Evovelo unveils cute little solar car you can pedal like a bicycle

July 28, 2017 by  
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Today Evovelo unveiled a tiny solar-powered vehicle that combines the advantages of a car — such as safety, weather protection and stability — with the ease of a bicycle and the low energy consumption and space utilization of a light electric vehicle. The cute little trike is called Mö, and its practicality, customization, and sustainability make it a great fit for commuters looking to lower their environmental impact. Mö is perfect for short commutes, as it is made from sustainable materials and it has an all-electric range of up to 50 kilometers (31 miles). The vehicle has a top speed of 45 Km/h (about 30 mph), and a set of roof-mounted solar panels rapidly recharge the vehicle’s 1000Wh battery. A single hour in the sun will yield 5-10 kilometers of range, and the vehicle will fully recharge in 3-4 hours. The tricycle can also be propelled by pedal power to further extend its range, and a regenerative braking system stores energy as the vehicle slows down. Its dimensions of 140 cm wide, 200 cm long and 130 cm high means Mö doesn’t take up much space; however, it is large enough to seat two adults up front and two children in the back with optional kids seats. Because Mö has a full lighting system, turn blinkers, safety belts, a front crash crumple zone, side impact protection, and other safety features, one can feel comfortable commuting in the environmentally-friendly vehicle. The vehicle’s battery can be removed and charged at home, in the office, or in a garage – wherever one has access to an electrical outlet. Evovelo’s new prototype officially debuted today in Malaga, Spain, and more information — including its cost — will be released in the near future. + Evovelo

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Evovelo unveils cute little solar car you can pedal like a bicycle

Finnish scientists make food from electricity

July 28, 2017 by  
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A team of researchers from Finland might have solved world hunger. The scientists just produced a single-cell protein from electricity and carbon dioxide, and it can be further developed for use as food or animal feed. Renewable energy sources such as solar can be used to produce the protein. The final product is a nutritious mix of more than 50 percent protein and 25 percent carbohydrates with the rest consisting of fats and nucleic acids. “In practice, all the raw materials are available from the air. In the future, the technology can be transported to, for instance, deserts and other areas facing famine. One possible alternative is a home reactor, a type of domestic appliance that the consumer can use to produce the needed protein,” said Juha-Pekka Pitkänen, Principal Scientist at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. The Food from Electricity project is a collaboration between VTT and Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT). Related: Vertical farming startup raises $200M from Alphabet, Jeff Bezos The next step for the researchers is pilot production to work on improving efficiency and to test scaling up for commercial use.  Currently, the production of one gram of protein takes around two weeks, using laboratory equipment that is about the size of a coffee cup. Pitkänen gives a 10-year timeframe for the product to become fully commercialized. “We are currently focusing on developing the technology: reactor concepts, technology, improving efficiency and controlling the process. Control of the process involves adjustment and modelling of renewable energy so as to enable the microbes to grow as well as possible. The idea is to develop the concept into a mass product, with a price that drops as the technology becomes more common. The schedule for commercialisation depends on the economy,” said Professor Jero Ahola of LUT. The technological breakthrough could in a decade not only provide plentiful cheap and nutritious food to people around the world, but also decrease global greenhouse gas emissions emitted from industrial livestock production. Producing animal feed could also free up land for other purposes such as forestry. + Protein produced from electricity to alleviate world hunger Via Futurism Images via LUT

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Exquisite Shore House is a modernist triumph that embraces nature

July 28, 2017 by  
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Hidden away in Long Island’s North Haven village is an exquisite modernist home that looks like a natural extension of the landscape. Leroy Street Studio designed the Shore House, a green-roofed retreat in Suffolk County, New York with views of the Peconic Bay. Built partly into a hillside, the charred cedar-clad home uses a natural materials palette to sensitively blend into the surrounding environment. Surrounded by windswept trees and tall grasses, the Shore House enjoys a secluded lot on the beach with expansive views of the water and the setting sun. “The home was conceived of as a gateway for experiencing the passage from forest to sea,” said the architects, according to Dezeen . “The approach was designed to guide the individual through a sequence of views revealing new perspectives of the house, sky, and water.” The waterfront home is faced with glazed sliding doors that open up to views of the bay. Related: Leroy Street Studio’s Louver House is an Airy, Daylit Barn-Shaped Home Since the Shore House was built on a sloped lot, the architects partly excavated the site to embed a lower level into the hillside. The main entry starts as a footpath in the forest that leads down a flight of stairs to the green-roofed lower level mostly hidden from view. The dining room, den, living room, and kitchen are located on the lower level, as are the staff bedroom and an outdoor sunken fireplace tucked beneath the cantilevered end of the upper volume. The upper floor houses the master bedroom and bathroom, guest bedroom, and a cabana. + Leroy Street Studio Via Dezeen Images via Leroy Street Studio , by Scott Frances

