Israeli bus company to invest $2.2M in wireless charging electric roads

December 15, 2017 by  
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Wireless charging electric roads just took a big step forward, as Tel Aviv transit service Dan Bus Company announced plans to invest $2.2 million in ElectRoad . ElectRoad’s technology buries electric coils beneath roads to wirelessly charge electric vehicles as they drive. Future EV drivers may never have to worry about stopping at a charging station with ElectRoad’s technology. Several months ago, investment management company Biomedix Incubator Limited announced an intention to acquire ElectRoad, and just signed a cooperation agreement with Dan Bus Company. Should the merger be completed, Dan Bus Company will invest as much as 8 million Israeli New Shekels (NIS) (around $2.2 million) in ElectRoad. Related: Israel to test electric roads that wirelessly charge vehicles as they drive According to Globes , “The agreement with Dan includes an initial NIS 3.1 million investment and options for Biomedix shares amounting to NIS 5 million at a company value of NIS 90 million.” ElectRoad’s technology uses conduction coils to power electric cars via magnetic induction. They point to zero emissions , high efficiency, and low costs as benefits of their technology. They also say the system could allow for energy sharing between vehicles and the grid . The startup plans to gradually penetrate the market by focusing on public transportation , such as bus lanes. Globes said in their article, “The investment by Dan and the agreement between the companies indicates that public transportation companies are indeed interested in the technology.” Dan Bus Company has already rolled out some electric buses that could be charged via cable at departure stations in two to three minutes for a range of 30 kilometers , or almost 19 miles, which they said was enough for the longest urban line. Electric road technology could make such charging unnecessary. + ElectRoad Via Globes/ElectRoad Images © ElectRoad

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Israeli bus company to invest $2.2M in wireless charging electric roads

Sustainability: Coming to a platform near you

August 29, 2017 by  
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This article is sponsored by Veolia.Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offerings become more competitive every year, but the differences between them can seem trivial to the end user. As engineering and innovation professionals, we see the distinctions. But as environmental professionals, we also see something happening on a larger scale: They’re making entire communities more sustainable.

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Sustainability: Coming to a platform near you

Should your family give up paper towels?

January 1, 2017 by  
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Paper towels are incredibly handy for cleaning up messes and wrapping leftover food. Unfortunately, buying paper towels isn’t cost-effective or eco-friendly. Over on Inhabitat’s sister site, Inhabitots , is an argument to persuade you and your family to quit using paper towels—even recycled paper towels. From statistics on the paper and pulp industry’s waste and negative effects on the environment to the problem paper towels cause in landfills , the article delves deep into many good points for ditching paper towels.

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Should your family give up paper towels?

Ancient city constructed on a coral reef remains the only one of its kind

January 1, 2017 by  
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On the island of Pohnpei, Micronesia rest the remarkable ruins of Nan Madol, the only ancient city ever constructed on top of a coral reef . Referred to as an ” engineering marvel ” by the Smithsonian and nicknamed the “Venice of the Pacific,” this series of over 90 artificial islets could have once housed around 1,000 people. Although the Saudeleur built the city around 1200 AD, it wasn’t until earlier this year Nan Madol was finally named a World Heritage Site . Nan Madol flourished sometime during the 13th to 17th centuries AD as a spiritual and political center for the Saudeleur. Little remains of the intriguing ancient civilization – no art or carvings – other than marvelous ruins atop the coral reef. Oral history says the Saudeleur came to Pohnpei as foreigners in 1100 and ended up ruling the island, with Nan Madol as their dynastic seat. The city also served as a temple for the god the nobility worshiped. Related: Lasers reveal ancient Cambodian cities hidden by jungle near Angkor Wat The Saudeleur utilized columnar basalt, a kind of volcanic rock, to build the impressive city on a foundation of coral – and as the building materials are so heavy, no one has yet figured out how they accomplished the feat. The heaviest pillars weigh around 100,000 pounds. The walls surrounding the island’s largest structure, a royal temple called Nandauwas, are 25 feet high. The enduring stability of the remains is also something of a mystery. According to the National Park Service , “The Pohnpeians, who had neither binding agents like concrete nor modern diving equipment, sank the heavy stones into the lagoon using an unknown method. The building remains and canals are stable enough that even after centuries of abandonment visitors can still tour Nan Madol by boat.” Earlier in 2016, the World Heritage Committee added Nan Madol to both the World Heritage List and the List of World Heritage in Danger, underlining the need to protect the fascinating site from unchecked mangrove growth and waterway siltation. Nan Madol is Micronesia’s first World Heritage Site. Via Smithsonian.com , Metropolitan Museum of Art , and National Park Service Images via Stephanie Batzer on Flickr ( 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 ), Stefan Krasowski on Flickr , and Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Ancient city constructed on a coral reef remains the only one of its kind

