- Ultra-Low-Power Wireless Networks Developed
- Wind Power Study Says Criticism of the Technology Is Unfounded
- India Approves $4.1 Billion Investment in Electric Vehicles over Next 8 Years
- First of 8 Hawaiian Solar Projects Launched
- Massachusetts’ Clean Energy Economy Grows 11.2%, Creates 71K+ Jobs
- Time-Scale Map of Boston’s Subway System Done in Synchronicity by Peter Dunn
- Escolas de Bicicletas — Bicycle Schools in Sao Paulo — Light Up Kids’ Lives
- World’s Largest EV Charging Network Surpasses 100,000 Users (+ Top 10 EV-Ready US Cities)
- Japan’s First Floating Wind Farm Gets Going
- ‘Nano Machine Shop’ Made that Can Shape Nanowires and Ultrathin Films
- Antenna Developed that Makes Wi-Fi 200 Times Faster
- “Bogotá Change” Reveals a Refreshed Bogota in Film
- Ultra-Thin Liquid Crystal Displays Nearing Viability
- Gargantuan Bus (Largest in World) Transports 256 Passengers
- SMA Solar’s Hybrid System to Target Huge Off-Grid Market
Posted: 31 Aug 2012 08:10 AM PDT
“Ultra-low power consumption is one of the most formidable challenges faced by the next generation of wireless sensing systems,” said Jingxian Wu, assistant professor of electrical engineering. “These systems will need to operate without interruption for multiple years and with extremely limited battery capacity or limited ability to scavenge energy from other devices. This is why the NSF was interested in our research.”
Since batteries or energy-harvesting devices such as solar panels are usually the power source of ultra-low-power wireless communication devices, lower power consumption is greatly desired. One of the main uses of power in wi-fi is to limit or minimize distortion.
So the researchers decided to allow for controlled distortion rather than limiting or minimizing it — this would allow their wireless systems far less power than conventional technologies.
“If we accept the fact that distortion is inevitable in practical communication systems, why not directly design a system that is naturally tolerant to distortion?” Wu said. “Allowing distortion instead of minimizing it, our proposed distortion-tolerant communication can operate in rate levels beyond the constraints imposed by Shannon channel capacity.”
“The researchers’ work will accelerate the widespread deployment of ultra-low power wireless networks used for surveillance, environmental and structure monitoring, and biomedical sensing. These applications have the ability to provide early warnings to prevent catastrophic events, such as structural failures, to improve public safety and homeland security and to promote the health and well being of the general public.”
Posted: 31 Aug 2012 07:27 AM PDT
The study comes from the think tank IPPR in cooperation with the leading energy consultancy GL Garrad Hassan. They concluded that “there is no technical reason why turbines should not be supported.”
Reg Platt, an IPPR fellow, said that it was right to scrutinise costs and planning issues, but that the report showed “unequivocally that wind power can significantly reduce carbon emissions, is reliable, poses no threat to energy security and is technically capable of providing a significant proportion of the UK’s electricity with minimal impact on the existing operation of the grid.”
“The economic model GL Garrad Hassan adopted showed that every megawatt-hour of electricity wind power produced led to carbon savings of a minimum of 350kg.”
“On that basis, it said, the increasing number of wind farms both on and offshore saved 5.5m tonnes in 2011, at a time when the UK is committed to meeting EU carbon reduction targets in a bid to counter climate change.”
Even though wind energy is somewhat variable, because of changes in its speed, it is predictable because of weather forecasting technology and the varied locations of the turbines around the country averaging out.
“Our ability to ‘keep the lights on’ during ‘cold, calm spells’ is secure at the levels of wind power projected for the UK by 2020,” said Oscar Fitch-Roy and Paul Gardner, the authors of the technical aspects of the report, entitled Getting “Beyond the Bluster.”
“The Department of Energy and Climate Change has predicted it could need up to 30 gigawatts (GW) of wind power in place by 2020, compared with the current operational level of less than 7GW.”
Posted: 31 Aug 2012 07:20 AM PDT
There isn’t really an electric and hybrid vehicle industry in India currently. Most car manufacturers in India focus on low-emission cars, because of the “prohibitively high costs of new technologies and an almost non-existent support infrastructure.”
