Beam solar-powered off-grid EV chargers deployed worldwide

January 10, 2022 by  
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Off-grid EV charger manufacturer Beam has now installed solar-powered off-grid EV chargers in more than 100 municipalities in the U.S. and around the world in Spain, Brazil, Canada and the Caribbean. It’s big news in an industry that has so far relied on EV chargers that are on-grid and permanently installed. New York City , Beam’s biggest customer, now has around 100 Beam chargers. After years of critique that EV charging infrastructure is too big a project to reach all areas that would need it, Beam has created an off-grid solution that takes EV charging wherever it needs to go. Beam Global CEO Desmond Wheatley told CleanTechnica in May 2021 that his EV charger company had fulfilled an order from the state of California for 52 off-grid solar-powered EV chargers. Each has 44kWh of battery storage capacity and a 4.3 kW solar array. Related: Shine Turbine is a wind-powered portable device charger The secret to Beam’s success is both in quality and in design. Beam off-grid EV chargers don’t need any construction or electrical work to install, so they don’t require permitting. Made in the United States, Beam’s EV chargers are not permanently installed in their location, making them easy to deploy to other locations. Off-grid chargers are also used after natural disasters for power in remote areas. “We also see cities and states that value the transportability of the EV ARC™ system,” Wheatley said, “and that it can be swiftly redeployed depending on how a city needs to use the infrastructure. The City of Oakland , California, for example, redeployed some of their EV ARC™ systems to power COVID-19 emergency sites in April 2020.” Beam EV chargers have been sold to the U.S. Marine Corps and multiple cities. One Beam EV charger can provide 265 miles of driving charge to electric cars in a day. They can charge up to six vehicles at a time, and the solar tracking function allows for 25% more generation than a fixed array. They are completely solar-powered, flood-proof up to 9.5 feet, and wind-rated to 120 mph. They can even be used as generators during grid failures. + Beam Via CleanTechnica Images via Beam

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Dvele prefab, off-grid homes are dedicated to the environment

January 3, 2022 by  
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Sustainable architecture takes many forms. From  minimal site impact  to material selection to energy-efficient systems, homeowners have a lot to consider. One California-based builder has placed sustainable, technological and health considerations at the forefront of every design. The result is environmentally-friendly homes that serve fire-prone areas and cater to the needs of off-grid living.  One of Dvele’s most recent projects is a privately-owned home located in the gated community of the Point Dume Club in Malibu, California . After the previous structure was lost to fire, the homeowner looked to Dvele to prefabricate a home that would be self-powered and fire resistant in the case of a future wildfire threat.  Related: DveleIQ software results in smart homes powered by solar The newly-completed home joins a menu of other homes developed by the company, which announced in early December plans to build and scale multi-home developments across California, Colorado, Montana and New Mexico. Dvele uses high-tech systems to prefab home panels out of light-gauge steel. Not only does this reduce the risk of supply chain issues related to lumber, but it allows precise manufacturing with little  waste . The steel is highly fire-resistant, and homes can be constructed quickly with minimal site impact.  For energy efficiency, Dvele homes are constructed with a tight envelope that includes triple-pane windows and doors, along with lighting, appliances and electronics that minimize energy usage. Furthermore, each home is equipped with rooftop  solar panels  and a battery storage system, which will provide backup power in the case of a fire-related or other natural disaster-caused power outage. Homes can also be equipped to function completely off-grid.  The health of inhabitants is addressed with a clean air delivery system that relies on sensors to monitor air quality and make changes to provide fresh, filtered air throughout the entire house. The smart system filters out contaminants as they enter the home and as they are produced by activities such as cooking.  Dvele is also innovating systems that eliminate reliance on natural gas with green design steam ovens, induction cooktops and heat pumps for air and  water  that minimize environmental impacts.   + Dvele Images via Dvele

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Dvele prefab, off-grid homes are dedicated to the environment

Atlanta community resilience project seeks to become model for energy equity

October 11, 2021 by  
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The Breaking Barriers initiative is developing two resilience centers in Atlanta, one on the campus of a historically Black college that will be backed by a solar-powered microgrid with battery storage.