The top 7 WTF moments in fashion this year

December 31, 2016 by  
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Has there ever been a year in our lifetime that so many of us have been so eager to kiss good-bye? It seems like there wasn’t a single thing not touched by tragedy: music, art, fashion , (ahem) politics . Check out our roundup of the top 7 WTF moments of 2016 and tell us which was the worst of the worst.

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The top 7 WTF moments in fashion this year

Harvest fresh veggies all year-round with the energy-efficient GrowBox mini farm

December 6, 2016 by  
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With headlines like ” Glyphosate found in Cheerios, Kashi cookies and other popular food items ” and ” Are you eating Monsanto weed killer for breakfast? ” plaguing the news, more and more of us are looking for ways keep our families healthy by growing our own food at home. GrowBox is a new hydroponic solution that lets you cultivate and harvest up to 50 edible plants in an indoor environment all year-round. There’s no need to worry about sunlight or water because the whole system is optimized and automated, and you never have to be concerned about carcinogenic pesticides because you control exactly what goes into your personal farm every day. Developed by Opcom Farm , GrowBox is a new indoor farming system that allows users to grow fresh veggies right in their own homes. Made up of four LED lamps, a water tank and pump, and a tray that holds up to 50 plants at a time, the robust kit comes with everything you need to start your own mini farm including seedling sponges, starter seeds, nutrition packs, pH capsules, a pH meter, and an insect net. Opcom is committed to using only non-GMO seeds and pesticide-free nutrients that come from a leading American manufacturer. In addition to being able to grow and harvest throughout the colder months, GrowBox gives even the blackest of thumbs an agricultural edge with an easy-to-use “Auto” mode that provides your plants with precisely the right amount of light, water and nutrients they need when they need it. The unit’s components are also flexible so that you can adjust the heights of the lamps and tubes to accommodate your flourishing crops. The unit also has an area that is specially designed to grow nutrient-rich sprouts. RELATED: Revolutionary Green Wheel hydroponic garden grows food faster with NASA technology For a large garden with such a high yield, the GrowBox ‘s energy and water usage stats are actually quite impressive. According to Opcom, the system uses less than $0.11 per day of electricity (based on $0.12 per KWH), or about the same as your cable box. That means that per week, it uses less electricity than drying two loads of laundry in an electric clothes dryer. Because the unit operates on a hydroponic gardening system, it also uses 90 percent less water than a traditional garden. While it’s actually quite space-efficient considering that it can grow so many plants simultaneously, the GrowBox isn’t exactly petite. Measuring in at about 4′ x 2’, the unit takes up a sizable chunk of real estate (that many urban dwellers simply can’t spare). For those looking for a more vertical solution, Opcom does offer the slender and tall GrowWall , which holds up to 75 plants while taking up less floor space. But we’d love to see an even more space-efficient model catering to urban apartment dwellers from Opcom in the future. At $499, the GrowBox certainly isn’t cheap, but if you consider that a bunch of spinach can cost about $3 in many urban areas, and that the GrowBox lets you grow 50 plants at a time ($3 x 50 = $150), you can see how quickly this investment begins to pay for itself. + Opcom Farm Note: Opcom supplied the author of this article with a sample GrowBox unit in exchange for an unbiased writeup.

