Tesla opens massive Supercharger station in Shanghai

October 23, 2017 by  
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Tesla aims to have more than 10,000 Superchargers available for electric vehicle charging this year, and the opening of the world’s biggest Supercharger station propelled them closer to that goal. The large station boasts 50 Superchargers, reports Teslarati and Electrek , and is located at the Lilacs International Commercial Center in Shanghai . Tesla Model S owner Jason Man confirmed to both publications the Supercharger station is completed, and he charged his car there. The world’s largest Supercharger station is in Shanghai’s Pudong district, inside an underground parking garage. Teslarati pointed out Tesla’s map of Supercharger stations in China already lists the new station as open, 24 hours every day, and confirms it has 50 Superchargers. There are other Supercharger stations in the area, but most have between four and 10 chargers, according to Teslarati. Related: Germany unveils plans for the world’s largest EV charging station Electrek said the station would have to be incredibly powerful to charge 50 vehicles at once, and could have a peak power output of more than three megawatts. It’s the company’s 17th station in Shanghai, and they reportedly plan to install 1,000 Superchargers in China by 2017’s end. With the launch of the new station, Tesla now has 1,032 Supercharger stations around the world with more than 7,300 Superchargers, according to Electrek. It appears Tesla is building up their market in China; they’ve reportedly come to an agreement with Shanghai’s municipal government to build a factory in the country. And this 50-Supercharger station seems to have come online relatively rapidly, Electrek pointed out, which doesn’t always happen. Tesla will also equip vehicles headed for China with a dual charging port design for the Model X and Model S to support the Chinese government’s GB charging standard . Man shared pictures of the massive Shanghai Supercharger station; you can check them out here or here . Via Electrek and Teslarati Images via Tesla/Sixth Tone on Twitter

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Solar record-breaking China aims for 50GW installed in 2017

October 20, 2017 by  
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China , a consistent leader in solar power production and installation, is having another banner year with 25 gigawatts of solar energy being installed in June and July alone. It is estimated that China is capable of installing over 50GW of solar energy by the end of 2017. As of October 1, approximately 42GW of solar energy had been installed, though the pace of installations is expected to slow in October. Although China’s solar boom yields economic benefits, an self-interest understanding of the need to protect the environment also drives the movement. “Any harm we inflict on nature will eventually return to haunt us,” said Chinese President Xi Jinping at the National Congress of China’s Communist Party. “This is a reality we have to face.” Much of the recent growth has been concentrated in the non-utility distributed solar sector, in part because China is pushing a new program called Top Runner, which aims to install more efficient solar panels in smaller projects. By any measure, China is absolutely dominating the global solar race. In 2016, the nation of nearly 1.4 billion people installed 34GW of solar power, the most ever by any country in a single year. In contrast, the United States , in the second place position for added capacity in 2016, added only 14.6GW of solar power. Related: China announces plan to ban sales of fossil fuel cars and shift focus to EVs Although China’s solar energy domination has proven to be valuable in the export market, with many of the components for solar systems around the world being produced locally, the domestic impact of its deliberate, consistent investment in solar energy is undeniable. In transforming its energy economy, out of necessity and strategy, China may provide important global climate leadership in a time when the United States has ceded its authority in this realm. “Taking a driving seat in international cooperation to respond to climate change, China has become an important participant, contributor, and torchbearer in the global endeavor for ecological civilization,” said President Xi Jinping. “[China must] develop a new model of modernization with humans developing in harmony with nature.” Via Electrek Images via Depositphotos and Wikimedia

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Solar record-breaking China aims for 50GW installed in 2017

MVRDV wins bid for green-roofed Zhangjiang Future Park in Shanghai

October 18, 2017 by  
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MVRDV just unveiled competition-winning designs for Zhangjiang Future Park, a 100,000-square-meter park and cultural center—the latest in a rapidly growing list of large-scale developments in Shanghai . Designed for the city’s Pudong district, the Future Park expands on the existing Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park, a bustling business and industrial district for national and international companies established in 1992. The Future Park will serve the over 100,000 workers that live in the area and add 10,000 square meters of public plazas, a 56,000-square-meter public park, and green-roofed community buildings. Located on an island, the Zhangjiang Future Park will serve as an easily accessible community-gathering place. The urban complex comprises four major buildings at its heart: a library , an art center, a performance center, and a sports center. All the buildings will be topped with accessible green roofs connected by pedestrian bridges. The sloped building volumes are varied in height and blend into the landscaped environment. Related: Drone video reveals progress on Heatherwick’s “tree-covered mountain” in Shanghai “We wanted to respect the natural green landscape for Zhangjiang Future Park and drew from its island location separated by two rivers”, says Nathalie de Vries, co-founder of MVRDV. “The entire complex will provide high quality public space with public and cultural facilities, making it a place for relaxation and excitement for the people who work and live here.” The project is set for completion in early 2019. Via MVRDV

