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Integrantes do APL Iguassu-IT participam da Feira BITS 2012

Representantes de cinco empresas integrantes do APL Iguassu-IT, o arranjo produtivo local de Tecnologia da Informação e Comunicação (TIC) do oeste do Paraná, marcaram presença na segunda edição da Business IT South America (BITS), em Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul. Tecinco, SWA, Vistra, Rhede Sistemas e Modelo estavam entre a comitiva de 27 empresas ligadas aos sete APL de TIC do Paraná.

De acordo com o consultor do Sebrae/PR, Edson Braga da Silva, que também acompanhou a comitiva na Feira BITS, essa foi a segunda participação do grupo no evento. \"Foi possível participar dos diversos fóruns e, ainda, de rodadas de negócios. Acredito que sempre seja válido estar presente em eventos como este. Além do aprendizado da feira em si, em momentos de descontração e informais, como num encontro entre uma programação técnica e outra, é possível iniciar bons negócios\", destaca.

A BITS é considerada uma das maiores feiras de TIC do mundo e, segundo dados da organização do evento, esta edição reuniu 180 empresas de 18 países e um fluxo de aproximadamente 10 mil visitantes. \"A Feira traz novidades e oportunidade do setor, na qual o empresário sai de sua rotina e desperta para novos conhecimentos. Só o fato de o empresário poder trocar ideias com executivos de outros estados brasileiros e, ainda outros países, já é de grande valia\", observa o consultor do Sebrae/PR.

Na avaliação do executivo de canais da Vistra, empresa de produção de software em Cascavel, Jordano Gonzatto, a Feira mostrou, principalmente, que a tendência tem de se tornar realidade nas empresas. \"Uma empresa hierárquica, centralizada já não tem mais espaço no mercado. O que até então era tendência, precisa ser encarado como realidade. Você precisa construir redes, a produção precisa ser aberta e distribuída\", afirma.

Com isso, complementa Gonzatto, formam-se novas alianças que garantem mais sustentabilidade ao processo. \"A expansão das empresas de TIC não pode mais ser vista em escala linear. Na BITS, muito foi frisado em relação às alianças estratégicas. Hoje não é mais ‘um a um\'. E, nesse processo, percebemos que estamos no caminho correto, pois hoje, com cerca de 50 parceiros, já temos mais de 70 mil empresas que fazem parte do nosso ‘ecossistema\'. A produção é distribuída.\"

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Novo Site - Sustentabilidade Digital

Novo Site - Sustentabilidade Digital | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
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Energica Ego is a two-wheeled electric rocket with a $34,000 price tag

Energica Ego is a two-wheeled electric rocket with a $34,000 price tag | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
Everything you need to know about the 2015 Energica Ego, including impressions and analysis, photos, video, release date, prices, specs, and predictions from CNET.
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In fact, at a quick glance you'd be forgiven for thinking this was a gas-powered machine. What looks like a radiator behind the front wheel is actually the battery pack, split in the middle to allow cooling air to better pass through the innards. Meanwhile, the cooling fins you can see ahead of the swingarm at the back cool more electrics and a powerful motor. 134 horsepower, to be exact, though the torque figure is more impressive: 144 ft-lbs, all available from zero RPM.

That's about 50 percent more torque than another bit of Italian exotica, Ducati's outrageous 1199 Panigale. However, the Ego has a lot more of something else, too: weight. It hits the scales at 569 pounds, a 200-pound penalty over the Duc. So, while there's plenty of oomph, there's plenty to move, resulting in a bike that will do the 0 to 60 sprint in about 3 seconds. Fast, but not preposterously so.

Throw a leg over the bike and turn the key and, other than a slight whir somewhere deep in the bowels of the machine, the only sign of life is the small LCD instrument cluster coming to life. Here you can see vital stats like speed and remaining range, along with a bar indicating current draw or regen, and battery temperature. Bluetooth and cellular connections enable the bike to send data to a smartphone app, while integrated GPS means you can log your lines and times around a track.

A simple mode control on the left grip toggles through one of four throttle maps: rain, eco, standard, and sport. With each, total available engine power changes, as does the throttle response.

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New catalytic system for conversion of CO2 to methanol shows much higher activity than others now in use

New catalytic system for conversion of CO2 to methanol shows much higher activity than others now in use | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
Online news, features and analysis
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Scientists at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory, with colleagues from the University of Seville (Spain) and Universidad Central de Venezuela, have discovered a new, highly active catalytic system for converting carbon dioxide to methanol.

The pure metals and bimetallic systems used for the chemical activation of CO2 usually have low catalytic activity; the new system exhibits significantly higher activity than other catalysts now in use. The new catalyst system converts CO2 to methanol more than a thousand times faster than plain copper particles, and almost 90 times faster than a common copper/zinc-oxide catalyst currently in industrial use.

In a paper in the journal Science, the team presents experimental and theoretical evidence for this completely different type of site for CO2 activation: a copper-ceria interface that is highly efficient for the synthesis of methanol.

The activation of CO2 and its hydrogenation to alcohols or other hydrocarbon compounds is an important approach to recycle the released CO2. This is a challenging task because of the difficulties associated with the chemical inertness of CO2. A recent study has identified the active site for the activation of CO2 and the synthesis of methanol on Cu/ZnO/Al2O3 industrial catalysts. The active site consists of Cu steps decorated with Zn atoms. Cu alone interacts very poorly with CO2 and alloying with Zn is necessary in order to bind the reactant better and accelerate its transformation into methanol.

