Thermoelectric materials, putting it simply, are able to generate electricity via differences in temperature. If thermoelectric felt
were used to make a jacket, for instance, it could generate a current using the temperature gradient between the warm interior and cold exterior of the garment. Like many such promising technologies, however, the cost of thermoelectrics is something of an issue ... although thanks to a new process developed at Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology, that might not be the case for much longer.
Ever wonder if an electric car has what it takes to work as a taxi on the mean streets of New York City? Well, we’re about to find out. Nissan has donated six of its LEAFs to the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission for use in a one-year pilot project, in which they’ll serve as cabs in the Big Apple.
We've seen plenty of impressive net zero houses in the past, from the motion-controlled CHIP House
in California to the budget-priced Sosoljip
in South Korea. But one issue that seems predominant in most energy-neutral homes is that they typically take on a design that doesn't suit many suburban areas. That may soon change though with the first Active House, which uses natural lighting and ventilation to reduce its energy consumption while still blending in with the architecture of the surrounding neighborhood.
If you live near the Mediterranean Sea, you might be familiar with little balls of seaweed that regularly wash up on the beach. These come from the Posidonia oceanica plant (better known as Neptune grass), and are generally thought of as a nuisance. Now, however, Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology is involved in a project that’s converting the little balls into high-quality building insulation.
The idea of living life on the road in an RV can be appealing. Unfortunately, most RV’s aren’t very environmentally friendly, nor are they self-sufficient. However, the Tricycle House isn’t like most RV’s, as it relies on pedal power to move between destinations, and boasts several pieces of clever folding furniture to provide those much-needed home comforts.
Bees are having a tough time at the moment, and it’s largely down to their relationship with us humans. Not only are they combating pollutants affecting the quality and color of their honey, but studies are also linking pesticide use to what is known as Colony Collapse Disorder
. French architecture studio AtelierD has designed a pavilion for both bees and humans alike, that whimsically hopes to redress the delicate balance between the two species.
When you hear the term “folding electric scooter,” you likely think of a stand-up scooter along the lines of the Zümaround
or the MyWay Compact
. At best, you might picture something with a bicycle-style saddle and seatpost, such as the Voltitude
. MOVEO, however, features a full traditional seat that’s mounted directly on the chassis. Although the scooter isn’t in production yet, it hopefully will be by next year.
In recent years, repairing and upgrading electronics has largely given way to a trend of disposable gadgets which fill up landfills – especially with regard to home appliances like coffee makers and toasters. However, French designer Gaspard Tiné-Berès proposes to repair and re-use discarded and damaged appliances, with readily available reclaimed materials providing the necessary components, and the bodies constructed from cork.
What do hemp
have in common? They’re just a few of the things that have been used to create “green” composite materials, in which most or all of the usual petroleum by-products are replaced by more environmentally-friendly substances. Now, thanks to two separate studies, it looks like peat and beets can be added to that list.
Presently, the Norwegian villages of Lavik and Oppedal are linked by a ferry that burns about a million liters (264,172 US gallons) of diesel a year, emitting 570 tonnes (628 tons) of carbon dioxide and 15 tonnes (16.5 tons) of nitrogen oxides. That’s about to change, however, as it’s slated to be replaced by what is claimed to be the world’s first all-electric car-carrying ferry. Developed by Siemens and Norwegian shipyard Fjellstrand, the vessel can recharge its batteries in just ten minutes.