Nissan Electric Car


Nissan Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn drove quietly out of the Japanese automaker's soon-to-open headquarters Sunday in the first public viewing of its new zero-emission vehicle.

It was the first time the external design was shown of Nissan Motor Co.'s environmentally friendly electric automobile, set to go on sale in Japan, the U.S. and Europe next year. The blue hatchback had a sporty design and a recharging opening in the front.

Designer Shiro Nakamura said the vehicle was designed to avoid a stereotypical futuristic design.

"This is not a niche car," he said. "We didn't make it unusual looking. It had to be a real car."
Nissan has promised that the Leaf, which goes into mass-production as a global model in 2012, will be about the same price as a gas-engine car such as the 1.5 million yen ($15,000) Tiida, which sells abroad as the Versa, starting at about $10,000.

Ghosn drove out on stage with former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi sitting next to him, and with a Yokohama governor and mayor in the rear seats.

"This car represents a real breakthrough," Ghosn told reporters and guests at a showroom in the new headquarters.

He said the new car and new office building in Yokohama, southwest of Tokyo, marked two fresh starts for Nissan, which hopes to take the lead in zero-emission vehicles.

Nissan, which has an alliance with Renault SA of France, has fallen behind Japanese rivals Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. in gas-electric hybrids that have become increasingly popular recently.

Nissan said the new 22-story headquarters was designed to be sufficiantly energy efficient to qualify as one of the most ecological buildings in Japan. The company, which is losing money amid the global downturn, is selling its old Tokyo headquarters as part of efforts to cut costs.

Koizumi said environmentally friendly auto technology is key to Japan's economic growth.
"It was so unexpectedly smooth and quiet," he said after getting out of the car. "I am sure this car is going to be popular."

via Yahoo! News


Did you know: Facts About Triclosan


Triclosan, an anti-bacterial fighting agent used widely in home products such as antibacterial hand-soap, toothpaste, laundry detergents, deodorants, fabric softeners, cosmetics and many other home products. Here some facts about triclosan you should know

- Triclosan, the leading germ-fighting compound in antimicrobial soaps, acts by destroying enzymes in bacteria cell walls so they cannot replicate; it targets the same enzyme as the antibiotic isoniazid, used to treat tuberculosis.

- In the United States, 75 percent of liquid soaps and nearly 30 percent of bar soaps now contain triclosan and other germ- fighting compounds, whose prevalence can foster the growth of bacterial resistance.

- A 2002 study by the U.S. Geological Survey found that triclosan and phthalates from antibacterial soaps and other detergents were polluting water bodies across the U.S. in low concentrations through waste water.

- Reports have suggested that triclosan can combine with chlorine in tap water to form chloroform gas, which the United States Environmental Protection Agency classifies as a probable human carcinogen. As a result, triclosan was the target of a UK cancer alert, even though the study showed that the amount of chloroform generated was less than amounts often present in chlorinated drinking waters.

- Tricolsan's widespread use increases the chances of harmful bacteria becoming resistant to the drug

- Triclosan can react with other chemicals to form dioxin and chloroform, which are known to be toxic

So choose your home products wisely. There are so many choices out there that you can avoid using triclosan-contained products. Plain soap and water are enough to fight germs and bacteria.


Cleaning Up Coasts and Estuaries


Keep a watch
Many inshore pollution incidents are the results of illegal dumping. Water belongs to all of us: reporting offenders help to prevent them repeating their actions.

Boycott polluters
A number of household products particularly paint and plastics can cause severe water pollution during manufacture. Although pollution may be within legal levels, it does not have to happen at all. It can be stopped by consumers boycotting persistent polluters.

Prevent pollution afloat
To protect the marine environment, boat-owners should dispose of rubbish on land. We do not have a right to pass on our rubbish to marine life.

Action on sewage
If you live in an area where sewage is disposed of by dumping it at sea, let the authorities in charge of waste disposal know that they should use land-based methods of disposal instead.

Do not use anti-fouling paints
These toxic paints, which are used to prevent encrustation of boat hulls, kill shellfish not only on boats but also around them. Responsible boat-owners should not use them.

