Archive for the ‘Go Green’ Category

Automated rain barrel watering system

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

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To some crowds, irrigating a small garden is a relatively relaxing and sometimes therapeutic activity, well if you are a botany/biology nerd or desperately really need a hobby – but going away for any length of time can present a problem. The simple solution of course is to purchase a hose-bib/timer package from Home Depot for about $30 and set up a small drip system to efficiently water each plant or row of plants (rather than a wasteful sprinkler system). Going along with conserving water is using a rain barrel collection system to capture rain for later use thus eliminating or more likely reducing treated water consumption.

Adding a rain barrel complicates the system significantly as there isn’t much water pressure at its spigot compared to a standard city spigot which has somewhere around 40 psi. Also, if the barrel is empty, you don’t want your plants to die and thus you need to be able to detect that the barrel is empty and switch to city water.

Courtesy: HAXORYOURMOTHERHARDRIVE

Tiny supercharger is like 10 wind turbines in one

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

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It’s tough work to find a small scale wind energy charger that works. While we’ve seeninnovative designs pop up over the last few years, it’s simply difficult to get enough wind coming through such a little device to charge devices. However, thanks to a company called Humdinger Wind Energy LLC, that might change with their new device called the microBelt. It is a piezoelectric turbine-based system that is purportedly 10 times more effective at gathering energy than other systems of the same size.

Humdinger is a start-up of of just 6 people, and they’ve developed a new method of gathering wind energy on a small scale. The system uses aeroelastic flutter and vibration of a membrane – rather than a spinning turbine – is at the core of the Microbelt, which is intended to replace the batteries used in wireless sensor networks (WSN). It can be used in applications such as HVAC systems, using the airflow to power the device and therefore skipping the need for more expensive batteries. And because the system doesn’t mess with spinning turbines that can break more easily, it expects a long lifespan – as much as 20 years.

It’s inexpensive as well as efficient. Ecofriend writes “Power is produced in air flows from as little as 3 m/s. At 5.5 m/s of wind flow the power output is 2mW. Apart from efficiency, another advantage of the system is that it is cheap to produce, as the materials are very simple. Humdinger is progressing applications such as building monitoring and transit monitoring that will rely on such wind turbines.”

Courtesy: TreehuggerEcofriend

Assemble your own solar panel

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

Since there’s almost any size and shape of solar panel available for purchase from a myriad of vendors across the Internet why would anybody want to go through the hassle of tabbing together their own cells to build a solar panel? Because you can, obviously. This DIY video will run through the basics of chaining together polycrystalline cells and leaves the details like enclosure and such to the user.

courtesy: Make

Honda unveils a home solar hydrogen-producing station

Friday, January 29th, 2010

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Despite its current impracticality, Honda keeps plugging away at its hydrogen vehicle prototype. The company just revealed a component that brings its hydrogen vehicle closer to reality — a more compact solar hydrogen-making machine that you install in your personal garage, turning water into hydrogen fuel .

The Honda Solar Hydrogen Station uses solar power to perform this alchemy, able to produce a half a kilogram of hydrogen during the day (or using cheaper electricity at night), and refueling that car when you park it in the garage that night.

The idea is to create enough hydrogen for a car to make its round-trip daily commute without using any fossil fuels. We can only hope mass production will someday bring the price of each vehicle below the hundreds of thousands of dollars it costs now.

Via Ubergizmo

NASA Uses UAVs to Spy on Climate Patterns

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

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Cloud Physics Lidar: A laser-based system that creates detailed images of clouds and mist.

Laser Hygrometer: Bounces a 1.3- micron infrared beam between two mirrors to measure water vapor in the atmosphere.

Chromatograph for Atmospheric Trace Species: Uses an electron-capture detector to analyze air samples for harmful gases.

Micrometeorological Measurement System: A battery of sensors that record temperature, wind speed, and pressure.

Airborne Compact Atmospheric Mapper: A Nikon 8800 digicam that tracks cloud patterns by snapping images every 20 seconds, and two spectrographs that measure gases like the pollutant nitrogen dioxide.

image: nasa source: wired.com

Build your own electric car with the Trexa platform

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

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How about a DIY electric car, with one of these Trexa EV platforms and start build your own electric car! Trexa is gunning to be the first electric vehicle devlopment platform, with a battery, driveline and power electronics built-in.

