Archive for Technology
www.nytimes.com 15th October 2012
Quoted from source:
‘Sometime in the next few months, a single-engine Cessna will fly from Sydney to London. Converted to be able to carry extra amounts of fuel, the small plane will take 10 days for its journey, making 10 or so stops along the way. What will make this journey special is not the route or the identity of the pilot — a 41-year-old British insurance industry executive who lives in Australia — but the fuel that the aircraft will be using: diesel processed from discarded plastic trash. “I’m not some larger-than-life character, I’m just a normal bloke,” the pilot, Jeremy Rowsell, said by phone. “It’s not about me — the story is the fuel.”
The fuel in question will come from Cynar, a British company that has developed a technology that makes diesel out of so-called end-of-life plastics — material that cannot be reused and would otherwise end up in landfills. Batches of the fuel will be prepositioned along the 17,000-kilometer, or 10,500-mile, route. “The idea is to fly the whole route on plastic fuel alone and to prove that this technology works,” Mr. Rowsell said. “I’m a kind of carrier pigeon, carrying a message.” The message of the project is twofold: to highlight the issue of plastic pollution and to publicize the possibility of using plastic trash as a valuable fuel resource. As Mr. Rowsell put it: “We have a whole bunch of waste kicking about. So instead of sending it to the landfill, let’s use it.”
www.guardian.co.uk 14th August 2012
The European Union has made radical changes to the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive, the world’s first comprehensive e-waste legislation introduced in 2003. The original legislation placed “producer responsibility” ‘on manufacturers that made them legally and financially responsible for the safe collection and disposal of old equipment’. However problems persisted with the export of e-waste to countries outside the EU for scrap. The updated directive ‘will impose a series of ambitious new e-waste recovery and recycling targets on the IT and electronics industry while also introducing stringent new penalties for companies and member states who fail to comply with the rules…new targets will require member states to collect 45 per cent of electronic equipment sold for approved recycling or disposal from 2016, rising to 65 per cent of equipment sold or 85 per cent of electronic waste generated by 2019, depending on which goal member states choose to adopt’. EU member states have until February 14 2014 to transcribe the new EU directive into their national e-waste laws.
www.tgdaily.com 16th July 2012
Quoted from source:
“Drones have been a hot topic in the media lately. Whether they’re for surveillance or combat, the idea of drones patrolling our airspace is one that’s not taken lightly by the public. As we struggle to work out the ethics and legalities of military drones, it’s important to remember that not all autonomous robots are designed for violence or espionage. Many of us enjoy the work of drones in our daily lives, like the Roomba vacuum, BUFO pool cleaner, or Bosch Indego autonomous lawn mower…The Marine Drone concept created by Elie Ahovi and his team of collaborators is a perfect example of a way drone technology can have a positive impact on our world. Unlike the drones that have been causing so much controversy, this robot is designed to operate underwater, and instead of seeking out enemy targets, it will search for and destroy something equally sinister–ocean garbage. Horrified by the size of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and its identical twins forming in oceans all over the world, Ahovi and his classmates from the French International School of Design decided to come up with a simple-yet-sophisticated solution. As this review points out, the Marine Drone would patrol the oceans autonomously, sucking plastic bottles and garbage into its maw like a butterfly net. Powered by water-proof batteries, the Drone would employ an electric motor to move silently through the water. Like these pollution-seeking robot fish, the Drone’s sonic emitter would send out an irritating signal to deter aquatic life, ensuring that only trash goes into the net. When it’s collection area is full of junk, the Drone would dock with a nearby mothership, where a crew would crane the garbage up for disposal.”
