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761     2017-08-25    “Behind-the-Meter” Battery Systems Help Distributed Energy Grow Rapidly.

Advanced Microgrid Solutions (AMS) is creating the first fleet of Hybrid Electric Buildings in the world, turning portfolios of commercial and industrial buildings into virtual power plants for Southern California Edison. AMS is equipping these large buildings with banks of batteries that charge from the grid when power is in low demand (and cheap) and switch over to battery power when demand increases, reducing strain on the grid. Its work for Southern Cal Edison includes the retrofitting of 24 large commercial buildings owned by the Irvine Company with hybrid-electric-battery storage systems. The batteries are connected to software that regulates energy use. The first 13 buildings are now online, with the rest due late 2017. Overall, AMS is building more than 100 megawatts of utility-facing behind-the-meter battery systems. PowerSecure, the provider of a 1.5-gigawatt fleet of backup power systems at grocery stores, data centers and military bases across the country, has recently announced a partnership with AMS in a strategic alliance to combine each company’s particular strengths.

Reference(s):   (Fast Company, June 2017,   )
Link(s)*: advanced-microgrid-solutions-partners-with-powersecure   https://      

761     2017-08-25    World Bank Issues Pandemic Bonds to Support Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility.

The World Bank has issued $425m in pandemic bonds to support its new Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF), which is intended to channel funding to countries facing a deadly disease. The bonds cover six viruses likely to spark outbreaks: new influenza viruses, coronaviruses (like SARS and MERS), filoviruses (like Ebola), Lassa fever, Rift Valley fever and Crimean Congo fever. Investors forgo their principal when a virus reaches a predetermined contagion level, based on rate of growth, number of deaths and whether it crosses international borders. The facility covers 77 of the world’s poorest countries. Using bonds to insure against crisis is not a new idea. Catastrophe bonds, a $29bn market, provide coverage against hurricanes and earthquakes. But this is the first time that pandemic risk has been transferred to financial markets. Buyers ranged from specialized catastrophe-bond investors to pension funds.

Reference(s):   (The Economist,   )
Link(s)*: creates-new-form-finance-pandemic-bonds-new-idea         

761     2017-08-25    Arkansas Farmer Plants Non-GMO Cotton to Choke Weeds and Return to Profitability.

Arkansas farmer Nathan Reed was fighting to stay in business but no matter how he did the math, his greatest expense always came down to the glaring cost of biotech seed. With an eye on cost control, he began switching portions of his ground to non-GMO production supported by a minimum till cover crop scheme, and the change led to farm-wide profitability. Reed estimates he saves $80 per acre with non- GMO cotton versus biotech cotton. He pays $25-$30 for non-GMO seed, treats it with Staple LX and sprays for worms, which brings his total to $75-$80. He then tries to push those savings toward $100 to $120 per acre. The cereal rye cover reduces water use by 30%-50% and saves a significant amount of fertilizer use. in addition to choking Palmer amaranth weeds. In addition, Reed is almost no till and the elimination of deep ripping saves $10-$12 per acre.

Reference(s):   (Agweb, 2017,   )
Link(s)*: article/driven-by-dollars-to-non-gmo-seed-naa-chris-bennett         

760     2017-08-18    Painless Microneedle Patch Offers Do-It-Yourself Influenza Vaccinations.

Do-it-yourself vaccination may be on its way thanks to researchers at the University of Maryland and the Georgia Institute of Technology. In the first test in adults, a Band-Aid‒like patch studded with dissolving microneedles safely and effectively delivered a dose of influenza vaccine. People using the patch had a similar immune response to the flu vaccine as those who received a typical flu shot, researchers report. And nearly all of the patch users described the experience as painless. The patch eliminates the need for safe needle disposal, and since it is stable at room temperature for at least a year, it doesn’t require refrigeration, unlike other vaccines. So, it could eventually end up on pharmacy shelves, making vaccination more akin to picking up aspirin than visiting a doctor. The patch could make delivering vaccines in developing countries easier, too, the researchers say.

Reference(s):   (Science News, 2017,   )
Link(s)*:  https://    https://      

760     2017-08-18    Aided by Blockchain, 300 Community RE Projects Now Operating in Scotland.

In Scotland, more than 300 community renewable energy projects up to 10MW in size are in operation, allowing consumers to generate their own energy by investing in solar panels and micro-wind turbines. Blockchains, open distributed ledgers of transactions, are emerging as an important technology for tackling community energy issues and the integration of renewable energy such as the projects in Scotland. Blockchains operate in a decentralized way, allowing individual consumers to trade energy with each other. This removes the need for an intermediary utility company, thus assuring competition is fair. Blockchains ensure that the energy supply is traceable and that demand in one area is met by locally sourced renewable energy, where feasible. This peer-to-peer electron trading reduces carbon footprints and keeps revenues in the community.

Reference(s):   (Community Energy Scotland, 2017,   )
Link(s)*:  http://         

760     2017-08-18    Tribal Restaurateur Directs Profits to Reservation Incubator “IndigeHub.”

