Turning Commercial Jets into Hybrids

November 10, 2011 by  
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A company called WheelTug has devised a way for commercial airplanes to run on electricity at slow speeds, much like a hybrid vehicle does. The WheelTug system includes a pair of electric motors embedded in an airplane’s nose wheel which provide power for backing the plane away from the gate and for taxiing up to 28 mph. The electricity for the motors is provided by the auxiliary power unit of the plane, a small engine located at the back of the aircraft used for running lights and the ventilation system when the main engines are off. The auxiliary power unit uses only about half a gallon of fuel per minute compared to two gallons per minute for each of the main engines.  The WheelTug allows a plane to taxi without use of the main engines and to back from the gate without the help of a diesel-fueled tug, cutting down significantly on fuel use while a plane is on the ground. Another advantage to creating hybrid jets is that planes will spend less time on the ground since they won’t have to wait for a tug.  Also, by running the main engines less, engines will sustain less damage. The company has just signed a deal to outfit 20 El Al jets with the system and hopes to get certification from European and American aviation regulators by early 2013. via NY Times Green Blog

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Turning Commercial Jets into Hybrids

California Hits 1 Gigawatt of Rooftop Solar

November 9, 2011 by  
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According to a new report by Environment California, a major solar power milestone has been reached in the state:  it is now home to 1 gigawatt’s-worth of rooftop solar power .  To put that into perspective, only five countries have hit the 1 GW mark in solar power so far:  Germany, Spain, Japan, Italy and the Czech Republic. The electricity produced by rooftop solar power installations in California now equals two coal-fired power plants and could power 750,000 homes. The solar installations include new and existing homes and commercial buildings, and panels connected to the grid by both large utilities and smaller municipal utilities. The report gives most of the credit to a statewide rooftop solar incentive program called the California Solar Initiative.  The initiative is responsible for 600 MW of installed solar power in the state. via Mercury News

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California Hits 1 Gigawatt of Rooftop Solar

Floating Solar Power Plants Coming Soon

March 29, 2011 by  
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We’ve heard about ideas for floating data centers and floating wind turbines ; it was only a matter of time before we heard about floating solar power plants.  Australian solar power company Sunengy has just gotten approval for a pilot project in India through a partnership with Tata Power. The floating solar power units, called Liquid Solar Arrays (LSA), use concentrated photovoltaic technology where a lenses direct the light onto solar cells and move throughout the day to follow the sun. The company says the advantage to floating a solar power plant is that it erases the need for expensive structures to protect it from inclement weather and high winds — when rough weather comes along, the lenses just submerge.  Floating on water, whether it be the ocean, a lake or a tiny pond, also keeps the solar cells cool, which increases their efficiency and lifespan.  You can see a video demonstration of the technology here .

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Floating Solar Power Plants Coming Soon

Perk up your garden with ash from Bonfire Night fires

November 5, 2010 by  
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Tonight is Guy Fawkes Night in the UK – also known as Bonfire Night. Up and down the country, people will be setting fire to stacks of wood and sending millions of £££s up in smoke in firework form, just getting a short “ooh” and “aah” (and occasionally “arrgh!!”) in return. It’s not all waste-waste-waste though – tomorrow morning, you’ll probably have a substantial pile of ashes left over from your bonfire – and they’re great for the garden: Ash can be a slug deterrent The dry, rough surface of ash particles can act as a deterrent for slugs and snails.

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Perk up your garden with ash from Bonfire Night fires

How can I reuse or recycle clothes patterns?

November 5, 2010 by  
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Carol sent us an email explaining: I often see huge bins of clothes patterns at thrift stores. Most helplessly outdated or missing instructions.

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How can I reuse or recycle clothes patterns?

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