Next to LMV director Ed Scott-Clarke’s apartment in London is Edgware Road tube station, which has recently become the site of a 200 square-metre ‘green wall’. The wall (pictured), according to the Metro newspaper, is made up of ’15 evergreen and perennial plant varieties [that] have been carefully selected to absorb harmful particulate matter from exhaust fumes’. The Edgware Road flyover is one of London’s busiest roads. The wall is part of a broader scheme funded by the Department for Transport’s Clean Air Fund to reduce levels of PM10, a particulate generated mostly by car exhausts, in the run up to the Olympics. Other projects include mass tree planting with 500 news trees being planted along London’s streets so far by the fund. These include 200 lime trees on the A40 and 50 ‘planted towers’ on Lower Thames St. There are also plans to introduce ‘age limits for taxi and private hire vehicles, investing in cleaner buses, building more cycle lanes, and tightening standards in the Low Emission Zone.’ As well as providing an invaluable service to the city, green walls also look amazing and LMV hopes that there will be many more to come.
e360.yale.edu 11th April 2012
Quoted from source:
‘NASA has developed a system capable of growing large amounts of algae for biofuel production within a network of floating plastic bags, an innovation its developers say could ultimately produce a new fuel source. By pumping wastewater and carbon dioxide into four nine-meter plastic bags at a demonstration plant in California, researchers have shown that the system can grow enough algae to produce nearly 2,000 gallons of fuel per year under ideal conditions, according to a report in MIT’s Technology Review. If built near wastewater plants, the technology would overcome two of the challenges associated with large-scale algae biofarms — access to huge amounts of fertilizer and large areas of land. One significant challenge, however, is that the technology currently would require an enormous amount of plastic. For instance, a scenario capable of producing 2.4 million gallons of algae per year would also require five square kilometers of plastic bags, which would likely have to be replaced annually.’
www.bbc.co.uk 8th April 2012
Denmark has long held ambitions to move away from fossil fuels, ever since the price fluctuations of the 1970s caused widespread economic difficulties in the country. Now a bold initiative, which has cross-party support, has been laid out that would see Denmark have a third of its energy needs from renewable energy by the end of this decade. By 2050, this could rise to 100%. The bold decision has been made for mostly economic reasons, which may explain the broad popularity of the idea throughout the political spectrum. Even the right of centre, pro-business politicians support it. Ms Lykke Friis, a front-bench spokeswoman for the opposition Liberal party, said, “No matter what we do, we will have an increase in the price of energy, simply because people in India and China want to have a car, want to travel. That is why we came out with a clear ambition to be independent of fossil fuels: so we are not vulnerable to great fluctuations in energy price.” Energy production will focus on wind power but will also make the use of solar energy and the burning of biomass. There are certain hurdles that need to be overcome (such as the storage of energy for when there is no sun-shine or wind) but for now Denmark has set out the most ambitious and progressive energy plan in modern history.
According to the ideas website psfk.com, students and professors from Yale University in the eastern US have discovered a type of fungi in the Amazon rainforest that can break down polyurethane (PUR), a common plastic used extensively in construction, transport, and furniture manufacture. The discovery was made as part of the university’s Rainforest Expedition and Laboratory Educational Program, which promotes discovery-based research among undergraduates. Surprisingly, the two types of Pestalotiopsis microspora fungi can survive on the polymer alone and in an anaerobic (oxygen-free) environment.
Research into this kind of thing is not new. Mark Osborn, Professor of Microbial Ecology at the University of Hull, has been studying how micro-organisms adapt in natural and polluted environments. Featured in the BBC’s Costing the Earth, Prof. Osborn and a PhD student of his Jesse Harrison explained how they go to various beaches in the UK and bury plastic in the sand, recording over time the microbes that would attach themselves to it. They collected evidence that some of these micro-organisms actually degrade the plastic, or the chemicals associated with it such as PCBs, DDT, BPA, etc. However, due to the scale of the bacteria compared to the plastic waste, the length of time it would take for a piece of plastic to completely break down is not exactly fast.
Unsurprisingly, the plastics industry is not particularly happy with this line of research. Although the idea of growing plastic-eating bacteria or fungi in an anaerobic environment may sound like a controlled method of waste disposal, uncomfortable scenarios arise if these micro-organisms escape into the environment. Particularly if they have been genetically engineered so that they degrade plastic at a higher rate than they would naturally. For obvious reasons, plastic manufacturers have expressed concern about a super-bacteria that survives on a diet of plastic loose in the world.
