Video: Making your own biodiesel [MAKE Magazine]

How to make a small batch (around a liter) of biodiesel

Duration: 4min 3sec

Make your own backyard biodiesel. It’s easy to make a small batch that will work in any diesel engine. You won’t need any special equipment–an old juice bottle will serve as the “reactor” vessel–and on such a small scale, you can quickly refine your technique and perform further experiments.

There are a few videos in this post on how to proceed to the larger batches.

Related Posts:
12 Days of Xmas – 8 fuels combusting
Vegan purists displeased with chicken fat biodiesel
Top 10 Movies that Use Appropriate/Renewable Technologies
Biodiesel Time with Steve

Great Resource:
How to Build a Biodiesel ‘Appleseed’ Reactor

Help AIDG win $500,000 through American Express' Members Project

Help AIDG win $500,000 through the AMEX Member's Project

AIDG’s project “AID-Lab: Life-Changing Tech for the World’s Poor” is a contestant in American Express’ Members Project. We signed up late last night so we’re way behind in nominations. You can help us win $500,000 (2nd prize) or a whopping $1.5M (1st Prize) by doing the following:

1) Visit

2) Login and nominate “AID-Lab: Life-Changing Tech for the World’s Poor”

If you aren’t already an AMEX card holder, you’ll need to sign up.

All votes need to be in by September 1st.

Help us spread the word and as always thanks for helping us keep the dream alive!!

Video: State of the Economy [GOOD Magazine]

A rather dark and apocalyptic video/transparency from the folks over at GOOD Magazine.

Duration: 4min 7sec

If we’re addicted to oil, our twelve-step program should begin with admitting that we have a problem. As the price of oil creeps higher, finding new energy sources is more important than ever. But the search for alternatives, combined with environmental disruptions, is putting new pressures on other essentials like food. There are some things that are going well in the world. Right now, the economy is not one of them.

The doom and gloom music is “Genesis” by Justice.

Also from Good Magazine:

A short history of black gold, from the ancient Persian army’s flaming oil-dipped arrows to today’s piercing pain at the pump.

Oil: A Short History
Oil: A Short History

Larger version

Event: Social Capital Markets Conference [Oct 2008, SF]

Social Capital Markets Conference 2008

Social Capital Markets Conference
Date: October 13-15, 2008
Location: Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, California
William Foote | ROOT CAPITAL, Tim Freundlich | GOOD CAPITAL, Debra Dunn | SKOLL FOUNDATION, Tim Brown | IDEO, Sasha Dicher | ACUMEN FUND, Premal Shah | KIVA, Paul Polack | IDE, Jill Chen | GRAMEEN FOUNDATION, Robert Annibale | CITIGROUP, Matthew Bishop | THE ECONOMIST, Jed Emerson | BLENDED VALUE, Raul Pomares | GUGGENHEIN PARTNERS, Alvaro Rodriguez | IGNIA CAPITAL, Dave Chen | EQUILIBRIUM CAPITAL, Charly and Lisa Kleissner | KL FELICITAS FOUNDATION, Carla Javits | REDF, Andrew Kassoy | B-Lab, Jim Polan | OPIC, Wayne Silby | CALVERT, Betsy Zeidman | MILKEN INSTITUTE, R. Paul Herman | HIP INVESTOR INC., Unitus,, Merrill, IFC, USAID, Gray Matters, Zero Divide, Adina, Better World Books, Federal Reserve of San Francisco, United Nations Development Programme, etc. etc.

Organization: $1395.
Individual: $1195.

40% off individual and organization rates until August 25th
Use code scm040
• • •

MBA Students: Special rates exist for MBA Students interested in serving as volunteers, or as “Connection Concierges” to help attendees understand the landscape and meet others at the event. For more info, email info [at} xigimedia {dot] net.

Social Capital Markets 2008 (SoCap08) brings together the entrepreneurs who want to change the world, and the sources of capital that want to make it happen.

Social capital. Doing well by doing good. Making money make change. Philanthrocapitalism. Whatever you call it, it’s the emerging approach of harnessing the power of capital to support a new breed of smart, innovative entrepreneurs committed to changing the world in big, meaningful ways.

At SoCap08, investors and entrepreneurs will:

  • Gain the insight to better understand and leverage opportunities
  • Build the relationships and networks to accelerate momentum
  • Join and build a community that’s part of something big, important—and growing fast.

