Tesla to TRIPLE number of Superchargers by end of 2018

August 7, 2017 by  
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For those who are still giddy over the newly-released Tesla Model 3 , prepare for even more good news. By the end of 2018, Tesla will install three times more superchargers — the plug-in electricity pumps required to charge Tesla batteries — around the world. The news was announced during the Model 3 ’s unveiling. While debuting the Model 3 At the Tesla Factory in Fremont, California, Musk announced that the company is hoping to achieve its first affordably-priced electric vehicle. He then acknowledged that more Superchargers will be required, as the factory will be producing a total of 500,000 Model 3s — an eventual rate of 10,000 cars a week — annually. “By the end of next year, there will be three times as many Superchargers as there are today. So that should really help out a lot,” said Musk. As Inverse reports, there are presently about 6,124 Superchargers around the world. By the end of next year, there will be over 18,000 worldwide. Tesla’s CEO said, “Eventually you’ll be able to go anywhere on Earth” using the Superchargers. Related: BMW to rival the Tesla Model 3 with an all-electric 3 Series Of course, one will still be able to charge their electric vehicle in other nations even if a Supercharger isn’t available. The stations make the task easier, however. This is because Superchargers add 170 miles of range in 30 minutes. Home wall chargers, on the other hand, only add about 26 miles in the same timeframe. Supercharger stations are presently located in North America , Europe, Asia and the Middle East. 889 are presently open for business but in no time at all, thousands more will dot roadways. + Tesla Via Inverse Images via Tesla

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Tesla to TRIPLE number of Superchargers by end of 2018

Elon Musk is reportedly planning to dig tunnels and build his own Hyperloop

August 4, 2017 by  
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Back in 2013, Elon Musk detailed his vision for a futuristic mode of transportation called the hyperloop . Musk graciously shared his research with the public, because he had no intention of developing the invention – but that’s all changing now. Last month the Tesla Inc. CEO revealed that he received “ verbal government approval ” to build a hyperloop that can transport passengers between New York and Washington D.C. in a mere 29 minutes – and according to a confidante, Musk is planning to build the entire hyperloop system himself — from the physical infrastructure to the tube-encased train. The news came as a shock to startups that have been developing Hyperloops to Musk’s specifications. After all, Musk holds a trademark for the “Hyperloop” through SpaceX which could be used to prevent other companies from building them, according to U.S. public records. Musk acknowledges that his vision is now a direct threat to other start-ups which have raised hundreds of millions from venture backers. However, he is not discouraging other companies from developing underground tunnels. Musk said in a statement, “While we’re encouraged that others are making some progress, we would like to accelerate the development of this technology as fast as possible. We encourage and support all companies that wish to build Hyperloops and we don’t intend to stop them from using the Hyperloop name as long as they are truthful.’’ Among the three startups that publicly welcomed Musk’s involvement was Hyperloop One, whose chairman is Shervin Pishevar. Pishevar said on Wednesday that the company recently completed a second phase testing in Nevada, where a pod reached speeds of 192 miles per hour and traveled a distance of 1,433 feet. The company’s ultimate goal is to match Musk’s plan for the hyper loop to travel 700 mph. “It’s going to take many, many brilliant minds and commitment from many people to push it forward,” said Pishevar. “I’m a huge believer in him.” Related: Elon Musk-inspired Hyperloop Hotel could be the future of travel Musk and SpaceX have a huge advantage over other companies striving to develop a high-speed hyperloop. Not only does SpaceX own @Hyperloop on Twitter, it also owns the website Hyperloop.com . SpaceX was also granted registration for the Hyperloop trademark in April. For this reason, other start-ups are considering adopting a new company name whilst utilizing Musk’s plans — or improving upon them. For now, Musk is focused on bringing the hyperloop to the East Coast whereas competitors are honing in on different regions. While it is more than likely the companies will find agreeable ways to coexist, all bets are off now that Elon Musk and his team are part of the race. Via Bloomberg Images via Shutterstock , Linkedin , TED

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Elon Musk is reportedly planning to dig tunnels and build his own Hyperloop

