to experiment with space travel. Aerospace engineering companies like AERA, Armadillo Aerospace, Bigelow Aerospace, Blue Origin, Interorbital Systems, Orbital Sciences Corp. and others are now all involved in creating aircraft which are capable of safe and efficient space flights.

The U.S. is even holding a competition among private companies for the contract to deliver supplies to the international space station. The vision is that soon space travel will be a commercial enterprise completely funded by private companies and individuals. This has created a lot of excitement in the American aerospace industry.

More students are beginning to dream up new and better ways to go further into space and visit far away worlds. With the aging of the shuttle fleet, companies and private individuals are working on several simple, more cost-efficient ways to make round trips to the space station and other short jaunts into space. It is a great time to be a student of space travel in the U.S. After of few tragedies there is renewed interest and new successes to build on. Now traveling to other planets and exploring distant galaxies is again on the minds of American youngsters.

When it comes to aviation the United States has led the world in flight ever since Orville and Wilbur Wright took off in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The aviation industry is in near constant flux. Older airlines are merging and newer airlines are innovating to ensure the traveling public can get to distant cities quicker, safer and more economically. This has helped the U.S. aviation industry remain a world leader.

Aviation has long been an American strong suit. While other countries have focused on bullet train technology, in the United States people have long loved air travel. This is important because of the size of the American continent and the tendency of Americans to travel from one end of the country to the other for business and pleasure. The aviation industry makes it possible for college and professional athletes to compete in games all over the country and return home within hours after the games are over. Air travel is perfectly suited for extended families and the nomadic, rugged individual who has helped to build America.

Categories: Uncategorized
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Don’t Bring Back Bed Bugs from Your Hotel Stay!

Traveling can be a great break from everyday life and provide much needed rest and relaxation, but beware that you don’t bring home more than you bargained for when you return to real life.  Bed bugs are have unfortunately made a comeback in recent years and can be found in many hotels, despite efforts to exterminate the pests.  The first difficulty that they are tiny, less than a quarter of inch long as adults, and they love to hide in mattresses, bedding and furniture.  They only leave these clever hiding places at night, when they emerge to feed on humans, leaving itchy red and white welts.

Regrettably another one of their skills is hitching rides in clothing and suitcases, meaning a night in an infested bed could have lasting consequences.  To avoid this exact occurrence, University of Florida urban entomologists Phil Koehler and Roberto Pereira have come up with a list of travel tips:

  • Inspect your hotel room when you arrive. Check mattress seams and folds. Look for blood spots the size of a pencil point. Check behind the headboard as well. They can even lurk in a picture frame or in a popcorn ceiling.
  • If you see signs of bed bugs, demand another room, and inspect that one as well.
  • In the room, keep your suitcases away from furniture and walls until you finish your inspection. Keep your suitcase closed overnight and inside tightly sealed plastic garbage bags when you’re not using them. Keep your shoes and socks inside the plastic bag while you sleep. Bedbugs are attracted to the odor of feet.
  • When packing to leave, check your clothing and luggage for signs of the small insects. Check seams and folds carefully.
  • Back at home, immediately wash all your laundry from the trip in hot water, then machine dry on the highest setting for at least 20 minutes. Even if you don’t wash, putting possibly infested items into the dryer on high heat will kill bed bugs. Even dry-cleanable clothing can be put in driers if you don’t wet it first.

If these tips still fail you or you’ve already brought home some unwanted visitors, there are many companies that will help you get rid of bed bugs.  Unfortunately, there is nothing really available over the counter to handle the infestation because every bug has to be sprayed directly and it’s very hard to kill the eggs, so reinfestation is common. So as is the case with many things, prior prevention is the best method to ensure a safe and bed bug-free home.

Categories: Environment
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Bedbug Problem on the Rise

According to US News & World Report, bedbug infestations are increasing in the US, as well as other locations around the world. While bedbugs are clearly attracted to us, experts claim that the pests are actually difficult to detect.

The National Pest Management Association reports that about one in five people in America have either had a bedbug infestation in their home at some time, or know someone else who has.

Dr. Jorge Parada, medical director of the infection control program at Loyola University Health System in Maywood, Illinois warned that even if you haven’t seen bedbugs in your home, you should not assume that they aren’t there.

“Look closely because bedbugs are very hard to see,” Parada said in a university news release. “Bedbugs love to hide in the cracks and crevices associated with mattresses, cushions, bed frames and other structures. They are rarely seen out in the open or on the resting surface of beds or chairs.”

Parada added that bedbugs aren’t always visible when you look for them, so it’s important to look for signs of an infestation. Sometimes they are “described as appearing like an apple seed.” Young bedbugs are as small as one-sixteenth of an inch, and adult bedbugs typically measure less than a quarter of an inch.

Finding bedbug bites on your body is a clue that you may have an infestation. Bites are red and itchy, and may appear in a line on the skin. Still, some people do not develop an immediate reaction to bites, and others may not develop a reaction at all. The surest way to detect and eliminate an infestation is to call in the pros.

