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New World Record Set for Solar Cells: 44% Efficiency

New World Record Set for Solar Cells: 44% Efficiency | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
Scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Solar Junction have set a new record for high-efficiency solar cells with an unprecedented 44% efficiency rate.

Via Kalani Kirk Hausman
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LOréal ya trigenera con biomasa y fotovoltaica en España

LOréal ya trigenera con biomasa y fotovoltaica en España | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
LOréal ya trigenera con biomasa y fotovoltaica en España - Energías Renovables, el periodismo de las energías limpias.
Digital Sustainability's insight:

Sol y biomasa forestal residual de bosques y aserraderos. Estos son los “alimentos” del innovador sistema de trigeneración renovable que la empresa de cosméticos L’Oréal inauguró la pasada semana en su fábrica de Villalonquéjar (Burgos). Según fuentes de la compañía, es la primera vez en España que una instalación de estas características abastecerá de vapor, agua caliente, agua fría y electricidad a una fábrica, es decir, que cubrirá el 100% de sus necesidades energéticas. Eroski lleva a cabo una iniciativa similar, solo con biomasa y en una de sus tiendas, dentro del proyecto europeo LifeZeroStore.


Como ya recogió este portal, LifeZeroStore es un proyecto Life a tres años (concluye en 2016) que suma las tecnologías de biomasa, absorción y cogeneración y el de L’Oreál es ya un realidad industrial y comercial. Representantes de la empresa, municipales y el presidente de la Junta de Castilla y León, Juan Vicente Herrera, se encargaron de destacar el carácter pionero de una instalación que ha supuesto una inversión de 14,5 millones de euros. Biocen, empresa encargada de la concepción, construcción y gestión, y formada por Cenit Solar y la Sociedad Pública de Infraestructuras y Medio Ambiente de Castilla y León (Somacyl), ha aportado el montante principal: 12 millones de euros.


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Drones to aid conservation efforts in India

Drones to aid conservation efforts in India | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
Earlier this year, technology came to the aid of India’s endangered wildlife, where human intervention had proved inadequate. For the first time, drones were used to track the movement of tigers that had radio collars at the Panna Tiger Reserve, in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.

In the past, Panna has faced a severe poaching problem, leading to the disappearance of all tigers from the reserve in 2009. It is now hoped that Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) will also help vulnerable park officials keep an eye on armed poachers.
    
After the success of the Panna pilot project, the Indian Government is considering the use of drones in 10 other protected areas rich in biodiversity by early 2015. These include the Sunderbans in West Bengal, the Himalayan foothills, the Western ghats and the Andaman islands.

For the Panna initiative, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) joined hands with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), a US-based company called Conservation Drones, and the Wildlife
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Engineers develop algorithms to switch out and recharge battery modules in electric cars

Engineers develop algorithms to switch out and recharge battery modules in electric cars | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it

Imagine being able to switch out the batteries in electric cars just like you switch out batteries in a photo camera or flashlight. A team of engineers at the University of California, San Diego, are trying to accomplish just that, in partnership with a local San Diego engineering company.

Rather than swapping out the whole battery, which is cumbersome and requires large, heavy equipment, engineers plan to swap out and recharge smaller units within the battery, known as modules. They named the project Modular Battery Exchange and Active Management, or M-BEAM for short (http://www.modularexchange.com).

Engineers have already purchased and converted a car, a 2002 four-door Volkswagen Golf. They also built all the modules for one of the two battery packs they plan to use and are now looking for sponsors for their project, including companies or individuals that appreciate the benefits of having small exchangeable battery modules in an electric vehicle.


A snapshot of the inside of the Volkwagen Golf researchers outfitted with battery modules for their planned cross-country trip.
“This is a game-changing technology,” said Lou Shrinkle, an electrical engineer who is one of the major sponsors of the project. “This idea may seem straightforward, but there were some tough technical challenges that we had to solve to make this system robust and practical.”