Here we present experimental and theoretical evidence for a completely different type of site for CO2 activation: A Cu-ceria interface, which is highly active for the synthesis of methanol. The combination of metal and oxide centers in the Cu-ceria interface provides favorable reaction pathways for the CO2 → CH3OH conversion not seen over a Cu-Zn alloy.

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Google ofrece 1$ millón para revolucionar el futuro de la electricidad

Google ofrece 1$ millón para revolucionar el futuro de la electricidad | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
Google ofrece 1$ millón para revolucionar el futuro de la electricidad - Energías Renovables, el periodismo de las energías limpias.
Digital Sustainability's insight:

Con el objetivo de conseguir un modelo de inversor de corriente lo más pequeño y sencillo posible, que podría “cambiar el futuro de la electricidad” y revolucionar las renovables, Google ha convocado el concurso The Little Box Challenge. El premio para quien lo consiga, 1 millón de dólares.

 

Los inversores son equipos eléctricos que se ocupan de transformar la corriente continua en corriente alterna. De esta forma, los inversores son una pieza clave para aprovechar la energía que se genera en paneles fotovoltaicos o sistemas eólicos, por ejemplo. Pero los inversores domésticos actuales son bastante grandes, lo que supone un freno a su instalación en los hogares.

Google se han propuesto buscar una solución a este problema y reta a ingenieros y amantes de la electrónica a desarrollar inversores pequeños y sencillos, cuanto más mejor, según informa Europa Press. Para ello, la compañía ha decidido colaborar con el Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) y ha convocado el concurso The Little Box Challenge. 

El objetivo de Google es conseguir un inversor del tamaño de una tableta. La compañía reconoce que el reto supone "superar obstáculos" considerables y por ello el premio es de 1 millón de dólares. Así pretende incentivar la participación y que finalmente se consiga el objetivo.

Para Google, una tecnología de este tipo podría "cambiar el futuro de la electricidad". En el comunicado en el que han anunciado la convocatoria de la competición, Google señala que "un inversor más pequeño podría ayudar a crear microrredes de bajo coste en lugares remotos del mundo o permitir avances que ni siquiera se han pensado todavía". 

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Artificial Leaf Can Make Oxygen in Space with Water and Light

Artificial Leaf Can Make Oxygen in Space with Water and Light | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
Julian Melchiorri has created a plant that can produce oxygen using just water and light.
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Julian Melchiorri wanted to create a way to produce oxygen in space that could handle the harsh environment of interstellar travel. What he created is an artificial leaf that has the chloroplast from the plants we know and love actually suspended inside. Melchiorri used a silk fiber to suspend the chloroplast in place so that it can still act like a plant but with a sort of super-structure to make it extra durable.

Related: NASA to Launch New Ultra-Light Inflatable Habitats for the International Space Station

“I extracted chloroplasts from plant cells and placed them inside this silk protein. As an outcome I have the first photosynthetic material that is living and breathing as a leaf does, “Melchiorri told Dezeen. He also says that he wanted to build off of nature’s own system to take advantage of a proven method and the leaves won’t just be handy for exploring the far reaches of the galaxy. Back here on Earth, they can be used as biological air filters or oxygen producers.

 

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Ferramenta inovadora para identificar os produtos mais sustentáveis

Ferramenta inovadora para identificar os produtos mais sustentáveis | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it

Ferramenta inovadora para identificar os produtos mais sustentáveis

Digital Sustainability's insight:

Uma plataforma para a eficiência energética (EE) de geração de impactos positivos moderno associados com a redução do consumo de energia, principalmente em casas e veículos, é o objetivo da "eficiência energética no Chile Topten bens de consumo."
A ferramenta tem como objetivo apoiar a redução de custos e melhorar a competitividade. Ela também ajuda a reduzir as contas de combustível e electricidade, permitindo resolver energética nacional e os desafios do clima e, por sua vez, gerar uma sociedade ativamente poder.

Uma iniciativa que visa construir e operar uma plataforma de informação online que destaca os produtos mais eficientes no consumo do mercado interno, que permite aos consumidores acessar informações neutras, rigorosa e transparente para fazer apropriada quando as decisões de compra de bens de consumo é o que a proposta de "eficiência energética no Chile Topten bens de consumo" do projeto.

O projeto contribui para a redução do consumo de energia de 20% em 2025 e trabalha com o desenvolvimento de "um setor eficiente da energia e do Consumidor Gerencia" eixo 5 da Agenda de Energia apresentado pelo governo, fornecendo bases técnicas para a criação de um quadro jurídico, que converteu com êxito para a eficiência energética (EE) em uma política de Estado de longo prazo.

Com base na iniciativa internacional voluntária e sem fins lucrativos, que há mais de 10 anos apoia a inovação em três continentes (Topten China, Topten Topten EUA e Europa). Topten Chile busca estimular a demanda por produtos eficientes através da criação de um "ponto de referência" ou sistema web dinâmico em comparação com os produtos mais eficientes em mercados domésticos. A ferramenta oferece apoio à eficiência energética em massa, complementando a rotulagem nacional EE empurrando assim os mercados em avançar para as melhores tecnologias disponíveis.

O projeto também visa melhorar a qualidade de vida dos consumidores residenciais, a fim de reduzir as contas de combustível e electricidade, permitindo contribuir activamente para resolver os desafios energéticos e climáticos nacionais e, por sua vez, gerar um ativamente com poderes sociedade.