Bleu Adams, born and raised on the Navajo Reservation, has made it in the business world of urban Utah with her two Black Sheep restaurants in Provo and Salt Lake City. Along with her brother, who's the head chef in one of the Black Sheep kitchens, Adams has made a life out of selling a unique blend of Native American- inspired food to people who may have never tasted it before. Now she's channeling her success back to the place where she grew up. Adams is spending her profits on setting up a place on the reservation — a business incubator called "IndigeHub," where others can learn how to use computers and get their businesses going. "I want to create a place where people can go and have access to state of the art equipment — computers, iPads, and programs, everything from Word to Adobe Photoshop," she said. "And get mentorship on how to use that, and basic skills like how to write a resume, all the way up to how to write a business plan.” The James Beard Foundation in New York, a renowned non-profit culinary arts group, is flying Adams to Boston for their "Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership Program," so she can learn from and help teach aspiring restaurateurs.

Reference(s):   (KSL, 2017,   )

759     2017-08-11    Berlin’s “Hand in Hand” Builds a Bridge Between Arabic Newcomers and German Society.

In Berlin, a group of refugees and locals have come up with a different approach on how to build a bridge between Arabic newcomers and the German society. They believe that by providing the same information to the Arabic speaking newcomers in Berlin that every Berliner already has access to, people can take integration into their own hands and build a partnership with locals on eye-level. So they created “Eed be Eed,” or “Hand in Hand,” as an Arabic guide to everyday life and culture in Berlin. The online version of “Eed be Eed" is already live translating a few articles into German so far. Informative videos are also available on a Youtube channel and Facebook page. The next goal is to distribute a free printed magazine on a regular basis: to be exact, 10,000 copies each month for the tens of thousands of people in the 128 shelters all over Berlin. Fundraising efforts are underway and the sponsors note that anyone can help support “Hand in Hand”: “young, old, German, foreign. blonde or dark haired, tall or short. You can even have tiny hands!”

Reference(s):   (Start Next, 2017,   )

759     2017-08-11    Kiverdi Uses Microbes to Turn CO2 Into Protein, High Value Oils, and Fish Feed.

Kiverdi, a Hayward California enterprise, is commercializing a technology that uses a special class of chemoautotrophic microbes to transform carbon dioxide and other gases into protein, high-value oils, and bio-based products which can be used in a variety of applications from everyday consumer goods to industrial products and fish feed. One project involves the commercialization of an aquaculture feed derived from carbon dioxide that will not only serve as a sustainable food for fish, but it also offers fish farmers a clean feed alternative that has the right amino acid profile for healthy fish, without the contaminants or negative environmental impacts of sourcing increasing amounts of fishmeal to meet the growing demand. Kiverdi envisions a world where carbon is treated as a resource and where it can be recycled back into products consumed everyday. All of its products are manufactured using carbon dioxide. One ton of protein is produced from 2 tons of recycled carbon dioxide while one ton of oil recycles 6 tons of carbon dioxide.

Reference(s):   (Kiverdi, 2017,   )

759     2017-08-11    Canadian-Indian Team Develops App-Based, Low-Cost Mobile Water Test Kit.

Scientists from Canada and India have teamed to develop Mobile Water Kit (MWK): a smartphone compatible low-cost water monitoring system for rapid detection of total coliform and E. coli. The test method comprises a set of custom chemical reagents that serve as colorimetric or fluorometric chemo-sensors, syringe filter units and a smartphone platform that would serve as the detection/analysis system. The MWK has preliminarily been tested for its selectivity, sensitivity and accuracy, with drinking water samples of known concentrations of bacteria. During field trials conducted in Canada and India, results were confirmed with conventional laboratory methods. For one of the field samples, the MWK was able to detect the total coliform within 35 seconds which is faster than any rapid test methods available in the market. This new technology can dramatically improve the response times for the outbreak of water-borne diseases and will help water managers and individuals to assess the quality of water sources.

Reference(s):   (Royal Society of Chemistry, 2104,   )
Link(s)*:! divAbstract         

758     2107-08-04    Vermont’s Pay For Performance Model for Health Care Now Phases In.

Traditionally, doctors and hospitals are paid for each procedure, treatment or test they provide. But critics say this “fee for service” system drives up costs and harms patients by pushing providers to do as much as possible, regardless of whether it benefits patients. Under Vermont’s plan, to be phased in through 2022, health plans would pay doctors and hospitals based on how well they care for their patients and contain costs, rather than on the volume of services they provide. Some health care plans, public and private, have been experimenting with “pay for performance” systems for more than a decade. But Vermont’s experiment is the most ambitious, aiming to cover 70 percent of the state’s residents (excluding those who are in out-of- state employer-sponsored plans), whether they are beneficiaries of Medicare, Medicaid or commercial health insurance. John Brumsted, CEO of the University of Vermont Medical Center, the state’s largest health system, said the shift to pay-for-performance is long overdue. “What we’re doing is finally aligning the business model with the mission of improving population health,” Brumsted said.

Reference(s):   (PBS, 2017,   )
Link(s)*:  http://         

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Sustainable Practices is a weekly information service, which has been highlighting innovations in technology, social, and governance models, and sustainable best practices since 2000. It is compiled from publicly available sources and provided by David Schaller, 520-665-1767,