Highlights of the event include:

  • First national conference bringing together the broad ecosystem of investors and entrepreneurs
  • World-class speakers, including investors, entrepreneurs, and the organizations who support them
  • “Social Capital 101” track for those new to this arena
  • Innovative “connection concierges” to help you find the people you most want to meet
  • Entrepreneur Showcase highlights exceptional organizations building sustainable businesses with an impact



After the two days of structured sessions and receptions, there will be a special “open space” workshop day, designed to bring together all of those from the conference who want to coalesce around action. Participants in this followup “unconference” will be able to partner in real time with others from different arenas to determine what can be accomplished in the coming year.

Anyone can attend the 3rd day’s unconference for a nominal fee that will cover munchables.

Thanks @jerrymichalski for the extra info.

Video: Let's Switch to 100% Renewable Electricity [We campaign]

You’ve likely seen this ad from the We Campaign if you’ve been slavishly watching the Olympics (congrats Michael Phelps, Nastia Liukin, et al!). In case you haven’t…


Duration: 1min

The ad, entitled “Switch,” features Americans of all backgrounds – rural and urban, blue collar and white collar – making the change from fossil fuels to cleaner, renewable forms of energy by symbolically “turning on” a giant, 25-foot light switch.

Related Posts:
So how do we get to Gore’s 100% renewable? Part 1
Link of the Day 011508: A Solar Grand Plan [Scientific American]
Think of the Penguins (and meerkats and anteaters and orangutans)
Google’s plans for philanthropy

Link of the Day 080208: MIT profs take us a bit closer to hydrogen energy storage method for solar

MIT researchers have made a discovery they claim will allow solar panels to make hydrogen and oxygen gas that can be stored and used to power a fuel cell when the sun is not out.
“MIT researchers have made a discovery they claim will allow solar panels to make hydrogen and oxygen gas that can be stored and used to power a fuel cell when the sun is not out.”

From MIT’s Technology Review:

Researchers [Daniel Nocera and Matthew Kanan] have made a major advance in inorganic chemistry that could lead to a cheap way to store energy from the sun. In so doing, they have solved one of the key problems in making solar energy a dominant source of electricity.

Daniel Nocera, a professor of chemistry at MIT, has developed a catalyst that can generate oxygen from a glass of water by splitting water molecules. The reaction frees hydrogen ions to make hydrogen gas. The catalyst, which is easy and cheap to make, could be used to generate vast amounts of hydrogen using sunlight to power the reactions. The hydrogen can then be burned or run through a fuel cell to generate electricity whenever it’s needed, including when the sun isn’t shining.

For you primary source loving types – their research paper’s abstract:

The utilization of solar energy on a large scale requires its storage. In natural photosynthesis, energy from sunlight is used to rearrange the bonds of water to O2 and H2-equivalents. The realization of artificial systems that perform similar “water splitting” requires catalysts that produce O2 from water without the need for excessive driving potentials. Here, we report such a catalyst that forms upon the oxidative polarization of an inert indium tin oxide electrode in phosphate-buffered water containing Co2+. A variety of analytical techniques indicates the presence of phosphate in an approximate 1:2 ratio with cobalt in this material. The pH dependence of the catalytic activity also implicates HPO42– as the proton acceptor in the O2-producing reaction. This catalyst not only forms in situ from earth-abundant materials but also operates in neutral water under ambient conditions.

Why this a big deal

  • A major limitation of solar power is that solar cells produce peak power for only a few hours during the day.
  • A major limitation to using hydrogen derived from water as fuel is how energy intensive hydrolysis is and the price and rarity of necessary catalysts.
  • Nocera’s discovery uses cheap, earth abundant materials as a catalyst and offers a distributed way of storing solar energy for use at night.

Bonus: Nocera is making the technology open source.

“I’m open-sourcing this to let everybody run with it,” he said. “My plan is that when people see it, they’ll see it’s easy to do and they’ll start working it.”

Podcast interview with Nocera from Science Magazine
The Nocera Lab at MIT

Related Posts:
A 60 MPG Greasecar hydrogen hummer hybrid
Link of the Day 022108: Net Metering FAQ
Link of the Day 011508: A Solar Grand Plan [Scientific American]

via PCH and Frans J.