The Trexa platform offers an unprecedented level of versatility because it contains an entire vehicle’s drivetrain within one low-profile enclosed structure. The platform is highly scalable, so features such as range, suspension, torque, acceleration, and top speed can all be tailored to suit the vehicle’s intended purpose. For starters, the standard platform has an acceleration of 0-60mph in 8 sec, a top speed of 100mph, a 105 mile range, and a charge time of 4 hours (based upon an efficiency of 200Wh per mile — comparable to a Prius in electric mode).

You just add the passenger compartment on top. Want a pickup truck or a hot rod? The choice is yours, provided you’ve got the chops to put it together.

Source: Trexa via Inhabitat

Hydrogen-Powered Yacht for 21st Century Pharaohs

Friday, January 15th, 2010

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Egyptian naval architecture and design studio Pharos Marine has unveiled plans for a sleek new 60 metre eco-friendly superyacht dubbed the Orcageno, driven by an innovative hydrogen diesel-electric system that could theoretically deliver an incredible-sounding range of up to 13,000 nautical miles. Hydrogen fuel contains three times the energy of diesel fuel and produces no carbon monoxide or dioxide in the exhaust. The yacht is based around an advanced slender hull form with an axe bow, offering lower resistance due to low angle of entrance, inspired by Orca the killer whale and the gentler sperm whale (don’t ask us).

The interior features are just as stunning, with a spa and health centre positioned within the curved glass superstructure. A sun deck with Jacuzzi is surrounded by a leather-covered lounging area. The dining room is positioned forward with a fabulous view of the dual-level swimming pool and its hydraulically-operated glass sunroof. There are accommodations for 12 guests and 14 crew in total with the owner’s quarters being of course the most luxurious. The 13,000 nautical mile range is based on a cruising speed of 10 knots, while at the maximum speed of 18 knots the figure drops to a still impressive 7,100 NM.

Courtesy: James Spotting

SilverStat 7 thermostat does everything but cook your breakfast

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

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Well isn’t this the prettiest thermostat you’ve ever seen? It’s the SilverStat 7 from SilverPAC, the same folks who created that elaborate Evolution 5500 remote control we showed you a few weeks ago. This is the smartest thermostat yet, communicating with utility companies, eliminating that pesky meter reading chore they must do every month. It keeps tabs on your energy usage, and similar to that TED 5000 system we reviewed last month, it helpfully displays to you in pretty graphics exactly how much power you’ve been sucking lately.

This is not just for the benefit of the energy mongers and treehuggers. Its Wi-Fi interface and 7-inch display makes it a highly capable network player, showing streaming photos, music and content from your PC or the Internet. It has built-in speakers, Z-Wave home automation so you can manage your lighting and appliances, FM radio, and heck, you can even check your email on the thing.

Look at the gallery full of screenshots of all the various functions this spectacular thermostat can perform. Oh yeah, one more thing: It’s a seven-day programmable thermostat that controls your heating and air conditioning. The wizards at SilverPAC aren’t talking price yet.

Source: SilverPAC, via Gizmodo

RCA Wifi power harvester

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

You can now harvest WiFi signals and turn it into power to charger up your mobile phone or netbooks.

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This little box has, inside it, some kind of circuitry that harvests WiFi energy out of the air and converts it into electricity. This has been done before, but the Airnergy is able to harvest electricity with a high enough efficiency to make it practically useful: on the CES floor, they were able to charge a BlackBerry from 30% to full in about 90 minutes, using nothing but ambient WiFi signals as a power source.


Source: Oh!Gizmo

Skyburbs: Bringing the Burbs to the City

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

Some people like suburbia for the wide open spaces, yards, and the sense of privacy, but the ‘burbs are not nearly as efficient as urban centers are. What if there was a way to bring all of the positive qualities of exurbia into the city while keeping all of the efficiency of an urban core? What about stacking blocks of suburban space onto blocks of urban space, similar in theory to vertical farms, creating modular gardens, orchards, parks, playing fields, community centers and even homes? The concept is already out there. Dreamed up by two Sydney-based architects, Skyburbs introduces the qualities of the suburbs into denser urban environments. (more…)