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Atlanta community resilience project seeks to become model for energy equity

What do these ‘net-zero’ emissions pledges really mean?

October 11, 2021 by  
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Will it really be enough to stop climate change?

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What do these ‘net-zero’ emissions pledges really mean?

By land and by sea

October 11, 2021 by  
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How farmers and seaweed can help tackle the ocean pollution crisis

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By land and by sea

Tesla earns contract for world’s first solar, wind and storage project

October 20, 2017 by  
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Tesla has won its first contract with Vestas, the world’s largest wind turbine maker, to supply its Powerpack batteries for a project that combines solar power , wind power, and Tesla’s storage technology — the first of its kind in the world. The $160 million project is being managed by Windlab at the Kennedy Energy Park hybrid renewable energy site in North Queensland, Australia. Windlab recently announced that it has been granted funding by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and it has chosen Tesla, Vestas, and Quanta as its partners. The Tesla/Vestas project at Kennedy Energy Park will consist of 12 Vestas wind turbines , each with a height of 132 meters (433 feet), the tallest in Australia. Tesla’s battery storage technology is particularly helpful in places like Queensland, which boasts strong winds but only during certain times of the day. Tesla’s Powerpacks will allow the wind energy captured during the afternoon to be used throughout the day and night as needed. The project is expected to be completed in about a year and will be fully operational by the end of next year. When completed, the project is estimated to create 100 local jobs and will provide power for 35,000 Australian households. Related: Tesla is shipping hundreds of Powerwall battery systems to Puerto Rico “We believe Kennedy Energy Park will demonstrate how effectively wind, solar and storage can be combined to provide low cost, reliable and clean energy for Australia’s future,” said Roger Price, Executive Chairman and CEO of Windlab. “The broader adoption of projects like Kennedy can…ensure that Australia can more than meet its Paris Commitments while putting downward pressure on energy prices.” This most recent Powerpack news follows efforts by Tesla to bring its battery storage and micro-grid technology to the recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and elsewhere in Australia, in what is expected to be the world’s largest battery installation. Via Electrek Images via Tesla and Depositphotos

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Florida power company scraps nuclear project, will pursue solar power instead

September 1, 2017 by  
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A controversial nuclear project won’t be moving forward in Florida . Power company Duke Energy Florida filed a proposed settlement agreement with the Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC) that would end the Levy Nuclear Project – which customers were paying for before it was even begun – and prioritize grid modernization and solar energy . Part of the settlement includes a four-year plan to install 700 megawatts (MW) of solar in western Florida. Ratepayers have forked over around $800 million for the Levy Nuclear Project, which was first proposed in 2008. In 2013, Duke Energy Florida cancelled construction and engineering agreements, although they said they hoped to return to the project. The Levy plant would have offered 2.2 gigawatts of power. $150 million remained in costs, which the company said they would have recovered via rates, but under the settlement customers won’t have to pay more money for the nuclear project that never got far off the ground. Related: Abandoned nuclear power plant given new life as a solar farm Under the revised settlement, the company would invest in grid modernization efforts like smart meters and as much as 50 MW of battery storage . They’d install over 500 electric vehicle charging stations. They also plan to put in 700 MW of solar power, including the 74.9 MW Hamilton Solar Plant, which they hope to begin building in early 2018. The solar plant, the company’s sixth, could power over 20,000 homes. Residential customers could see their average monthly bill cut by $2.50, according to Tampa Bay Times, although they won’t be reimbursed for the $800 million. 1.8 million customers receive power from Duke Energy Florida, and the settlement means their bills might go up a little bit less than the company recently forecast, according to Tampa Bay Times. Duke filed for a 8.5 percent increase from the present rate last week, which under the new settlement would be a 4.6 percent increase. Duke Energy Florida said in a statement they anticipated a decision from the FPSC by December. Via Ars Technica , Tampa Bay Times , and Duke Energy Florida Images via NASA and Duke Energy Facebook

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New Tesla Powerpack system to offer energy savings of 40-50%