Self-driving cars are hitting Atlanta this September

August 2, 2017 by  
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Atlanta’s roads are about to enter the future as driverless cars start hitting the streets. Georgia Tech, the City of Atlanta and City Hall joined to launch a test that will help open up the city to autonomous traffic. Self-driving cars will head down a “smart corridor” in Atlanta, guided by a network of Wi-Fi, GPS, sensors and other smart transmitters on September 14. The test run will take place on Atlanta’s North Avenue down a mile-and-a-half stretch of carefully managed roadway. Of course, there will be a human in place to take over in case the technology doesn’t live up to expectations. Atlanta is testing the technology as part of the Safer Roads Challenge , and they are just the third city in the world to do so. Related: Uber rolls out autonomous cars in Arizona The technology isn’t the only obstacle holding back autonomous cars. Questions about who is liable in a crash, what happens if a guidance system is hacked and how to handle the transition period where there are still drivers trying to navigate streets full of autonomous vehicles. Still, it’s exciting to see the technology marching forward . It may be only a matter of time before self-driving cars become the norm rather than the exception. Via Curbed and Atlanta Magazine Images via Unsplash and Google

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Self-driving cars are hitting Atlanta this September

First fully-integrated sustainable smart energy system promises to democratize renewables for all

July 27, 2017 by  
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Solar might be the future, but few people and businesses can afford to invest in the technology. This is why SolPad’s latest innovation is so newsworthy. The new SolPad Mobile is the first personal, portable solar energy generator capable of providing power anywhere. Developed to “democratize” renewable energy for all consumers, the 25-pound invention has built-in battery storage and output power that exceed any other portable solar device in its class. Additionally, it is capable of providing clean energy to the “untapped market” of home renters, including tiny home dwellers and van-lifers. In essence, the one device makes clean, reliable power accessible to everyone and provides the tools required to collect, store, convert and manage solar energy. SolPad was founded in 2012 with a mission to “disrupt the conventional sustainable energy landscape” by ensuring off-grid power environments and sustainable smart homes have access to quality and cost-effective renewable energy. The company recognized that solar has experienced an average annual growth rate of 68 percent, but fails to be adopted by consumers on a mass level due to economic challenges. Equipped with this knowledge, the minds behind the California-based company decided to develop the first fully-integrated system that can provide an all-in-one, scalable solution to renewable energy . “The reality is that SolPad completely shifts the energy paradigm, delivering comprehensive management and control for daily power usage,” said Christopher Estes, CEO of SolPad. Though the units cost $1,795 (monthly payment options are available for $150), the investment is well worth it. This is because the SolPad Prox X is a permanent solution to obtaining solar energy , and the purchase and installation costs are as least half of other market alternatives. Additionally, the power system generates as much power as one needs and ensures minimal energy is wasted while increasing the available AC power. Because the software integrates solar generation and energy storage, energy management becomes an automated process. From a phone app , you can track, manage and automate your energy usage. SolControl also prioritizes which appliances and items should receive personal solar power based on one’s habit of turning them on and off. The SolPad panels can store both solar and grid energy. According to the press release, “By placing storage at the source of solar collection, inefficiencies in transmission and conversion are reduced or eliminated entirely. Because collection and storage are adjacent within each SolPad Pro X panel, low voltage battery power is used to make the panels safer and more efficient than legacy solar systems.” “Everyone is responsible for their impact on the environment . SolPad Mobile allows people to take energy management into their own hands, reducing carbon footprint and giving access to AC electricity anywhere,” said Jigar Shah, co-founder of Generate Capital, past CEO of Carbon War Room. “Whether you’re in an industrialized nation trying to decrease negative impacts on the environment or in a developing nation looking to save money versus fossil fuels, this disruptive portable panel provides unparalleled access to clean and easy-to-use power.” Related: SolPad residential solar panels come with built-in battery storage and an inverter The unique invention will ensure more people have access to clean, renewable energy and, as a result, will provide innumerable benefits to the environment. + SolPad Images via SolPad

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First fully-integrated sustainable smart energy system promises to democratize renewables for all

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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India to ban driverless cars to protect citizens jobs

July 25, 2017 by  
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By the year 2030, 25 percent of American citizens will transit via self-driving vehicles – but the situation will be very different in India. This is because India’s transport and highways minister, Nitin Gadkari, announced today that self-driving cars will not be allowed in the country. He told reporters, “We won’t allow driverless cars in India. I am very clear on this.” As Engadget reports, the statement does not reflect safety concerns. Rather, Gadkari rejects self-driving vehicles because they could potentially take jobs away from drivers in the country. “We won’t allow any technology that takes away jobs. In a country where you have unemployment , you can’t have a technology that ends up taking people’s jobs,” said Gadkari. India’s transport and highways minister added that the government is working on opening several training facilities across the country in an effort to ensure 5,000 more professional drivers take to the roads over the next few years. He rejects the notion of self-driving vehicles, even while admitting that India is presently short about 22,000 commercial drivers. Though the decision may seem like a negative development, India wasn’t on track to receive self-driving technology anytime soon. According to statements made by former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, this is because the country’s haphazard roads and congested traffic present great barriers to the implementation of driverless cars. Related: Half of the World’s Consumers Trust Autonomous Cars, According to a New Study India-based Tata Elxsi is ambitious to introduce autonomous vehicles to the country, however. In recent months, the company has been testing self-driving vehicles on a track designed to resemble the country’s roads. Engineers have even gone as far as to install pedestrians, livestock, unsigned merge lanes and limited signage on the track to give the driverless cars as “real of an experience as possible.” With this new declaration by Gadkari, however, it is unknown what action the company will take. Via Engadget Images via Pixabay