Swapping battery modules could also have far-reaching implications for mobile and decentralized electrical energy storage systems such as solar backup and portable generators. The technology can make energy storage more configurable, promote safety, simplify maintenance and eventually eliminate the use of fossil fuels for these applications, Shrinkle pointed out

Engineers not only believe that their approach is viable, but also plan to prove it. They will embark on a cross-cou

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Toshiba To Provide Fast-Charging Batteries For Proterra

Toshiba To Provide Fast-Charging Batteries For Proterra | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
Toshiba’s Rapid Recharge SCiB battery has been selected by Proterra to power their next generation of fully electric buses. Using a lithium-titanate chemistry, the SCiB batteries are resistant to thermal-runaway and yet can be rapidly recharged and discharged with minimal capacity loss over 10,000 cycles.

The promise of fully electric buses is one of zero
Digital Sustainability's insight:

The promise of fully electric buses is one of zero emissions, renewable energy, and a whole lot less noise. Proterra is introducing electric buses one American city at a time, doing battle withChina’s BYD for control of the electric public transit market, and both companies will need a lot of batteries to get by. BYD is building its own batteries, but Proterra needs to source them from a third party. Enter Toshiba and its SCiB batteries.

“With a rapid recharge capability and outstanding life performance, Toshiba’s SCiB battery is ideally suited for zero-emission public transit,” said Greg Mack, Vice President of Toshiba International Corporation’s (TIC) Power Electronics Division. “Toshiba has decades of experience in transportation and we see the SCiB battery as key to expanding environmentally-friendly modes of transportation with optimum power performance in North America.”

Proterra’s electric buses can be topped off in just ten minutes, and the massive battery banks and quick recharging mean these buses can cover as much as 700 miles in a 24 hour period. Proterra has been signing contracts in cities both big (Nashville, TN) and small (West Covina, CA) in a bid to make it the eminent electric bus maker. With SCiB batteries on board, the big battery banks can go from 0% to 80% full in just six minutes.

“Because safety and performance are paramount to Proterra, we are very deliberate in each part we select for our buses, putting vendors through a rigorous qualification process,” said Proterra Inc. CEO, Ryan Popple. “Battery quality is critical to the performance of Electric Vehicles; partnering with a world-class team like Toshiba and utilizing SCiB technology will enable Proterra to offer its customers the highest-performance, safest, and most reliable urban transit vehicles.”

 
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A Smart Phone-Friendly Portable Solar Charger That Apple Addicts Can Luv, Too

A Smart Phone-Friendly Portable Solar Charger That Apple Addicts Can Luv, Too | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
We've been testing a few portable solar chargers lately and this nifty little
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A Range Anxiety Solution for Portable Solar Chargers

Think of the wall-charging feature as a range anxiety solution for portable solar chargers. Even if your solar exposure at home (or work, or wherever) isn’t so great, you can still get part of your charge from the sun, then top off the Sun Power Pad with a wall charger if you want to have a full battery while you’re on the go.

Even on a partial charge, the Sun Power Pad portable solar charger is quite handy. We couldn’t wait to try it out, so instead of sticking around for a full charge we dashed out of the house with a cell phone in the red zone at a 12 percent, plugged into the solar charger which showed only two bars on its four-bar display.

Within less than an hour, the cell phone was back up to the 80 percent range, which was more than enough to get through the day. If you decide to try this at home, keep an ears open for another handy feature: you’ll hear a little buzz when the Sun Power Pad has run out of juice, so you know when you can unplug.

A Smart Phone-Friendly Portable Solar Charger For AppleHeads

We learn something new every time we try a new solar device, no matter how simple it looks. In this case, we learned that the world does not revolve around Apple, and that you should empty out the entire contents of the box before you start pouting.

When our Sun Power Pad arrived on our doorstep there was a bit of an initial letdown, because the input port for the wall charger is not compatible with iPhones.