And yet, with global annual plastic production hitting 260 million tonnes, the problem of our plastic waste is only going to get worse. Reducing, reusing, and recycling are all very well to cut back on any more plastics escaping to the environment but we do need to think about solutions that tackle those items already there. Could plastic-consuming bacteria and fungi be the answer?
During a conference held by Zero Waste Scotland in Edinburgh, LMV’s director Ed Scott-Clarke got chatting to the key-note speaker Professor Richard Thompson, who is an interviewee in Plastic Shores. Richard talked about alternative solutions for end-use plastics instead of landfill, and on this subject he mentioned a company based in Swansea called Affresol who used plastic waste to make concrete. The company piqued LMV’s interest and we got in touch with them and organised filming for today.
Tucked away in an anonymous business park on the edge of Swansea off the M4, the large warehouse of Affresol is not the most beautiful construction in the world. However, what is produced within its walls could potentially reshape our attitudes towards waste disposal and construction materials. Affresol’s Managing Director Ian McPherson explained to LMV how the process works. Plastic waste that would otherwise be ear-marked for landfill is diverted to Affresol where it is ground to a granular sand. It is then mixed with a type of resin, as well as certain thermo set polymers, to create a substance that is poured like concrete, but is stronger, more insulated, waterproof, shatterproof, and fire-retardant. In short, it is an awful lot better than conventional concrete and its scope of application could be huge.
The ‘synthetic concrete’ as the call TPR3 is especially fascinating as a material because it does not require a particular type of plastic to be made. Any mixed plastics that are useless to the recycling industry can be utilised and therefore, potentially, a huge amount of plastic waste could be diverted from landfill. One of Affresol’s biggest waste streams comes from the well-known boiler manufacturer Worcester Bosch. Although Worcester Bosch has traditionally done its best to recycle old boilers, before their work with Affresol it was only really the metal such as copper and steel that could be recovered. Plastic parts went to landfill. Now though, Affresol takes all of the boiler company’s plastic waste in a programme so successful that Worcester Bosch now take on all of British Gas’ old boilers too.
Currently however, archaic British laws are hindering the mass use of TPR3 as they state any residential building has to have a cavity wall so that the build has adequate heat efficiency. The plastic concrete manufactured on the outskirts of Swansea is so well insulated that it doesn’t need extra insulation, and yet can be used to build a house of code 5 specifications. This law does not apply to mainland Europe so this a market Affresol may think about in the future. Also, the elastic properties of the plastic in the concrete mean it is shatterproof making it an interesting alternative to regular concrete in earthquake prone areas. The accreditation process TPR3 has to go through before it is used on a wider scale is nearing an end so be sure to look out for this innovative, and completely closed-loop life cycle, material soon.
www.bbc.co.uk 9th November 2011
Plastic bottles have found a new use in the west African country of Nigeria. In the village of Yelwa, north-western Nigeria, a project is underway that will see 25 houses built from recycled plastic bottles filled with dry soil or construction waste. The resulting buildings will not only be bullet and earthquake-proof but also cost as little as a third of similar houses being built from conventional mortar and bricks, as well as being more durable. The land was donated to the project by a Greek businessman and environmentalist and the homes will consist of one bedroom, living room, bathroom, toilet and kitchen. Around 7,800 empty plastic bottles are used per structure and are mostly sourced from hotels, embassies, and restaurants. Bottled water currently amounts to between 20-25% of water sales in the country, the equivalent of 500 million litres a year. Most of these bottles end up either in landfill or in the environment. The project is part of an initiative led by the Development Association for Renewable Energies, who plan to build a three-storey school on the same site as the houses. The plastic bottle architecture is useful for another reason. The sand in the bottles act as an insulator, which brings temperatures within the home down in the hot climate of Nigeria.
