Mercedes-Benz Energy and Vivint Solar Team Up to Bring Automotive Battery Innovation to the U.S. Residential Solar Market

Exclusive collaboration marks entrance of Mercedes-Benz Energy products into U.S. market

Mercedes-Benz Energy and Vivint Solar (NYSE: VSLR) today announced an exclusive strategic collaboration to bring the Mercedes-Benz customizable home energy storage system to the U.S. The two companies will introduce a joint offering that will provide customers with the German engineering and performance of Mercedes-Benz batteries coupled with Vivint Solar’s expertise in designing, installing and servicing solar energy systems.

For Vivint Solar, which has a proven track record of installing solar energy systems in more than 100,000 homes across the U.S., this is the first collaboration to integrate batteries with its offering. This will also be Mercedes-Benz Energy’s first collaboration with a U.S. solar provider, bringing its premium, high-performance, road-tested technology for home use to the residential battery market. These storage systems are made to Mercedes-Benz quality standards and based on the same automotive-grade battery technology used in its electric and hybrid vehicles.

“As Mercedes-Benz electrifies its vehicle fleet, solar plus storage is essential to enable those vehicles to be powered by clean energy,” said Boris von Bormann, CEO of Mercedes-Benz Energy Americas, LLC. 

“With batteries featuring the best in automotive engineering from Mercedes-Benz, and high-quality solar energy systems from Vivint Solar, our solution allows customers to take the next step toward a sustainable energy future. The launch of our home battery system in Europe has been successful and we are thrilled to be working with Vivint Solar to bring a reliable and compelling solar plus storage offering to American homes.”

Mercedes energy
With energy storage to complement rooftop solar, Vivint Solar customers will be able to have more control over the renewable energy they generate. In addition to providing a backup power source if the grid goes down, the new combined solution may help customers reduce energy costs. For instance, in areas with time-of-use electricity rates, customers can store excess solar energy produced by the system during the day in the batteries and then consume it during periods of peak energy usage in the evening and at night when electricity rates are typically higher.


Each energy storage system will consist of modular 2.5 kWh batteries that can be combined to create a system as large as 20 kWh, making it easy to scale and tailor energy storage systems to individual customer profiles. Vivint Solar will customize each system based on the customer’s individual energy consumption needs, providing consumers with an important tool to help them manage their energy costs while utilizing clean energy.

“The choice to work with Mercedes-Benz Energy, a world-class innovator in energy storage, was an easy one,” said David Bywater, CEO of Vivint Solar. “We believe their energy storage system is going to delight our customers and are impressed with their ambitious plans for the future. We look forward to bringing this innovative solution to consumers, beginning in our California markets, and to empowering greater renewable energy usage.”

“According to Parks Associates research, 79% of rooftop solar PV owners purchased their system to save money on electricity,” said Tom Kerber, director IoT strategy, at Parks Associates. “Adding storage is an obvious approach to improve the return on investment on a solar solution. Three-quarters of households view battery storage as an important addition to solar panels.”


California is the first U.S. market where Vivint Solar will exclusively offer this solution directly to homeowners. Beginning in Q2, new customers in California will be able to buy the offering outright or finance the purchase, either through one of the institutions Vivint Solar has relationships with or their preferred lender.


Sources: Mercedes-Benz Energy, visit vivintsolar.com/battery, Mercedes-Benz Energy, www.mercedes-benz.com/energy, May 18, 2017 – LEHI, Utah and SUNNYVALE, Calif.

Research breaking ground on All Plant Based Bottles

VTT laboratory in Espoo

 

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed an environmentally sound and economical method for producing furan dicarboxylic acid (FDCA) from plant sugars for the production of drinking bottles, paints and industrial resins, for example. This technology enables production of plant-based products.
The main production material of drinking bottles is still oil-based PET although there has been news on alternatives based on renewable materials during the last few years. VTT’s new method provides a new route for the packaging and beverage industries to expand the use of renewable materials in their production.

VTT has patented the method for producing furan dicarboxylic acid (FDCA), the monomer for PEF polymers, from sugar or sugar waste. Thanks to the solid acid catalyst and biobased solvent with short reaction time, the method provides a considerable reduction of toxic waste compared to traditional methods.
The method can be scaled-up to industrial purposes without substantial investments, and it has already raised a lot of interest in industry.

The R&D work has been funded by VTT and Tekes, VTT will present the method in its “Green Plastics without the bio-premium” webinar on 27thSeptember, 2017: http://makingoftomorrow.com/green-plastics-without-the-bio-premium/

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd

 

Ways to Green the Food Supply Chain

With energy efficiency on everyone’s mind in the last few years, experts are looking into ways to make the general food chain more ecologically conscious as well Converting farm waste into energy is one of the most efficient ways to reduce our carbon footprint, while earning additional income as well. It was reported that the process of converting waste into energy or farm fuel can end up generating as much as twenty eight billion dollars in 2016. This is a significant increase from eighteen billion dollars in 2012.