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Vertical farming startup raises $200M from Alphabet, Jeff Bezos

July 21, 2017 by  
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Indoor vertical farming is on the rise, if a recent funding round for San Francisco startup Plenty is any indication. The company just scored what they say is the largest agriculture technology investment in history. Plenty has attracted attention – and quite a lot of money – from well-known tech greats like Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt. Plenty is utilizing technology to improve agriculture. The startup draws on big data processing, micro-sensor technology, and LED lighting in an effort to make affordable, local food available for people around the world. Their system uses less water and space than conventional farms, and grows food more efficiently. Plenty says they can yield as much as 350 times more crops per square foot than a typical farm. Their recent Series B funding round, led by Japanese media corporation SoftBank ‘s Vision Fund, turned out to be quite fruitful at $200 million. Related: 40-foot shipping container farm can grow 5 acres of food with 97% less water SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son said in a statement, “By combining technology with optimal agriculture methods, Plenty is working to make ultra-fresh, nutrient-rich food accessible to everyone in an always-local way that minimizes wastage from transport. We believe that Plenty’s team will remake the current food system to improve people’s quality of life.” Plenty will use the $200 million to start expanding, and plan to bring their first produce to market later this year. They plan to grow two to five acre indoor farms, which the BBC said is around the size of a Walmart or Home Depot. The company already employs 100 people working in three facilities in Wyoming and San Francisco. Initially, Plenty will provide mainly leafy greens and herbs for distributors that have already signed on, according to co-founder and CEO Matt Barnard. He said in a statement, “The world is out of land in the places it’s most economical to grow these crops. After a decade of development driven by one of our founders, our technology is uniquely capable of growing super clean food with no pesticides nor GMOs while cutting water consumption by 99 percent…We’re now ready to build out our farm network and serve communities around the globe.” + Plenty Via Plenty and the BBC Images via Plenty Facebook

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Vertical farming startup raises $200M from Alphabet, Jeff Bezos

Self-sufficient hydrogen boat embarks on 6-year journey around the world

July 17, 2017 by  
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The world watched in anticipation as the groundbreaking Solar Impulse 2 plane circumnavigated the globe last year. Now, the “Solar Impulse of the Seas” has set sail, aiming to demonstrate in a fresh way that clean energy can power our world. Dubbed Energy Observer , the solar- , wind- , and hydrogen -powered catamaran will sail to 50 countries over the course of six years. Solar panels line the top of the Energy Observer, and two vertical axis wind turbines harness the power of the wind, but those aren’t the only energy sources that make this vessel self-sufficient . The boat is able to generate hydrogen from seawater thanks to an electrolysis system. That hydrogen, stored in tanks, will help the Energy Observer glide through the waves emissions-free. The project was started by French offshore racer Victorien Erussard, accompanied by French explorer and filmmaker Jérôme Delafosse. Related: Energy Observer to sail around the world using only solar, wind, and hydrogen fuel The Energy Observer is equipped with technologies like electric motors, lithium-ion batteries , and a hydrogen fuel cell . It’s around 100 feet long and 42 feet wide, with solar panels covering 1,400 square feet atop the catamaran. Built in 1983, the Energy Observer has already had a long career as a racing boat, but was recently christened earlier this month by France’s environment minister Nicolas Hulot. Energy Observer left Paris this past weekend with mayor Anne Hidalgo aboard. Erussard said on the boat’s website, “There is not one miracle solution to combat climate change : there are solutions which we must learn to operate together. That’s what we are doing with Energy Observer: allowing nature’s energies, as well as those of our society, to collaborate.” And though the boat draws on different technologies than the Solar Impulse 2, it apparently has the approval of pilot Bertrand Piccard , who was present at the christening ceremony. He said, “Energy Observer, just like Solar Impulse, makes exploration work for a better quality of life. We need to lead people towards the future by showing them solutions instead of depressing them.” You can track where the Energy Observer is here and find out more here . + Energy Observer Via ScienceAlert Images via Energy Observer ( 1 , 2 )