This is not the first time plastic bottles have been used in architecture and design. In Guatemala for example, recycled plastic bottles have been used to build a local school.
Electrolux, the second largest manufacturer of home appliances in the world, has released series of unique vacuum cleaners made out of plastic gathered from the world’s oceans. The launch was the next step in the Swedish company’s Vac from the Sea initiative, which aims to raise awareness about plastic waste in the oceans and the need for industry to achieve higher recycling rates. The five vacuum cleaners represent each of the five oceanic gyres on the planet where plastic pollution is highest and will be auctioned to raise funds for research into the problem. Although the true extent of marine plastic contamination is not known, a recent UN report has stated that there is now not a single beach in the world that hasn’t been affected.
By the year 2025, around 1.8 billion people will live in areas of extreme water scarcity. A new report however has suggested that desalinisation, the process whereby salt is removed from sea-water to create drinking water, may be an effective solution to the problem. Already, global desalinisation rates are dramatically increasing. By 2016, the process will be producing 10 billion gallons of freshwater, double the amount of 2008. However, too many obstacles still lie in the way of large-scale desalinisation and the process remains unviable for poorer countries. The process of desalinisation occurs through the use of reverse-osmosis membranes that allow water to pass through but prevent larger particles such as salt and ions from doing so. The technology has dramatically improved since their invention in the 1960s but they are still prone to ‘bacterial fouling’ that sees water-bourne bacteria clogging up the membranes and preventing water from passing through. Chlorine as a solution is not currently viable as the strong chemical degrades the thin membranes. Also, there is the problem of disposing of the salty brine, the by-product of the process, particularly in in-land communities. But the largest hurdle for the mass use of desalinisation plants (like the UK’s Thames Gateway facility, pictured) are their cost. Reverse-osmosis membranes are currently quite expensive and new research and development is needed to standardise the technology to drive down prices, according to Yoram Cohen, a chemical and biomolecular engineering professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.
e360.yale.edu 9th August 2011
Quoted from source:
‘Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are developing a new battery technology that they say would significantly reduce the size of electric car battery systems and potentially double the range of electric vehicles. The technology uses a type of semi-solid flow cell system, in which the battery electrodes take the form of tiny particles suspended in liquid electrolyte, a mixture nicknamed “Cambridge crude.” Two streams of that slurry-like compound — one positively charged, the other negatively charged — are then pumped through the system, causing the exchange of lithium ions across a permeable membrane that triggers an external current. Critically, while most standard battery systems consist largely of materials that provide structural support but no power, researchers say this system puts more of the materials to work. Lead researcher Yet-Ming Chiang says the power-per-unit potential will be 10 times greater than conventional designs. Also, drivers looking to recharge their batteries would have the option of replacing spent slurry or re-charging the slurry with an electric current.’
www.nationalgeographic.com 20th May 2011
The high prices of oil around the world may benefit the adoption of more renewable fuels for transport. New tests by the US Department of Defence have shown that Hydrotreated Renewable Jet (HRJ) fuel, which is kerosene derived from natural sources such as plants or animal fat, is a viable alternative to normal fossil fuels. ASTM International, the standard-setting body of the aviation, is now poised to vote on the certification of HRJ. Successful tests by the US Airforce have seen jets fly at supersonic speeds using a 50:50 composite of renewable and petroleum based fuels. The civil unrest in the Middle East and Northern Africa has helped bump up oil prices, but aviation fuel is harder hit than some other types. During such shortages, refineries cut production of aviation fuel in favour or more profitable products such as diesel. Also, the tsunami and earthquake in Japan caused outages across three refineries further reducing the amount of aviation fuel on the market. The result is a 50% increase in prices over last year (a 30% increase from the beginning of 2011 alone). As fuel takes up the largest expenditure for an airline, the inevitable knock-on effect is falling profits or even losses. Although other biofuels have been put forward to replace regular petroleum fuels, none have succeeded as they either rely on fossil fuels to power the production process or are too energy intensive. HRJ is different however as it relies upon hydrogen to turn natural materials into fuel. The diversity of the feedstock is also hugely beneficial.