Additionally, advancements made in logistic technology can make it much easier to transport food while reducing the environmental impact of such operations. Refrigerated boxcars can hold upwards of four truckloads, while reducing all of the harmful emissions that the same number of trucks would end up producing. These railways will be able to move all across the country while utilizing green technology. 

Life cycle assessments can bring better farming techniques and animal awareness to farmers and those who regularly work with the meat industry. Collaborating with farmers and adjusting the way that they are paid will end up bringing much larger improvements into the food handling industry itself, starting at the source.

There are numerous ways that suppliers can make their practices greener as well. Major corporations can work with scorecards to see their carbon emissions and adjust them in order for their practices to become greener and healthier for the planet.

To learn more about the many ways we can create a more sustainable and eco-friendly food supply chain, checkout this infographic below created by Marylhurst University’s Online MBA in Sustainable Business program.

Green_MBA_Ways to Green the Food Supply Chain

Marylhurst University Online

How to Recycle Old Technology with Help from Staples

According to a recent survey conducted by Staples and Survey Monkey, nearly 80% of respondents have old technology sitting around and the majority (51%) don’t know where to recycle it.

Here is the survey presentation for everyone to check out but here are some of the questions asked.  I think it’s important to show the questions because it can “start the conversation” at your place.

1. Do you have old technology sitting around? If so, how many pieces?
2. Do general consumers recycle their tech currently?
3. Do they know why it’s important to do so?
4. Do they know where to drop off their devices for recycling?

Start thinking about these questions img_0176-1folks!! It’s appropriate to use Staples and recycle your electronics! Like yesterday!

As mentioned in a previous story, recyclers will also receive a Staples® eCash card when they trade in their eligible technology in store or online. Technology with no trade-in value will still be recycled responsibly at no charge to the guests, despite the brand or condition of the devices. They will even recycle items not purchased at Staples for FREE!

EPA Stats on eWaste in America

“Already, the United States generates almost 2.5 million tons of electronic waste per year – and that number will only grow. Used electronics have materials in them that can be recovered and recycled, reducing the economic costs and environmental impacts of securing and processing new materials for new products,” said EPA Administrator Lisa. P. Jackson.

“The SMM Electronics Challenge will help us ensure that we are doing all we can to repurpose or safely dispose of the cell phones, computers and other devices we use every day – all while helping to build a robust market for electronics recycling in the United States.”

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As the volume of used electronics continues to grow in the U.S. and the world, so has the importance of safely managing and recycling used electronics. Electronics are made of valuable resources such as precious metals, copper, plastic and glass – all of which require energy to mine and manufacture. Recycling or reusing these electronics conserves these materials and prevents greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution.

What is extremely important here folks!
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Let’s Regroup Folks! What’s Exciting here is that Staples makes it easy and accessible to recycle electronics that you can use toward cash. If not, no worries, they will recycle it for you.  Then  no computers end up in landfills!!

More Clarity as to Why It Matters:

1. According to the USEPA, in 2013, Americans generated about 254 million tons of trash and recycled and composted about 87 million tons of this material.

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2. Staples has collected more than 26 million pounds of customer e-waste annually that would have otherwise ended up in landfills.

3. Recycling electronics also prevents valuable materials from going into the waste stream. A long-term approach towards electronics stewardship is necessary both at work and at home.

You see, Staples is here to help every day with their FREE technology recycling program. People can bring in their old computers, cell phones, computer monitors and more to any Staples location and Staples will responsibly recycle the old tech for FREE.

Sustainable Tourism Along Dominican Republic’s North Coast for Green Living Guy and Green Travel Girl Brands

Since Green Travel Girl website just relaunched we thought it best to set it off with a trip to the Dominican Republic. This event was fully sponsored and we thank them for it.

The North Coast region, which includes Samaná, Cabarete and Puerto Plata, is comprised of pristine beaches, lush green valleys and palm-covered mountains. The beautiful landscape provides a wide-range of sustainable attractions unique to Dominican Republic. From nature trekking to snorkeling, this was an ideal trip for travelers with a passion for exploration, adventure and supporting the local economy.

The Original Green Travel Girl got to:

Slide down waterfalls at the 27 Waterfalls of Damajagua

Snorkel the coral reefs of Sosua Bay

Experience the ultimate in watersports in Cabarete, the Kite Surf Capital of the World

Learn about sustainable and aquaponic farming practices of area resorts

Participate in a surf lesson

Tour the Amber Mine

Go for a swim and hike at Blue Lagoon Cenote

Took in the sites from the Teleférico Cable Car in Puerto Plata

Not only is sustainable tourism an incredibly important component of any economy, but the United Nations has declared 2017 “The Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development,” which adds another interesting angle to share with your readers, who are so passionate about sustainability.