But, sunny days returned as soon as we shook everything out of the box. Secur Productspacks the Sun Power Pad 3000 with its own compatible cable, which you can connect to any USB wall plug, iPhone or no iPhone.

Just a heads up, a USB wall plug is not included in the package, probably because Secur assumes you already have at least one on hand for your other devices. If you don’t, you probably someone you know has like six or eight extra ones lying around.

 

 

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Sales of electric motorcycles, scooters will reach 55 million in next decade

Sales of electric motorcycles, scooters will reach 55 million in next decade | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
55 million electric motorcycles, electric scooters will be sold between 2014 and 2023, Navigant Research says.
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Current and future electric motorcycle and e-scooter makers are hoping that global sales of the two-wheeled plug-ins take off as quickly as their electric-powered bikes. Numbers collected by Navigant Research should give those companies a bit of hope. The research firm says the e-motorcycle and e-scooter market is ready to surge as component prices drop while gas prices continue to rise.

Navigant says about 55 million plug-in two-wheelers will be sold within the next decade. And while China now accounts for all but two percent of global e-cycle and e-scooter sales, demand is expected to pick up in other regions, i.e., North America and Europe. That spells good news for both existing e-bike makers like Brammo and future purveyors like Harley-Davidson. In June, Harley announced its first electric motorcyclecalled the Livewire. Harley started showcasing a concept version of the bike at 30 dealers along Route 66 this summer.

It looks like Brammo wants to make a chunk of those 55 million unit sales happen sooner than later. The Oregon-based electric motorcycle maker just started a late-summer promotion that cut prices across the board. Prices on Brammo's Empulse and Enertia lines were cut by anywhere from $4,000 to $6,995. Take a look at Navigant's press release below.

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Another way to photosynthesize hydrogen from high-tech 'leaves'

Another way to photosynthesize hydrogen from high-tech 'leaves' | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
Researchers at the Australian National University say they've figured out a new way to mimic photosynthesis to creat hydrogen for fuel cell cars.
Digital Sustainability's insight:

Maybe we should just admit that the future is unpredictable, especially the hydrogen economy. Just recently, we've seen Toyota predict the cost of hydrogen will be between $5-and-$7 per kilogram in the future. UC Davis also recently released a report that says hydrogen can be inexpensive in the future, but that likely continued fracking for natural gas will be necessary. But what if it isn't?

Researchers at the Australian National University (ANU) say they have discovered yet another interesting way to to mimic the photosynthesis of a leaf to create hydrogen that could be used as a fuel. The secret is a new protein that, "when exposed to light, displays the electrical heartbeat that is the key to photosynthesis," according to ANU. The potential end results are not only hydrogen fuel for use in fuel cell vehicles but also, maybe, trapping carbon from the air.

In a statement, ANU's Dr. Kastoori Hingorani, said, "Water is abundant and so is sunlight. It is an exciting prospect to use them to create hydrogen, and do it cheaply and safely." Cheaply? That sounds good but we've heard about similar breakthroughs before. Still, this one sounds promising and if the press releasebelow isn't detailed enough for you, you can find detailed research published in BBA Bioenergetics.

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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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The Next Gen App for Curbing Your Transportation Emissions

The Next Gen App for Curbing Your Transportation Emissions | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it

Save time, travel costs and carbon? Yup, there’s an app for that: TripGo. It’s already being used in over 50 major metropolitan cities around the globe to streamline commuting times, travel itineraries and intelligently lower travel emissions.

Created by the Australian-based company SkedGo, the underlying sustainability focus of the TripGo app is designed to reinforce the need for smarter, cleaner and resource friendly transportation methods, i.e., smart cars, electric vehicles, improved mass transit infrastructure, bicycle commuting, ride shares, etc.

Because according to the latest findings in, A Global High Shift Scenario, the report released last month by the Institute for Transportation and the University of California, “Transportation, driven by rapid-growth in car use, has been the fastest growing source of CO2 in the world.”