It is difficult to get rid of bed bugs on your own. Parada said that, “bedbugs are notoriously difficult to eradicate and there is good reason to get professional help from qualified pest professionals with expertise in treating bed bugs.”

Source: US News Health

Categories: Environment
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Schools Save on Energy

With bills growing and school budgets tightening, school districts are finding interesting new ways to save money. They’re saving energy.

Owatonna school district in Minnesota partnered with Texas-based Cenergistic (formerly Energy Education Inc) in 2011 to do just that. According to its company website, Cenergistic “builds customized, comprehensive, people-driven energy conservation programs that help organizations reduce their consumption of electricity, natural gas, fuel oil and water, allowing financial savings which can be invested in the lives of the people its clients serve, not utility companies.”

The district then hired Steve Stansberry, a former elementary school principal to get involved in the energy saving project and act as a part-time overseer. Stansberry meets with district officials once a week to brainstorm and discuss ideas, and works a few other half days during the week and on weekends. An important part of his role is to work on the weekends when he can observe school energy use at a time when it should be “shut down.”

“Our goal is to save the district a lot of money, and we are saving a lot of money,” he said.

Launched in May of 2011, the program run by Cenergistic has saved the district $264,096 in utility costs. The contract with Cenergistic spans over four years, and even with the expenses of the program and Stansberry’s payment, the school district has saved over $120,000.

Cenergistic will continue to provide services to the school district at no charge after the end of the four year contract. The company expects that over the next ten years, Owatonna school district will save about $2.7 million.

“It’s all behavioral change,” Stansberry said. “The program takes into account the differences in the climate, so if it’s a milder winter, they expect us to use less gas. This is a behavior-based program. It really looks at how you get teachers, custodians and cooks to think a little bit differently about their job.”

Categories: Energy
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Riverstone Investing $600M in Energy

Riverstone Holdings, LLC committed $600 million to Fieldwood Energy LLC, a Houston based company in the acquisition and development of oil and gas. The funds are expected to be used in the pursuit of assets in domestic basins.

This agreement is the second to be made between Riverstone and Fieldwood. A previous partnership between Riverstone and Fieldwood produced Dynamic Offshore Resources LLC in Houston, a subsidiary of SandRidge Energy Inc. which is based in Oklahoma City.

In a statement, Matt McCarroll, President and CEO of Fieldwood said that members of this former partnership will join Fieldwood’s new venture.

“We are confident that our focus on the acquisition and development of under-worked assets and under-capitalized companies will provide for an equally successful experience as our previous efforts,” he said.

To date, Riverstone has been active in the energy industry in Houston; the firm invested $200 million in Kerogen Energy Holdings LLC in September 2012.

Riverstone is a private equity firm focused in the energy and power sectors. Since the firm was co-founded in 2000 by Pierre Lapeyre and David Leuschen, Riverstone has committed around $20 billion worldwide with investments across North America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America.


Categories: Energy
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Kennedy Center Honors Lifetime Achievements

On Sunday, December 2, Hollywood stars, comedians, dancers, and musicians, brought their glamor and talent to the 35th Annual Kennedy Center Honors, celebrating the lifetime contributions of seven American performing artists. The yearly tradition, which takes place at the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington, D.C., is hosted by Caroline Kennedy, and produced by George Stevens Jr. and Michael Stevens. The duo has received three Emmy Awards for Outstanding Television Special for their work with the honors show. Together, they have received 19 Emmy Awards and 51 nominations.

This year’s honorees include blues artist Buddy Guy, actor and director Dustin Hoffman, rock band Led Zeppelin’s members John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, and Robert Plant, comedian and TV host David Letterman, and ballerina Natalia Makarova.

The honorees received medallions on the night prior to the gala, during a State Department dinner hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The night of December 2 began with a welcome reception at the White House where President Obama thanked the artists for their cultural contributions, and reminisced about the artistic influences in his own life. The program then continued at The Kennedy Center, where the President and First Lady sat in the presidential box with the night’s honorees, and other prominent individuals including Xerox CEO Ursula Burns, authors Doris Kearns Goodwin and Richard Goodwin, Connie Milstein, owner of the Jefferson Hotel.

The Honors have been a tradition since 1978, and past honorees include Katharine Hepburn, Paul Newman, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Clint Eastwood, Julie Andrews, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Martin Scorsese, Oprah Winfrey, Yo-Yo Ma, and Meryl Streep, among others. Honorees are chosen by the Board of Trustees based on the Kennedy Center’s national artists committee’s input and former honoree’s recommendations. The Board of Trustees hopes to select a diverse group, across a variety of artistic disciplines.

Other notable guests from this year’s gala include Nancy Pelosi, Naomi Watts, Robert De Niro, Alec Baldwin, and Morgan Freeman. The gala will be broadcast to the public on CBS on Dec. 26.

Sources: Washington Post, TIME, CNN

Categories: Entertainment
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