“The question is the viability… The cost of the car and how much the consumer can pay, there is a gap,” said Pawan Goenka, chairman of Mahindra Reva, India’s only electric-focused carmaker.
The announced target of 6 million green vehicles by 2020 (most of which are expected to be two-wheelers) is arriving on the heels of China’s announcement that it aims to have 500,000 electric and hybrid cars in use by the year 2015.
“Reva, controlled by Mahindra & Mahindra, aims for sales of 30,000 of its battery-run cars a year by 2016.”
The secretary of India’s Heavy Industries ministry is quoted as saying that New Delhi itself will provide “around 130 to 140 billion rupees of the total investment in the plan,” the remainder will be provided by private companies.
The growing market for electric vehicles in India crashed in April when the government withdrew its subsidies “worth up to 100,000 rupees (roughly $1800) per vehicle.”
Posted: 31 Aug 2012 07:00 AM PDT
The system is set to provide the airport wastewater treatment plant with power and is the first of eight SolarCity projects planned to be completed as part of the DOT’s renewable energy efforts.
There are currently seven other DOT sites being developed in addition to the eight SolarCity-specific projects, with all 15 projects totalling 3.4 megawatts of solar electricity generation capacity, which could produce enough renewable electricity to power up to 630 homes and reduce the need for 15,000 barrels of fuel every year.
"This initiative advances the state's continued leadership in reducing our dependency on imported fossil fuels and moves us toward Hawai'i's goal of 70 percent clean energy by 2030," said DOT Director Glenn Okimoto. "The solar projects at our state airports, highways, and harbors are a win-win situation for both the DOT and state taxpayers. Using renewable energy to power state facilities is a smart investment that will pay off for years to come."
SolarCity's other projects with the DOT include:
"The state of Hawai'i is a national leader in developing clean, homegrown energy and the DOT is making a significant contribution to a cleaner environment through its many solar installations across the state," said Jon Yoshimura, SolarCity's director of government affairs in Hawai'i. "We're pleased to do our part in helping the DOT, and Hawai'i as a whole, reach its sustainability goals."
Posted: 31 Aug 2012 06:59 AM PDT
Investing in Clean Energy Paying Off for Massachusetts
The 11.2% economic growth rate for Massachusetts’ clean energy sector is well above that of even rapidly industrializing countries, such as China. The 71,523 people employed at clean energy businesses recorded by MassCEC in its latest annual report are working in jobs directly related to the state’s clean energy sector. Signs indicate the growth will continue.
MassCEC found that the state’s clean energy sector is a diversified one, with businesses involved in construction and manufacturing to research and development. In its "2012 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report," MassCEC also "identified a large number of companies that don’t necessarily identify themselves as clean energy companies first, but directly engage in activity related to the clean energy sector — showing that clean energy penetrates numerous sectors of the Massachusetts economy."
"The report affirms Massachusetts' role as a national and global leader in clean energy development and deployment, and a success made possible by our talented workforce, world-class academic and research institutions, and Governor Patrick’s vision for a clean energy future in Massachusetts."
For the report, a clean energy business "is defined as an employer engaged in whole or in part in providing goods and services related to renewable energy, energy efficiency, alternative transportation, and carbon management. Clean energy workers are defined as spending at least a portion of their time supporting the clean energy aspects of their businesses."
Prepared by BW Research Partnership on behalf of MassCEC, the Massachusetts "2012 Clean Energy Industry Report" includes breakdowns of companies and employment by technology sector and geographic region, as well as information on workforce trends.
Photo Credit: Borrego Solar
Posted: 31 Aug 2012 06:53 AM PDT
“I don’t know about you, but find that stuff beautiful.”
I have to agree with Michael Graham Richard of Treehugger for sure. Peter Dunn’s time-scale maps of the Boston subway of Stonebrown Design are an impressive slideshow: synchronicity, flow, color, and form. Art meets environment with this work.
Of course, projects like this are more than art, too — they connect people to clean transportation, and they encourage a love of clean transport. That is highly needed today!