So whether you’re trying to shave minutes off of your daily commute, or taking a vacation in an unfamiliar city, TripGo automatically plans trips to, from and between events in your calendar, and smartly proposes the least carbon-intensive connections using your personal transport preferences.

Save time, travel costs and carbon? Yup, there’s an app for that: TripGo. It’s already being used in over 50 major metropolitan cities around the globe to streamline commuting times, travel itineraries and intelligently lower travel emissions. Created by the Australian-based company SkedGo, the underlying sustainability focus of the TripGo app is designed to reinforceRead More
Digital Sustainability's insight:

Save time, travel costs and carbon? Yup, there’s an app for that: TripGo. It’s already being used in over 50 major metropolitan cities around the globe to streamline commuting times, travel itineraries and intelligently lower travel emissions.

Created by the Australian-based company SkedGo, the underlying sustainability focus of the TripGo app is designed to reinforce the need for smarter, cleaner and resource friendly transportation methods, i.e., smart cars, electric vehicles, improved mass transit infrastructure, bicycle commuting, ride shares, etc.

Because according to the latest findings in, A Global High Shift Scenario, the report released last month by the Institute for Transportation and the University of California, “Transportation, driven by rapid-growth in car use, has been the fastest growing source of CO2 in the world.”

So whether you’re trying to shave minutes off of your daily commute, or taking a vacation in an unfamiliar city, TripGo automatically plans trips to, from and between events in your calendar, and smartly proposes the least carbon-intensive connections using your personal transport preferences.

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Architects Design Cardboard Carrier to Improve City Cycling

Architects Design Cardboard Carrier to Improve City Cycling | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
Courtesy of Packtasche There’s no denying that biking is one of the biggest trends in urban development right now, with many touting cycling as the
Digital Sustainability's insight:

There’s no denying that biking is one of the biggest trends in urban development right now, with many touting cycling as the solution to reducing pollution and congestion – not to mention its health benefits. As cities are focusing on what they can do to encourage cycling and make their streets bike-friendly, architects have played a critical role in ushering bikes into the city, designing everything from  protected cycle lanes to elaborate elevated cycletracks. Yet after cycling in Vienna for eight years, two architecture students decided to take a different – and simpler – approach to improving biking conditions. Focusing on the often cumbersome task of trying to run errands while on a bike, Philipp Moherndl and Matthias Lechner have designed a lightweight, recyclable cardboard pannier that can seamlessly go from store to bike.

“Due to the mass appeal of the bike, conventional cycling accessories do not fit the lifestyle of many urban cyclists,” Moherndl and Lechner told ArchDaily. “The limited transport capacity of usual bicycles makes shopping difficult and inflexible. People often do their shopping spontaneously, on their way home or whilst cycling in the city. Therefore we wanted to come up with a more flexible solution: a multi-use bag for bicycles, which is low priced and environmentally-friendly.”

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Copenhagen’s New LED Bus Stops

Copenhagen’s New LED Bus Stops | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
a
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Here’s another ingenious and practical infrastructure story from our mentor in all things bicycle and mass transit, Copenhagen. Safety is not a small issue with bicyclists and pedestrians. Copenhagen has many bus stops and cycle tracks with a lot of bicyclists and pedestrians, which provides the need to really integrate them well.

Copenhagen has set up islands at bus stops for the bus passengers to use when disembarking.Copenhaganize states: “It really is the baseline for infrastructure and the City, by and large, prefers it over anything else. Since the City starting retrofitting bus stops to provide islands, safety has increased dramatically across the city.”

Now, in 2015, the City of Copenhagen is taking it a step forward. It will establish LED bus islands at certain locations where there isn’t space to build a full island. The lights will show a green strip along the curb when there is no bus there. The LED light show will expand across the cycle track to indicate to all traffic users that passengers have the priority as the bus rolls up. Then back to the green after the bus leaves. Sounds bright, easily understood, and safe.

