Friday, August 29, 2008

Mazda Developing Its Own Electric Car

Mazda HQ (TGW) – Mazda is developing a rival to the Chevrolet Volt – a car which uses a gas engine to charge a battery pack which powers the wheels via an electric motor.

The prototype developed so far uses a Wankel rotary engine to charge a battery pack in the shell of the 5 MPV.

Toyota is also working on an all electric Prius.

Via ::

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Giant Eco-Pyramid That Houses 1 Mil to be Unveiled in Dubai

Dubai – where else?! (TGW) – Timelinks, a Dubai-based environmental design firm, has revealed concept renderings of a giant eco pyramid, named Ziggurat, with the official unveiling set for the Cityscape Dubai event October 6-9 this year.

Ziggurat will be 4000 feet high and would be capable of housing one million people – even better, it will only take up 2.3 square kilometers and will be carbon neutral.

The pyramid will utilize natural energy resources including wind power and steam power to achieve this.

The building will also have an extremely efficient public transportation system that goes both horizontally and vertically.

Timelinks has patented the designs for the structure.

Via :: Inhabitat

Monday, August 25, 2008

10 Things You Can Start Doing Today to Minimize Global Warming

This post was contributed by Heather Johnson, who writes on the subject of green shopping . She invites your feedback at heatherjohnson2323 at gmail dot com.

Global warming is an issue that affects each and every one of us in one way or another. The fact of the matter is that there is always something more we can do to decrease the amount of energy wasted and greenhouse gases produced every day. What follows is a list of some things we can start doing—today—to do our part in the fight against global warming.

1. Consider alternate sources of transportation. Instead of driving your car each day, think about using public transportation. If this is simply not feasible where you live, try walking, riding a bike, or even carpooling.

2. Monitor your energy consumption. With some household items, the power is always running, even when they appear to be off. If you’re not going to be using electronics, simply unplug them or shut off the power strip they are connected to.

3. Change out your existing light bulbs. Standard incandescent light bulbs are very wasteful and have a very limited lifespan. Start witching out your old bulbs for compact fluorescents and watch your energy bill go down.

4. Reuse and recycle your plastic bags and containers. If you are not doing this already, it is of vital importance that you begin to do this. Plastic bags (if you must take your purchases in them) can be reused for trash, or to carry lunches to and from school or work. Other plastic containers can be useful for storage or putting your leftovers in.

5. Buy recycled products whenever possible. Another thing we often forget about is that many items we buy regularly are available in recycled incarnations. Toilet paper, for example is a product that we all must use, so why not use recycled paper if it is simply going to be flushed away?

6. Look at how your purchases are packaged. Many items we buy at stores have far too much unnecessary packaging. Look for companies that package their products with Mother Earth in mind.

7. Tend your own garden. Maintaining a garden helps put more oxygen into the atmosphere, and is also a great and relaxing activity. If you have enough of a green thumb, try growing your own produce and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

8. Take your own food or drinks with you. Rather than spending money at wasteful restaurants and fast food places, take your own meals with you. It will cave you time, money, and make an indirect difference in the process.

9. Support businesses that are committed to the environment. Many businesses claim to be part of the green movement, but do your homework. Supporting local coops and business is probably far better for everyone involved. If you must support major companies, make sure you are supporting the right ones.

10. Keep your vehicle properly maintained. If you must use your vehicle every day, make sure that it is in good working order. Change your oil with synthetics, monitor your tire pressure and run your heat or air conditioning only when you really need to. Remember, every little bit helps, and if every one does a little bit to change their habits, it adds up to make one big difference.

This post was contributed by Heather Johnson, who writes on the subject of green shopping . She invites your feedback at heatherjohnson2323 at gmail dot com.

Friday, August 22, 2008

New Solar Cell Can Be Made With Nail Polish, Pizza Oven, Injket Printer

Australia (TGW) – The inventor of the innovative iJET solar cell has won two Australian Museum Eureka Prizes - the nation's top science awards.

