- Author: Kat Kerlin
- Contributor: Ann King Filmer
More than a decade ago, Ruihong Zhang, a professor of biological and agricultural engineering at the University of California, Davis, started working on a problem: How to turn as much organic waste as possible into as much renewable energy as possible.
Last week, on Earth Day, the university and Sacramento-based technology partner CleanWorld unveiled the UC Davis Renewable Energy Anaerobic Digester (READ) at the campus' former landfill. Here, the anaerobic digestion technology Zhang invented is being used inside large, white, oxygen-deprived tanks. Bacterial microbes in the tanks feast on campus and community food and...
- Author: Nate Seltenrich
- Editor: Ann Guy
Take a look at the nearest light switch: is it up or down? The answer means more than you think. When you flip a switch — or run a washing machine, or plug in a space heater — you’re creating demand. And on a vast, interconnected electrical grid like California’s, supply must always meet demand. Otherwise, it’s lights out.
For more than a century we’ve taken the balancing act between supply and demand for granted, and for the most part, it’s worked. To accommodate sudden spikes in demand, engineers overbuilt the grid with excess slack, including wires that were thicker than they needed to be and standby fossil-fuel power plants that could fire up at any instant.
But today our...
- Author: Marissa Palin
After just experiencing my first Davis summer, I find it hard to describe anything in Davis as cool. But according to Sierra Magazine, UC Davis is just that. So much so, that the school was recently named the #1 Coolest School in the nation. Granted, they weren’t talking about the weather. Instead, they were referring to UC Davis’ environmental stewardship.
With all that UC Davis does to create and promote environmentally friendly programs and facilities, it’s no wonder the university just...
- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
California’s role as an emerging world leader in the development of green energy technologies offers the state’s farmers the opportunity to diversify their cropping systems and increase their income.
Sacramento lawmakers have given the California Energy Commission an annual budget of $100 million to support the development of alternative and renewable low-carbon fuels. In addition, the State Alternative Fuels Plan set goals of reducing petroleum dependence by 15 percent and increasing alternative fuels use by 20 percent by 2020. These efforts are meant to help meet the growing fuel demands of the world population while reducing greenhouse gas emissions in California to 1990 levels.
“With the new mandates, there are new...
- Author: Sylvia Wright
Ten years ago, a California family's food-processing business was booming -- so much so that it was in danger of drowning in its own success. A new idea out of UC Davis helped them stay on top.
In 1983, Gills Onions had been asked by La Victoria Salsa to provide large quantities of high-quality, fresh-cut onions when no automated equipment and processes existed. With typical farmers’ "can do" attitude, brothers Steve and David Gill and their 16 employees developed a system to peel, slice, dice and deliver the first fresh-cut onions in the food processing industry.
By 2000, the Gills and their 400 employees were processing millions of pounds of sliced and diced...