Watch out for plastic hazards
Clear plastic is particularly dangerous to aquatic animals because it is invisible underwater. Fishing lines and the plastic retainers from packs of cans can strangle birds and seals. Picking it up will prevent this happening.


How to Help the Preservation of Rare Breeds


Buy local varieties
Buying local varieties of fruit and vegetables will help to prevent them being replaced by their standardized big-business counterparts.

Use a seed bank
Some organic farming and gardening associations maintain seed banks which preserve old varieties of cultivated plants for the future. Joining an association will allow you to grow and exchange unusual and valuable seeds.

Rare breeds preservation societies
A number of organizations now exist to safeguard the future of rare farm animal breeds.

Fuel Cells For Small Household Appliances


Fuel cell technology and research has come a long way since the early days. Fuel cells used to be large, bulky, and expensive to build and maintain. But this new generation is any but big and bulky. In fact, it is now possible to build fuel cells small enough to power nearly any small household appliance.

Fuel Cells for Everyday Use
With the development of these new small fuel cells could come a major evolution in portable power sources for small household appliances. Because fuel cells can now be made that are small and lightweight, they can make nearly any small appliance in your house cordless. I'm sure you can easily see the advantages of that!

Developing the Small Fuel Cell
While these types of applications were not exactly what the pioneers of fuel cell research had in mind, they are a natural offspring of the desire to make smaller, lighter, and more efficient fuel cell designs. First targeted towards green vehicles, researchers quickly realized that fuel cells could provide more power for a longer period of time than any battery technology currently available. This led to research towards putting fuel cells into cell phones and laptops - both products that use relatively large amounts of power and require a power source that is both small and light, and provides plenty of reserve electricity. A miniature fuel cell fits these requirements perfectly. The energy density obtainable using a liquid fuel source far exceeds even the best batteries in the same amount of space.


How To Reduce Water Pollution


Liquid detergents
The main problem with these is their phosphate content. Use phosphate-free or low-phosphate washing-up liquid if you can obtain. If not, try reducing the quantity you use.

Washing powders
No-one with a washing machine can avoid using these. However, try experimenting with reduced quantities-remember manufacturers have an interest in making you use more than is actually necessary.

Bleach and scouring powders
Again, the problem here is one of quantity. Very dilute bleach left to work for longer is just as effective as a strong solution poured away after a few minutes.

Water fresheners
Don't use them. They do not "freshen" water at all-rather they pollute it with synthetic perfumes and colors.

Garden chemicals
If you garden organically, using only natural products on the garden, you will avoid causing any water contamination.

DIY chemicals
None of these should ever be poured down a drain or sink. Pure cellulose wallpaper paste can go on the compost heap: other chemicals should be poured into a deep hole well away from plants.

Car cleaning and maintenance
The same rule applies here as for DIY chemicals - do not pour oil, battery acid or car polishes down the drain. Do not use detergents in excessive quantities.


The Direct Methanol Fuel Cell


The direct methanol fuel cell takes the low costs, direct-injection advantages of the hydrogen fuel cell, and couples it with the high energy density and high liquification temperature of petrochemicals. Because of this, methanol is an excellent alternative to both hydrogen and gasoline fuel cells. At least, it could be.

Limitations of the Direct Methanol Fuel Cell
The biggest problem with direct methanol fuel cells is their relatively low efficiency due to membrane permeation by the methanol, This phenomenon is called methanol crossover, and leads to sluggish responses to dynamic power requirement changes. In other words, if you stomp the accelerator, your car would be sluggish to respond due to the cell taking time to "ramp up" to the new required levels. There are also problems with managing the carbon dioxide produced as waste gas.
These problems make the methanol fuel cell a better choice for low power, long duration applications, such as personal electronics, cell phones, laptops, and the like. But with more time and research, direct methanol fuel cells could be a good solution to our current alternative fuel crisis. Cheaper to produce than gasoline fuel cells, much safer than hydrogen, and currently available for purchase, these direct methanol fuel cells may just be the wave of the future.