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Harvest fresh veggies all year-round with the energy-efficient GrowBox mini farm

Google says it will run entirely on renewable energy by next year

December 6, 2016 by  
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Google just announced that it will be fully powered by renewables before the end of 2017. The tech giant has been growing its solar and wind investments over the years, and is now making a final push to achieve 100 percent renewable energy through additional purchases. Google initially announced its 100-percent goal in 2012, and this week’s announcement confirms the company will hit the target next year. Under the umbrella of an initiative dubbed “Google Green,” the tech company says its aim for 100 percent renewable energy is “just the beginning.” Starting with its first contract for a 114-megawatt wind farm in Iowa in 2010, the California-based company has grown to become the world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable energy. According to this week’s announcement, Google is purchasing around 2.6 gigawatts of wind and solar energy. “Over the calendar year globally, for every unit of energy we consume, we’re purchasing the equivalent amount or more of renewable energy” in 2017, said Neha Palmer, head of energy strategy at Google’s global infrastructure division. Related: The world’s renewable energy capacity is now higher than coal Many tech giants are targeting 100 percent renewable energy, but Google has taken a strong lead with this announcement. By comparison, Apple reached this milestone for its US operations and data centers in early 2015 and had, at that time, achieved 87 percent renewable energy for its global operations. Google started off following in Apple’s footsteps but quickly surpassed its progress by making their data centers 50 percent more efficient than the industry standard. Additionally, Google cites the falling prices of solar and wind projects as the primary reason for the business decision, although reducing the company’s carbon footprint and contribution to the effects of climate change were also important factors. Via GTM Images via Tony Webster/Flickr and Google

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Google says it will run entirely on renewable energy by next year

Solar-powered Australian homes with Tesla Powerwall 2.0 already cost-competitive

November 14, 2016 by  
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As the world shifts towards obtaining energy from renewable sources , cost competitiveness is sometimes still a factor. Fossil fuel proponents have claimed one benefit of the polluting energy sources is that they’re cheaper, but that assertion is now harder to defend. Energy consultancy CME director Bruce Mountain just calculated a Tesla Powerwall 2.0 and rooftop solar panels powering an Australian home offer a cost-competitive source of electricity when compared against grid power supplies. Mountain looked at a hypothetical Adelaide home, which he estimated would use around 4,800 kilowatt-hours of electricity each year. He assumed such a home’s electricity bill would be the average of the 77 market offers in the area, and examined prices both before and after conditional discounts. He also considered the lifetimes of the clean technologies utilized, supposing a five kilowatt rooftop solar array would last for 20 years, and the Powerwall 2.0 would last for 10 years. Related: The world’s first “Tesla Town” with solar roofs and Powerwalls is coming to Australia Mountain’s calculations were thrilling: the clean technologies offer electricity at around an equal price to market offers after discounts, and are even cheaper than market offers before discounts. He said in his article, “This is astounding. A typical household in the suburbs of Adelaide can now meet its electrical needs with solar and battery storage for about the same amount they would pay on a competitive offer from the grid.” Homes receiving cost-competitive clean energy are able to do so in part because of the advanced Powerwall 2.0. While Mountain notes the battery costs nearly the same as the Powerwall 1.0, it offers 100 percent more storage capacity. Peak power and continuous power both increased with the Powerwall 2.0 by 40 percent and 50 percent respectively. Mountain said the implications of his findings about cost-competitive clean energy are either exciting or worrying, depending on a reader’s vested interest. Via CleanTechnica Images via Tesla and Pixabay

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Solar-powered Australian homes with Tesla Powerwall 2.0 already cost-competitive

Architecture for Humanity re-launches as Open Architecture Collaborative

March 10, 2016 by  
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The nonprofit world was hit hard in January 2015, when Architecture for Humanity , a design firm dedicated to bringing professional design and construction services to regions in crisis, abruptly shuttered its doors and declared bankruptcy. (For more details on the closure, read our article on what went wrong here .) But today, the organization may be seeing signs of new life, in a slightly different form. Thirty of the international chapters once affiliated with the nonprofit have launched a new organization of volunteer designers and architects called the Open Architecture Collaborative . Read the rest of Architecture for Humanity re-launches as Open Architecture Collaborative

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The Other Side Of Recycling

January 4, 2016 by  
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Do you recycle? I’m guessing most of you reading this article probably answered yes, just like I did. We rinse jars and peel labels and flatten cardboard. It feels good and no wonder, for years, we’ve been told endlessly by public awareness…

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The Other Side Of Recycling

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