Posts Tagged ‘green technology’

Water Droplet Resort Will Convert Air into Purified Water

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

Architecturally and thematically designed in the shape of a drop of water, the Water Building Resort intends to become the first building ever to convert air into water with the help of solar power. What sounds like magic will be achieved with the following combination of nature and technology: A sunny, southerly facing facade made of photovoltaic glass will harness solar energy, allowing light to pass through. The northern facade features a latticed design for ventilation as well as unprecedented Teex Micron equipment that will convert humid air and condensation into pure drinking water.

Designed for construction in warm and humid coasts, the Water Building Resort, a resort complex, will also house a water treatment facility in the bottom floor, for purifying salty sea and rain water, along with a center of technological investigation to control and certify water quality. Restaurants, gyms, exhibition halls, hotel and conference rooms, and spa services will fill the upper floors – all based on the theme of water, the environment and renewable energy. An underwater aquarium will sit at the base of the Water Building Resort, rounding out the water conscious theme and practices.

Source: Inhabitat

Brammo Electric Cycles

Friday, May 29th, 2009

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Best Buy has signed on to sponsor Brammo’s electric motorcycle racing team in a deal that could see the consumer electronics retailer sell battery-powered motorcycles alongside laptops and DVD players.

Beyond providing the Oregon motorcycle manufacturer with an outlet for its Enertia street bike, the arrangement gives Brammo the financial support and technical assistance to compete in next month’s zero-emission TTxGP motorcycle grand prix. Brammo is one of 18 teams bringing 23 bikes to the Isle of Man for the June 12 race around one of the most storied courses in motorcycling.

“It’s a great way to show what the future of our product is and to test the technology that will end up in consumers’ hands,” company CEO Craig Bramscher told Wired.com in an exclusive interview.

Best Buy is no stranger to the track, as it already sponsors a NASCAR team. Working with Brammo “is a natural extension of our Best Buy Racing initiatives,” Paul Zindrick, senior manager of event marketing, said in a statement. The company is “thrilled to be part of such an innovative racing endeavor.”

The team goes by the unwieldy name of Team Brammo Enertia Best Buy Racing, and it has assembled two very sweet motorcycles.



(more…)

Microsoft’s ‘green dashboard’ manages energy costs and consequences

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

Businesses are undergoing a ‘massive paradigm shift’ to green computing, said a Microsoft exec whose new tool offers to help.

Once, businesses were interested in green computing mainly as a matter of corporate responsibility. But now, increasing regulatory pressures and skyrocketing fuel prices are spurring companies to want to take a very hard look at both their carbon footprints and energy costs, according to Jennifer Pollard, a senior product manager at Microsoft.

Earlier this month, Microsoft released the first edition of a tool aimed at taking the heavy lifting out of measuring the environmental impact of business activities and tracking your company’s expenditures on oil, gas, and other forms of energy.

Available free of charge to Dynamics AX 2009 customers, the new Environment Sustainability Dashboard sits directly on top of Microsoft’s ERP system, displaying information captured elsewhere in the system in easy-to-read reports, Pollard said, in a briefing for Betanews.

Information about a company’s expenditures on energy might be funneled from purchase orders (POs) or invoices within the AX 2009 system, she illustrated. With this information readily at hand in graphical views, it grows simpler for businesses to reduce their energy costs and carbon footprints.

green dashboard

Source: Beta News

Got Manure? These Trucks Run on It

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

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A California dairy has converted a pair of 18-wheelers to run on biomethane produced from cow manure, creating what is believed to be the nation’s first cow-pie–powered trucks.

Hilarides Dairy will use manure produced by 10,000 cows to generate 226,000 cubic feet of biomethane daily — enough to reduce the Central Valley farm’s diesel fuel consumption by 650 gallons a day.

“For us it made sense to invest in this technology. Now we can utilize the dairy’s potential to power our trucks in addition to generating electricity for our operations,” Rob Hilarides (pictured above), owner of the dairy, said. “This will significantly reduce our energy costs and give us some protection from volatile energy prices.”

