Posts Tagged ‘carbon free’

Tomatoes the new biofuel?

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

inhabitat_tomato_powered_lamp.jpg

This sounds like a sci-fi movie, instead – they use tomatoes other than humans! Thank god, we’re safe! We all know tomatoes pack a powerful acidic punch, but we never thought we’d see one lighting up a room! Cygalle Shapiro of Israel-based d-VISION has created an incredible LED lamp that is completely powered by real, edible tomatoes. Currently exhibited at the Milan Furniture Fair, the design collects energy from a chemical reaction between tomato acids, zinc, and copper. This design doesn’t only explore advances in lighting technology – its also an art piece that sends clear and powerful social-conscience messages about where and how we receive energy.

courtesy: inhabitat

Nissan Turns Over An Electric Leaf

Sunday, August 2nd, 2009

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After teasing us for months with prototypes and promises, Nissan unveiled a sleek five-passenger electric hatchback with a claimed range of 100 miles. It’s called the Leaf, and Nissan says it will be here next year.

Nissan pulled the sheet off the Leaf tonight at the company’s new headquarters in Yokohama, Japan, where CEO Carlos Ghosn promised to usher in the auto industry’s electric era. All of the major automakers are rushing to bring mainstream EVs to market in the next few years, but Japan’s No. 3 automaker has been among the most aggressive. Ghosn has made it clear he believes EVs are the future and he wants Nissan to lead the way

“We have been working tirelessly to make this day a reality — the unveiling of a real-world car that has zero, not simply reduced, emissions,” Ghosn said in a statement. “It’s the first step in what is sure to be an exciting journey – for people all over the world, for Nissan and for the industry.”

Nissan isn’t saying what the Leaf will cost — look for a price in the $25,000 to $30,000 range — but promises it will be the first affordable, practical electric car when it goes on sale in the U.S., Japan and Europe by the end of 2010.

source: wired.com

HumanCar Powered by Human Energy, Not Ethanol

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

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Charley and Chuck Greenwood, a father-son combo, think they know the secret to the future of cars: rowing.

And they founded their company HumanCar to prove that human energy, not biofuels, is the gasoline of the future. Their Imagine_PS car seats up to four in a low-slung chassis; the passengers get to help row the lightweight car.

Think of it as an ergonomic, efficient and sneaker-saving Flintstone’s car for an oil-free future. The front two ‘drivers’ get to steer, which is done with a talented and coordinated lean.

“Body steering comes from the hips,” CEO Chuck said. “It’s just like a properly performed ski turn.”

But revolutionizing steering is not the point of these Oregon entrepreneurs. “It’s about thinking about days per life versus miles per gallon,” CEO Chuck Greenwood said.

When powered by four people rowing, the car will go about as fast as the ‘drivers’ would on bicycles, on average.

But, that’s only if they were driving in a flat city like Chicago, where the car is currently on display for two weeks during the Wired NextFest future-tech expo in Millennium Park.

For hillier locales or higher speeds, there’s electric assist motors and regenerative brakes that funnel the vehicle’s momentum back into the batteries.

The Greenwoods plan to sell Imagine_PS as a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle, a state-by-state designation that frees it from requirements such as air bags and in some states, even the need for a licensed driver or insurance.

But to qualify, the top speed will have to capped at around 20 mph — though the Greenwoods say the chassis can easily handle sports car speeds in excess of 100 mph.

Hear that, hot rodders?

Though not yet for sale, advanced models of the Imagine_PS for corporate campuses will be available soon for $35,000 to $50,000, while the consumer model is slated to be be priced at $15,500.

Source: Wired

Wanna Harvest Power From the Sea?

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

hydrokineticGiant whirlpools, 100-knot winds, some of Europe’s mightiest tides: The icy waters off Scotland’s northern tip are no place for pleasure craft. But they’re ideal for power-generation systems that harness the restless fury of the sea — which is why the European Marine Energy Centre has set up shop in the Orkney Islands.

Think of it as the Bonneville Salt Flats of hydrokinetics: EMEC offers companies a place to try out their clean tech. The center’s remotely operated vehicles film underwater, and microphones will eventually monitor for noise pollution. First in was Dublin-based OpenHydro, which recently began trials on its second turbine (shown here raised for inspection).

Carbon-free hydrokinetic power could ultimately provide up to 20 percent of the UK’s electricity needs. But environmental concerns may still sink the effort: Critics warn of industrialized coastlines and harm to sea life.

The US faces similar challenges — without a testing facility. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has okayed a pilot marine-power project for Makah Bay, off the Washington coast, but environmental approval is still pending. By the time the inevitable court battles are resolved, the waves may be lapping at our doorsteps.

Source: Wired

Researcher Pushes Enormous Floating Solar Islands

Sunday, May 25th, 2008

solar island

Creating cheap, clean energy is a huge problem.

So, how’s this for a big solution: Swiss researcher Thomas Hinderling wants to build solar islands several miles across that he claims can produce hundreds of megawatts of relatively inexpensive power.

He’s the CEO of the Centre Suisse d’Electronique et de Microtechnique, a privately held R&D company, and he’s already received $5 million from the Ras al Khaimah emirate of the United Arab Emirates to start construction on a prototype facility in that country.

While limited information is available on the solar islands website, Hinderling laid out his scheme at The Oil Drum, a well-known blog about energy. Hinderling estimates that an island a mere mile across could generate 190 megawatts of power with a breakeven price point of $0.15 a kilowatt hour, or about twice current electricity prices in the United States.

solar island 2 The islands will consist of a plastic membrane loaded up with solar concentrating mirrors floating above the water. The mirrors are used to heat liquid to turn it into steam, which drives a turbine that generates energy.

On land, this type of electricity generation is fairly well known. So-called solar thermal plants are emerging as a leading alternative to fossil fuel power plants for future energy generation, with two of Google’s three alt-energy investments coming in solar thermal companies.

But why head to the ocean to create solar thermal power? Hinderling claims that the entire platform can be turned to align with the sun, generating maximum efficiency without a complicated tracking system. The company’s production schedule has it splashing a 1500-foot in diameter platform into the water at the end of 2010.

Mark Bollinger, a renewable energy researcher at Lawrence Berkeley National lab, thought it would be possible to create such an island, but questioned the viability of the enterprise.

“I’m sure it’s possible, but it seems a little bit out-there, just given where the technology is and how little of it has been developed on land,” Bollinger said.

From a feasibility perspective, he questioned the necessity of pushing solar thermal out to sea, where new variables like the waves could throw off precision-tracking of the sun’s rays.

“The reason you’d do that is if space was at a premium, but I don’t think it is, at least for solar thermal,” he said. “Where it works best is in the desert of the Southwest, and there’s a lot of land down there.”

Another big question Hinderling doesn’t address is transmission, i.e. how you get the power off the island and to the people. Luckily, offshore transmission options (.pdf) are already being explored for wind farms located out in the ocean. And Bollinger noted that there are ocean barges that already produce power for “load-constrained” areas of the Northeast.

All that said, we can’t help but think that this would be a great way to power The Seasteading Institute’s floating ocean colonies.

Source: Wired