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Exquisite Shore House is a modernist triumph that embraces nature

Google enters nuclear fusion clean-energy race

July 26, 2017 by  
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Nuclear fusion is the holy grail of sustainable energy — a potentially unlimited source of pollution-free energy that can power the world. No greenhouse gas emissions. Only helium and a neutron are produced. Now Google has jumped into the race to commercialize nuclear fusion technology, teaming up with California-based fusion company Tri Alpha Energy to develop a new computer algorithim that optimises plasma — an ionized gas that conducts electricity. “Google is always interested in solving complex engineering problems, and few are more complex than fusion,” wrote Ted Baltz, senior staff software engineer, Google Accelerated Science Team, on Google’s research blog . “Physicists have been trying since the 1950s to control the fusion of hydrogen atoms into helium, which is the same process that powers the Sun. The key to harnessing this power is to confine hydrogen plasmas for long enough to get more energy out from fusion reactions than was put in. This point is called ‘breakeven.’ If it works, it would represent a technological breakthrough, and could provide an abundant source of zero-carbon energy.” Related: These mini spherical reactors could help scale fusion energy by 2030 The research was published Tuesday in the journal Scientific Reports . The Optometrist Algorithm achieved a 50 percent reduction in the energy loss rate and an increase in ion temperature and total plasma energy. Other private and public entities are racing to become the first to bring nuclear fusion to scale. Experimental testing includes the Iter project in France, the Wendelstein 7-X (W7X) stellarator in Germany and the Tokamak ST40 reactor in the UK. General Fusion , a Canadian company, is also working to develop nuclear fusion technology. + Tri Alpha Energy + Achievement of Sustained Net Plasma Heating in a Fusion Experiment with the Optometrist Algorithm Via The Guardian Images via Tri Alpha Energy , Google Research Blog

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Conservative billionaire to build America’s largest wind farm

July 25, 2017 by  
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Carbon County, Wyoming could soon be home to the United States’ biggest wind farm , complete with 1,000 turbines . Conservative billionaire Philip Anschutz, who got his start in his father’s oil business, is behind the massive wind farm, which will be large enough to power every single home in both San Francisco and Los Angeles. But wind power in Wyoming could face an uphill battle as legislators angle to increase the tax on the renewable energy . Wyoming is currently the only state in America to tax wind energy , but some lawmakers have attempted to raise that tax even higher – from $1 per megawatt hour to $3 or $5. So far, neither tax increase made it past committee – Anschutz’s business helped fight the hikes – but legislators are trying to fill out the state budget as the state lacks income tax and used to make money off coal , which is in its downward spiral. Related: The wind turbine manufacturer putting unemployed coal miners to work In 2015, the state produced more coal than West Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois, and Pennsylvania combined, but coal consumption is declining. Meanwhile the state sees some of the continent’s strongest winds, which rival strong ocean gales. According to NexusMedia, wind power comprises a multi-billion opportunity for the state – Anschutz’s massive wind farm and a new 700-mile transmission line are priced at $8 billion, and there are two other $3 billion wind projects in the works. Experts say it might be a bad idea to raise the tax right as the state is trying to drum up new jobs. Economist Robert Godby at the University of Wyoming told NexusMedia, “Wyoming is perceived by many wind developers to be kind of anti-wind. Suddenly the state is suggesting that we might raise the tax by four or five times? That’s not conducive to economic development. Tax uncertainty is almost as bad as having high taxes.” Instead, Godby suggested a tax break for developers who will manufacture components and build wind farms in the state to attract projects, creating jobs and generating tax revenue. He described wind energy as “the biggest opportunity presenting itself to the state.” Via NexusMedia Images via Penny Higgins on Flickr ( 1 , 2 )