Not to mention something to do with all that manure.

Read more on wired>>

Bird Island: Zero Energy Home in Kuala Lumpur

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

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Bird Island is a stunning urban renewal project that is currently being developed in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Designed by Graft Lab architects for the YTL Green Home Competition, the project comprises a zero energy home made of sustainably-sourced silicone glass fabric. Its lightness and flexibility will allow it to sway organically with the breeze just like a treetop, and slots in the fabric will give visitors a unique peek into the sky as the wind ebbs and flows.

The YTL Green Homes Competition challenged eight architects and designers from around the world to submit designs for six eco-friendly homes on Bird Island. Graft Lab’s proposal is an airy voluminous structure that utilizes a variety of energy-efficient building practices. The building consists of a lightweight bamboo frame wrapped in a tensile, environmentally-friendly fabric. The material reflects sunlight, keeping the interior cool and reducing the need for AC. Bird Island will also be outfitted with a grey water recycling system that channels water from sinks and showers back into the plumbing.

Source: Inhabitant

The Top 10 Green-Tech Breakthroughs of 2008

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

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Green technology was hot in 2008. Barack Obama won the presidential election promising green jobs to Rust Belt workers. Investors poured $5 billion into the sector just through the first nine months of the year. And even Texas oilmen like T. Boone Pickens started pushing alternative energy as a replacement for fossil fuels like petroleum, coal and natural gas.

But there’s trouble on the horizon. The economy is hovering somewhere between catatonic and hebephrenic, and funding for the big plans that green tech companies laid in 2008 might be a lot harder to come by in 2009. Recessions haven’t always been the best times for environmentally friendly technologies as consumers and corporations cut discretionary spending on ethical premiums.

Still, green technology and its attendant infrastructure are probably the best bet to drag the American economy out of the doldrums. So, with the optimism endemic to the Silicon Valley region, we present you with the Top 10 Green Tech Breakthroughs of 2008, alternatively titled, The Great Green Hope.

  1. Calera’s Green Cement Demo Plant Opens
  2. Project Better Place Finds Homes
  3. Solar Cell Production Gets Big, GIGA (watt) Big
  4. Obama Picks A Green Tech Expert To Head DOE
  5. Solar Thermal Plants Return To The Deserts
  6. Pickens Plan Pushes Power Plays Into American Mainstream
  7. The Catalyst That Could Enable Solar
  8. Green Tech Legislation Gets Real
  9. New Materials Cage Carbon
  10. The Island of The Solar

Read more: Wired

Solar Hybrid Yacht Shows Electricty and Water Do Mix

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

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Who says water and electricity don’t mix? The world’s first solar-electric-diesel hybrid yacht will have you impressing the greenies at the Yacht Club and sailing the seas in style.

The Island Pilot DSe Hybrid catches rays with a 6.8 kW solar array that’ll get you to Margaritaville and back at 6 knots with zero emissions. But if the sun ain’t shining in Cocomo, you can crank up the Steyer Motors parallel hybrid system that mates a 75-horsepower diesel engine and a pair of 36-horsepower electric motors powered by a 20-kilowatt-hour battery pack.

The 40-footer was a hit at the recent Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, where it was one of several green vessels and gadgets that ranged from the Epower Marine Calypso Classic electric fishing boat to the 100 percent recyclable propellers made by Piranha Propeller.

But it was the $600,000 DSe that really wowed the crowd.

The DSe can run for as long as two hours on battery power. Kick on the diesels and she’ll cruise at 13 knots while charging the battery pack through a pair of 25-kW generators. Run the diesel engine and electric motor in tandem and she’ll hit 15 knots. (more…)

Piaggio Unveils a 141-MPG Plug-In Hybrid Scooter

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

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Italian scooter-maker Piaggio has unveiled a plug-in hybrid three-wheeler it says will get up to 141 mpg and could be on the road as early as next year.

