Germany premieres the first hydrogen-powered train in the world

September 18, 2018 by  
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At last, the world’s first hydrogen-powered trains have made their global debut in the northern countryside of Germany . As of Monday, two Coradia iLint locomotives have been transporting passengers back and forth to the towns of Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervoerde and Buxtehude, just west of Hamburg. The efficient trains were produced by French transportation engineers at Alstom, the same manufacturers who amazed the world in the early 1980s with the world-record-setting bullet train. While the TGV captured many people’s attention as the fastest locomotive in production, its true feat was providing a solution to the 1973 oil crisis in France by featuring an electric — not gas — fueled transmission. Nearly four decades later, Alstom has come to the rescue again as European cities continue to struggle with pollution. Replacing diesel powered engines that are stagnating Germany’s fight for the green is the first push. Related: New photosynthesis machine is twice as efficient at creating hydrogen fuel Alstom CEO Henri Poupart-Lafarge inaugurated the pair of novel trains at an unveiling ceremony in Bremervoerde, where the trains will undergo routine hydrogen refueling. The company leader said, “The world’s first hydrogen train is entering into commercial service and is ready for serial production.” The bright blue Coradia iLint trains currently operate on a 62-mile (100-kilometer) course. However, in equal capacity to their gas-gulping counterparts, the hydrogen-powered vehicles can travel the span of 600 miles (1000 kilometers) on one tank of hydrogen. The trains rely on fuel cells that can produce electricity from a combined mixture of hydrogen and oxygen. The models are extremely efficient in the conversion — excess electricity can be siphoned into ion lithium batteries stored on board. The only byproducts emitted by this process are steam and water. Many German states have expressed interest in adopting the models to their own transportation lines. The company announced it will be delivering a set of 14 trains to the Lower Saxony region of the nation by 2021. While the zero-emission alternatives are attractive because of their quieter, eco-friendly nature and ability to run without electrified railways, they are not without a high initial price. Stefan Schrank, Alstom’s project manager, said, “Sure, buying a hydrogen train is somewhat more expensive than a diesel train, but it is cheaper to run.” It’s a price many countries are willing to pay for cleaner air . France plans to rail its first hydrogen train by 2022, with the U.K., the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Italy and Canada eager to follow suit. + Alstom Via The Guardian Image via René Frampe / Alstom

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Germany premieres the first hydrogen-powered train in the world

France moves to reshape infrastructure and promote bicycle transportation

September 17, 2018 by  
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France plans to launch a major endeavor to triple the amount of cyclists on its streets within the next seven years. The action will include building better bike lanes, providing financial incentives for commuters to switch to bicycle transportation and cracking down on bike theft. The plan was announced by the French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe at a speech in Nantes, where he revealed that cycling accounts for only 3 percent of transportation in the country. Despite hosting the acclaimed Tour de France competition, France has fallen far behind other EU nations in bicycle transportation. In the Netherlands, cycling accounts for almost a third of all transportation, backed by a strong cycling culture as well as organized routes and laws that make Dutch riders feel safe on the roads. “Fifty million euros per year will not turn France into the Netherlands, but it is a start,” said Olivier Schneider, head of the French Bike Users Federation (FUB). Related: How to make American cities bike-friendly France’s total fund for cycling infrastructure over the next seven years amounts to 350 million euros ($410 million). “We plan to triple the share of cycling to 9 percent by 2024, when we host the Olympics,” Philippe said. “The discontinuity on the bike lane maps creates insecurity and discourages people from cycling.” Currently, bike lanes in French cities only run short distances and are not safely connected to one another at major intersections or heavy traffic zones. In addition to addressing these incomplete routes, the government will restructure one-way streets to include two-way bike routes, saving commuters inconvenience and time. Converters to cycling will be rewarded yearly with 200 euro ($233) tax-free stipends from the French government, and many private companies are looking to double that amount, providing their own 400 ($467) euro tax-free rewards each year for commuters. Companies are also being mandated by the government to allocate proper bicycle parking facilities for their employees, a feature that train hubs around the country will also boast. To deter bike thieves from suspending the country’s progress, new bikes will be subject to a mandatory identification engraving system, which will make it easier for burglars to be apprehended and fined. The French government will also introduce cycling lessons in all secondary schools by 2022 to ensure that future generations embrace the cycling culture and respect for a clean environment. Via Reuters Image via Veroyama

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France moves to reshape infrastructure and promote bicycle transportation

How can citizens share responsibility for a polluted river valley basin?

September 15, 2018 by  
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Here’s how France created a system for participatory decision-making for its river water.

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How can citizens share responsibility for a polluted river valley basin?

