Tesla just announced plans to build up to five Gigafactories

February 23, 2017 by  
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Tesla is embarking on a building spree – and Elon Musk just revealed plans for up to five Gigafactories. In Wednesday’s fourth quarter investor letter , Musk said that the second Gigafactory will be Tesla’s solar manufacturing plant currently under construction in Buffalo, N.Y. – and the company plans to announce the final locations for Gigafactories 3, 4 and 5 later this year. “Installation of Model 3 manufacturing equipment is underway in Fremont and at Gigafactory 1 , where in January, we began production of battery cells for energy storage products, which have the same form-factor as the cells that will be used in the Model 3,” the letter reads. “Later this year, we expect to finalize locations for Gigafactories 3, 4 and possibly 5 (Gigafactory 2 is the Tesla solar plant in New York).” Related: Tesla’s Gigafactory is getting a $350 million upgrade to build Model 3 parts Tesla said that the company’s first affordable electric vehicle, the Model 3 , is on track for initial production in July, with volume production starting in September — 5,000 vehicles per week at some point in the fourth quarter of 2017, ramping up to 10,000 vehicles per week in 2018. Tesla also expects solar roof production at the New York factory to launch in the second half of the year. Musk has previously stated that at least 200 gigafactories must be built in order to meet electric vehicle demand. With the announcement of more gigafactories in the works, Musk is making it clear that he is serious about accelerating the world’s transition to sustainable energy. + Tesla Via The Verge Images via Flickr and Tesla

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Tesla just announced plans to build up to five Gigafactories

Apple’s $5 billion spaceship campus to open in April as "Apple Park"

February 23, 2017 by  
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Apple’s new headquarters in Cupertino is all set for a planned move-in date of April 2017. Steve Jobs first presented his vision and building plans for the “spaceship” campus to city managers in 2011, and the company just announced that its new headquarters will officially be called “Apple Park.” The building will pump out 17 megawatts of solar power via panels on its massive roof – that’s enough energy to power most of the 175-acre site. More than 12,000 apple staff will inhabit the complex, which will include a 1000-seat auditorium dubbed the “Steve Jobs Theater.” According to Apple, the campus’ ring-shaped 2.8 million-square-foot main building is covered in the world’s largest curved glass panels. The entrance to Jobs’ namesake auditorium consists of a 20-foot-tall glass cylinder that’s 165 feet in diameter and supports a metallic carbon roof. Said theater sits on top of a hill, at one of the highest points of land in Apple park, where it looks out over surrounding meadows in the Santa Clara Valley and the campus’ main building. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VCvkYA5dR8 “Steve’s vision for Apple stretched far beyond his time with us. He intended Apple Park to be the home of innovation for generations to come,” says Apple CEO , Tim Cook. “The workspaces and parklands are designed to inspire our team as well as benefit the environment. We’ve achieved one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the world and the campus will run entirely on renewable energy.” It will take employees as long as six months to move in and get settled away in the massive building . After doing so, they’ll be able to take advantage of a café that’s open to the public, a 100,000-square-foot fitness center, secure R&D facilities, a theater, as well as two miles of paths for walking and running, an orchard, a meadow and a pond. Related: Jaw-dropping scale of Apple’s spaceship campus revealed in new drone footage Apple Park was designed in collaborating with Foster + Partners , and it takes the place of what was once 5 million square-feet of asphalt and concrete. The land is now planted with grassy fields, and native and drought-resistant trees. Via Digital Trends and Apple Images via Apple

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Apple’s $5 billion spaceship campus to open in April as "Apple Park"