The gas-electric version of Piaggio’s funky but fun MP3 scooter uses a parallel hybrid system much like that in the Toyota Prius but advances the technology by adding an electrical cord. Although Toyota, General Motors and several other automakers are developing cars that can be charged from a wall socket, Piaggio’s timeline, if met, would make it the first in the world to mass-produce a plug-in hybrid. (more…)

Snow-Based Cooling System

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

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The transport ministry aims to introduce a system in fiscal 2010 to provide 30% of the cooling energy at New Chitose Airport terminal building in summer from snow collected in winter, ministry officials said Tuesday.

A regional office of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism collected snow last winter at the airport and confirmed that it could retain up to 45% of it by September by covering it with heat-insulating materials. It has concluded that the snow could be used to chill the liquid used in the airport’s cooling system in summer and that doing so would lead to a cut of some 2,100 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, according to the officials.

Links: Japan Today, Ecogeek, SnowPower

TESLA version 2.0 hits the road?

Saturday, September 13th, 2008

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Tesla Motors has released the much-awaited upgrade to the gearbox in the all-electric Roadster, and in typical Silicon Valley fashion calls it Powertrain 1.5 — even though it’s a different transmission and so ought to be called v2.0.

Nomenclature aside, the slick one-speed Borg-Warner transmission joins a stouter power inverter and revised engine in a package said to deliver 30 percent more torque and 10 percent more range. That lets the Roadster make good on its promised zero to 60 time of 4.0 seconds while squeezing 244 miles from the battery. “The new setup is superior in almost every way,” says J.B. Straubel, Tesla’s chief technology officer.

Tesla says it’s already putting Powertrain 2.0, er, 1.5, in Roadsters that have made the trip from the factory in Hethel, England to San Carlos, California, for final assembly. So what’s different about Powertrain 1.5, and what happens to the 27 people driving Roadsters with Powertrain 1.0?

The new one-speed transmission weighs 17 pounds less and creates less drag on the motor, increasing efficiency and bumping the car’s range. A revised power inverter puts out 850 amps, up from 650, and the motor had redesigned terminals to reduce resistance. It’s beefier, too, and torque rises from 211 foot-pounds to 280.

Tesla started developing Powertrain 1.5 after realizing the two-speed transmission it planned to use “had many durability, efficiency and cost challenges,” Straubel wrote on the Tesla blog. Eager to start building cars, Tesla slapped an interim one-speed transmission in the Roadster when it fired up the assembly line at the Lotus plant in Hethel, and although early reviews of those cars were positive, the stop-gap tranny significantly cut into its performance. Early adopters got a car that did zero to 60 in 5.7 seconds — about as fast as the Toyota Tundra pickup. Powertrain 1.5 cuts that to the promised 4.0 seconds, putting the Roadster on par with the Porsche 911 GT3.

Tesla’s put 27 Roadsters in driveways since production started March 17, and will retrofit every one with the new drivetrain at no charge beginning next month. Darryl Siry, vice president of sales and marketing, tells us the modular design of the Roadster’s drivetrain makes it a plug-and-play operation. “It’s a four-hour swap,” he says. “It’s not a complicated thing.”

With the drivetrain finally sorted out and the assembly line running smoothly, Tesla’s increased production from four cars a week to 10. That’s expected to double before the end of the year, then double again to 40 a week early in 2009.

“Now that we have a final powertrain design, in a matter of months there will be hundreds of Tesla Roadsters across the country,” says CEO Ze’ev Drori. “We’re heralding nothing less than a new era of the automobile.”

But what about that nomenclature? Siry says Powertrain 1.0 was the internal designation for the air-cooled motor in the Roadster, while Powertrain 2.0 refers to the liquid-cooled motor being developed for the all-electric sedan that was codenamed Whitestar (the Roadster was Blackstar) but is now called Model S.

Glad that’s cleared up.

Photo by Tesla Motors.
source: wired