O gerente-assistente de Energia Sustentável Fundação Chile, Ana María Ruz, observou que "Topten permite mercados transparentes e influência as decisões de compra de produtos rotulados no Chile, como geladeiras, freezers e carros, entre outros. Isto permite a economia de energia diretos são estimados sobreUS US $ 200 milhões de 10 anos de aplicação. "

Além disso, a plataforma de aplicações web e informações celularesentrega maneira amigável e atualizado continuamente através das fotos e técnicas 10productos que têm as melhores características de desempenho. Isso motiva os produtores e importadores para atender a demanda de clientes informados trazendo ao mercado nacional as melhores tecnologias disponíveis.

A iniciativa tem o apoio do WWF, como objetivos Topten apoiar sua missão, ou seja, para promover o uso sustentável dos recursos do planeta, reduzir a poluição e aumentar as fontes de energia renováveis.

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Google’s $1M Challenge: A Laptop-Sized Solar Inverter

Google’s $1M Challenge: A Laptop-Sized Solar Inverter | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
“Little Box” challenge now accepting ideas for major shrinkage in power conversion tech
Digital Sustainability's insight:

Back in May, Google announced its Little Box challenge, a $1 million prize for technology that can radically shrink the size and weight of inverters. This week, it opened the contest to applicants, announced the IEEE as a partner, and clarified just how small it’s hoping to get with the next-generation power conversion technologies.

According to Google’s Tuesday blog post, its goal is to shrink today’s picnic-cooler-sized DC-to-AC inverters, used to connect solar panels, wind turbines, electric vehicles and other grid edge devices, into something “the size of a small laptop, roughly 1/10th its current size.” In technical terms, that equates to a kilowatt-scale inverter with a power density greater than 50 watts per cubic inch.

Google’s Little Box challenge specifications document (PDF) offers a lot more details, including minimum efficiency (95 percent), how hot to the touch it can get (60 degrees Celsius), and a slew of specs for how the devices can interact with the grid. But all of these are more or less standard solar inverter requirements -- it’s the size that matters most.

Getting today’s inverters down to laptop size will require some revolutionary new materials and design concepts, according to MJ Shiao, director of GTM's solar research.  Today’s inverter manufacturers are pushing the higher bounds of efficiency, and "investing into the operational, value, feature side of the inverter may show more returns -- not that there's no value in investing in smaller footprints," he said. "Smaller, more efficient designs clearly have some return. Fitting more power into the same footprint can lead to lower electrical balance of systems and logistical costs."

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Honda Uni-Cub é essencialmente um banco com duas rodas @sustentadigital

Honda Uni-Cub é essencialmente um banco com duas rodas @sustentadigital | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
Para conduzir o Uni-Cub, basta inclinar na direção que você quer ir
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Installing a Residential Wind Turbine for Your Home

Installing a Residential Wind Turbine for Your Home | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it

Installing a Residential Wind Turbine for Your Home Power from home-based wind turbines can be used locally, or sold back to the utility to offset power costs. Utilities buy green power from homeowners at retail rates, rather than the lower wholesale rates that the large generating stations receive. There is a great deal of power …

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FARNBOROUGH, England -- Although battery weight may keep electric planes from becoming mainstream in the near future, Airbus believes its E-Fan 2.0 will find a real market: pilot training.

It hopes to begin selling the E-Fan 2.0 in late 2017 for pilot training. That's only one fraction of the plane market. A later planned E-Fan 4.0 with space for four passengers, however, will be aimed at the general-aviation market.

Earlier this year, the company started publicly flying a prototype of the E-Fan 2.0, which weighs just 500kg (1100lbs). For the first time, the France-based aircraft maker showed it off this week at the Farnborough International Airshow here, one of the highest-profile aviation events on the annual calendar and a destination for many top executives and buyers in the industry.

Even though today's model is impractical, Airbus believes electric aircraft will become important in coming years as a way to cut greenhouse-gas emissions from conventional aircraft exhaust and to offer quieter planes. Noise isn't just an issue for people living near airports; quieter planes could be flown at hours that noisier conventional craft are prohibited, so airlines could schedule more flights, Airbus argues.

The E-Fan 2.0 has dual electric motors with a total power of 60kW; they drive two ducted fans with blades whose pitch can be adjusted. With a 120-cell lithium polymer battery, it can fly for one hour before a 15-minute reserve.

Its batteries are passively cooled -- in other words, they rely ultimately on air, not a powered cooling system, to keep them from overheating as they discharge power.

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Harvesting energy from humidity: Free, green energy from leaping water droplets

Harvesting energy from humidity: Free, green energy from leaping water droplets | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
The study of a super-hydrophobic surface has led to discovery of a method for generating power from condensation. Condensing water droplets literally leap off the surface and produce an electric charge that can be harvested.
Digital Sustainability's insight:

It’s time to get rid of that dehumidifier — you are just throwing awayfree energy by sucking all the moisture out of the air, according to some new research published by a team from MIT. Postdoc researchers Nenad Miljkovic and engineering professor Evelyn Wang figured out last year that water droplets jumping off a hydrophobic surface could gain an electric charge, but now they’re worked out how to capture that energy, essentially pulling power out of thin air.

The team happened upon this mechanism quite by accident. The goal when the leaping water was discovered was to design a more efficient heat transfer material for power plants. That’s not nearly as sexy as conjuring power from humidity, but Miljkovic and Wang noticed something odd when working with a super-hydrophobic surface (pictured above). The condensing water droplets sometimes spontaneously jumped away from the hydrophobic surface, which was the goal as it cools much more efficiently. They didn’t expect the water droplets to produce an electric charge in the process, and that may have significant ramifications.