British supermarket chain launches trucks powered by food waste

February 13, 2017 by  
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Food waste has always been something of a bugbear with Waitrose , an upscale British grocer that stopped shoveling its leftovers into the landfill as early as 2012. It even packages some of its fusilli pasta in boxes made, in part, from recycled food scraps, which it says reduces the use of virgin tree pulp by 15 percent while lowering greenhouse-gas emissions by a fifth. But Waitrose wants to take the issue further, both literally and figuratively. The supermarket just announced that it’ll be running its delivery trucks entirely on biomethane gas generated from food waste—making it the first company in Europe to do so. Food waste is a looming concern in the United Kingdom. At a time when 8.4 million U.K. families struggle to feed themselves daily, the volume of household food waste continues to soar, amounting to an estimated 7.3 million metric tons in 2015. Waitrose, according to the Times , is partnering with CNG Fuels to juice up 10 of its trucks with 100 percent renewable biomethane. The trucks can run up to 500 miles—almost twice the current average—on what is essentially rotting food. “We will be able to make deliveries to our stores without having to refuel away from base,” Justin Laney of the John Lewis Partnership , which operates Waitrose, said in a statement on Thursday. Related: Toronto Rolls Out Biogas-Capable Garbage Trucks Because its biomethane costs 40 percent less than diesel, any upgrades will pay for themselves in two to three years, CNG Fuels said. “Renewable biomethane is far cheaper and cleaner than diesel, and, with a range of up to 500 miles, it is a game-changer for road transport operators,” CNG Fuels CEO Philip Fjeld said. Another plus? The alternative fuel emits 70 percent less carbon dioxide, which would give a much needed boost to the European Union’s pledge to cut its greenhouse-gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030 under the Paris Climate Agreement . + Waitrose Via Grubstreet

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Researchers invent paper that can be printed with light and reused 80 times

February 6, 2017 by  
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In an effort to fight the detrimental environmental impact of inkjet printing, researchers have invented a new type of “paper” that can be printed with light and re-written up to 80 times. Their invention employs the color-changing chemistry of nanoparticles, which can be applied via a thin coating to a variety of surfaces – including conventional paper . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnCyTb6bgJA Researchers from Shandong University in China, the University of California, Riverside and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory recently published a study detailing the invention of light-printable, rewritable paper. “The greatest significance of our work is the development of a new class of solid-state photo-reversible color-switching system to produce an ink-free light-printable rewritable paper that has the same feel and appearance as conventional paper, but can be printed and erased repeatedly without the need for additional ink,” explains Yadong Yin, professor of chemistry at the University of California, Riverside. “Our work is believed to have enormous economic and environmental merits to modern society.” Why not just use recycled paper, you might ask? As Phys.org explains, the chemicals used in paper production are a leading source of industrial pollution, and abandoned paper makes up about 40 percent of the contents of landfills. Recycled paper contributes to the pollution problem through the process of ink removal. Add to that problems around deforestation, and the case for minimizing paper usage is a strong one. Related: Should your family give up paper towels? The new light-printable paper lends itself perfectly to applications where printed information is only needed for a short time, and it could be applied to any medium used for this purpose. “We believe the rewritable paper has many practical applications involving temporary information recording and reading, such as newspapers, magazines, posters, notepads, writing easels, product life indicators, oxygen sensors, and rewritable labels for various applications,” Yin said Via Phys.org Images via UC Riverside and Aidenvironment , Wikimedia Commons

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Researchers invent paper that can be printed with light and reused 80 times

Greenpeace says Apple is world’s most sustainable tech company

January 11, 2017 by  
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Five years ago, Apple , Facebook, and Google were the first companies to commit to powering their businesses 100 percent with renewable energy, according to Greenpeace . Delving into the carbon footprints of those and other leading technology companies, Greenpeace recently released a report titled “Clicking Clean: Who Is Winning the Race to Build A Green Internet?” We bet you can guess a few of the winners. Apparently Apple, Facebook, and Google are living up to their commitments; they received top marks alongside newcomer Switch, beating out the competition on factors like renewable energy use and transparency. Apple “played a catalytic role within its IT supply chain, pushing other IT data center and cloud operators who help deliver pieces of Apple’s corner of the Internet to follow their lead in powering their operations with renewable energy,” according to the report. Related: Apple’s water-resistant iPhone 7 will fight e-waste due to drowned gadgets Greenpeace gave Apple As in renewable energy commitment, energy transparency, renewable procurement, and energy efficiency and mitigation. The company’s only B was in the advocacy category. Google also received mostly As except for a B in energy transparency, but Apple edges out Google on Greenpeace’s clean energy index to be the top winner. But not everyone in the tech industry is a winner. According to Greenpeace, Netflix streaming accounts for around one third of North America’s Internet traffic, but they gave the company a D because, according to a statement, Netflix “is likely turning to carbon offsets or unbundled renewable energy credits, which do little to increase renewable energy investment.” Similarly, Greenpeace called for increased transparency from Amazon Web Services, calling them “a prime example of a company that talks up its renewable projects, but keeps customers in the dark on its energy performance while expanding into markets served by dirty energy like Virginia.” There’s hope yet for Netflix and Amazon; as recently as 2011 Greenpeace called Apple the “least clean” tech company , but today they lead the way in running a sustainable tech business. Via Greenpeace and Business Insider Images via Michele Ursino on Flickr and Mike Deerkoski on Flickr