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MVRDV wins bid for green-roofed Zhangjiang Future Park in Shanghai

Beijing’s five-star, LEED-certified Hotel clat is a green as it is swanky

October 13, 2017 by  
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Sustainability and luxury haven’t always gone hand in hand, but Beijing’s new Hotel Éclat is a stellar example of the two worlds colliding in the most wonderful way. As part of the city’s new LEED Platinum certified Parkview Green complex located in the bustling Chaoyang district, the energy-efficient five-star hotel is a landmark of green design for the city that features louvers that funnel out hot air, a grey water system and oodles of natural light. Although undeniably swanky, the hotel’s sustainable profile is as equally impressive, and has been recognized with Asia Pacific’s first LEED Dynamic Plaque . Various engineering techniques integrated into the building by ARUP have created a sustainable shell around the building. To be as efficient as possible, special ventilation louvers channel hot air out of the building while letting in cooler air flow throughout. This feature, along with multiple energy saving features, allows the building to use 44% less energy than conventional hotels. The hotel has 100 rooms, with 20 themed suites that have their own terrace with swimming pool. Water taken from the pools is filtered through the hotel’s innovative grey water system . Related: Stunning Sunrise Kempinski Hotel Will Rise Like the Morning Sun in Beijing The hotel is housed inside a large glass pyramid that comprises the two-million-square-feet Parkview Green complex, which includes two nine-story and two 18-story towers on the inside. The massive pyramid shape was not only used to create a landmark for the city, but was also used in the project’s green design. The building’s glass exterior and unique shape were chosen to block as little natural light from the adjacent residential area as possible as well as to allow natural light to flood the interior of the complex. The all-glass facade and thermal insulation creates an individual microclimate for the complex itself, providing protection from the harsh exterior weather as well as reducing the building’s energy consumption . According to its project description, Parkview Green is a “neighhorhood within a neighborhood, a controlled and highly efficient year-round green space to live, work, and play.” + Hotel Éclat + Integrated Design Associates Via GDB Magazine Images via Hotel Éclat

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Foster + Partners and Heatherwick Studio spruce up Shanghais waterfront

October 13, 2017 by  
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Shanghai’s most famous street, the Bund, is undergoing the “starchitect” treatment. Foster + Partners teamed up with Heatherwick Studio to design the Bund Financial Center as the “end point” to the city’s iconic waterfront. The 420,000-square-meter masterplan recently saw the completion of a pair of 180-meter-tall skyscrapers as well as an arts and culture center with a kinetic curtain-like facade. Shanghai is a city of contrasts. The Bund, renowned for its old colonial-era buildings along the waterfront , sits next to the city’s Old Town and looks out towards Pudong’s futuristic skyline of skyscrapers. The objective of the Bund Financial Center is to connect the old town with the new financial district, while staying sensitive to the scale of waterfront as well as the old and new surrounding architecture. “The opportunity to make something new in this prominent location that had formerly been the river gateway to Shanghai’s Old Town was extraordinary,” said Thomas Heatherwick , Founder of Heatherwick Studio. “With a project that would create 420,000 square metres of space, we felt a great duty to look for fresh ways to connect with China’s amazing built heritage and make a meaningful public place for thousands of people to work and come together.” Related: Drone video reveals progress on Heatherwick’s “tree-covered mountain” in Shanghai The Bund Financial Center is bookended in the south by two recently completed landmark towers. The arts and cultural center, which houses the Fosun Foundation and was completed earlier this summer, is located at the heart. Once complete, the mixed-use development will comprise office spaces, a boutique hotel, cultural center, retail, and restaurants. + Foster + Partners + Heatherwick Studio Images via Foster + Partners

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Foster + Partners and Heatherwick Studio spruce up Shanghais waterfront