France could ban stores from tossing out unsold clothing

May 11, 2018 by  
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Earlier this year a viral Facebook photo of a clothing store in France destroying apparel sparked outrage — and Paris-based group Emmaus got involved. The organization working to end homelessness started tackling the clothing dilemma, and a recent Circular Economy Roadmap from the government proposes a solution: banning stores from chucking unsold clothes . (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = ‘https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v3.0’; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); Exposition de la poubelle de Celio, rue du Gros Horloge à Rouen. (Artiste inconnu).Celio jette ses vêtements … Posted by Nathalie Beauval on  Saturday, February 3, 2018 France’s Circular Economy Roadmap calls for applying the main principles of the food waste battle to the clothing industry by 2019; a 2016 law requires grocery stores to donate food instead of throwing it away. The government said in the roadmap they aim to ensure unsold textiles “are neither discarded nor eliminated.” So France could prohibit stores from trashing clothing that isn’t sold. Clothing stores might have to donate unsold wares instead. Related: This Swedish power plant is burning H&M clothes instead of fossil fuels Emmaus deputy director general Valérie Fayard told local research company Novethic while the details aren’t clear yet, as this is a roadmap presentation, it’s still good news. She said, “The deadline of 2019 will allow the government to launch an inventory of the situation, calculate the number of tonnages discarded, the processes put in place by brands, and difficulties.” Prime Minister Édouard Philippe said by 2019, roadmap measures could be translated into legislation, according to Fashion Network . Europe ditches four million tons of clothing every year, according to Fashion Network. Meanwhile, five million tons are placed on the market. France is one of Europe’s biggest fashion markets — but they throw away 700,000 tons of clothing per year and only recycle 160,000 tons. Green Matters said France was “the first country to pass a law” preventing supermarkets and grocery stores from tossing out food nearing expiration. + Circular Economy Roadmap Via Novethic , Green Matters , My Modern Met , and Fashion Network Images via Alp Allen Altiner on Unsplash and Cam Morin on Unsplash

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France could ban stores from tossing out unsold clothing

Macron says what Trump won’t and urges action on climate change in US Congress

April 26, 2018 by  
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While it seemed like French President Macron was cozying up to President Trump in Washington DC as the special guest of honor for the first State Dinner of the Trump Administration , the two leaders are an ocean apart on the issue of climate change. “Some people think that securing current industries and their jobs is more urgent than transforming our economies to meet the challenge of global change.” Macron said in a speech to the US Congress. “In the long run, we will have to face the same realities. We’re just citizens of the same planet.” In his speech to Congress, Macron acknowledged the economic concerns regarding the initial cost of abandoning fossil fuels. “I hear [those worries]. . . but we must find a transition to a low-carbon economy,” said Macron. “What is the meaning of our life, really, if we work and live destroying the planet, while sacrificing the future of our children?” Macron urged the United States to understand that there is “no Planet B,” that the world must work together to solve the problem or all will suffer. Despite the current atmosphere in Washington, Macron remained optimistic that the disagreements between France and the United States, historic allies, would someday be resolved. ““I am sure one day the United States will come back and join the Paris agreement,” said Macron. Related: Macron offers 18 scientists the chance to “Make Our Planet Great Again” While Democrats heartily applauded Macron’s positions on climate change, the Republican side of the aisle was predictably less than enthusiastic. President Trump has notably called climate change a hoax created by the Chinese, withdrawn the United States from the Paris agreement, and increased tariffs on Chinese solar panels, therefore increasing the cost of solar power in the United States . Trump also picked Scott Pruitt, a former Republican Congressman from Oklahoma and a climate-change skeptic, as head Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency , an executive appointment that was approved 52-46 by the United States Senate. Via Washington Post Images via C-SPAN

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Macron says what Trump won’t and urges action on climate change in US Congress

HyperloopTT is building the world’s third Hyperloop test track in France

April 16, 2018 by  
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Hyperloop Transportation Technologies just began construction on the world’s third Hyperloop test track. According to its latest announcement, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies ‘ full-scale tubes just reached a research and development facility in Toulouse, France , and a test track is under construction. The two other Hyperloop test tracks are Virgin Hyperloop One in the desert near Las Vegas and Elon Musk’s near the SpaceX headquarters in California. The race toward a functioning, real-world Hyperloop system continues as more test tracks pop up , governments sign deals , and billionaires get in on the action. Construction of Hyperloop TT’s test track will happen in two phases. The first phase is the building of a closed system around 1,050 feet long, which the company says will be operational in 2018. In 2019, the company plans to finish a 0.6-mile system elevated by pylons at around 20 feet for the second phase. HyperloopTT’s passenger and freight tubes have an interior diameter of about 13 feet. A full-scale passenger capsule is scheduled to arrive in France this summer “for assembly and integration” — it’s almost finished being built at a facility in Spain. Related: Hyperloop One exhibits exciting first images of full-scale test track In the company’s statement, HyperloopTT chairman Bibop Gresta said, “We’ve pioneered the technology , proved feasible and insurable by the world’s largest reinsurance company, Munich RE. We have agreements in place in nine countries where we’re working on feasibility and regulations. We have a research center for freight and logistics in Brazil and a facility in Toulouse where we’ll deliver the first full-scale passenger capsule. Hyperloop is no longer a concept, it has become a commercial industry.” Stay tuned — HyperloopTT said they’ll soon reveal details for a public unveiling of their France facility this year. + Hyperloop Transportation Technologies Via The Verge Images via Hyperloop Transportation Technologies

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HyperloopTT is building the world’s third Hyperloop test track in France