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French schools create extra classrooms with Lego-style PopUp Houses

January 11, 2017 by  
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Two savvy private schools have just upped their learning space by almost 4,000 square feet with Multipod Studio ‘s incredible prefab Pop-Up Houses that snap together like LEGO bricks. Located in Indre-et-Loire, France, both schools went with the low-cost option not only due to budget restrictions, but also because of the structures’ sustainable materials and optimal energy performance. Low-cost and energy efficient pop ups are becoming the go-to solution for those with limited budgets in need of additional space. The PopUp House system is easy to assemble, lightweight and made with breathable materials. Constructed with insulating blocks and wooden panels, the design is a very practical system that provides optimal thermal insulation, reducing dependence on additional heating and cooling. Related: Multipod Studio’s Affordable Pop-Up House Snaps Together Like LEGO Bricks The staff at Rollinat High School and Alfred de Vigny High School worked with Multipod Studio to design the most efficient version of the structures to meet their needs. The popup building for Rollinat High School is 1614 square feet and includes two connected classrooms, while the three classrooms at Alfred de Vigny total about 2422 square feet. Once the materials were on site, the actual construction process happened (with just a screwdriver as the only required tool) in about two weeks. The final building was completed in December, 2016 and students began using their new classrooms in early January, 2017. + Multipod Studio + Arc A3 Sud Touraine Via Business Insider

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French schools create extra classrooms with Lego-style PopUp Houses

Tesla just kicked off battery production at its massive Nevada Gigafactory

January 5, 2017 by  
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Tesla just took a big step towards realizing CEO Elon Musk’s vision of a sustainable energy future by kicking off the mass production of lithium-ion battery cells at its Gigafactory near Sparks, Nevada. Tesla has set an ambitious target of eventually producing 150 GWh of lithium-ion battery cells annually – enough batteries to support up to 1.5 million electric vehicles. Tesla also plans on manufacturing as many as 500,000 cars per year before 2020. There are more than 400,000 pre-orders for the Model 3 so the demand is certainly there. The electric vehicle maker and clean energy storage company partnered with Panasonic to design, engineer and manufacture the “2170 battery cell” (21 millimeters in diameter and 70 millimeters in length). The 2170 cells that began production Wednesday will be used in Tesla’s Powerwall 2 and Powerpack 2 energy products. The batteries for the Model 3 — the company’s first affordable EV, which is priced at $35,000 and expected to hit the assembly line this year — are set to start production in the second quarter. Tesla said that by 2018 the Gigafactory will produce 35 GWh/year of lithium-ion battery cells, “nearly as much as the rest of the entire world’s battery production combined.” The Gigafactory is being built in phases, with nearly 30 percent completed — a footprint of 1.9 million square feet. When the 10 million square foot structure is completed, Tesla expects it to be the biggest building in the world. A second Gigafactory is planned for Europe, with the location yet to be announced. Related: Panasonic investing $256M in Tesla’s Buffalo solar manufacturing plant While Musk has discussed how increasing automation will likely lead to a universal basic income for displaced workers, he is doing his part to create jobs. Tesla and Panasonic said they will hire several thousand employees this year and at peak production, the Gigafactory will employ 6,500 people and indirectly create another 20,000 to 30,000 jobs in the surrounding area. + Tesla + Panasonic Via Greentech Media Images via Tesla 1 , 2

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Tesla just kicked off battery production at its massive Nevada Gigafactory