It’s the natural tendency of water to flow away from a hydrophobic surface, but in turning the leaping water into a viable method of power generation, the researchers had to give it somewhere to go. To encourage the water droplets to take a leap, a hydrophilic surface was placed just above the hydrophobic one. So the water really wants to make the trip from hydrophobic to hydrophilic, and it brings a few electrons along for the ride. The charge difference between the two plates can then be used to provide power.

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Panasonic’s Power Supply Container brings electricity to remote Indonesian islands

Panasonic’s Power Supply Container brings electricity to remote Indonesian islands | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
A stand-alone photovoltaic power container is being trialled in an Indonesian school prior to a potential wider rollout in off-grid areas. A new stand-alone photovoltaic power package which could solve electricity problems for remote off-grid areas is to be trialled in Indonesia in July. Many inhabitants of the country’s 13,000 islands currently lack access to electricity. The Power Supply Container [pictured], which does not require professional assembly, contains 12 Panasonic HIT 240 solar modules capable of generating approximately 3kW of electricity, and is equipped with 24 leadacid storage batteries which can supply stored power (17.2kWh total).
Digital Sustainability's insight:

A new stand-alone photovoltaic power package which could solve electricity problems for remote off-grid areas is to be trialled in Indonesia in July. Many inhabitants of the country’s 13,000 islands currently lack access to electricity. The Power Supply Container [pictured], which does not require professional assembly, contains 12 Panasonic HIT 240 solar modules capable of generating approximately 3kW of electricity, and is equipped with 24 leadacid storage batteries which can supply stored power (17.2kWh total). “Island communities are at the forefront of many sustainability challenges, and solutions like this can point the way to a sustainable economy for the rest of the world”, says Will Dawson, Head of Energy at Forum for the Future. Panasonic’s newly developed Power Supply Control Unit will act as an energy management system, monitoring the surplus electricity level of the lead-acid batteries and controlling supply and demand, which Panasonic claim will heavily reduce deterioration, life-cycle cost and the maintenance requirements of the batteries. - See more at: http://www.forumforthefuture.org/greenfutures/articles/panasonic%E2%80%99s-power-supply-container-brings-electricity-remote-indonesian#sthash.HCtk0qeC.dpuf

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Brazil’s Mineirão is the First World Cup Stadium Completely Powered by the Sun

Brazil’s Mineirão is the First World Cup Stadium Completely Powered by the Sun | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
An initiative by local electricity company CEMIG, Brazil’s Mineirão soccer stadium now features a whopping six thousand solar panels on its roof.
Digital Sustainability's insight:

While the world watches the nerve-racking matches being played inside, our eyes are completely dazed by what's going on outside the Mineirão stadium. This 1965 soccer stadium in Belo Horizonte was recently equipped with a whopping 6,000 solar panels on its roof just in time for the international competition. An initiative by local electricity company CEMIG, this is the first ever World Cup stadium completely powered by the sun.

Originally built in 1965, the public listed Estádio Governador Magalhães Pinto is one of this year’s World Cup venues. Topped with 6,000 rooftop solar panels, it doubles as a complete photovoltaic solar plant (USF) capable of supplying power to 1,200 households. The plant was built by the Minas Gerais State Electricity Company (CEMIG), in partnership with German bank kfW and Minas Arena, the group that manages the Mineirão.

Related: Brazil Cuts the Ribbon on Mineirão Stadium’s New $16.1m Solar Roof

Because the panels produce more energy than is necessary to power the stadium (1,600 megawatts-hour per year), 10 percent of the remaining power goes directly to regular consumers.

Although the Mineirão is the First World Cup stadium completely supplied by solar power, is not the first one in the world. This idea takes inspiration from Germany’s Freiburg and Switzerland’s Bern stadium, which also works thanks to the brightest star.

 

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$5.1 Trillion to be Invested in Renewable Energy by 2030

$5.1 Trillion to be Invested in Renewable Energy by 2030 | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
$5.1 trillion dollars is one very big number. It’s a figure equal to just a little less than one-third of the U.S. economy’s annual GDP. $5.1 trillion is the amount that will be invested by 2030 to build new power plants that use renewable energy, according to a Bloomberg News Energy Finance report. Out ofRead More
Digital Sustainability's insight:

$5.1 trillion dollars is one very big number. It’s a figure equal to just a little less than one-third of the U.S. economy’s annual GDP. $5.1 trillion is the amount that will be invested by 2030 to build new power plants that use renewable energy, according to a Bloomberg News Energy Finance report. Out of 5,000 gigawatts of power generation capacity to be added worldwide by 2030, renewable power will account for 4,000 gigawatts—nearly 80 percent of all new capacity. The leading technology in these new clean energy installations will be solar power, say the Bloomberg analysts. They predict that solar will be economically competitive with other power sources by 2020.

Falling prices for solar cells are making this power source a profitable business that doesn’t depend on subsidies for support. Decreasing prices for wind turbines are also driving the growth of wind power. Solar and wind power’s combined share of global generation will rise to 16 percent of the world’s total by 2030, up from its current 3 percent, predicts the Bloomberg forecast. And the report notes that this growth is taking place despite the downsizing of incentives for renewable energy from the U.S. and German governments. Since 2011, annual investment in renewable energy technologies has totaled more than the dollars invested in fossil fuel power generation. This upward trend for clean energy shows every sign of continuing to rise.