e360.yale.edu 6th April 2011
Quoted from source:
‘A Finnish company says it has developed robot technology programmed to identify and sort recyclable materials from construction and demolition debris, an innovation it says could cut industrial recycling costs and keep large amounts of recyclable materials out of landfills. The Recycler robot, designed by a team at Helsinki-based ZenRobotics, uses data collected from visual sensors, metal detectors, weight measurements, and tactile feedback from the robot’s arm to categorize materials from a waste stream on a conveyor belt. And once it identifies recyclable materials — including plastics, concrete, metal, and wood — it is programmed to pull them from the belt and place them in appropriate bins. The technology even recognizes more ambiguous items, such as plywood filled with metal nails, based on their color. In early tests, the technology has successfully identified about 50 percent of recyclable materials. In addition to sorting construction waste, which accounts for about half of the materials buried in U.S. landfills, the company hopes the technology can ultimately be used to sort household waste.’
e360.yale.edu 10th February 2011
Quoted from source:
‘A UK-based company this week broke ground on a $130 million plant in Vero Beach, Fla. that company officials say will be the first to produce advanced biofuels from waste on a commercial scale. While other researchers are working on processes to convert waste into fuel, Ineos Bio’s plan would garner revenue from three different streams: taking in plant waste and possibly household garbage; generating electricity; and producing ethanol with significantly reduced CO2 emissions. The facility will use common processes to gasify plant waste, including palm leaves. But while typical ethanol processes use bacteria that eat sugars, this process will use a bacteria found in chicken waste that researchers say consumes carbon monoxide and hydrogen. The remaining gas will be burned for electricity. In tests, the process has produced nearly 100 gallons of ethanol per dry ton of waste, according to the company. By mid-2012, the company expects to begin producing 8 million gallons of bioethanol and six megawatts of electricity annually. About two megawatts of that electricity — enough to power 1,400 homes — will be shared with the local community.’
www.guardian.co.uk 24th January 2011
In an effort to tackle the country’s growing problems with water supply, the Chinese government has invested over a £1 billion in creating a giant desalinisation plant on reclaimed land bordering the Bohai Sea. It is said to be the biggest and most advanced facility of its type in the whole of Asia and aims to produce 400MW of coal-fired electricity as well as 200,000 cubic metres of salt-free potable water. To combat many of the detrimental environmental side-effects usually associated with these plants, the Chinese government promises to package the removed salt and sell it rather than pumping back into the sea. The facility will also use the by-product from the process, steam, to generate yet more power. The plant joins a host of other projects the Chinese government are pushing forward in an attempt to become more sustainable. Just a ten-minute drive away lies the site of an ‘eco-city’ the size of Bristol, which aims to be fully populated within ten years. These projects are evidence of China’s belief that it can tackle its environmental problems with science, technology, and a lot of money. So far though, the new desalinisation plant has never run on more than a quarter capacity since it opened in April. It has also yet to secure any supply deals with local utility companies.
e360.yale.edu 4th January 2011
Quoted from source:
‘The European Union will exceed its target of meeting 20 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020, according to a new report. Twenty-five of the 27 EU nations will meet or exceed their national targets, according to the analysis by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). About 14 percent of the total energy demand will be met through wind energy, more than any other renewable source, with Ireland projected to generate 36.4 percent of its energy from wind by 2020 and Denmark producing 31 percent, according to the analysis. The other top sources of renewable energy are hydropower (10.5 percent), biomass (6.6 percent), and solar photovoltaic (2.7 percent). Italy and Luxembourg, the only nations projected to not meet their national standards, plan to import renewable energy to make up for the shortfall.’
