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Environment

Greenbird reached 126mph at Lake Ivanpah

With a wind speed of just 30mph (48kmh), British engineer Richard Jenkins has set a new land speed record for a wind-powered vehicle at blistering 126.1mph. Driving the Ecotricity sponsored all carbon fiber land yacht Greenbird across the Ivanpah dry lake bed on the Nevada / California border Jenkins eclipsed the previous benchmark set a decade ago by American Bob Schumacher by almost 10 mph. It also continued a the rivalry between Britain and the United States for setting speed records that dates to the 1920s, when Sir Malcolm Campbell set several records on land and sea.  Read More

Silicon pyramid structures etched for two minutes using hydrogen fluoride/hydrogen peroxid...

Solar power from photovoltaic cells are widely recognized as an integral part of a clean green future, and any development that can make these cells more efficient, no matter how small, assists in making this future a reality. A team of researchers at Georgia Tech have developed a surface treatment that boosts the light absorption of silicon photovoltaic cells by trapping light in three-dimensional structures and by making the surfaces self cleaning.  Read More

The 100% Off prototype

Here’s a thought – the amount of time a domestic appliance like a television spends on standby over the course of a year actually costs more than the time it spends in use. To counteract this remarkable waste of money and energy comes a device called “100% Off” – a very switched on idea.  Read More

Just 51% of the population believe that climate change is caused by human activities

It just goes to show you what a bad state the education system is in when just 51% of the population believe that climate change is caused by human activities. Opinion Research Corporation surveyed 1,000 people in late January and found that 29% believe climate change is occurring naturally, 15% believe climate change needs to be proven scientifically either way and 3% believe climate change doesn’t exist. Oh, and for the record, of those who got it right, 55% were male, which means ... we're no longer sure whether to be more concerned about global warming or global ignorance.  Read More

The world's largest solar power facility, located near Kramer Junction, California, consis...

The concept of delaying global warming by adding particles into the upper atmosphere to cool the climate could unintentionally reduce peak electricity generated by large solar power plants by as much as one-fifth, according to a new study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  Read More

Sunshade panels of the Minister of Municipal Affairs & Agriculture building

London may have The Gherkin but it’s not a patch on the cactus-inspired design for the new Minister of Municipal Affairs & Agriculture (MMAA) building in Qatar. The spectacular office building and adjoining botanical dome is a great example of biomimicry, a discipline that studies nature’s best ideas and then imitates these designs and processes to solve human problems. This increasingly prominent approach has yielded advances in fields as diverse as aerodynamics, robotic navigation, clothing design, UAVs and the detection of water pollution. It makes sense that architectural design can also learn from nature.  Read More

Power Hog

Educating children about power usage can be a difficult task. It’s not easy explaining the concept of electricity to a five year old, let alone the fact that we have to pay for it. This cute little pig might help to solve this problem and monitor television and game usage at the same time. Power Hog is a power-consumption meter design concept in the form of a green and silver piggy-bank. You simply plug the tail into the power outlet and the snout into the electric device, feed in some coins and this little piggy does the rest. When the Power Hog is connected the dollar sign glows green, it fades when there is sufficient credit and alerts you that money is running low by blinking red.  Read More

Wind Power in Spain 	
 Image: Emmanuel Boutet via Wikimedia Commons

Wind Turbines in the north west of Spain set a new record for power generation on March 5th as gales blew across the country, with more than 40% of the country's energy needs being generated by wind turbines. The new record stands at a peak of 11,180 megawatts (11.18 GW) of electricity supply beating the previous record of 10,032 megawatts. The percentage of demand supplied depends on time of day as demand rises and falls throughout the day.  Read More

Where the river meets the sea - salt and freshwater could be used like a giant battery (Im...

Green energy comes in many guises these days, from wind-power to wave-power. One of the more compelling of the new kids on the eco-energy block is salinity power, which uses the concurrence of salt-water and freshwater in estuaries and marries it with the natural, effortless process of osmosis.  Read More

Ultramafic rocks (in red) that potentially could absorb CO2 (Image: U.S. Geological Survey...

The debate about the benefits of using Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) to fight against climate change is ongoing. One one hand there are reservations regarding suitable sequestration sites that provide sufficient security to store CO2 for centuries as well as the cost of implementing such a system, which could draw important funds away from the development of renewable energy technologies. On the other, we are still heavily reliant on burning fossil fuels to produce energy and this infrastructure can't be replaced overnight. CCS is obviously attractive to existing power generation companies as it allows them to keep hold of their existing infrastructure and for this reason, it is more than likely that CSS schemes will continue to gather momentum. So where to we can CO2 be stored? Scientists at Columbia University’s Earth Institute and the U.S. Geological Survey have produced a new report that maps large rock formations in the United States that can also absorb CO2 and are exploring ways to speed up the CCS process.  Read More

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