 
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Urban Plunge: Swimming in the City

Urban Plunge: Swimming in the City | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it

An exhibition at the Roca London Gallery presents a series of architectural proposals to reclaim natural water sources in London, New York and Copenhagen for recreational use. We spoke to curator Jane Withers about how we can better exploit our rivers and harbours.


Via Lauren Moss
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Bet Your EV Can’t Do This: Electric Garbage Truck Hauls 9 Tons Of Trash

Bet Your EV Can’t Do This: Electric Garbage Truck Hauls 9 Tons Of Trash | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
We've been paying loads of attention to lightweight, compact, and sporty (Tesla, much?) electric vehicles, but the EV revolution is also taking place in heavy duty vehicles as well. We're not talking hybrids, we're talking about 100% plug-in EVs like this new electric garbage truck from Motiv Power Systems that just made Chicago the first
Digital Sustainability's insight:
Electric Garbage Trucks For Chicago

We’ve been following the Motive electric garbage truck around since it was a glimmer in the company’s eye. Back in 2012, the company announced that it would make Chicago the first US city to get a fleet of all-electric garbage trucks, and it looks like they’re on track.

The 2012 announcement covered a $13.4 milion contract to add 20 electric garbage trucks to the city’s 600-strong fleet over the next five years.

Motiv Power Systems is better known for its forays into the electric school bus field, and it apparently won the Chicago contract based partly on the success of its pilot project involving an electric bus in California.

The Motiv secret sauce is a flexible system for pulling mix-and-match, off-the-shelf components together with its proprietary technology in order to get the biggest bang for the least bucks. That’s pretty much the opposite of the Tesla Gigafactory approach, but hey, whatever works.

Motiv also looked at hybrids and compressed natural gas as alternatives, but determined that the all-electric approach was more cost effective.

If the garbage truck can get anywhere near the savings that Motiv calculates for its electric buses, Chicago could score big. According to Motive, between cheap fuel and low maintenance a single electric bus can save $11,000 per year over its diesel counterpart.

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Would Solar Roadways Work? A Government Engineer Discusses the Controversial Technology : Greentech Media

Would Solar Roadways Work? A Government Engineer Discusses the Controversial Technology : Greentech Media | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
The DOT engineer who helped test a solar roadway prototype shares his thoughts on its viability.
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Ever since Scott and Julie Brusaw went public with their idea for building solar-powered LED roadways, they’ve faced a constant barrage of skepticism and even outright hostility.

The reaction was expected given how technically difficult it would be to execute their vision of electrifying roads and highways with reinforced solar panels. Some questioned whether the application for solar is even necessary. 

But one organization -- the most important agency governing America's roads -- was willing to give them a shot at proving the concept.

In 2009, after a couple years of tinkering in their driveway, the Brusaws secured a $100,000 grant from the Department of Transportation for their company, Solar Roadways. The grant was supposed to be used for gathering information from engineering experts in a variety of fields and developing a concept paper based on the findings.

"I didn't need that much money to have a bunch of professors write a paper. So I asked [the DOT] if we could simply build a prototype," said Scott Brusaw.

In February 2010, the Brusaws built their first panels, a 12-foot by 12-foot array without solar cells, to test whether the underlying electronics would work.

That year, Solar Roadways won a $50,000 community award through GE's Ecomagination challenge, giving it another pool of money to keep experimenting.

Then, in 2011, the DOT followed up its initial support with a $750,000 grant to assist Solar Roadways in developing a second "parking lot" demonstration array with solar cells, LED lights, and a heating system built in.

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Tesla Wiki Car; ABB Fast Chargers Hit China…

Tesla Wiki Car; ABB Fast Chargers Hit China… | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
Here's some more EV news for your clicking pleasure. Enjoy, and feel free to drop more stories in the comments below.



Electric train trials are beginning in the UK. (EV Obsession)

ABB, Daimler, and BYD have been working together to create a locally-built EV fast charger. (EV Obsession)

TeslaMondo discusses Tesla's extreme responsiveness to customer feedback and the possibility of
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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
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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.
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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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