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EGEB: Private jet pollution, camping with solar, high schoolers build green tech, more

In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • How bad are private jets for CO2 in comparison to commercial flights?
  • This video shows you how to hook up solar to your camper van.
  • The World Economic Forum explores four steps to take to unlock clean tech innovation.
  • Pennsylvania high schoolers build their own sustainable technology.

EGEB: A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are getting it in the neck for taking four private-jet flights in 11 days. That’s because their jet-setting is considered by some (but not Elton John) to contradict their environmental advocacy. So just how bad are private jets for the environment?

The Independent explores that question, and points out that the carbon footprint per passenger is higher, because there are less people on the plane.

They give a rough example of a Boeing 737, which will burn somewhere in the region of 750 gallons an hour:

Over the course of a three-hour flight, it will … burn 2,250 gallons of fuel, producing 21,533 kg of CO2. Depending on the model, the plane can hold around 200 passengers, making the amount of CO2 produced per passenger around 108 kg if we assume a fairly full flight.

They then compare it to the Cessna Citation XLS, which burns around 210 gallons of fuel per hour and produces around 6,030 kg of CO2 in a three-hour flight:

Typically, the jet is configured to seat between six and eight passengers; if there were seven on board, the average amount of CO2 per person would be 860 kg.

So basically, a private jet is around eight times less efficient.

The overall emissions from flying on a private jet are lower than those produced by a commercial jet — but it doesn’t do well on the efficiency equation, which compares how far one passenger can be moved with a gallon of fuel by dividing the energy needed by the passenger capacity.

So, sorry, folks: If you want to fly in the greenest way possible, head to the economy seats.

Camping with solar

Outside has posted a fun video that teaches you how to put solar panels on your camper. Not only is it fuel-efficient, it allows those who love the outdoors to go off-grid for longer periods of time.

Click on this link to watch the video (and mind the bears when you head out).

How to unlock clean-tech innovation

The World Economic Forum offers four solutions for “how to increase the success rate of clean-tech development and to secure the capital required for collaborative development efforts to make it to the commercialization phase:”

  1. Scout ideas early: Bring together the technical people, like scientists and engineers, with the funding and commercialization people.
  2. Build cross-disciplinary teams: Technical and commercial should work together all the way through a project.
  3. Develop new funding mechanisms and integrate investors: “Cleantech startups need patient capital with a longer time horizon and mission-based investment strategies.”
  4. Guide collaboration projects through their innovation stages: Financial support needs business development support, including mentoring.

Read the full WEF post here.

High schoolers build green energy center

Bucks County Technical High School (BCTHS) students “have transformed a roughly 20,000-square-foot outdoor portion of the Bristol Township school campus into a Learning Center for Sustainable Energy” in the last three years, according to the Intelligencer.

The center produces enough energy to power two classrooms. It consists of six solar panel arrays, five wind turbines, and other components.

The center cost $40,000, and it was funded by grants and donations. Dow Chemical contributed $20,000.

John Stange, a student at BCTHS, said:

Our goal here is to educate the public, not so much to gain from it … If the power goes out, you don’t have to worry about it. It’s more reliable and better for the environment than fossil fuels, and fossil fuels are limited and will run out. But you’re not going to run out of the sun. You might not have optimal wind but you’re going to have wind at some point, and hydropower is awesome because the river is not going to stop.

Photo credit: NBAA

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.