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PlanetSolar Em Atenas - Nova expedição "TerraSubmersa"

PlanetSolar Em Atenas - Nova expedição "TerraSubmersa" | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
1Sun4All

You may remember from an earlier story that a group of re­search scientists from Greece and Switzerland will take part in the PlanetSolar 2014 expedition, this summer, in the Argolic Gulf in Greece.

This iconic 21st century catamaran, a symbol of modern technology, will lead the search into the past on an expedition that may well be able to re-write the history of the
Digital Sustainability's insight:

After a spectacular passage through the Corinth Canal on July 28 and a stop in Eretria on July 31 to August 2 celebrating the 50th anniversary of Swiss archeological excavations in this region, the world largest solar-powered boat docked in the port of Piraeus yesterday afternoon. This is the second stop on the itinerary of the TerraSubmersa scientific expedition, in collaboration with the University of Geneva (UNIGE), and the purpose is to explain the scientific objectives of this archeological mission, which will be launched on August 11 in the Argolic Gulf (Greece).

The ship will reprise her role as a scientific platform, lending her exclusive features in service of the UNIGE researchers, whose goal is to explore the prehistoric landscapes submerged by the water, in order to reconstruct them and identify any potential traces of human activity.

Yesterday, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar has reached the Port of Piraeus in Athens, her second stop in Greece as part of the TerraSubmersa expedition, which is a collaboration between UNIGE, the Neuchâtel Latenium, the Greek Service for Underwater Antiquities, the Swiss School of Archeology in Greece, and the Hellenic Center for Maritime Research. Like Eretria, Athens is a stop intended to emphasize the work that the archeologists will carry out in the Argolic Gulf from August 11 to 22, through public and private events.

This will allow the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar to continue to prove her uses, both as a platform for communication and events, and especially as a scientific platform.

PlanetSolar’s second life is not just an occasion to expand upon prestigious visits to New York, London, Paris, or Athens, or event for spectacular voyages like the crossing of the Corinth Canal, but it also offers the crew the pleasure of accomplishing the most diverse kinds of missions. Among these, TerraSubmersa, which is the highlight of our 2014 season, is certainly the most fascinating. The highly precise navigation we will need, together with the excitement of discovery… all in the magnificent setting of the Argolic Gulf. –Gérard d’Aboville, the ship’s captain, declared with great enthusiasm.

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Smart Homes Could Benefit from Internet Connected Sensors That Power Themselves from Wi-Fi, TV, and Cellular Signals

Smart Homes Could Benefit from Internet Connected Sensors That Power Themselves from Wi-Fi, TV, and Cellular Signals | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
Simple devices that can link up via Wi-Fi but don’t need batteries could make it easier to spread computing throughout your home.
Digital Sustainability's insight:

A new breed of mobile wireless device lacks a battery or other energy storage, but it can still send data over Wi-Fi. These prototype gadgets, developed by researchers at the University of Washington, get all the power they need by making use of the Wi-Fi, TV, radio, and cellular signals that are already in the air.

The technology could free engineers to extend the tendrils of the Internet and computers into corners of the world they don’t currently reach. Battery-free devices that can communicate could make it much cheaper and easier to widely deploy sensors inside homes to take control of heating and other services.

Smart thermostats on the market today, such as the Nest, are limited by the fact that they can sense temperature only in their immediate location. Putting low-cost, Wi-Fi-capable, and battery-free sensors behind couches and cabinets could provide the detailed data needed to make such thermostats more effective. “You could throw these things wherever you want and never have to think about them again,” says Shyam Gollakota, an assistant professor at the University of Washington who worked on the project.

The battery-free Wi-Fi devices are an upgrade to a design the same group demonstrated last year—those devices could only talk to other devices like themselves (see “Devices Connect with Borrowed TV Signals and Need No Power Source”). Versions were built that could power LEDs, motion detectors, accelerometers, and touch-sensitive buttons.

Adding Wi-Fi capabilities makes the devices more practical. Gollakota hopes to establish a company to commercialize the technology, which should also be applicable to other wireless protocols, such as Zigbee or Bluetooth, that are used in compact devices without access to wired power sources, he says. A paper on the new devices will be presented at the ACM Sigcomm conference in Chicago in August.

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Tesla, Panasonic Sign Battery Gigafactory Deal

Tesla, Panasonic Sign Battery Gigafactory Deal | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
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Electric automaker Tesla Motors has reached an agreement with electronics giant Panasonic Corp to build a massive US  battery plant.

Panasonic, Tesla’s current battery cell supplier, said Thursday it will manufacture and supply cylindrical lithium-ion cells and invest in the equipment, machinery and other tools based on the two companies mutual approval. Meanwhile, Tesla will prepare, provide and manage the land, buildings and utilities.

Panasonic did not reveal how much it will invest into the gigafactory. Tesla has said it could cost as much as $5 billion.

In February, Tesla revealed plans to build a 10-million-square-foot facility, or gigafactory, to produce more lithium-ion batteries annually by 2020 than were made worldwide in 2013.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based automaker estimates the gigafactory will have the capacity to produce 50 gigawatt hours of battery packs a year by 2020. The battery packs will be used for its existing Model S luxury sedan and a cheaper next-generation vehicle, to be called the Model 3. The plant will also produce cells, modules and packs for the stationary storage market.