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Self-sufficient hydrogen boat embarks on 6-year journey around the world

Reflective paint helps women in slums combat extreme heat caused by climate change

July 14, 2017 by  
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Temperatures are skyrocketing in India, as a result of climate change . Sadly, this has resulted in a 150 percent increase in the number of heat waves , killing thousands of people in recent years. To help those who are suffering find some relief, the non-profit Mahila Housing Trust is working with Indian women based in 100 slums across five cities to apply reflective paint to units, decreasing indoor temperatures by several degrees. Additional goals of the non-profit include upgrading and redeveloping slums, helping women secure property rights, and assisting women in dealing with climate change pressures by utilizing techniques such as rainwater collection and harvesting. The organization is presently experimenting with reflective paint, as well as insulated ceiling and modular roofs in units located in the Ramesh Dutt Colony. This low-cost approach to making homes more comfortable could literally save lives, since more than 2,400 deaths were recorded in 2015 due to heatwaves , according to government data. One individual benefiting from the reflective paint is Meenaben, who says she used to dread summers in India . Before applying the reflective paint, her two-room home in the Ahmedabad slum would get so hot, she could not sit indoors for several hours during the day. Now, she is able to sit in her abode and work, sewing quilts and bedcovers. “We used to really suffer from the heat. We could not sit inside, we could not work, people were falling sick,” said Meenaben. “This year it has been so much better. The paint brought the temperature down by several degrees, and I have been able to sit in my home, do my work.” Related: School principal uses $22,000 of paint to transform former slum into a rainbow wonderland Bharati Bhonsale, a program manager at Mahila Housing Trust, noted the devastation some families experience from unexpected weather patterns which result from climate change . “They work so hard to improve their lives, their homes. But even one setback from something like flash floods or a heat wave can have a big impact and cause them to slip back into poverty ,” Bhonsale told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “A flash flood can destroy their belongings, heat stress affects their work and their health. So it is important they are equipped to manage the effects of climate change.” Fortunately, most poverty-stricken citizens are happy and willing to implement technologies that may better their lives and the environment . Some measures the women have been trained to incorporate include using fuel-efficient stoves to reduce reliance on firewood, composting, cleaning stormwater drains, planting shrubs to help prevent flash floods, and harvesting rainwater. The women have also learned how to keep narrow lanes free of trash and to dump unused collected rainwater in an effort to prevent the spread of mosquito-borne diseases. Bhonsale said, “They may not understand the science of global warming , but they have first-hand experience of its effects, and with some education and simple solutions, they are better able to tackle it.” + Mahila Housing Trust Via Scroll Images via Mahila Housing Trust , Pixabay

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Reflective paint helps women in slums combat extreme heat caused by climate change

Recycled plastic paving company Platio installs first 3 solar systems

July 14, 2017 by  
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We’re so excited to announce that the Hungarian startup Platio , which designed a modular energy-harvesting paving system made with recycled plastic , has now installed their first three systems. Within a span of just two months, they developed projects in Hungary, Sweden, and Kazakhstan. And it’s not just sidewalks that now boast the solar pavers, but pontoons providing energy for ships, and benches where passerby can charge their smartphones. Platio is helping to shape the future of cities with their solar paving systems. One creative use of their technology can be found in Budapest , Hungary, at Városháza Park, where their solar system stretches across a wooden bench. The smart bench allows park-goers to power their phones or tablets with clean energy , using either a USB cord or QI wireless charging. Local design studio Hello Wood installed the park’s wavy wooden benches. Related: New recycled plastic sidewalk harvests energy from the sun Platio’s very first permanent installation was indeed constructed on a sidewalk, in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, in front of a mall in the new Green Quarter. Near the shopping entrance, around 861 square feet of the sidewalk is covered with Platio paving, offering a total peak output of 11.7 watts. The electricity will help power the mall. Strong, anti-slip glass tiles top the recycled plastic solar paving system. Two specialists were able to put together the mall installation in just a few days thanks to the modular design and a built-in electrical network. And it’s not just urban infrastructure that can benefit from Platio’s technology. The company partnered with engineering firm SF Marina to install the solar pavers on around 86 square feet of pontoons at SF Marina’s Swedish factory. The solar energy generated by the Platio systems will help power port facilities and ships. According to Platio, as recently as last year they only had a prototype of their technology, but they’ve now successfully installed it in the real word. The three Hungarian engineers who started Platio want to help make future cities sustainable and energy-independent . + Platio Images courtesy of Platio

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Recycled plastic paving company Platio installs first 3 solar systems

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