Friday, January 4, 2013

Cleantech News from CleanTechnica

Cleantech News from CleanTechnica

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Utilizing Human Fascination With Speed, China Pushing Technological Limits Of High-Speed Rail At -40° Fahrenheit

Posted: 03 Jan 2013 06:14 AM PST

 
The global leader in high-speed rail is pushing the technological limits of the system by operating high-speed trains in the extreme temperatures seen on the Harbin-Dalian high-speed rail line. It is currently running through areas of Northeastern China, where temperatures reach -40° Fahrenheit.

Adaptation and Sustainability

Safety concerns? Perhaps. Zhou Li, a technology official with China's Ministry of Railways, says the Ministry has run 22 research projects to test technology obstacles, including monitoring of the track conditions under a range of temperature differences throughout the different seasons.There are three high-speed railways running in extremely cold regions located in Northern Europe and Russia — they started before the Harbin-Dalian line.

Further and Faster — Adaptation, Distance, and Speed

Notably, the Northern European high-speed rail lines do not really compare to the length and speed of China's new line. Adaptation is critical for survival and sustainability — for humans, for animals, and for technology.

Concept train transfer




 
In the streamlined video on Xinhua, one finds the success of adaptation. Through innovation derived from need and human fascination with speed, technology supports sustainable transportation. “A fascination for speed is part of our nature, and the world's first ever high-speed rail, which operates in extreme weather conditions, is about to set new limits in China's northeast,” Xinhua writes.

Drivers must meet strict measures to drive these trains — for example, they must operate a special breaking system.

Image Credits: Xinhua & Priestmangoode

Utilizing Human Fascination With Speed, China Pushing Technological Limits Of High-Speed Rail At -40° Fahrenheit was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.

Solar-Powered Floating Pavilion Prototype Opens For Use In Rotterdam

Posted: 03 Jan 2013 05:52 AM PST

 
With the likelihood of sea levels rising significantly in the coming years, the city of Rotterdam has begun experimenting with possible solutions to the problem, including building some floating structures that could function as a replacement to land.

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“The first pilot project is a catalyst for climate change-proof architecture called the Floating Pavilion that consists of three connected hemispheres that look like bubbles anchored within the Dutch city's old harbor,” Inhabitat‘s Ana Lisa Alperovich writes. ”An initiative of Rotterdam Climate Proof (part of the Rotterdam Climate Initiative), the mixed-use pavilion was designed by Deltasync and PublicDomain Architects, and it sets an unprecedented example for innovative, sustainable and climate-proof architecture.”

The current plan is to eventually create a community of these floating structures and homes, with the newly finished ‘Floating Pavilion’ serving as the first prototype. The pavilion is currently being used as a venue for events and exhibitions. It’s nearly self-sufficient, and with its flexible and climate-proof design, it could serve a large variety of functions.


 
Alperovich goes on: “An initiative of Rotterdam Climate Proof, the bubbles were commissioned to a collaborative and local design team from Deltasync and PublicDomain Architects. Constructed by Dura Vermeer, the floating hemispheres are 40 foot tall and the total floor area is the size of four tennis courts. The translucent shelter is made from a strong, anti-corrosive plastic called ETFE, which is 100 times lighter than glass and therefore ideal for a floating structure.”

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The climate control systems in the pavilion use only the self-supplied solar energy and surface water. The structure can also purify all of its own water. It’s planned that the pavilion will remain moored within Rijnhaven until 2015, allowing time for it to be extensively tested in the calm waters of the area before being tested elsewhere.

“Rotterdam has plans to build floating urban districts–for living, shopping, working and recreating on the water–and of the 13,000 climate-proof homes planned by 2040, 1,200 of them will be on water. A realistic innovative approach to prepare for difficult times ahead, we will soon be able to admire real floating sustainable districts in this Dutch futuristic city.”

Source: Inhabitat
Image Credits: Rotterdam Climate Initiative

Solar-Powered Floating Pavilion Prototype Opens For Use In Rotterdam was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.

30MW Solar Installation Set For Australia

Posted: 03 Jan 2013 05:08 AM PST

 
Gannawara Shire, in the Australian state of Victoria, has given the green light for a new 30-megawatt (MW) solar farm, according to PV Magazine.