New nanomaterial pulls hydrogen from seawater to power fuel cells

October 4, 2017 by  
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Hydrogen can be obtained from seawater to power fuel cells , but the process is typically costly because of the electricity required. Researchers created a nanomaterial that can do the job more efficiently. According to the University of Central Florida (UCF), the advance “could someday lead to a new source of the clean-burning fuel .” UCF assistant professor Yang Yang has been working on solar hydrogen splitting for almost a decade. In the process, a photocatalyst sets off a chemical reaction with energy from light . But the photocatalysts don’t work as well in seawater – they don’t stand up well to salt and seawater’s biomass. Yang’s research team came up with a new catalyst that’s not only good for splitting purified water in a laboratory, but can better endure seawater and even harvest light from a broader spectrum. Related: Scientists develop new way to generate electricity via seawater Yang said, “We can absorb much more solar energy from the light than the conventional material. Eventually, if it is commercialized, it would be good for Florida’s economy. We have a lot of seawater around Florida and a lot of really good sunshine.” He said in many cases it’s better to use the sun’s energy to create a chemical fuel than to generate electricity with solar panels . Hydrogen gas can be transported and stored easily. UCF said it’s relatively cheap and easy to make the catalyst, which is comprised of a hybrid material. The journal Energy & Environmental Science published the research the end of September. Scientists from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington and Tsinghua University in China collaborated on the study. Yang and his team plan to continue researching how to scale up the catalyst fabrication, and to work on splitting hydrogen from wastewater with the catalyst. Via the University of Central Florida Images via the University of Central Florida

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The Puerto Rico nursery still up and running thanks to solar power

October 4, 2017 by  
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Solar power is helping flower grower Hector Santiago get back on his feet in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria devastated much of the United States territory’s electricity grid . Six years ago, he sank $300,000 into 244 solar panels , and said everyone told him he was crazy because of the cost. Today, he has power and is rebuilding his nursery. Santiago’s Cali Nurseries , which sells decorative plants and poinsettias to firms like Cosco and Walmart, suffered tremendous losses during the storm. Hurricane Maria damaged plants and greenhouses , ripping off roofs and flattening trees. Santiago told The Washington Post his losses amounted to an estimated $1.5 million. Related: Puerto Rico electricity crisis sparks interest in renewable energy But he’s been able to begin rebuilding his Barranquitas farm with the help of electricity thanks his investment in solar energy. The storm damaged 25 percent of the photovoltaic panels, but there’s still enough energy to start rebuilding his operation. The power allowed him to keep pumping water from wells, as the business’ 19 employees cleaned up and repotted plants. Santiago was unable to get back to his farm for five days following the hurricane, and when he finally returned he found his employees hard at work, as they had been since the first day. He told The Washington Post, “I just started crying, I choked up, when I saw them working like nothing had happened. They give me the strength to not give up and to do whatever I have to do to continue with my business.” The devastation in Puerto Rico has resulted in an increased interest in renewable energy . Solar installation firm owner Henry Pichardo, who works out of Bayamon, said Hurricane Maria could boost his business by 20 percent per year. He said he’s been flooded with inquiries after the storm. He told Reuters, “People are going to become more conscious of how they are living, and invest more in solar.” Via Reuters and The Washington Post Images via Hector Alejandro Santiago Rodriguez on Facebook and Cali Nurseries on Facebook

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The Puerto Rico nursery still up and running thanks to solar power

Catholic churches to make massive divestment from fossil fuels

October 4, 2017 by  
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To mark the anniversary of the death of Saint Francis of Assisi, over 40 Catholic institutions have announced their imminent divestment from fossil fuels, the largest move of its kind by a faith-based organization. The announcement’s timing with Saint Francis’s feast day, October 4, seems fitting for a Catholic Church guided by Pope Francis . He has elevated environmentalism as a key tenet of his papal tenure and chose his title to honor Saint Francis, who is known for his love of the natural world and the poor. Although the specific amount of divestment has not been yet released, the number of participating Catholic organizations is over four times the previous record . In recent years, divestment from fossil fuels has gained in strength as a tool to combat climate change by denying financial support, through investments, to companies and organizations in the fossil fuel industry. The global fossil fuel divestment movement is estimated to be worth $5.5 trillion. “I hope we will see more leaders like these 40 Catholic institutions commit,” said Christiana Figueres, former United Nations climate chief who helped negotiate the Paris climate agreement, “because while this decision makes smart financial sense, acting collectively to deliver a better future for everybody is also our moral imperative.” Related: Nuns build open-air chapel to protest natural gas pipeline on their land The Catholic institutions that are participating in the latest divestment include the Archdiocese of Cape Town, the Episcopal Conference of Belgium and the German Church bank and Catholic relief organisation Caritas. The Italian town of Assisi, Saint Francis’s hometown, also divested from fossil fuels on the day prior to a visit from Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentolini. “When we pay attention to the environment, we pay attention to poor people, who are the first victims of climate change,” said Assisi Mayor Stefania Proietti. “When we invest in fossil fuels, we stray very far from social justice. But when we disinvest and invest in renewable and energy efficiency instead, we can mitigate climate change, create a sustainable new economic deal and, most importantly, help the poor.” Via the Guardian Images via Nicola/Flickr ,  Long Thiên/Flickr , and Christopher John/Flickr