In June, CEO Elon Musk opened up all the patents for his company’s electric vehicle technology in an attempt to accelerate the adoption of zero-emission vehicles “Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.”

  
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Brazil set to announce local content policy for solar

Brazil set to announce local content policy for solar | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
The number one source for in-depth and up-to-the-minute news, technical articles, blogs and reviews on the international solar PV supply chain.
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National renewable energy auction organisers in Brazil have said a local content requirement for solar is to be announced within the next fortnight.

Head of alternative energy at Brazil’s national development bank (BNDES), Antonio Tovar, and Mauricio Tolmasquim, the CEO of the Ministry of Mines and Energy’s research arm, EPE, have both said funding and auction rules are to be used to encourage domestic solar manufacturing, beginning with the country’s upcoming national energy auctions. 

Tolmasquim said BNDES is to release full details on solar-specific funding soon, including local content loans. Meanwhile, in an interview with Bloomberg yesterday, Tovar said an official announcement for the local content rules would to be made in mid August.

Tovar told Bloomberg solar power project developers would only be able to import cells to Brazil until 2020.

According to Bloomberg, between this year and 2020, domestic content requirements will be progressively ratcheted up, beginning with solar frames and other parts. From 2020 onwards, developers will have to use Brazilian-made cells to apply for low-cost funding from BNDES, Bloomberg reports.

BNDES has already said it will fund companies with headquarters and management in Brazil or public entities that are building renewable energy generation projects through public auctions. The 2014 Climate Fund available for this is BR200 million (US$89.5 million).

Funding is already available for solar projects that win in Brazil's 'A-3' auction, from BNDES’ Climate Fund for renewables. BNDES’ website stipulates that renewable energy funding support is for solar “investments in local generation and distribution …and investments in activities focusing on technological development”.

 
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Shane Turpin sets SportElectric TT record aboard Brammo Empulse RR

Shane Turpin sets SportElectric TT record aboard Brammo Empulse RR | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
The complete record-breaking rundown of the 2014 Refuel SportElectric TT.
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The faded blue eyes of the corner worker lit up and his tanned face, furrows plowed deep by the California sun, cracked a bemused smile as the Brammo Empulse RR, like a yanagi blade taking a sliver of sashimi from a fresh fillet, smoothly sliced its way through the corkscrew. Minutes earlier, I'd overheard his thin lips spit out a lament about racing without its traditional sonic hyperbole. Though his judgment about the electric competitors might stay unchanged until his last breath, it seemed in that moment, at least, a heretical thought had occurred.

I am at the 2014 SportElectric TT, the competitive portion of the Refuel electric vehicle event put on annually by Speed Ventures. From my track-side seat I watch carefully as a number of adventurous souls, each with their own allotment of time and space, sling various vehicles through the curves and corners ofMazda Raceway Laguna Seca, my camera attempting to freeze fleeting moments of skill, courage, and luck. It's pretty awesome.

 

A time trial is not just a race against the clock, it is a competition that carves out small places in history for those who can wring the most from their machines on a given day, at a particular place. This year, Shane Turpin, his steed newly-wrapped in fiery imagery from sponsor Icon and tweaked to pump out 170 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque, whittled an especially sweet notch: 1:31.634.

That is the fastest Refuel lap ever – just tenths of a second short of the all-time record electric loop around this track set in 2011 by Steve Rapp on the Mission R – and one that puts two wheelers ahead of their four-wheeled kin in the unending argument of which is the more capable.
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Innovative South American companies making a mark in environment conservation

Innovative South American companies making a mark in environment conservation | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
South America is stepping up to the plate in terms of creative design company practices. Companies are creating new technology that reinvents the way we use products. Here are the top five innovati...
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Braskem

Innovation is what leads a company like Braskem to create the world’s first certified green polyethylene made from sugarcane. That, and a commitment to sustainable business practices. This company is the largest thermoplastic resin producer in the Americas. With their sustainable technology, the company produces green plastic. The plastic is now being used in products from 19 companies and 23 brands. Products that use Braskem plastic will have an “I’m Green” sticker on it.

 

BCMF Arquitetos

Established in 2001, BCMF Arquitetos is an architectural firm that is increasingly gaining attention. The firm is responsible for the renovation of the Mineirão Stadium, which hosted matches during the 2014 FIFA world cup. BCMF renovated the existing space and turned it into a stadium run completely on solar power. The building is LEED certified and gets most of its water from rainwater harvesting.

 

Magazine Luiza

Magazine Luiza was one of the first Brazilian companies to go into online retail, specifically to open up the market to citizens in small cities. The company still kept their retail stores but put all their stock online so that more people would have access to the products they sold. The challenge that the company faced was the limited amount of people that had access to the internet. Internet use that time was available for people in the upper class bracket. In response, Luiza marketed to higher-income customers and added a store called “You Shop” that allowed people to sell their own products on the marketplace.

 

Wayra

Monte Alto Renovable

In 2012, Monte Alto Forestal and Grant Devine teamed up Alto create Monte Alto Renovable. The combined goal was to create biomass energy projects. It has succeeded in getting hotels in Torres del Paine National Park off the grid by using biofuel. It is also helping a small city in Puerto Natales afford biofuel technology in exchange for lifetime contracts.