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Germany expects to add 900 MW of new offshore wind capacity in 2017

July 24, 2017 by  
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Germany’s offshore wind boom is accelerating. The Federal Republic has already brought online a total of 626 megawatts (MW) of new offshore wind capacity in the first six months of 2017 and industry groups said in a recent joint statement that they expect to see total installations of 900 MW by the end of the year. If Germany hits the 900 MW mark in 2017, it would exceed the 818 MW added in 2016. At the current rate of expansion, Germany could be on track to blow past government targets of 6,500 MW for 2020, the industry groups said. The country’s installed offshore wind total is already at 4,729 MW from 1,055 turbines. Related: Germany, Denmark, and Belgium to boost offshore wind 5-fold within the next decade The industry groups said that the offshore wind industry is moving away from the era of costly subsidies to becoming more commercially viable and bringing costs down for consumers. “This paradigm shift offers the next government chances to lift expansion targets to at least 20 gigawatts (20,000 MW) up to 2030 and at least 30 GW to 2035, utilizing the economic and industrial political potential of offshore wind,” the industry groups said. Germany’s offshore wind farms delivered 8.48 terrawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity to the grid in the first six month of 2016 — producing more electricity than was generated in all of 2015 (8.29TWh). Via Reuters Images via Wikimedia 1 , 2 , 3

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Germany expects to add 900 MW of new offshore wind capacity in 2017

Studiolada used all wood materials to create this affordable open-source home anyone can build

July 24, 2017 by  
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Skillfully blending the basics of frugality and sustainability into one beautiful home design, French firm Studiolada Architects has just unveiled the Open Source House. The team took a bare bones approach to the home’s design, forgoing superfluous features such as plaster and paint in favor of local sustainable wood on the exterior as well as the interior. In order to promote responsible and affordable building practices, Studiolada  released the plans to build the home for all to use. Located in Baccarat, France, the Open Source Home – which is just over 1,200 feet and includes a separate garage – was built for a retired couple who were looking to create a home that would be as cost effective and energy-efficient as possible. Accordingly, the architects decided to take the fuss out of the home’s design, instead opting to strategically use a combination of bare basics to create a stunning design. Related: Oregon couple spends years building their net-zero ‘extreme green dream home’ Using wood panels as the principal building material reduced the project’s overall cost and footprint because the wooden beams and wall panels were cut and varnished in a nearby workshop. Prefabricated concrete was used to embed the support beams, which were then clad in wooden panels. In fact, wood covers just about everything in the home, from the walls and flooring to the ceiling and partitions. Sustainable materials such as cellulose wadding and wood fibers were even used to insulate the home. By keeping the wood panels exposed instead of covering them with plaster and paint, the design team achieved a clean, minimalist interior that is both homey and inviting. The open layout includes a living room, kitchen and mezzanine located on the first floor, and the bedrooms and bathroom are on the upper floor. The living room opens up to a spacious terrace and private yard. Large glass panels provide optimal natural light to the interior as well as connect the home to its natural surroundings. If you are inclined to create a similar home, you can check out the plans, sections, details, cost estimates and descriptions for free here . + Studiolada Architects Via Archdaily Photography by Olivier Mathiotte

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LAGI announces location for 2018 renewable energy design competition