August 28, 2017 by  
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Tesla has pioneered massive battery storage projects this year, such as a 396 Powerpack facility in Southern California. But a recent project in Queensland, Australia reveals installations don’t always need to be huge to make an impact. A system with a single Powerpack and commercial inverter was installed at The Cathedral College in Rockhampton to store solar energy that can help power the boarding school at night. GEM Energy Australia installed a 100 kilowatt solar system on rooftops at The Cathedral College, and some of that energy is stored in the Tesla Powerpack 1.5 during the day. At night, it can power the whole boys boarding house for five hours. The school expects the system will offer them an energy savings of 40 to 50 percent over 12 months, and GEM Energy estimates the school will see a payback in six to seven years. The company said the system cost $285,000 and will offset 40 metric tons of carbon every year. According to Electrek, the system covers 61 percent of the school’s energy , and came online earlier this year. Related: Tesla unveils massive solar battery plant to power the island of Kauai Tesla’s Powerpacks are targeted for commercial enterprises; usually smaller projects can use their Powerwall . But this installation of the one-Powerpack system at the Australian school – the first to have such a system installed – reveals the flexibility of energy storage products from Tesla, according to Electrek. The school system also uses a Tesla inverter; when the company put out their latest Powerpack generation, they also released a commercial inverter they developed drawing on their experience with car inverters. The school already seems pleased with the results; Cathedral College ICT Manager Aaron Nunn said in a Tesla video, “I think it definitely does impress upon our students we’re showing good stewardship and respecting the environment and its resources.” Via Electrek and GEM Energy Australia Images via GEM Energy Australia

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New Tesla Powerpack system to offer energy savings of 40-50%

7 of the best places to view autumn foliage around the world

August 28, 2017 by  
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It may not feel like it, sweaty and sticky as you may be, but if you are a resident of the Northern Hemisphere, autumn is right around the corner. As fun as it has been to soak up the summer sun, the crisp air, slower pace, and dazzling foliage of autumn sounds like heaven right about now. For those who wish to take advantage of the imminent seasonal beauty, we’ve compiled a list of locations across the Northern Hemisphere that will be bursting with autumnal splendor in the weeks to come. 1. Montreal, QC -> Burlington, VT I’m cheating a bit with this first one, but with less than two-hours in a car separating these two fine cities, it is highly recommended that appreciators of autumn pair both lovely spots. Montreal and Burlington are among the earliest major cities in Eastern North America to reach peak foliage, starting in mid-September and continuing into October. While in Montreal, visitors should hike or bike to the top of Mount Royal, or visit the elevated St. Joseph’s Oratory, for a view of the gorgeous patchwork of color along the St. Lawrence River. Autumn is short but sweet in the city, so enjoy the magic while it lasts. Related: Tiny Fern Forest Treehouse Provides a Cozy Vacation Hideaway in the Woods of Vermont While in Burlington , be sure to bike along the Island Line Rail Trail, from which you can catch breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, framed by Lake Champlain. Of particular interest is the causeway section, which connects Colchester and South Hero, where visitors can journey out into the lake itself, thanks to a narrow land bridge. 2. Fujigoko Region, Japan Due to its island location and varied elevation, Japan boasts an impressive diversity of climate zones, from subtropical to cold temperate continental. The fall foliage of Fujigoko, also known as the Fuji Five Lakes Region, benefits from its northern location and higher elevation. Underneath the towering Mount Fuji, the five lakes located in an arc to the north of Fuji provide an excellent contrast to the vivid fall foliage. After the sun has set and the cool air becomes cold, visitors should warm up with a bowl of Fujigoko’s famous udon noodles. 3. Prague, Czech Republic Prague seems to be at the top of many people’s list of favorite European locations, and for good reason. The gorgeous architecture, befitting a city founded in the 6th century, is well complemented by the seasonal changes of autumn. As the leaves change color and the sun retreats, Prague shines. The cool air complements the warm, hearty traditional Czech cuisine, which may be enjoyed on a heated patio if the weather cooperates. For breathtaking views of the foliage, take a trip to the top of Petrin Hill or walk through Kampa Island. Related: Imposing Communist-Era Television Tower Transformed Into a Unique Hotel in Prague 4. Great Smoky Mountains, North Carolina/ Tennessee Although New England receives the lion’s share of praise as the American autumn experience, one would be unwise to ignore the majesty of fall in the South. Great Smoky Mountain National Park, the most visited in the United States, offers unparalleled views of a diverse, rich ecosystem that sheds its leaves in waves, from the top of the Appalachian balds down to the foothills. Related: Jimmy Carter built a new solar plant on his old peanut farm Beyond the park, there are endless spots to explore in the mountains of North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia . For those based in or traveling from Atlanta, Tallulah Gorge State Park is only a short drive for breathtaking views that may include whitewater rapids, depending on the weekend. 5. Huangshan, China Huangshan, or the Yellow Mountains, is a beautiful mountain range known for its hot springs, sunsets, unique jagged peaks, and top-down views of clouds. Understandably, it is a popular destination all year round, but it truly peaks in the autumn. Maple trees turn vivid red, various deciduous trees become golden, and the Huangshan pine trees provide an evergreen hue. Add in Huangshan’s unparalleled sunrises and your portrait of fall excellence is complete. 6. Highlands, Scotland Though the Scottish Highlands may be known for their plentiful pine trees, the golden aura of deciduous trees play well against this more traditional backdrop. Peak foliage in the Highlands tends to begin in late September and continue into October. Paired with Scotland’s numerous and famous lochs and the rolling mountains, the Scottish autumn is a must-see. After a hike through Cairngorms National Park, relax with a dram and seasonal produce, including wild game, fresh fruit, and oysters. 7. Michigan If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look no further than Michigan. Whether your fall travels takes you to Michigan’s breathtaking, extensive shoreline bounded by four of the Great Lakes or further inland in the Wolverine State, you are guaranteed to be dazzled by Michigan’s natural beauty. In autumn, all things apple are there in Michigan for your enjoyment; after all, the state produces over 900 million pounds of apples each year. If you seek true wilderness, check out Keweenaw National Historical Park for bold fall foliage, historic towns, and shoreline views. Lead image via Pixabay , others via Depositphotos 1 2 3 , Rob Taylor/Flickr , Justin Henry/Flickr , sunnywinds/Flickr , Andreas Manessinger/Flickr, Xiaojia He/Flickr , daveynin/Flickr , yue/Flickr , Robert Brown/Flickr , and Rachel Kramer/Flickr

