Archive for the ‘sustainability’ category

Oct 4, 2015

Sweden sets its sights on becoming the world’s first fossil fuel-free nation

Posted by in category: sustainability

The Swedish government announced this week that they will be spending an extra US$546 million on renewable energy and climate change action in their 2016 budget, with the aim of becoming one of the world’s first nations to end its dependence on fossil fuels. They haven’t set a deadline for this ambitious goal just yet, but last year the country announced plans to make its capital Stockholm fossil fuel-free by 2050, so we’re imagining a similar time frame.

It may seem like a pretty big task, but the Scandinavian country already gets two-thirds of its electricity from non-fossil fuel energy sources — predominately hydroelectric and nuclear — and it will now be focussing on increasing its solar and wind energy potential, as well as making its transport industry more sustainable. The majority of the budget increase will be financed by heavier taxes on petrol and diesel fuel.

“Sweden will become one of the first fossil-free welfare states in the world,” Prime Minister Stefan Löfven told the press. “When European regulations do not go far enough Sweden will lead the way.”

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Oct 4, 2015

Elon Musk and SolarCity unveil ‘world’s most efficient’ solar panel

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, solar power, sustainability

SolarCity is ready to start mass-producing these more efficient panels.

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Oct 4, 2015

$0.55 per watt from SolarCity’s record-breaking new solar panel

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

A new solar panel technology from SolarCity is the most efficient rooftop solar ever released. Can it finally push solar to mass adoption?

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Oct 3, 2015

Daimler tests self-driving truck on German highway

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, sustainability, transportation

The truck has smart systems including radars, cameras and active speed regulators and works without a human driver — although one has to be in the driver’s seat and take the wheel if necessary.

The standard Mercedes-Benz Actros, fitted with the intelligent “Highway Pilot” system, travelled 14 kilometres (about nine miles) on the A8 motorway, with a driver in the cabin but his hands off the wheel.

“Today’s premiere is a further important step towards the market maturity of autonomously driving trucks -– and towards the safe, sustainable road freight transport of the future,” said Wolfgang Bernhard, board member responsible for Daimler Trucks and Buses.

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Oct 1, 2015

Graphene nanoribbons as electronic highways

Posted by in categories: materials, physics, solar power, sustainability

Physicists have developed a method to synthesise a unique and novel type of material which resembles a graphene nanoribbon but in molecular form. This material could be important for the further development of organic solar cells.

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Sep 26, 2015

The Chemistry Behind The Battery That Could Outperform Tesla’s Powerwall

Posted by in categories: chemistry, sustainability

A new type of battery could provide better storage for renewable energy than Tesla’s Powerwall. Here’s how it works.

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Sep 26, 2015

The Future is Clear

Posted by in categories: mobile phones, solar power, sustainability

Transparent solar panels!

Imagine a city that’s actually a vast solar energy harvesting system. A team of Michigan State University researchers has developed a technology that can turn transparent surfaces, from building windows to cell phones, into solar collecting surfaces – without obstructing the view.

Sep 26, 2015

Elon Musk sees EV with 745mi range

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, sustainability, transportation

Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently did an interview in Denmark where he talked about all sorts of topics. Naturally, he spoke about where he see the future of the EV market going. The big problem that EV buyers have today are relatively short driving ranges offered. Tesla has the best driving range with its Model S able to go several hundred miles on a charge.

Musk answered a question from the interviewer on when we can expect to see EVs able to drive 1000km per charge, which is about 612 miles. Musk said that a Model S has already gone 500 miles on a charge, at low speeds.

He thinks that the Model S might be able to go 500 miles per charge by next year, but definitely by 2017. By 2020 Musk thinks that a driving distance of 1200 km, or about 746 miles, will be possible per charge. It’s unclear if Musk was talking about normal driving distance or hypermiling the EV.

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Sep 23, 2015

Transparent coating keeps solar cells cool and efficient throughout the day

Posted by in categories: solar power, space, sustainability

Stanford engineers have developed a transparent silicon overlay that can increase the efficiency of solar cells by keeping them cool. The cover collects and then radiates heat directly into space, without interfering with incoming photons. If mass-produced, the development could be used to cool down any device in the open air for instance, to complement air conditioning in cars.

After a full day in the sun, solar cells in California can approach temperatures of 80° C (175° F), even in winter months. Excessive heat can pose problems because, while the cells need sunlight to harvest energy, they also lose efficiency as they heat up. A standard silicon cell, for example, will drop from 20 to 19 percent efficiency by heating up just 10° C (18° F) or so.

Laptops address the overheating problem with the help of carefully engineered fans and heat sinks, but for solar panels and other devices that work in the open air, space itself could serve as heat sink par excellence. The coolness of space, approaching absolute zero, would negate the need for elaborate and expensive heat dissipation contraptions if only we had a way to access it from the ground.

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Sep 21, 2015

Gigantic Energy-Generating Waterfall Skyscraper Could Power the 2016 Rio Olympics

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

The Solar City Tower, designed by RAFAA, includes a bank of solar panels as well as pumped water storage to create energy during both the day and night for use in the Olympic Village.

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