 


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California City First To Get 2nd-Generation Proterra Electric Bus

California City First To Get 2nd-Generation Proterra Electric Bus | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it

Are electric buses the public transit path to the future? Proterra thinks so, and so does the Foothill Transit Authority of West Covina, California. They became the first transit system in the country to offer revenue-based service of a Proterra electric bus in the U.S., and now the small city east of L.A. will be

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Are electric buses the public transit path to the future? Proterra thinks so, and so does the Foothill Transit Authority of West Covina, California. They became the first transit system in the country to offer revenue-based service of a Proterra electric bus in the U.S., and now the small city east of L.A. will be the first to get Proterra’s second-generation, 300+ mile electric bus, reports Green Car Congress.

With a 20.8 MPGe, the Proterra electric bus also offers the lowest cost per passenger, which has compelled the Foothill Transit Authority to purchase two of the second-generation buses, which can add 26 miles of driving in just a few minutes of fast-charging. Officially rated at more than 300 miles of driving per charge, the first-gen buses could go more than 700 miles per day with enough recharging.

This is just the latest battle in the electric bus war, as America’s Proterra goes head-to-head against China’s BYD (which, it should be noted, is building it’s buses stateside). With the two second-generation Proterra buses to be delivered in December of this year, we will move past the first-generation of electric buses with their higher costs and shorter range.

Momentum is building in Proterra’s favor, but BYD isn’t to be dismissed either, as the Chinese automaker has gone all-in with plug-in vehicles for both personal and public transit. Which of these two companies will dominate the public transit landscape in the coming decade?

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Startup Makes a New Kind of Flexible, Printed Battery

Startup Makes a New Kind of Flexible, Printed Battery | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
Imprint Energy is developing a long-lasting, bendable, and rechargeable battery.
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A California startup is developing flexible, rechargeable batteries that can be printed cheaply on commonly used industrial screen printers. Imprint Energy, of Alameda, California, has been testing its ultrathin zinc-polymer batteries in wrist-worn devices and hopes to sell them to manufacturers of wearable electronics, medical devices, smart labels, and environmental sensors.

The company’s approach is meant to make the batteries safe for on-body applications, while their small size and flexibility will allow for product designs that would have been impossible with bulkier lithium-based batteries. Even in small formats, the batteries can deliver enough current for low-power wireless communications sensors, distinguishing them from other types of thin batteries.

The company recently secured $6 million in funding from Phoenix Venture Partners, as well as AME Cloud Ventures, the venture fund of Yahoo cofounder Jerry Yang, to further develop its proprietary chemistry and finance the batteries’ commercial launch. Previous investors have included CIA-backed venture firm In-Q-Tel and Dow Chemical.

The batteries are based on research that company cofounder Christine Ho began as a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, where she collaborated with a researcher in Japan to produce microscopic zinc batteries using a 3-D printer.

The batteries that power most laptops and smartphones contain lithium, which is highly reactive and has to be protected in ways that add size and bulk. While zinc is more stable, the water-based electrolytes in conventional zinc batteries cause zinc to form dendrites, branch-like structures that can grow from one electrode to the other, shorting the battery. Ho developed a solid polymer electrolyte that avoids this problem, and also provides greater stability, and greater capacity for recharging.

Brooks Kincaid, the company’s cofounder and president, says the batteries combine the best features of thin-film lithium batteries and printed batteries. Such thin-film batteries tend to be rechargeable, but they contain the reactive element, have limited capacity, and are expensive to manufacture. Printed batteries are nonrechargeable, but they are cheap to make, typically use zinc, and offer higher capacity.

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Airbus shows E-Fan, its electric plane due in 2017

Airbus shows E-Fan, its electric plane due in 2017 | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
The France-based aircraft maker believes there's a place in the market, not just the R&D lab, for the battery-powered two-seater it showed at the Farnborough airshow.
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FARNBOROUGH, England -- Although battery weight may keep electric planes from becoming mainstream in the near future, Airbus believes its E-Fan 2.0 will find a real market: pilot training.

It hopes to begin selling the E-Fan 2.0 in late 2017 for pilot training. That's only one fraction of the plane market. A later planned E-Fan 4.0 with space for four passengers, however, will be aimed at the general-aviation market.

Earlier this year, the company started publicly flying a prototype of the E-Fan 2.0, which weighs just 500kg (1100lbs). For the first time, the France-based aircraft maker showed it off this week at the Farnborough International Airshow here, one of the highest-profile aviation events on the annual calendar and a destination for many top executives and buyers in the industry.

Even though today's model is impractical, Airbus believes electric aircraft will become important in coming years as a way to cut greenhouse-gas emissions from conventional aircraft exhaust and to offer quieter planes. Noise isn't just an issue for people living near airports; quieter planes could be flown at hours that noisier conventional craft are prohibited, so airlines could schedule more flights, Airbus argues.

The E-Fan 2.0 has dual electric motors with a total power of 60kW; they drive two ducted fans with blades whose pitch can be adjusted. With a 120-cell lithium polymer battery, it can fly for one hour before a 15-minute reserve.

Its batteries are passively cooled -- in other words, they rely ultimately on air, not a powered cooling system, to keep them from overheating as they discharge power.

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Global Clean Energy Investment Spikes 33%, Tops $63 Billion

Global Clean Energy Investment Spikes 33%, Tops $63 Billion | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
Global clean energy investment has been on a roll lately. Bloomberg New Energy Finance has just reported Q2 results and they're up 9% over Q2 last year. That's chump change compared to this year's quarter-to-quarter movement, which saw a 33% spike from Q1 to Q2.

The new Q2 report follows a strong Q1 for 2014. As
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The new Q2 report follows a strong Q1 for 2014. As to whether or not this signals a long term trend, think Solyndra bankruptcy — but in a good way — and you’ll see why BNEFanalysts are sharing a blue-skies outlook for global clean energy investment.

