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Environment

The current wing is an inflateable wing specially built by a kitesurfing manufacturer for ...

The University of Delft has a program devoted to kite-based generation systems, with 20 years of research and development under their belt since Wubbo Ockels, the first Dutch astronaut established it. Now, members of the team are exploring practical niches where the compromises of kite-based power might pay off. One has just completed a trip through Kenya, Tanzania and Senegal discussing opportunities for rural African kite generation with governmental agencies, universities and companies in the renewables space.  Read More

The DIFIS system dome deployed

When ships sink, as well as the loss of property (and very possibly life), there’s the danger of environmental damage. An oil tanker breaking up is a disaster, but even a cargo ship going down can mean oil leaking from fuel bunkers. Double Inverted Funnel for Intervention on Shipwrecks (DIFIS) is an EU project coordinated by Maritime Research Institute Netherlands (MARIN) that uses a passive system to catch oil as it leaks out of a wreck on the ocean floor.  Read More

Resolution is a departure from the “tabletop” look of most other solar cars

A group of engineering students from the University of Cambridge is hoping to become the first British team to take home the World Solar Challenge crown with a new solar car dubbed "Resolution." The vehicle, which the team claims "rewrites the rulebook for green vehicles," features solar panels that will move to track the sun as it makes the 3,000 km (1,864 mi) journey across the Australian outback from Darwin to Adelaide.  Read More

A closeup of the wood fibers used by the researchers in their sodium-ion battery (Image: U...

Li-ion batteries may be ok for your smartphone, but when it comes to large-scale energy storage, the priorities suddenly shift from compactness and cycling performance (at which Li-ion batteries excel) to low cost and environmental feasibility (in which Li-ion batteries still have much room for improvement). A new "wood battery" could allow the emerging sodium-ion battery technology to fit the bill as a long-lasting, efficient and environmentally friendly battery for large-scale energy storage.  Read More

Aaron Sebens and his class of fourth-graders from the Central Park School for Children in ...

Aaron Sebens and his class of fourth-graders from the Central Park School for Children in Durham, North Carolina hit Kickstarter back in March to try and raise enough money for their classroom to go off-grid. A rather modest target of US$800 was smashed within a day by the kindness of the international community and, at campaign end, the kids found themselves with the handsome sum of $5,817 to spend on the purchase and installation of a roof-mounted solar energy harvesting system. A wind turbine was added to the shopping list, and just two months later, the 208ers threw a huge "Flip the Switch" party to celebrate leaving the grid. Sebens reports that the classroom has been running on renewables ever since.  Read More

Nike's Making app gives users access to its Materials Sustainability Index

Nike has launched an app to make sustainability data more readily available to apparel makers. Called Making, the app is targeted at designers to provide them with information on the environmental implications of the materials they work with.  Read More

Stafier's PV roof tile system recesses into the roof

If aesthetic concerns are keeping you from buying some solar panels to stick on your roof, Stafier's expansion into photovoltaics may be of interest.  Read More

Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm, UK (Photo: Harald Pettersen/Statoil)

Squirreled away beneath a recent Telegraph report on the subtleties of badger-culling in the UK was this intriguing morsel of wind energy news, which would seem to challenge the idea that intermittent energy sources such as wind play havoc with grid management. For the 23,700 gigawatt-hours of electrical energy generated by wind in the UK between April 2011 and September 2012, only 22 GWh of electrical energy from fossil fuels "was needed to fill the gaps when the wind didn't blow," it reports. Gizmag contacted the UK National Grid to find out the details.  Read More

TwingTec's Twing (or tethered wing) prototype

Poised halfway between the complexity of Makani and the simplicity of SkySails, the TwingTec TwingKite (or simply Twing, short for tethered wing) uses an advanced lightweight construction to generate energy from the wind. It has been awarded 10,000 Swiss Francs by the Venture Kick start-up funding program.  Read More

Are 'innovative' wind technologies ever a match for three-blade turbines?

Virtually every week there are articles about new and innovative methods for harvesting wind energy. And every week more megawatts of capacity from three-blade horizontal-axis wind turbines (HAWT) becomes operational, despite all of the contenders. Why aren't these innovative new products knocking the iconic HAWT off its perch? Is it possible to tell which are likely to be viable? These eight points are a useful way to assess which technology has potential, and which are likely just hot air.  Read More

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