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Catholic churches to make massive divestment from fossil fuels

California may ban gas and diesel-powered cars by 2030

September 29, 2017 by  
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Following in the footsteps of France, the UK, and Scotland, the state of California is now considering passing a ban on the sale of new gas and diesel-powered vehicles. The initiative, which is supported by the state’s Air Resources Board, is being considered to curb carbon emissions and, as a result, help to prevent climate change from worsening. During an interview with Bloomberg last week, Mary Nichols, the chairman of the California Air Resources Board, confirmed the rumors. She said that after learning China is considering a similar ban, it became a matter of “when” the state would adopt similar measures, not “if.” Nichols said, “I’ve gotten messages from the governor asking, ‘Why haven’t we done something already?’ The governor has certainly indicated an interest in why China can do this and not California .” The southwestern state already set the goal to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent of the 1990 levels by 2050. As Elektrek reports, that would require replacing virtually all combustion engines with sustainable alternatives by the year 2040. However, there’s no policy mandating gas and diesel-powered cars be phased out, which is why the state is considering the ban. Related: China announces plan to ban sales of fossil fuel cars and shift focus to EVs So far, no specific timeline has been set. According to Nichols, however, 2030 is not “out of the question.” She said, “There are people who believe, including who work for me, that you could stop all sales of new internal- combustion cars by 2030. Some people say 2035, some people say 2040. It’s awfully hard to predict any of that with precision, but it doesn’t appear to be out of the question.” There are presently more than 300,000 electric vehicles on California roads today. And every year, the state adds approximately 2 million more. If a ban was to be enforced, not only would the automotive industry take a hit, a new standard would be presented for other US states to uphold. Via Elektrek Images via Pixabay , Wikimedia Commons

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Barrel-shaped wooden pod retreat in France inspired by real life ‘bird charmer’

September 29, 2017 by  
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Mr Plocq’s Caballon is a beautiful 160-square-foot wooden pod located on the banks of the Loire river estuary. The pod’s unique design was inspired by the life of real-life bird charmer Émile Plocq, who supposedly built his own boat to follow migrating birds to Africa. Architects Aurélie Poirrier, Igor-Vassili Pouchkarevtch-Dragoche, and Vincent O’Connor created the barrel-shaped retreat by combining techniques used in naval and airplane carpentry, resulting in a fun boat-like hull topped with a transparent “cockpit” shell. The architectural team designed the pod for the local “Imaginary Nights” celebration, an annual event hosted by tourism board, Loirestu . Every year, the festival chooses a fun movable housing concept to be used as a guest retreat located along the Loire estuary in the west of France. This year, Mr Plocq’s Caballon’s inventive backstory, along with its great compact design , earned the pod its place in the event. Related: Egg-shaped GreenPod office lets you work from almost anywhere The tiny pod ‘s barrel shape was strategic to optimize the interior space despite its compact volume . The design basically comprises a ship-like wooden hull on the bottom, topped by a transparent cockpit partially covered by white canvas. Access to the interior is by a double swing door that opens up vertically as the steps fold out to the ground. There are two private areas in the interior, the bedroom and the bathroom, which are separated by a wooden door. The bedroom is located in the cockpit area, whose transparent glazing allows guests to sleep under the stars. The remaining hull space is the small bathroom with a sink and dry toilet , which is reached by a hollow 360° rotating door inserted into double wall behind the bed. The innovative “shower airlock” door allows guests ultimate privacy when turned inwards towards the bathroom. + Aurélie Poirrier + Igor-Vassili Pouchkarevtch-Dragoche + Vincent O’Connor Via Archdaily Photography by Corentin Schieb , Aurélie Poirrier

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