Highlights from the 2015 Geneva Motor Show

Solar Powered

The Romanian Solar Decathlon team, in front of their Prispa home

The Romanian Solar Decathlon team has presented its innovative solar-powered prefab home ... and it looks good enough to move into. Dubbed Prispa, it blends comfortable living zones with an abundance of natural light. The prototype uses wood as its primary material, while clay has been used to finish the interior walls, and the photovoltaic system has been mounted onto the roof’s metallic boarding.  Read More

The Eliodomestico costs US$50 to build (Image: Gabriele Diamanti)

Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. Concerned about the lack of fresh water in the developing world, designer Gabriele Diamanti wanted a solution to desalinate water that was available to households rather than relying on giant centralized plants. He also wanted it to be something inexpensive that could be made by local craftsman. The result is a ceramic solar still called the Eliodomestico that operates like an “upside-down coffee percolator”.  Read More

A prototype of the Fraunhofer system, with the RF node at left, and the sensor housing at ...

If a storm rolls in while you’re at work, and you’re wondering if you left your bedroom window open, you can tell via an internet connection – if that window is equipped with a contact sensor. Ordinarily, such sensors require electrical wiring, and a battery or mains power. A new window system developed by Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits, however, works without wires, and draws its power from the environment around it.  Read More

Bill Gates weighs evaluates the Toronto Toilet at the Reinvent the Toilet fair in Seattle

In an effort to improve conditions for the more than 2.5 billion people worldwide with no access to safe sanitation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation last year awarded grants totaling US$3 million to eight universities to reinvent the toilet. At the two-day “Reinventing the Toilet” fair held in Seattle this week, where Bill Gates was on hand with 50 gallons (189 l) of fake feces made from soybeans and rice to put the various designs through their paces, a California Institute of Technology (Caltech) team claimed first place for their solar-powered toilet.  Read More

Silent Falcon has a flight endurance of up to 14 hours

UAVs have become increasingly common in everything from carrying out missile strikes against terrorists to helping map archaeological sites. They come in all sizes from jet-powered behemoths to ones so small that they can sit in your hand. On Monday, Silent Falcon UAS Technologies of Alburquerque, New Mexico rolled out the latest in the small UAV class with the unveiling of its solar-powered Silent Falcon at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) conference in Las Vegas.  Read More

Kenya's capital Nairobi will be the site of a Philips' solar LED lights pilot project, the...

A collaboration between Philips and the Kenyan Urban Roads Authority will see the streets of capital city Nairobi being lit up with solar-powered LED lighting. The pilot project is the first of its kind in East Africa and and was launched during the 40th anniversary of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), which is headquartered in that city.  Read More

Solar Impulse comes in the land in Payerne, marking the end of the first ever solar-powere...

As anticipated, the Solar Impulse HB-SIA experimental solar-powered aircraft completed the first ever solar-powered intercontinental roundtrip journey between Europe and Africa today. The roughly 6,000 km (3,728 mile) trip commenced on May 24 and consisted of a total of eight legs averaging 800 km (497 miles) before reaching its conclusion with a landing back where it all began in Payerne, Switzerland at 8:30 pm on July 24, local time.  Read More

The Solar Impulse solar-powered aircraft is due to complete its 6,000-kilometer journey th...

Back in June, the Solar Impulse became the first solar-powered aircraft to achieve intercontinental flight, when it flew from Madrid to Morroco. That flight was part of a larger 6,000-kilometer (3,728-mile) journey which started on May 24th, and ends this Tuesday when the aircraft returns to its starting point of Payerne, Switzerland.  Read More

The portable SolarKiosk is an “autonomous business unit” that sells energy, products, tool...

On July 15th, the world’s first SolarKiosk was officially opened near Lake Langano, Ethiopia. The portable solar shop was designed in Germany by Graft architects and provides an “autonomous business unit” that sells energy, products, tools and services. With approximately 1.5 billion people around the globe who remain without access to a stable source of light, the SolarKiosk is intended to provide a safe and affordable solution for inhabitants in off-the-grid areas.  Read More

The Firefly solar-powered boat was built by Canadian eco-enthusiast Dan Baker for an impre...

While it might not be the world’s largest solar boat or the fastest, this modest home-built solar-powered boat does the job and comfortably accommodates six passengers. Dubbed “Firefly,” it was built by Canadian eco-enthusiast Dan Baker for an impressive CA$2,900 (US$2,845).  Read More

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