Results tagged “Environment”

Recently I've purchased a new battery for my mobile phone. To get the most out of it I wanted to refresh my knowledge, how to treat this new energy pack correctly to keep it alive for as long as possible.

When looking on the internet I was first presented with lots of technical information, how they work et cetera, but nowhere I found immediately how to handle them for maximum lifetime, at least not in easily understandable terms.

So I decided to create a small list of handling tips for the different technologies of accumulators.

NiCd (Nickel-Cadmium), NiMh (Nickel-Metal-Hydrite)

Nickel-based batteries should be "primed" by applying a ~16h charge after purchasing. If not done, it won't cause harm but the full capacity will not be available initially (but increase with usage).

It is not necessary to use up the whole charge before recharging every time, but this should be done every 1 - 3 months to prevent memory effect. For NiMh batteries it is even advisable to not use up all the charge as a depletion wears down the battery faster. It is still necessary to counter the memory effect from time to time. Recharging should happen without interruptions and overcharging (by leaving the the pack in the charger after being fully charged) causes harm to the battery.

When the battery is not used for some time manufacturers suggest a 40% charge for storage altough it is possible to store them full or completely discharged. But more important is to store them in a cool place.

LiIon (Lithium-Ion)

LiIon batteries do not need to be prepared for usage and can be used instantly out-of-the-box.

These type of batteries is quite forgiveable to common usage. Altough it should be avoided to deplete it completely, it may be necessary to perform a full charge-discharge-cycle if charge-indicators get inaccurate readings. When charging, it is under normal conditions not possible to overcharge, so leaving them in the charger is possible. Best performance can be expected, if the charge is kept in the range of 40%-80%.

LiIon should be stored at 40% and under cool conditions. If storing for a long time, recharge to 40% from time to time. If left until uncharged, internal protection circuits may fail and render the battery unusable (or even unsafe).


Today I was walking through our buildings when a thought came into my mind as I was looking at workplaces where the people were not present at that time.

What I was looking at was an empty chair, a desk and a laptop standing on it. In our company we have standardized laptops and system images which are centrally managed and maintained (altough it needs some user-interaction to activate the regular updates). This one was nothing different and so I saw it lying idle with the brand new corporate screensaver we had to install a few weeks ago.

Maybe it has something to do with our corporate image update but it is one of those screensavers which display our company name and different slogans fully 3D animated all the time. When I stepped nearer to the laptop I heard it's cooling fans running at full speed and hovering my palm over its keyboard reveiled it to be emitting quite some warmth.

"What the..." I thought, these things normally are silent all the time even when the user is doing some heavy-duty work, so I kept my eyes open for other lonely laptops and desktops. And really, all computers which were "idle" and had the default screensaver activated were running at maximum fan cooling, while the rest of it, being used by people, were cool and silent.

Can it really be that a company (incidentially or not) increases it's energy footprint when no one is at work? I mean, the power consumption is low when all people are in and busy and it is high when no one is working (for example at night) and the computers are coping with tedious screensavers.

I see a large possibility of energy savings there... Well, I also suspect the screensaver being just thrown together with some lousy .scr-creator or just showing a (HD-quality) video because I cannot imagine these few fade-in effects needing that much brute calculation force that it heats up our computers so enormously.

So please headquarter, turn off this screensaver which just costs us more money than it brings us PR at our customers and in office. And honestly, it's disturbing and nobody looks at it anyway.

I occassionaly see other potential savings too, like opened windows and air conditioning at full power or using air condition to cool down rooms in the morning instead of just opening windows for a few minutes, but these are topic for another rant sometime...


Hm, maybe the screensaver IS intentionally and annoying, so that people turn off their screens when they aren't working on their computers. In that case I would have to rethink if the increased consumption of the computer is compensated by the deactivated screen...)



A few days ago I acquired another small gem: a pack of 8 eneloop NiMH rechargeables.

The cool attribute of those nice little white energy-sticks (AA/Mignon size, 2000mAh) is their extremely low self-discarging rate. SANYO claims that its eneloop rechargeables still hold 85% of their charge after one year and 70% after two years. This makes it possible to use rechargeables in places where they sit for a long time without recharging like flashlights, remotes and radios.

I bought my pack to have a reliable and reusable energy source for my Wiimotes which is also more enviroment-friendly than regular batteries or rechargeables. What's even a bit surprising and nice is that the eneloops were even cheaper than most of the rechargeables which were available at the store I bought them (


The 4th Assessment Report from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change) is ready. And politics from all over the world, from Bush to Chiraq, are talking about how important it is to protect the environment and lower the emissions into the air. I really hope that people are catching up to the necessary actions which are needed to minimize the impacts our anti-environmental behavior has already caused. The new Assessment Report results are almost in all aspects worse than from the last one in 2001. Temperatures will rise faster, impacts will be greater and all such sorts of bad news. A summary of the report can be found here.

