One of the wonders of sustainable energy is how some off-beat, even odd inventions can have very significant impacts on fuel consumption and carbon emissions.

Take, for example, solar-powered trash compactors. Sounds cute, right?

Well, the City of Philadelphia has discovered that they can generate significant fuel savings.

Traditional trash cans have to be emptied about 19 times per week. By installing solar-powered trash compactors from Big Belly Solar, Philadelphia only has to empty its trash cans 5 times per week.

From 19 times per week to 5 times per week? That is a 74% reduction in the number of trips that have to be made by garbage trucks. In other words, a 74% reduction in fuel consumption and carbon emissions.

Pretty good for a lowly garbage can.

Or consider solar-powered refrigeration. Another gimmicky idea? Maybe, but also one that can cut fuel consumption in half while greatly improving the lives and income-earning potential of dairy farmers in the developing world.

Cows get milked twice a day in India, usually at remote farms that have no electricity and therefore no refrigeration. The milk will spoil in 5 hours, so trucks have to travel hundreds of kilometers, twice every day, to collect the fresh milk before it spoils.

By installing solar-powered refrigeration from Promethean Power Systems, dairies can cut those trips in half -- to only once per day. Half the fuel consumption. Half the carbon emissions.

A refrigerator that reduces fuel consumption and carbon emissions by 50%?? Now that is a pretty good gimmick.

John Howley
Orlando, Florida

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