Nicole Kuepper, 23, has patented the cell, which can be made at low temperatures using an inkjet printer, nail polish, and a pizza oven.

Kuepper hopes the cell will be useful the developing world.

However, it could be five years before the cell will be commercially available.

Via :: The Australian

Thursday, August 21, 2008

All-Electric ZAP Alias Now Taking Reservations

Zap HQ (TGW) – Zero Air Pollution (ZAP) has announced that it is taking reservations for its 2 seat, 3 wheeled electric vehicle: the ZAP Alias.

The car is projected to be ready for sale in 2009 at $32,500, and on line reservations are being taken for a $5000 deposit.

The car can got 0 to 60 in 7.7 seconds, has an EV range of 100+, and get up to 100 mph.

Via :: Ecototality Life

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

$7000 Residential Vertical Wind Turbine Can Power Your Whole Home

Your roof (TGW) – Mariah Power is planning a bigger version of its $5000, 30 foot, 1 kilowatt, residential vertical axis turbine.

The new $7000 (without the $3000 US tax credit) version will be able to produce 3 kilowatts, enough to power the average residential home.

The bad news is that the smaller version has a backlog of a few months, it is so in demand.

Via :: Ecogeek

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Google to Invest $10 Mil in Enhanced Geothermal

Google (TGW) - announced today that it will invest $10 million in Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS).

EGS differs from traditional geothermal in that it does not exploit existing wells of steam, but rather uses hot rocks far below the surface to heat water to generate steam.

Google invested in 3 different companies:

Google posted this video in explanation:

Via :: Dot Earth

Monday, August 18, 2008

NREL Sets New Solar Cell Efficiency World Record at 40.8%

NREL (TGW) – Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have set a world record in solar efficiency, creating a solar cell that is 40.8% efficient at converting light, compared to the previous record of 40.7%.

The scientists used a variety of methods to improve efficiency: “The cell uses compositions of gallium indium phosphide and gallium indium arsenide to split the solar spectrum into three equal parts that are absorbed by each of the cell's three junctions for higher potential efficiencies,” the lab said in a press release.

This lets the cell be efficient at different spectrums.

The cell hit the efficiency under the amount of light concentrated on was equal to 326 suns – the amount of sunlight that hits the earth in 326 days.

Via :: Press Release

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Solar Antennas Could Eventually Replace Solar Panels

INL (TGW) - Researchers at the Idaho National Laboratory have developed a way to collect more light for power more efficiently: plastic sheets filled with billions of nanoantennas.

The antennas collect mid-infrared rays, which are not only emmited by the Sun, but also by the Earth. The Earth emits these during the day and at night after absorbing energy from the sun.

The nanoantennas are tiny gold squares or spirals set in a specially treated form of polyethylene, a material used in plastic bags. The gold antennas can harvest 92% of the light.

The antennas are also promising cooling devices. Since everything emits the mid-infrared rays, the nanoantennas could be kept in buildings for cooling purposes.

However, there are still serious problems. "The infrared rays create alternating currents in the nanoantennas that oscillate trillions of times per second, requiring a component called a rectifier to convert the alternating current to direct current. Today's rectifiers can't handle such high frequencies," the laboratory said in a press release.

Once an advanced enough rectifier is developed, solar 'skins' could be developed that power everything from cars to iPods.

Via :: Press Release

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Laser Textured Solar Cells Brings Reflective Efficiency to 99%, Are Cheaper

Virginia (TGW) – Researchers at the University of Virginia are creating solar cells with tiny nanoscale surface textures using lasers making the cells cheaper and more efficient.

Current solar cells reflect about 30% of the light that hits them – the tiny nanoscale textures will reduce that number to about 1% over the entire solar spectrum and irrespective of the angle at which sunlight strikes the cell.

The use of lasers could also lower manufacturing costs. Because lasers are already used in the manufacturing of solar cells, the texturing process can be automated, eliminating the need for dangerous chemical treatments currently used to reduce reflectance.

