Wind turbine blades currently have some challenges that impact their cost effectiveness. First, most wind blades are made of fiberglass, and the molds to manufacture these blades cost millions of dollars to acquire. Transporting the massive manufactured blades also poses a challenge as they cannot be assembled on site. Furthermore, fiberglass places limitations on the size of the rotor diameters, which means the turbines are smaller and heavier so they are less able to capture wind at lower wind speeds in places such as the US Midwest.
The US Department of Energy's advanced research projects agency (ARPA-E) project aims to address these limitations by researching and developing architectural fabrics in lieu of conventional fiberglass. These tough, flexible fabrics would be tension-wrapped around a metal frame and specially designed to meet wind blade operations’ demands as well as allow for easy maintenance. The project will span three years and be comprised of a team from US electrics company GE, Virginia Tech University and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
If successful, these advancements in blade technology will enable larger, lighter turbines that allow tapping previously unsuitable moderate wind speed markets. The new approach also has the potential to overcome earlier manufacturing and transportation limitations since the wind turbine components can be built and put together on site. According to GE, this new blade design could reduce blade costs 25%-40%, making wind energy as economical as fossil fuels without government subsidies.
Expanding wind capabilities and lowering its costs as an energy source represents forging a course towards a clean energy future.
Social and charitable giving has become a standard practice among most successful businesses today, with a growing trend towards charitable contribution programs that distinguish a business and its service offering within its industry.
Carbonfund.org business partner Nice Touch Communications (NTC), based in New York City, was an early leader in charitable giving programs with its Telecom for Charity initiative. NTC is a sales and consulting firm that has been providing voice and data solutions for over 15 years, and they launched Telecom for Charity in 2008. NTC works with businesses, non-profits, charities and other organizations to provide top tier telecom services while also donating 5% of each customer’s monthly telecom bill to their selected charity through the Telecom for Charity program.
Telecom for Charity (T4C) provides its business customers with the opportunity to support Carbonfund.org right from their monthly telecom bill. As a result, NTC clients and their employees are contributing back to society simply by going about their daily business of making phone calls and using the Internet. Every time a phone call is made, or a webpage is visited, Telecom for Charity customers are adding to their monthly support donations to Carbonfund.org. But the donations do not increase monthly costs; the donations come directly from Telecom for Charity and NTC, made on behalf of each business customer. To date, Telecom for Charity has donated almost $2600 to Carbonfund.org.
"We wholeheartedly believe in what Carbonfund.org is doing; and feel our program can be a great way to generate support with minimal effort for a long time to come," says Jay Frank, Program Director for Telecom for Charity.
For prospective customers and any CarbonFree® Business Partner interested in telecom services, Telecom for Charity offers its “Every Day is Earth Day” promotion. T4C will make a donation to mitigate 2.5 metric tonnes of carbon emissions to Carbonfund.org, supporting carbon reduction and clean air project innovation, with no obligation to the prospective customer, just for talking to T4C about their telecommunications environment and telecom needs.