www.nytimes.com 10th December 2010
Ten years ago the city of Kristiangrad in Sweden vowed to shove off its dependence on fossil fuels completely. Today, with a population of 80,000, the city and its surrounding county effectively uses no oil, gas, or coal for heating and electricity, even during the chilly winters. This has not been achieved by renewable energies such as solar or wind though, but through the burning of bio-gas generated from waste. Everything from food waste to manure, cooking oil, and wood waste is converted to a form of methane in a plant outside of the city, which can then be used to generate energy, whether it be for heating or bio-fuels for cars. Gas is also collected from sewage ponds and old landfills. Although bio-gas generators are not uncommon in Europe, with 5,000 in Germany alone, most are used on a small-scale, particularly on farms. Kristiangrad is one of the first efforts for an ‘across-the-board regional energy makeover’ and it has succeeded on reducing CO2 emissions by a quarter in a decade.
The LMV team found this on the freshly squeezed round up….looks like a clever, and feasible, idea.
Best Green Educational Project (Promoting Sustainable Development Issues), Sponsored by Birds Eye Igloo:
Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC – Let’s Grow (UK)
Best Green Product Innovation, Sponsored by Microsoft Corporation:
Dassault Systemes SolidWorks Corp. – SolidWorks Sustainability (USA)
Best Green Third/ Charity Sector Campaign Award, Sponsored by HotelREZ:
International Advertising Association – “Hopenhagen” (Global – USA)
Best Green Advertising Award (Print & Outdoor):
China Environmental Protection Foundation – “Green Pedestrian Crossing” (China)
Best CSR Report Award:
Kingfisher plc – “Future Homes CR Report” (UK)
Best Green Direct Response Award (Direct Mail /Drtv / Dr Radio Etc):
Arjowiggins Graphic – “What One Tree Means To Me” (UK)
Best Green Event Award (Shows / Exhibitions):
National Trust – “A Plant in Time – A Touring Exhibition” (UK)
Best Green Internal Communications Awards:
Anglian Water Services Limited – “Biodiversity Field Guide & Intranet” (UK)
Best Green International Campaign Awards, Sponsored by Hayes & Jarvis:
Convention on Biological Diversity – “The International Year of Biodiversity” (UK)
Best Green Mixed Media Award (Integrated):
Toyota Sweden AB – “Toyota Glass of Water” (Sweden)
Best Green Moving Image Award (Audio-Visual / TV Spot / Short Film / Animation), Sponsored by Green.tv:
Scottish Government – “Greener Travel & Transport” (UK)
Best Green Packaging Awards:
Planet People – “iQ: The Smarter Cleaner” (USA)
Best Green PR Campaign Awards:
RecycleBank – “Waste not, want not” (UK)
Best Green Public Sector Campaign Awards, Sponsored by Yell:
Forum for the Future – “Farming Futures – practical action on climate change” (UK)
Best Green Use of Online Media Award (Banners / Social Media Campaigns / Websites):
Ecomodo – “The marketplace of good returns” (UK)
Best Green Use of Mobile Apps and Technologies:
River Cottage – “Landshare” (UK)
e360.yale.edu 30th November 2010
Quoted from source:
‘The latest version of Google Earth provides a 3D view of trees, an innovation that Google officials say will emerge as a forestry planning tool for governments, environmentalists, and indigenous peoples. While earlier versions of the software showed forest cover from a bird’s eye view worldwide, Google Earth 6 takes users beneath the canopy level to explore more than 50 different tree species, from olive groves in Greece to patches of bamboo in the Amazon. Google officials say they are working with different groups to use the software in conservation and reforestation projects, including efforts to map coastal mangrove forests in Mexico and the modeling of forest restoration projects in Kenya. “We want to make sure we’re adding in more information to make the planet more alive and more complete,” Peter Birch, Google Earth product manager, told Reuters. So far, Google has mapped 80 million trees in seven cities worldwide — including San Francisco, Chicago, Tokyo, and Athens — and in a section of rainforest in the Brazilian Amazon.’