Located north of state capital Melbourne, ECO For LIFE, a locally based solar installer and developer, was the successful bidder.

The new solar farm will be south of the township of Kerang, on 36 hectares of land.

"Construction of the $38 million solar farm is expected to commence in mid 2013, with an expected construction timeframe of around 14 months,” said Gannawara Shire manager Roger Griffiths.

This is not ECO for LIFE's first solar venture, as it has been active in various other solar power plants in New South Wales and Victoria.

Meanwhile, this announcement is an added bonus for Australia's path towards solar energy. In November, we reported Australia surpassed 2,000 MW, a significant solar power milestone.

30MW Solar Installation Set For Australia was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.

Delaying Climate Action Is More Costly: Study

Posted: 03 Jan 2013 05:00 AM PST

 
Another day, another study on why delaying action on climate change is not a good thing.

Reuters reported yesterday that a newly published report in Nature finds that an international price on carbon at $20 per ton now would give close to a 60% chance of cutting global warming below 2°C. This would also help to limit the worst effects of global warming, including: rising sea levels, floods, droughts, and severe heat.

“If you delay action by 10, 20 years you significantly reduce the chances of meeting the 2 degree target,” said one of the authors of the report from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis Keywan Riahi in Austria said.

That compares to a $100 per ton carbon price in 2020 to keep the same 60% chance of capping the 2°C or less temperature increase.

Meanwhile, it would be nearly impossible to keep temperatures below 2°C by 2030 regardless what price there would be on carbon.

“The window for effective action on climate change is closing quickly,” mentioned Steve Hatfield-Dodds from Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in a separate section in Nature.

The study took into consideration 500 computer models of various scenarios, which were analyzed by experts from other countries, including Germany, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Australia. It also recommended more environmentally sustainable polices to improve attempts to achieve the 2°C limit, as Reuters reports:

“And fighting climate change would be easier with certain new technologies, such as capturing and burying carbon emissions from power plants and factories. In some scenarios, the 2C goal could not be met unless carbon capture was adopted.”

Given Hurricane Sandy, and increasing costs of extreme weather, now would be a good time to act on carbon pricing.

Source: Reuters

Delaying Climate Action Is More Costly: Study was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.

Gondolas As Next Generation Of Mass Transit In Big Cities?

Posted: 03 Jan 2013 04:42 AM PST

 
A mass transit system composed of hanging gondolas moving throughout the city sky? It may sound a bit unlikely, but it would be a surprisingly cheap solution when compared to other options, such as subways.

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The idea for a network grid of mass transit gondolas, known as “The Wire,” comes from Michael McDaniel, a designer at Frog Design. The idea is being put forward as a solution to the congestion and transportation problems in Austin, TX.

Somewhat surprisingly, there are quite a few significant advantages to such a solution, as Autoblog Green notes: “gondolas would be cheaper than subways (by a long shot – subways can cost up to $400 million per mile and The Wire could be implemented for around $3 million a mile) and they can be used in tight, congested areas. A gondola system – easy (relatively) to install and expand – could also move up to 10,000 people an hour, which could replace 100 bus trips or 2,000 car rides.”

There are some problems that are worth noting, though — issues with wind and with how strange the solution seems to people, being the primary ones.

Here’s a full, nearly 15-minute presentation on the idea by Michael McDaniel:

http://vimeo.com/m/55335421

What do you think of the idea — great one, or too out there?

Gondolas As Next Generation Of Mass Transit In Big Cities? was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.

435 MW Of German Solar Installed In November 2012

Posted: 03 Jan 2013 04:36 AM PST

 
Germany continued on a persistent, assertive path of renewable energy development  in November, installing a very large amount of solar – 435 MW — despite being located in a region that is not the best for that kind of power. Even so, it is the top solar nation in the world by far.

For comparison, in August, Germany installed about 320 MW of solar capacity; nearly 1000 MW in September; and approximately 612 MW in October. For a bit more comparison, the US installed about 684 MW of PV solar in the whole third quarter of 2012, despite have better solar irradiation and three times as many citizens.

Some of the countries with the best solar potential are located in the Middle
East, and yet they are nowhere near Germany in terms of investment and installations.

Image Credit: Rainer Lippert, Public Domain

435 MW Of German Solar Installed In November 2012 was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or just visit our homepage.

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