Tesla voluntarily makes their biggest recall ever for 123,000 Model S vehicles

March 30, 2018 by  
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Tesla just issued their biggest ever recall  involving over 123,000 Model S cars. The automaker said they noticed excessive corrosion in power steering bolts, The Verge and Agence France Presse reported. They’re voluntarily recalling the cars and will retrofit impacted cars with a new part that will resolve the issue. Tesla recalled thousands of Model S cars built before April 2016. There haven’t been any crashes or injuries reported connected to the issue — in an email sent to customers, the automaker said this is a proactive move. According to Agence France Presse, the problem has only been observed in locations where salt is used on winter roads to melt ice or snow, but Tesla will retrofit all Model S cars containing the part. No other models are involved in this recall. Related: The Tesla Semi just made its first cargo trip transporting battery packs Tesla’s email said, “If the bolts fail, the driver is still able to steer the car, increased force is required due to loss or reduction of power assist. This primarily makes the car harder to drive at low speeds and for parallel parking, but does not materially affect control at high speed, where only small steering wheel force is needed.” The company said if an owner hasn’t experienced issues, they don’t have to cease driving the cars, and that they would let owners know when retrofits, estimated to take around one hour, were available in their area. The Verge said this is Tesla’s largest recall; in 2015 they recalled 90,000 Model S cars due to a faulty seat belt, and in 2017 they recalled 53,000 Model X and Model S vehicles because of a parking brake issue. The publication also noted the recall comes right as the company is getting ready to report quarterly deliveries — people will be watching to see how many Model 3 cars Tesla has delivered to customers this year. Via The Verge and Agence France Presse Images via Depositphotos and Wikimedia Commons

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Tesla voluntarily makes their biggest recall ever for 123,000 Model S vehicles

What’s behind the California bill to ban internal combustion car sales by 2040

March 29, 2018 by  
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A bold bill follows in the footsteps of England, France, China and others.

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What’s behind the California bill to ban internal combustion car sales by 2040

Worlds largest single-domed tropical greenhouse unveiled for France

March 27, 2018 by  
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A lush paradise of waterfalls and tropical plants has been unveiled in Coldefy & Associates’ designs for Tropicalia, the world’s largest tropical greenhouse under one roof. Proposed for Pas-de-Calais, France, the 215,000-square-foot greenhouse will be sheathed beneath a double-insulated dome and designed for energy efficiency and include heat recycling. The $62 million project will feature a variety of tropical landscapes filled with flora and fauna and linked by a one-kilometer walking path. Created in collaboration with energy company Dalkia , the greenhouse project aims to impress with its size and energy efficiency. “Tropicalia was imagined by Coldefy as a ‘bubble of harmony’ perfectly integrated with the local environment, endowed with a new innovation: the project is autonomous – energy producer by the use of a double dome creating a air chamber heated by a greenhouse effect,” wrote the architects. In addition to the double-insulated glass dome that will be constructed of structural steel and ETFE plastic, the greenhouse will be partly embedded into the earth to take advantage of natural insulation and ensure a stable 79-degree indoor environment year-round. Excess heat could be recycled for use in neighboring buildings. Related: Amazon’s incredible plant-filled biospheres open in Seattle In addition to the tropical flora and fauna that include an 82-foot-tall waterfall and Olympic-sized pool with Amazonian fish, Tropicalia also houses an auditorium, restaurant, bed and breakfast, and research area with a conference room, laboratory, and clinic. The project is expected to break ground in 2019 and open in 2021. + Coldefy & Associates Via ArchDaily Images via Coldefy & Associates

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Worlds largest single-domed tropical greenhouse unveiled for France

Green-roofed Copenhagen sports center comprises light-filled timber volumes

March 27, 2018 by  
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Livability in Copenhagen’s Ørestad City received a big boost with the completion of a green-roofed multipurpose sports facility next to Bjarke Ingels Group’s terraced Mountain Dwellings . Designed by NORD Architects , the sports center may be more modest than its eye-catching neighbor with its lower profile and natural materials palette, but achieves admirable goals of social sustainability and inclusivity thanks to its welcoming and fully accessible design that’s open 24/7 to the public. Designed in collaboration with the community, the unstaffed multipurpose sports center in Ørestad City offers adaptable and multifunctional spaces that cater to a variety of user groups. The building’s five main zones radiate out from a central “stay and play area” and include the foyer, two multifunctional areas with storage and toilets, a bouldering zone, and a large multisport area. Each area is enclosed in a timber volume of varying heights and sloped green roofs , making it easy to identify the different zones from the outside. Related: BIG Designs Cascading Green Roofed Mountain Dwellings Glazing wraps around the base of the structure to let in light, create transparency, and provide views to outdoor landscaping. The interior is painted white. “This place is a kind of shelter for local sports and social events and in this way an invitation to both creativity, activity and recreation. It is built as a light structure that welcomes openness and unpredictability in this otherwise fully planned urban area and we are sure it will generate social interaction and livability in Ørestad City”, said partner Johannes Molander Pedersen + NORD Architects Via ArchDaily Images © Adam Mørk

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Green-roofed Copenhagen sports center comprises light-filled timber volumes

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