 Clean Energy By The Numbers

According to today’s BNEF report, the total for Q2 2014 was $63.6 billion, which sounds pretty impressive.

However, the record for global clean energy investment was set at $78 billion back in 2011 and it hit a second-highest mark of $69.6 billion in Q2 2012, so we still have some catching up to do.

You can check out the full report for a more detailed breakdown, but for those of you on the run the Q2 2014 highlights for investment in individual projects include the Netherlands’ record-breaking Gemini offshore wind farm and the Cemex Venitka wind farm in Mexico.

Also cited is the Ashalim 1 concentrating solar power project in Israel’s Negev Desert. That project is of particular interest to CleanTechnica because we had a chance to tour several new solar power plants in the Arava region of the Negev several months ago.

All located on kibbutzes (as is Ashalim 1), the solar projects have been coordinated to replace  diesel generators used by the tourist city of Haifa.

With the diesel-killing angle in mind, the demo projects are also designed as proof-of-concept for exportable solar technology, going head-to-head against cheap diesel generators to capture the growing energy market in Africa and other areas of development.

If you’re looking for a particular reason why BNEF is so optimistic, take a look at what’s going on in Arava and you’ll see that the energy transportation paradigm is shifting away from harvesting and transporting massive quantities of fuel, to a more sustainable model in which energy-harvesting technology is the main export.

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The 2014 Solar World Cup

The 2014 Solar World Cup | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
World Cup 2014: 31 days of madness as the world’s most popular sport has its biggest event of the past four years. We’re working on a couple of stories about solar and the World Cup that we’ll run over the course of the next month, but in honor of kickoff of this world-spanning event, below is … Read more
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World Cup 2014: 31 days of madness as the world’s most popular sport has its biggest event of the past four years.

We’re working on a couple of stories about solar and the World Cup that we’ll run over the course of the next month, but in honor of kickoff of this world-spanning event, below is a short look at how FIFA is working to make this event more environmentally friendly.

Before we start, let’s put the caveat out there that any event that requires hundreds of thousands of travelers to drive, fly or float thousands of miles is going to have an enormous carbon footprint. Not to mention even the waste generated by the event….

Putting that aside as much as we can, let’s talk about the environmental — and particularly the solar — upside to the World Cup.

Brazil Hosts The Most Solar World Cup Yet

While Brazil as a whole is not yet a solar powerhouse, a new report from Greentech Media lists the country as perhaps the most promising solar market in Latin America. GTM’s Latin America PV Playbook predicts that 2014 will double Brazil’s solar capacity — from 38.6 megawatts in 2013 to 72.6 MW this year.

A staggeringly huge chunk of that new generation is coming from solar-powered football stadiums. The British NGO Practical Action has put out a short report detailing just how much solar energy the World Cup can generate: 5.4 MW across four stadiums.

As Practical Action puts it, the 2014 World Cup will generate more solar energy than any previous World Cup, as well as more solar energy than many of the countries competing in the World Cup.

The chart below, from Practical Action’s double-duty World Cup bracket and energy poverty fact sheet [PDF], spells out the discrepancy between what’s happening in Brazil compared to the energy situation in many of the players’ home countries

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Solar Cell Efficiency Rises By 30% Through Singlet Fission

Solar Cell Efficiency Rises By 30% Through Singlet Fission | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
Scientists were pretty excited when they discovered you could convert light energy directly into electricity by capturing photons in semiconductors, exciting them into “excitons” (bound electron with negative charge and hole with positive), and capturing the resultant current through electrodes. Now a group of four chemists from the University of California, Riverside, has worked out a
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It’s called “singlet fission,” and by using it, we should be able to boost solar cell efficiency by as much as 30%, providing “Third Generation” solar power. The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters published the research results in an Editor’s Choice perspective article last month.

Christopher Bardeen, the chemistry professor whose lab led the research, explains what sent him  along this line of inquiry:

Our research got its launch about ten years ago when we started thinking about solar energy and what new types of photophysics this might require. Global warming concerns and energy security have made solar energy conversion an important subject from society’s point of view. More efficient solar cells would lead to wider use of this clean energy source.

“If a triplet exciton has half the energy of a singlet, then it is possible for one singlet exciton, generated by one photon, to split into two triplet excitons,” Dr. Bardeen explains. “Thus, you could have a 200% yield of excitons—and hopefully, electrons—per absorbed photon.”

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New green lease guidelines focus on people

New green lease guidelines focus on people | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
The Building and Construction Authority has launched a new toolkit to improve transparency and accountability of ‘green lease’ agreements between building...
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Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority (BCA) on Friday launched a new set of guidelines to help commercial building owners and their tenants improve their sustainable green building practices.

The government agency aims to promote the concept of ‘green lease’ agreements, which is about enabling landlords and tenants to work together on increasing energy efficiency, water efficiency and other measures that will make a building more sustainable. This new guidelines will also help improve transparency and accountability between building owners and tenants.

Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources and Foreign Affairs Grace Fu launched the new ‘green lease’ toolkit during the Green Building Exhibition, which was held at Singapore’s Marina Square on Friday until Sunday.

Singapore is currently working on its 3rd Green Building Masterplan, which places people at the heart of the sustainable building agenda and the ‘green lease’ agreement is one way to engage landlords and tenants to collaborate on managing buildings sustainably, Fu told industry professionals during her speech.

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