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Environment

Despite energy costs rising steadily, it's still very common to see people driving their cars alone, particularly in big cities. The OpenRide mobile service recently presented at the IFA exhibit in Berlin is a simple but effective idea that aims to save money while reducing our carbon footprint by providing an open infrastructure for organizing carpooling in a quick and convenient way. Read More
In the midst of overwhelming debate over climate change - an issue that seemingly paralyzes politicians - the Chinese government has announced its intention to construct a 2-gigawatt solar power plant in Ordos City, Inner Mongolia. Mike Ahearn, CEO of the Arizona-based company which will construct the plant, describes the unprecedented project as “an encouraging first step forward toward the mass-scale deployment of solar power worldwide to help mitigate climate change concerns.” Read More
Idaho-based Solar Roadways founder Scott Brusaw is excited that his company has a received a USD$100,000 U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) grant to develop further his prototype that turns roads in giant electricity-generating solar panels. Apart from providing energy to power our homes, street lighting and so on, the roads could contain thousands of embedded LEDs to provide better street signage and make driving safer. He also believes the solar panel roads could last up to three times longer than the current petroleum-based asphalt surface and even be heated in winter to discourage dangerous ice build ups. Read More
Researchers at the University of Washington (UW) have taken the term ‘green power’ literally by running an electric circuit from the power generated by trees. Sure, there isn’t much electrical power to harness, but the researchers say it should be enough to run wireless sensors that could be used to detect environmental conditions or forest fires and could also be used to gauge a tree’s health. Read More
Tessera Solar and Salt River Project have just announced that they'll partner to construct a 1.5 megawatt solar generation installation in Peoria, Arizona. The proposed output from the Maricopa Solar LLC project might not sound too impressive, but when combined with the news that the 60 dish installation represents a template for much bigger operations to come and will be the first commercial plant to use Suncatcher technology - things just got interesting. Read More
As part of man's ongoing quest to extract the greatest benefits from solar power, Salt Lake City-based company Ceramatec, the R&D arm of CoorsTek, has made what it believes to be a massive breakthrough in batteries for storing energy harnessed from the sun. The company is making impressive inroads on the prototype of a deep storage battery, the size of a small refrigerator, that safely operates at room temperature, consists of everyday materials, and can output household power at 2.5c per kWh. What’s more, Ceramatec says it will be cheap to purchase. Read More
The Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has developed a reusable organic liquid that can remove harmful acid gases from emissions generated by power plants. The process could easily replace current industrial practices to help clean the environment in a way that is energy efficient, cost effective and saves on water. Read More
We're living in lucky times. Living standards - in the Western world, at least - are the highest in history. It's an era of relative peace and plenty that would amaze our ancestors. But it's not going to continue forever; we're already stretching many of our natural resources to their limits, and the world's population will jump from 6.5 billion to around 9 billion over the next 50 years. Get ready for a painful correction - here are four interconnected resources that are headed for a catastrophic squeeze within our lifetime. Read More
Cheaper solar cells – roughly one-tenth the cost of current day prices – could be available within three to five years thanks to a manufacturing procedure that uses nanoparticle ‘inks’ to print them like newspaper or to spray-paint them onto the sides of buildings or rooftops. Even windows could become solar cells thanks to the semi-transparent inks. 'Painting' solar cells on buildings has been an idea in the making for some time – Gizmag investigated the possibilities of 'solar paint' in 2008. Read More
A boring and unattractive loading area at the rear of a retail development in Austin, Texas is now hidden from view by a collection of 15 huge blue sunflowers, the petals of which collect energy from the sun to power the artwork's LED lighting and generate funds to help towards costs. Whether driving past or walking through the Electric Garden, onlookers will be treated to an awe-inspiring panorama where art meets functionality. Read More
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