Posted: 31 Aug 2012 06:49 AM PDT
Copenhagenize Consulting and the Education Department of Sao Paulo’s Escolas de Bicicletas (Bicycle Schools) program makes the community stronger with bamboo and local employment.
“The Escolas de Bicicletas programme… involves the production of 4600 bamboo bicycles for the children. A world unto itself in the project, far removed from the development of the curriculum, training the educators and monitors and collaborating with 46 schools.”
Like Bamboo, which used as a nutritional supplement is an Ayurvedic herb to support healthy bone growth, bamboo bicycles are insuring planetary health. “In convoys from their local community and participating in the curriculum about bicycle culture and history,” children on bamboo bikes will experience pragmatic educational expansion in this program.
One thing that is significant to the work of this is that the locals are the workforce.
“True to the nature of the project and the spirit inherent in it, the people who are working to construct and assemble the bicycles are locals from the surrounding community,” Copenhagenize writes.
Flavio, a Brazilian designer, has his own brand, Bambucicletas, which is “up and running in Brazil and South America, with plans to expand into Europe.”
Posted: 31 Aug 2012 05:57 AM PDT
Xatori Inc. is the owner of the application, PlugShare, which allows users to log on via their smartphone, tablet, or computer to find and share public and private EV charging stations.
Available on both the iTunes and Google Play app stores, PlugShare allows users to find public charging stations, share private charging spots, add and edit information, check-in, add photos, and review various locations.
PlugShare also has a sister application, GreenCharge, which allows owners of the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt, or Plug-in Prius the ability to log in and connect with your vehicle, check the car’s charging status, enable or disable climate control, and turn on or off the charging. The app is only available in the iTunes App Store, but is free.
To celebrate its milestone user numbers, Xatori released statistics gathered from both PlugShare and GreenCharge which show the top 10 “electric vehicle–ready” cities in the US, based on public charging locations.
The leading cities based on public charging locations per 100,000 residents are:
“PlugShare’s success is largely thanks to the EV community at large, and we’re committed to helping provide new products and services that help engage with them,” said Xatori Founder and CEO Forrest North. “With the information we gather on charging stations and driving behaviors, we hope to inform the EV industry to continue to develop solutions that support and further the shift to electric vehicles.”
Posted: 31 Aug 2012 05:49 AM PDT
After the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster and subsequent multi-reactor shutdown, government officials are looking for safer, cleaner forms of energy. Wind energy is clearly one of those. And given that all of Japan’s wind farms held up fine to last year’s earthquake and tsunami, it’s no wonder the country is turning more to wind.
Posted: 31 Aug 2012 05:43 AM PDT
The manipulated structures could be fine-tuned for diverse applications such as high-speed electronics and solar cells. Their real potential, though, lies in their greater strength compared to conventionally formed structures, and their unusual traits, such as ultrahigh magnetism and “plasmonic resonance.” These traits could lead to great improvements in optics, computers, and electronics.
“The researchers used their technique to stamp nano- and microgears; form tiny circular shapes out of a material called graphene, an ultrathin sheet of carbon that holds promise for advanced technologies; and change the shape of silver nanowires, said Gary Cheng, an associate professor of industrial engineering at Purdue University.”
Materials such as graphene and nanowire (filaments 1,000 times thinner than a human hair) have numerous potential applications, but they are difficult to work with because of their small size. This new method, named “laser shock-induced shaping,” solves that by making it possible to tune nanowires by “altering electrical and optoelectrical properties that are critical for electronic components.” Or, by using laser shock-induced shaping to change the properties of graphene. That brings graphene even closer to its potentially revolutionary role in electronics.
Source: Purdue University
Posted: 31 Aug 2012 05:30 AM PDT
The antenna has demonstrated a 30-times-stronger signal transmission over on-chip antennas at 135 GHz. It’s also tiny, approximately the size of a sesame seed, making it is the smallest silicon-based CBS antenna to date. And with the cheap price, there’s not much downside — it’s almost two-thirds cheaper than a conventional CBS antenna.
