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Archive for the ‘sustainability’ category

Aug 12, 2018

Saudi Fund in Talks to Invest in Tesla Buyout Deal

Posted by in categories: business, Elon Musk, sustainability, transportation

While Elon Musk owns 20% of Tesla, more than $60 billion would be needed to buy the business from public shareholders.


Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund is in talks that could see it becoming a significant investor in Tesla as part of Elon Musk’s plan to take the electric car maker private, according to a person with direct knowledge of the fund’s plans.

The Public Investment Fund, which has built up a stake just shy of 5 percent in Tesla in recent months, is exploring how it can be involved in the potential deal, the person said on condition of anonymity. Discussions began before the controversial Aug. 7 tweet by Musk, who is Tesla’s co-founder and chief executive officer, saying he was weighing a plan to take the company private.

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Aug 10, 2018

North American diets require more land than we have, study says

Posted by in categories: food, sustainability

If the global population adopted recommended North American dietary guidelines, there wouldn’t be enough land to provide the food required, according to a new study co-authored by University of Guelph researchers.

The researchers found that global adherence to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines would require one giga-hectare of additional land—roughly the size of Canada—under current farming practice. Their findings were published in PLOS ONE today.

“The data shows that we would require more land than what we have if we adopt these guidelines. It is unsustainable,” said Prof. Madhur Anand, director of the Global Ecological Change and Sustainability lab where the study was undertaken.

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Aug 9, 2018

Made in Space believes its on-orbit manufactured power supply can save militaries money

Posted by in categories: economics, satellites, solar power, sustainability

By allowing them to launch higher-power small satellites on smaller rockets, as opposed to the larger, and more expensive rockets that current technology requires.

Made in Space is developing power systems for small satellites that can provide up to 5 kW of solar power and is enabled by the company’s Archinaut on-orbit manufacturing and assembly technology. Current small satellites are typically constrained to 1 kW of power or less.

Made in Space CEO Andrew Rush pictured next to a subscale version of a solar array that the company can produce in space. The golden Mylar pieces are physical mockups of what would be solar blankets. This solar array is over 3 m tall. (Made in Space) Made in Space CEO Andrew Rush pictured next to a subscale version of a solar array that the company can produce in space. The golden Mylar pieces are physical mockups of what would be solar blankets. This solar array is over 3 m tall. (Made in Space)

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Aug 8, 2018

Tesla’s production problems extend to its solar roof business, too

Posted by in categories: business, Elon Musk, energy, sustainability, transportation

The production problems Tesla has faced with its Model 3 have been well documented. Now, sources say the company is facing similar issues with its solar roof tile initiative. According to Reuters, former and current employees have revealed that assembly line problems, plus CEO Elon Musk’s exacting aesthetic demands, has delayed production, causing tension with partner Panasonic, and rattling officials that are keen to see a return on significant state investment.

The “Solar Roof,” produced at Tesla’s factory in Buffalo, New York, is designed to look like and function as a regular roof while also generating energy. According to sources, technical challenges have delayed production, as has Musk’s design plans. Speaking to Reuters, one source said that “Aesthetic look is the key point that Elon is not always satisfied with. That’s the big issue.”

Neither Tesla nor Reuters’ sources have revealed current production figures for the roof tiles, but the delays are such that Panasonic — which the initiative depends on for solar components — has been forced to find other buyers for the parts it had built to sell to Tesla. According to a former Panasonic employee, the company has been shipping “large volumes” of its photovoltaic cells as samples to other prospective buyers, due to low demand from Tesla. Panasonic declined to comment on the issue, stating only that it “believes Tesla will use Panasonic cells when it mass-markets the Solar roof.”

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Aug 7, 2018

Farmers are drawing groundwater from the giant Ogallala Aquifer faster than nature replaces it

Posted by in categories: food, sustainability

This is not sustainable!


Every summer the U.S. Central Plains go dry, leading farmers to tap into groundwater to irrigate sorghum, soy, cotton, wheat and corn and maintain large herds of cattle and hogs. As the heat rises, anxious irrigators gather to discuss whether and how they should adopt more stringent conservation measures.

They know that if they do not conserve, the Ogallala Aquifer, the source of their prosperity, will go dry. The Ogallala, also known as the High Plains Aquifer, is one of the largest underground freshwater sources in the world. It underlies an estimated 174,000 square miles of the Central Plains and holds as much water as Lake Huron. It irrigates portions of eight states, from Wyoming, South Dakota and Nebraska in the north to Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas in the south.

Continue reading “Farmers are drawing groundwater from the giant Ogallala Aquifer faster than nature replaces it” »

Aug 6, 2018

You Think The Tesla Model 3 Supercharges Fast Now? Just Wait …

Posted by in categories: sustainability, transportation

We’ve shown that the Tesla Model 3 has the ability to Supercharge quickly already. Just wait until you see the impact of Gen 3 Superchargers.

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Aug 6, 2018

Europe bakes again in near-record temperatures

Posted by in categories: climatology, sustainability

Europe baked in near-record temperatures on Monday but hopes were for some respite after weeks of non-stop sunshine as people come to terms with what may prove to be the new normal in climate change Europe.

Here is a roundup of recent developments:

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Aug 6, 2018

Power Worth Less Than Zero Spreads as Green Energy Floods the Grid

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

Wind and solar farms are glutting networks more frequently, prompting a market signal for coal plants to shut off.

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Aug 5, 2018

Sorry Elon Musk, But It’s Now Clear That Colonizing Mars Is Unlikely — And A Bad Idea

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, engineering, environmental, government, space travel, sustainability

This article was originally published at The Conversation. The publication contributed the article to Space.com’s Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

Space X and Tesla founder Elon Musk has a vision for colonising Mars, based on a big rocket, nuclear explosions and an infrastructure to transport millions of people there. This was seen as highly ambitious but technically challenging in several ways. Planetary protection rules and the difficulties of terraforming (making the planet hospitable by, for example, warming it up) and dealing with the harsh radiation were quoted as severe obstacles.

Undeterred, Musk took a first step towards his aim in February this year with the launch of a Tesla roadster car into an orbit travelling beyond Mars on the first Falcon Heavy rocket. This dramatically illustrated the increasing launch capability for future missions made available by partnerships between commercial and government agencies.

Continue reading “Sorry Elon Musk, But It’s Now Clear That Colonizing Mars Is Unlikely — And A Bad Idea” »

Aug 4, 2018

Looking at Wind Turbines From a Different Angle

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, sustainability

When we think of wind turbines, the first thing that usually comes to mind is the typical Sim City-esque type – 3 blades, gigantic, and wired into the municipal power grid. In truth, the world of wind power generation is far more varied indeed – as [Vittorio]’s vertical-axis wind turbine shows us.

So what exactly is a vertical-axis wind turbine, you ask? Well, rather than the typical setup with blades rotating about a horizontal axis, as in typical utility turbines or a classic electric fan you might use to cool off on a sunny day, instead a vertical axis is used. This necessitates a very different blade design due to the orientation of the rotational axis relative to the flow, so such turbines can be quite visually striking to those unfamiliar with such designs.

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