Quoted from source:
‘The Story of Electronics, released on November 9th, 2010 at storyofelectronics.org, takes on the electronics industry’s “design for the dump” mentality and champions product take back to spur companies to make less toxic, more easily recyclable and longer lasting products. Produced by Free Range Studios and hosted by Annie Leonard, the eight-minute film explains ‘planned obsolescence’—products designed to be replaced as quickly as possible—and its often hidden consequences for tech workers, the environment and us. The film concludes with an opportunity for viewers to send a message to electronics companies demanding that they “make ‘em safe, make ‘em last, and take ‘em back.” The film was made in close partnership with the Electronics TakeBack Coalition, a national network of over 30 environmental and health organizations working to promote green design and responsible recycling in the electronics industry.
Watch the film with the link above.
www.economist.com 7th October 2010
Quoted from source:
‘DESIGNED especially for city and suburban motoring, this handsome automobile is smooth, quiet and easy to drive, and being powered by electricity it can be charged up at home. Tempting? The sales pitch is not for one of the new electric cars from General Motors, Nissan or Renault, but for a 1905 Victoria Phaeton from Studebaker of South Bend, Indiana…’
Read more on the Economist’s discussion on electric cars here.
e360.yale.edu 11th October 2010
Quoted from source:
‘The U.S. could generate 20 percent of its electricity from wind energy by 2030 if it develops offshore wind farms in the coastal waters of 26 states, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab. Developing the nation’s offshore wind potential would also create $200 billion in “new economic activity” and 43,000 jobs, according to the report. While the U.S. currently leads the world in installed land-based wind capacity, the nation has no major offshore wind farms. Last week, however, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar signed a 28-year offshore lease for the nation’s first offshore wind project off the coast of Cape Cod, Mass., which would produce an average of 182 megawatts. State and federal officials are now considering other major offshore wind farm proposals. The Department of Energy report said that if offshore wind farms are densely developed along the U.S. coastline, such installations could theoretically provide four times the electricity capacity that now exists in the U.S.’
www.nytimes.com 25th September 2010
People have begun to move into Abu Dhabi’s brand new city constructed to be the world’s first zero carbon settlement. The project was announced back in 2007 but seemed to be largely dismissed by Western powers as just another addition to the United Arab Emirates’ tradition of flamboyant spending. However, the first section of ‘Masdar’, as the city is called, has been completed and local residents have begun to move in. The 3 1/2 acre section includes a sustainability-orientated research institute. The British company Foster and Partners have been charged with the city’s completion and, at first glances, they are on track for success. The finished product should be an almost perfect square of a mile each side raised on a platform 23 foot off the ground to capture desert breezes for ventilation. Beneath Masdar, a warren like tunnel system will be built with electric cars taking residents to wherever they need to be. Norman Foster, the chief architect on the project, meticulously studied the history of Islamic architecture as possible in an attempt to free his brainchild from the trappings of the inefficiency and ugliness of many modern arab developments. His studies took him to the mudbrick apartment towers in Yemen to the ancient citadel of Aleppo. Just by using ancient methods of ventilation, Mr. Foster and his team believe that they can reduce heat at street level by up to 70 degrees, which, as a result, would reduce energy usage by 50% and less air-conditioning would be needed. 90% of Masdar’s electricity is to be solar with the remaining generated by waste incineration.
e360.yale.edu 23rd September 2010
Quoted from source:
As increasing numbers of electric vehicles enter the global market over the next few years,more than 4.7 million charging stations will be accessible worldwide by 2015, with nearly 1 million of the those expected in the U.S., according to a new study. Of the 974,000 charging stations predicted in the U.S., about 64 percent will be charging units in residences, according to Pike Research. Across Asia and Europe, where multi-family housing is more common, only about 35 percent of charging stations will be residential, with a greater percentage of consumers relying on public or commercial stations to charge their vehicles, according to the study. In addition, North America will see a higher percentage of plug-in hybrid vehicles, which require less charging infrastructure because they have smaller battery packs and gasoline engines that allow vehicles greater range.