The 30% reflective efficiency gain could lead to a 2 to 3% overall efficiency gain.

Via :: Alternative Energy Info :: Press Release

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

New ESL Lightbulbs Cheaper, Cleaner Than CFLs and LEDs

Your light socket (TGW) – A new type of energy-efficient lightbulb, ESL (electron-stimulated luminescence) was patented in June by Vu1, according to new reports.

ESL technology uses accelerated electrons to stimulate phosphor to create light, making the surface of the bulb glow.

ESL bulbs do not have harmful mercury, unlike CFLs, and are cheaper than LEDs. As well, it is more efficient than both.

The bulbs are $12, about the cost of a screw in CFL, and will be available by September, 2008.

Via :: CleanTechnica :: Vu1

Green Wikia - The Green Wiki

Just a little link love to Green Wikia, the Green Wiki. The site "is being spearheaded by Jimmy Wales (founder of Wikipedia)", and just passed its 500th article milestone. From its mission statement:

Why Green Wikia?
In light of the climate crisis and other ecological challenges increasingly facing us, people are becoming more aware than ever about environmental problems and taking more actions to lessen their impacts. However, learning about the environment can often be confusing and overwhelming. There are lots of voices talking about the environment -- activists, governments, companies, advisory groups, and non-profits, to name a few -- all of whom have different ways of explaining things and advising people. They also make their points through a variety of different media from articles to blogs to films to white papers to position papers. It can be hard to find what you are looking for! To compound things, information can also be contradictory: are biofuels good or bad? To what degree?

How Green Wikia Helps
Green Wikia strives to become a trusted central place to share our growing and evolving body of knowledge about environmental topics and issues with people who want to inform themselves and live in a more sustainable way.

The Green Wikia community also believes that the threats to our environment are real and that they require action. However, the wiki also strives to foster a community where respectful debate and informed viewpoints can be heard.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Kite Energy Could Power 100,000 Homes

Netherlands (TGW) – Researchers at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands have tested using kites tethered to a generator as a new source of renewable energy.

The 10 square meter kite generated 10 kilowatts of power, enough to power 10 homes.

A kite generates power by pulling on a string attached to generators on the ground. When it has reached its maximum height, it is reeled back down to repeat the process.

Kite power requires minimal land use and minimal materials, as well as being more efficient than standard wind turbines.

A full scale commercial model would power 100,000 homes

Via :: Inhabitat

Monday, August 4, 2008

New Fuel Cell Cheaper, Longer Lasting, Just as Effective

Australia (TGW) – Scientists in Australia have revolutionized the design of fuel cells which could make hybrids more reliable and cheaper to build.

In the new design, the fuel cell does not need expensive platinum coating. The team of Monash University scientists have designed and tested an air-electrode, where a fine layer - just 0.4 of a micron thick, or about 100 times thinner than a human hair – of highly conductive plastic is deposited on the breathable fabric. The conductive plastic acts as both the fuel cell electrode and catalyst.

Testing has shown no sign of material degradation or deterioration of performance.

"The important point to stress is that the team has come up with an alternative fuel cell design that is more economical, more easily sourced, outlasts platinum cells and is just as effective,” Professor Doug McFarlane said.

Via :: Gas 2.0

Friday, August 1, 2008

"Nuclear-in-a-Box" Technology to be Commercially Ready by 2013

See also "$2000 Wind Turbine in a Box"
Your backyard (TGW) – Hyperion Power Generation’s “nuclear-in-a-box” technology will be available for commercial deployment in 2013, CEO John “Grizz” Deal said.

Hyperion’s nuclear power reactor units are about the size of a typical backyard hot tub, and are able to generate 70 megawatts of heat energy, or 27 megawatts of electricity from a steam turbine – enough to power 20,000 homes.

The nuclear battery is sealed and buried at the generation site, and taken back to the factory for refueling every five years.

The reactor unit’s size is supposed to bring down capital costs 30% and operating costs 50%.

Via :: Earth2Tech