“The team has also designed a three-dimensional (3D) architecture to integrate the antenna with active circuits to form a fully integrated wireless millimetre-wave system-in-package solution with high performance, reduced footprint and low electromagnetic interference,” commented Dr Je Minkyu, Principal Investigator of the Integrated Circuits and Systems Laboratory at IME.
The work was done by the Institute of Microelectronics (IME), a research institute of the Science and Engineering Research Council of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Built to bridge the R&D gap between academia and industry, “IME’s mission is to add value to Singapore’s semiconductor industry by developing strategic competencies, innovative technologies and intellectual property; enabling enterprises to be technologically competitive; and cultivating a technology talent pool to inject new knowledge to the industry.”
Source: Agency for Science, Technology and Research
Posted: 31 Aug 2012 05:07 AM PDT
Passionate film is documentary film. Documentary film is concerned, is about educating, and, in this case, about applauding the overcoming of the old. The recently released Sundance film Bogotá Change, part of Cities on Speed (trailer above), is the documentary I’m talking about, and it looks like a must-watch.
“Bogota has transformed from one of the early '90s' worst cities into a successful metropolis.”
Andraas M Daalsgard's film ”forms a narrative from archived footage and expert interviews” and shows “the break from traditional politics…. as a case study of how a community and its leaders can change habits and take on corruption, violence, and the task of modernizing a city.”
The film incorporates beautiful time-lapse displays of demolitions and renewal in the city.
Enjoy making sense of such political transformation in this hour-long film.
TheCityFix seems to hit the real heartbeat of this film, and the group of films it is a part of: “The real class conflict today, is not the one predicted between a few billionaires and the rest of the [workers]. No, the real class conflict in developing countries is between those with cars and the rest of society…. A bicycle lane is a powerful symbol of equality. It shows that a citizen on a $30 bicycle is equally important to one in a $30,000 car" – Enrique Peñalosa
Posted: 31 Aug 2012 05:00 AM PDT
By simply combining a thin perforated gold film with a layer of liquid crystal, a much more efficient color filter results.
“Our color filters are a lot thinner and more compact than conventional thin-film-based color filters,” says Teng. “The colors of these filters can be tuned with ease so they are very versatile in applications.”
“The color selection of the devices comes from the patterned gold film. The collective motions of the electrons on the film surface — the so-called surface plasmons — absorb light at wavelengths that depend on the details of these patterns. In the present case, the patterns are narrow, nanometer-sized rings cut out of the films (see image). As the diameter of the rings changes, so does the color of the metal film. Pixels of a different color can be realized simply by patterning rings of different sizes across the same gold film.”
Source: The Agency For Science, Technology, and Research
Posted: 31 Aug 2012 04:50 AM PDT
The macdaddy of buses has hit the scene. Meet the AutoTram Extra Grand: a 98-foot, 256 passenger carrier. The bus, which concept developer Fraunhofer IVI hails as the largest bus in the world, has some green features, including a battery storage system that enables all-electric operation for up to 8 kilometers.
The prototype of the beastly bus is expected to be tested in Dresden in late 2012.
Posted: 31 Aug 2012 04:44 AM PDT
This new solar panel product line allows diesel generators to draw power from solar panels. It is called the Fuel Save controller, and SMA Solar says the company will start producing it in 2013.
A diesel generator consumes a large amount of expensive diesel fuel, so using it alone is not economical. Solar electricity is cheaper, but is intermittent, and diesel generators are only needed to compensate for this intermittency by generating electricity when the sun isn’t shining, or when the weather is too cloudy.
SMA Solar is a manufacturer of inverters, which are devices that convert the DC current that solar panels generate into AC current that household appliances can use (which is normally 120 volts AC).
“Potentially, this is a gigantic market. But you need to differentiate between potential and reality,” said Matthias Vetter, an expert in autonomous power supplies at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems.
According to GlobalData research, the market for diesel generators will almost double from $12 billion USD in 2011 to 22.3 billion in 2020.
Rivals of SMA Solar, including off-grid power specialist Elgris and unlisted German firm Juwi, have also begun to develop systems that are intended to enable solar and diesel generators to run efficiently side by side.
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