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This carbon nanotube yarn generates power when pulled

August 28, 2017 by  
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Power-producing materials are the stuff of wearable inventors’ dreams. And scientists just created a yarn that generates electricity with a simple tug. The yarn, comprised of carbon nanotubes and submerged in an electrolyte gel, isn’t ideal for sweaters – but can harvest power from a wearer’s breathing. And there’s another surprising application: it could collect energy from ocean waves . An international team of 29 researchers devised the the yarn material, known as twistron harvesters, “by tying a carbon nanotube string into a tangled weave of carbon and submerging it into an electrolyte gel,” according to Science Magazine. When covered in gel and tugged, the yarn can illuminate a light-emitting diode with a small current. The yarn’s peak power generation – when strands are hooked together – is 250 watts per kilogram, and Ars Technica pointed out a professional cyclist’s peak exertions are only around 10 percent of that figure. Related: New type of fabric harvests energy from the sun and movement The researchers tested the yarn by sewing it in to a shirt, and saw it generated a tiny amount of electricity as the wearer breathed in and out. The researchers also connected the yarn to an artificial muscle – a polymer that contracts when warmed, according to Ars Technica – and were able to convert fluctuations in temperature into energy . A still more unexpected way the yarn could be used is in wave power . The material operates when it’s placed in saltwater similar to the ocean, and the motion of the waves moves the yarn, allowing it to generate power. Ars Technica notes the device does need a platinum electrode as seawater can be corrosive. The proof of concept yarn strands aren’t yet powerful enough to brighten a home, but the scientists say their technology is scalable. The journal Science published the research in late August. Scientists from institutions in South Korea, the United States, and China contributed to the study. Via Science Magazine and Ars Technica Images via The University of Texas at Dallas and screenshot

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This carbon nanotube yarn generates power when pulled

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