I hope that the changes needed are now more possible to happen and happen fast after this report is out now...


Well, Katrina (Wikipedia link, article currently under rapid change) has caused massive devastation in southern US.

This is an almost unbelievable human tragedy for all people in that region and has a large impact to the whole world.

But I'm still missing some news or articles what ultimately causes the increase in environmental disasters in the last years and decades. No one (at least to my knowledge) has yet combined the effects of global warming on the roots of Katrina. It is well known, although many are still unaware of what that really means for us, that the global warming heavily affects nature and weather. Global warming increases the likelihood of disasters.

Global warming is greatly aided by the US' ignorance of environmental protection, see the US and Australia rejection, so in a sarcastic way one can say that the great industry nations are now a step closer on environmental suicide. It's somehow their own fault, although we all have to suffer for those faults.


Today I stumbled over two new(?) techniques to produce energy for the world. One large scale the other one tiny scale but both quite interesting: - Solar Stirling engine in Power Plant - Micro jet engine in your mobile phone

I think, the jet-type is the cooler one but the Stirling type is the more interesting one. You also can - Buy a stirling engine - or build your own

But both are nothing compared to my homemade nuclear reactor, har har!


Strange thing, I've written this article during my vacation and what happened a short time after I were back?

  • Power outage in America

  • Blackout in Great Britain

I swear, I have nothing to do with that! But could it be that I have somehow received a subconscious message? Can I feel the future? Or am I just thinking of too many things at once?
But this confirms my general paranoia somewhat.

Let's go on with the stuff that comes out of the wall. Sorry, that it's a bit outdated, but this is the way I thought BEFORE the power shortages happened.

Energy and Power
Energy consumption is increasing. The modern world as we know it today is not able to survive a single day without electrical power. Computers, fridges, even vehicles could not work and the modern economy would sink into chaos within a few hours. People today don't think about, how they are addicted to electrical energy. In the year 2000 more than 50 percent of the produced electricity relied on prehistoric energy carriers as oil and coal (see IEA Fact Sheet). As we all (hopefully) know, these reources will be depleted within the next few decades. I think it doesn't matter if they last for 40 years or for 80 years, estimations vary, in the end the result will be the same. If we begin to plan new energy production techniques THEN, it'll be too late. Luckily, today many people and companies already have realized this and are researching in areas of alternate power production technologies.

One of the most promising inventions seems to be the fuel cell. But this is only part of the solution as this lessens the need of not-renewable energy-sources only on the consumer side. The hydrogen has also to be produced and this production also needs energy. It can be produced in several ways and for the most effective technique the only thing (besides water) is electrical power (which currently is produced using oil or coal). One may ask, where the sense behind converting electricity intro hydrogen just to make a bit less electricity out of it (because there are some leaks in the conversion processes). Well, electricity has one very important flaw: It can't be stored effectively.
Hydrogen can.

In the future, when fossil materials are depleted, alternate sources of electrical power for hydrogen production will have their peak time. This will be the era of solar power plants, wind parks and biomass-reactors. And the best of all is, that the resources which are needed for them are not available in only special parts of the world (as it is today) but evenly distributed all over the globe. Everyone can take advantage of them.
This opens the opportunity to an all-new world order, with more democracy than we can imagine today. Ever noticed how often the force of a country is tied to it's access to resources? Think of America. Cut the pipeline and say bye bye.

In the days to come everyone can sell the power he produces and the 'energy-sellers' of today have to fit more into the role of distributors than producers. This conversion has to be a global process because the main source of power in the future will be solar power and the sun only enlightens 50 percent of our globe. The other side will have to live from the hydrogen it has produced over the day.

The main beneficiaries of the change to alternate energy will be the poor countries. Many of them have large, unused surface which then can be used to build huge, cheap photovoltaic power plants for example. Today's large power companies will rely on many little electricity producers instead of fossil resources under their control. Today the countries with the most resources under their control play the big roles in world politics, countries with less resources (or the opportunity to use this resources) have small roles, even if in sum they overweight the big ones.

Perhaps, if political influence keeps tied to resource-access, the whole world will be politically re-ordered and can become more democratic in the future because, as said before, the access to alternate energy sources is largely evenly divided all across the world.

Some links:
How biomass works
How electricity grids work