July 18, 2017 by  
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Energy infrastructure of the past, like oil refineries and rigs, aren’t typically considered beautiful. But as the world transitions to more renewable sources of power, what if utility-scale energy installations could double as art ? That’s the dream pursued by the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI), which holds a design competition every two years to present visions for energy-generating art able to power hundreds of homes. 2016’s winners included ethereal sailboats that harvested wind for power and fog for water, and a whale-inspired design generating wind, solar , and wave energy . LAGI just announced the location for their 2018 competition: Melbourne , Australia. LAGI is being sponsored by the State of Victoria to bring their 2018 contest to Melbourne, a city which hopes to be net zero by 2020. Artists, scientists, engineers, designers, and other creatives from around the world will be invited to submit designs tailored to the area for large-scale installations that add to the beauty of the area while generating clean energy . Related: Land Art Generator Initiative Santa Monica winners address California’s energy needs and drought One goal for these designs is to show how renewable energy installations, like solar and wind, can be integrated into the nature and culture of a region. LAGI2018 is part of Victoria’s Renewable Energy Action Plan under Action 13, which calls for “supporting important artistic and cultural sustainability events.” 2016’s top three winners included teams from Japan, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. The last four competitions – Dubai/Abu Dhabi in 2010, New York City in 2012, Copenhagen in 2014, and Santa Monica in 2016 – garnered over 800 submissions from more than 60 countries. The competition will launch in around six months, in January 2018, with submissions due in May. Public exhibitions will introduce some of the ideas to the people of Melbourne and nearby cities. According to LAGI, “2018 will be a year to celebrate the beauty of our sustainable future!” + Land Art Generator Initiative Images via Wikimedia Commons and courtesy of the Land Art Generator Initiative

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LAGI announces location for 2018 renewable energy design competition

Greenbuild: The world’s biggest green building expo is coming to Boston

July 18, 2017 by  
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The world’s biggest conference dedicated to green building is coming to Boston this November – and you won’t want to miss it. The Greenbuild International Conference and Expo will convene sustainable building experts, professionals and leaders for mind-blowing exhibits, learning activities, a Net Zero zone, and pavilions packed with the latest in green building technology. If you are passionate about green living, then clear your calendar for November 8 – 10 and get ready for an amazing experience. This year, Greenbuild will feature education, workshops, tours, awards, and an expo hall that is not to be missed. Inhabitat regularly attends the conference, so we know first-hand how great it can be. Check out our coverage from past years to get a glimpse into what you can expect – we’ve rounded up some of our favorite innovations here , here and here . Greenbuild has a reputation for stellar education sessions, where you can learn about a huge range of topics – from passive and net zero building to tips from developers who are changing the face of the industry. Workshops qualify for continuing education credits and toward LEED certification hours. Summit topics will include Communities and Affordable Homes, The Water Summit and the International Summit. Greenbuild’s tours are always highly anticipated, and this year’s lineup promises to be exceptional. Attendees will be able to visit four net positive and passive house buildings that are breaking the mold, MIT to learn about its green building innovations, and some of Boston’s groundbreaking green spaces. Early registration ends September 7, so head over to Greenbuild to nab your spot now. + Greenbuild Expo Save

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Affordable home geothermal energy systems come to upstate New York

July 17, 2017 by  
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When you think of home renewable power systems, geothermal energy probably isn’t the first source that springs to mind. But new company Dandelion , which starts after time at Google’s moonshot factory X , aims to power houses with the clean , free source “right under our feet.” They’re offering their systems beginning in northeastern America. The Dandelion team launched their company independent of Alphabet this month, offering geothermal heating and cooling for homes. They come in and replace cooling, heating, and hot water equipment with their geothermal systems, including underground pipes and a heat pump, which gather energy from the earth. The company describes geothermal cooling and heating as the most efficient method of such climate control for the home. Related: St. Patrick’s Cathedral unveils state-of-the-art geothermal plant Affordability was one of Dandelion’s main goals. They say many homes haven’t yet adopted geothermal systems due to the hefty cost associated with setup. In contrast, Dandelion’s system costs $20,000. On their website they say they’ve partnered with a leading financing company to install the systems with zero costs upfront followed by low monthly payments. The company also designed a better drill to install the systems. In the past, geothermal systems were installed with a wide drill that was intended for water wells more than 1,000 feet into the ground. The Dandelion team designed a slender drill that can create one or two deep holes a few inches wide – with less waste. Their new drill lets them put in ground loops in under one day. Overall, putting in their geothermal systems takes two to three days. Dandelion’s heat pumps will last around 25 years, while the closed-loop piping can last for a minimum of 50. The system comes with a smart thermostat enabling homeowners to regulate the temperature inside. The team is starting with 11 counties in New York – they say regions with cold winters and hot summers are ideal for home geothermal systems. + Dandelion Via Kathy Hannun on Medium Images via Dandelion Facebook and Dandelion

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