Amazon wants to build flying warehouses in the sky

December 30, 2016 by  
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We’ve all heard before about Amazon’s plans to deliver orders via drone , but a recently-unearthed patent shows the company could one day push the concept to a startling extreme. Discovered by Zoe Leavitt , an analyst for CB insights, the patent describes an “airborne fulfillment center utilizing unmanned aerial vehicles for item delivery” – what is essentially a giant flying warehouse in the sky. The airborne fulfillment centers would exist aboard a giant airship , floating at altitudes of around 45,000 feet. As Amazon orders came in, individual drones would be deployed to deliver the goods. Smaller airships would be used to return the drones, resupply the fulfillment center with new inventory, and shuttle workers back and forth from the facility. While drones launched from the ground have a fairly limited range, the aerial deployment would allow the drones to cover a much wider delivery area. The warehouses would also be mobile, allowing Amazon to easily shift position depending on consumer demand. For example, the patent explains one of the warehouses could be positioned near a stadium during a game to allow fans to immediately purchase team merchandise or snacks during the game. Related: Amazon’s new Prime Air delivery drone is part helicopter, part airplane The concept is just that for now – there’s no indication that Amazon will de deploying drone-carrying blimps in the near future. However, don’t be surprised if airborne drone delivery one day replaces FedEx or the postal service. Via The Verge Images via Zoe Leavitt and Wikimedia Commons

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Elon Musk just confirmed plans for a new Tesla Roadster

December 30, 2016 by  
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Get excited, electric car fans – the Tesla Roadster is coming back. Elon Musk just announced plans to bring the zero emissions sports car back from the electric vehicle graveyard where it was buried at the end of 2012 after selling nearly 2,500 units during its brief four-year life. When a Twitter user asked if there will be a new Roadster , Musk replied that a new version is “some years away, but yes.” The CEO of the California-based electric vehicle maker actually said in a conference call last year that the next-generation Roadster will debut in 2019 so the tweet is further confirmation that a new Roadster is indeed being developed. The Roadster was a two-seater with an open top and a chassis based on the Lotus Elise. The EV was notable for being the first street legal electric car to use lithium ion battery cells and the first electric car to travel more than 200 miles per charge. Related: Tesla’s next Supercharger could charge electric cars in mere seconds Tesla has come a long way since the Roadster, producing the Model S and Model X and soon the Model 3 — the company’s first affordable EV. The automaker is expanding into energy storage and solar panels and most recently solar shingles . But the future wasn’t always so bright for Musk, who earlier this year during a shareholder meeting admitted that the Roadster’s rollout was anything but smooth. Musk said that when he took Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergei Brin for a test ride, the Roadster only reached 10 mph. The early Roadster “was completely unsafe,” it “broke down all the time,” and it “didn’t really work,” said Musk. While there are no details about what the second-generation Roadster will look like, there has been speculation that the name could change from Roadster to Model R so as to align with the automaker’s other models. + Tesla Via Auto Evolution Images via Wikipedia 1 , 2 and Tesla

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The world’s cheapest offshore wind farm is coming to Scandinavia

November 14, 2016 by  
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Swedish energy firm Vattenfall will soon begin building the largest offshore wind farm in Scandinavia – the 600 MW Danish Kriegers Flak in the Baltic Sea. When it’s complete, the project will produce the cheapest offshore wind power in the world at 49.9 euros per megawatt hour (about $54 US). On Thursday Vattenfall announced that it made the winning bid to build the Kriegers Flak wind farm, one of three offshore wind farms promised by the Danish Parliament as part of plans to divest from fossil fuels by 2050. Vattenvall will also be building the other two projects, which include the 406 MW Horns Rev 3 and the Danish Near Shore project, with a 305 MW combined generating capacity. Not only is the Danish Kriegers Flak the largest offshore wind farm in Scandinavia – according to Clean Technica it will also produce the world’s cheapest offshore wind power – even cheaper than the 60 euros per megawatt hour of the Danish Near Shore project, which was the lowest in the world when it was announced in September 2016. Both of these projects are significantly cheaper than the average offshore wind cost of $126 per megawatt hour announced by Bloomberg New Energy Finance earlier in November. Related: Shares in the world’s largest wind turbine producer slump after Trump wins election “The announcement is an essential milestone for our ambition to increase our production of renewable power,” Vattenfall CEO, Magnus Hall said. “We are already the second largest offshore player globally. The winning bid of EUR 49,9 per megawatt hour proves that Vattenfall is highly competitive and brings down the costs for renewable energy.” When power starts flowing out of the 1.3 billion euro project, it will produce enough electricity to light up about 600,000 homes in Denmark, which represents about 23 percent of all households in the country. Via Clean Technica Images via United Nations Photo and A_Cro , Flickr Creative Commons

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