BP revisits clean energy commitment with $200 million solar investment

December 18, 2017 by  
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Oil giant BP has invested $200 million to acquire partial ownership of a solar power developer. BP’s investment in British-based Lightsource is a return to form for a company that once prided itself on progressive commitments to clean energy. Prior to the devastating 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill , the company had invested billions in renewable energy, spoke openly and frequently about the dangers of climate change, and even went so far as to rebrand as “Beyond Petroleum.” After a lull in clean energy action, BP is once again responding to pressure from investors and governments, particularly in Europe, to make the switch from fossil fuels. BP and other oil giants are expanding their renewable energy portfolios not simply because it is good publicity and politics, but also because it is profitable. “The European majors feel under pressure to diversify, to get exposure to different technologies so they are not left out,” said Valentina Kretzschmar, an analyst at energy consultants Wood Mackenzie, according to the New York Times . “It is what a lot of their peer group is doing.” Wood Mackenzie estimates that capital investments in renewable energy offer returns between seven and 10 percent. Related: BP and Shell prepare for catastrophic climate change Under political and financial pressure in the wake of the 2010 oil spill, for which BP has paid $64 billion in damages and fines, BP has primarily focused on reinforcing its oil and gas operations in recent years. Despite returning to its earlier focus on renewable energy, it has learned from its mistakes. Previously, the company had invested in solar panel production, which has since been overpowered by countries like China . Its move to acquire partial ownership of Lightsource demonstrates BP’s embrace of a different kind of company, one that focuses on the installation and operation of solar systems rather than their production. “They need a renewable business to develop over time as part of energy transiting, but were lacking the ability to make solar profitable,” said Oswald Clint, an analyst at Bernstein Research, according to the New York Times . “Lightsource might be the solution.” Via The New York Times Images via Depositphotos (1)

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BP revisits clean energy commitment with $200 million solar investment

Volvo will only sell electric cars starting in 2019

July 5, 2017 by  
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In just two years, every Volvo vehicle rolling off the production line will be electric. Volvo has announced that starting in 2019, every model it sells will have some sort of electrification – either in the form of a mild-hybrid system, a plug-in hybrid or a fully-electric powertrain. The news marks a significant change for a major automaker, and it follows Volvo’s announcement last month that its Polestar brand will become a standalone high-performance EV brand. Volvo will introduce a full lineup of electrified vehicles across its model range, embracing fully electric cars, plug-in hybrid cars and 48-volt mild-hybrid cars. Related: Volvo will introduce an electric car by 2019 – and it could have a 325-mile driving range “This is about the customer,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars. “People increasingly demand electrified cars and we want to respond to our customers’ current and future needs. You can now pick and choose whichever electrified Volvo you wish.” Volvo currently offers plug-in hybrid versions of models like the XC90 and S90, but there aren’t any fully-electric models in its lineup. Volvo will introduce three new electric cars between 2019 and 2021, while the Polestar brand will introduce an additional two models during the same time period. “This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car,” said Mr Samuelsson. “ Volvo Cars has stated that it plans to have sold a total of 1m electrified cars by 2025. When we said it we meant it. This is how we are going to do it.” Images @Volvo + Volvo

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Volvo will only sell electric cars starting in 2019

Groundbreaking new energy storage system mounts to existing poles

July 5, 2017 by  
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Grid reliability is a growing concern as the world transitions to renewable energy and existing infrastructure ages. To address these challenges, Toronto Hydro is testing a grid-scale energy storage system that can be attached to poles already present around the city. The system has been in place since August of last year, and it’s already displaying positive results. Toronto Hydro is running a pilot program with the pole-mounted energy storage system in the city’s North York neighborhood. Drawing on eCAMION battery technology, the energy storage system was first developed at Ryerson University . According to the press release, the system completely lacks a footprint, because it can be attached to existing infrastructure. Related: New on-demand energy system generates and stores power in one device The energy storage system can be mounted 16 feet up on power poles, and can store as much energy as around 2,100 smartphone batteries could. During off-peak hours, it stores power and then releases it when there’s a demand. Energy storage technology could lengthen the lifespan of some of Toronto Hydro’s equipment, and offer reliability as a backup power source in case of an outage. Bala Venkatesh, Academic Director at Ryerson University’s Center for Urban Energy, described this energy storage unit as the first of its kind in the world, saying in a statement, “This project showcases how the use of energy storage and smart grid technologies can enhance distribution system performance and reduce asset upgrade costs.” The team monitoring the pole-mounted system is scrutinizing how it reacts to real-time data. So far they’ve found the system can indeed lower the burden on local transformers. Should the pilot project continue to go well, Toronto Hydro is considering implementing the technology on new installations on the more than 175,000 power poles in Toronto. Via CNW Group Images via CNW Group/Toronto Hydro Corporation

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Groundbreaking new energy storage system mounts to existing poles

How Mealworms Could Eat Away Plastic Waste

April 12, 2017 by  
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The plastic consumption culture in the United States is getting out of control. Everywhere we turn, we’re surrounded by plastic. Plastic is such a versatile material that it’s used in the production of nearly everything these days. Even if you try…

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How Mealworms Could Eat Away Plastic Waste

Elegant arts factory and innovation center replace an crumbling factory in China

November 11, 2016 by  
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The design has won the Silver Award in the Mixed-Use Category at the annual AAP American Architecture Prize. It attempts to find a common language between a variety of uses. Simple, industrial building materials such as exposed concrete frames and concrete bricks create a neutral backdrop for the production and exhibition spaces , as well as a boutique hotel.   Related: Abandoned factory in China becomes a giant floating field of fish and algae The form of a typical three-nave warehouse was reinterpreted as a continuous, undulating roofscape that has elements which remind of traditional Sichuan-style roofs. As another nod to traditional Chinese architecture , the four courtyards all serve different functions and have individual characters. The biggest courtyard can be used for open-air shows and performances, screenings and host events. It also acts as a buffer zone between the production facilities and the hotel, absorbing dust and noise. Bamboo screens line all four courtyards which resemble the layout of ancient Chinese palaces. + Urbanlogic Via v2com

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Elegant arts factory and innovation center replace an crumbling factory in China

Algaevator transforms algae production into a beautiful work of art and architecture

June 28, 2016 by  
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Created as part of the Burglars of Transnatural Transparency (BoTT) Lab pavilion, the Algaevator is a gravity-based algae photobioreactor built to explore the architectural possibilities of biotechnology utilities. The resulting lightweight and transparent structure comprises three separated spirals intercoiled between a heat-fused, watertight, and layered membrane. “An algae photobioreactor is an artificial environment used to increase the production of algae through the introduction of slow movement, carbon dioxide , and increased access to sunlight,” write the designers. “The algae is then used for various consumer products and alternative fuels.” Related: Biodegradable algae water bottles provide a green alternative to plastic The Algaevator’s first spiral introduces carbon dioxide from the environment to the bottom of the coil via a low-energy pump where it travels into an algae-filled spiral. Bubbles gently push the algae, which is combined with carbon dioxide for photosynthesis , to the top of the spiral where the algae is able to off-gas oxygen into the environment and then descend back down to the bottom of the spiral for further cycling. The structure is also able to harvest rainwater for adjacent biotech functions. The Algaevator was put on display and successfully operated for its three-month deployment. + Tyler Stevermer + Jie Zhang Images via Tyler Stevermer

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Algaevator transforms algae production into a beautiful work of art and architecture

Adidas x Parley host giveaway for 3D-printed sneakers made from recycled ocean plastic

June 11, 2016 by  
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If you’ve ever wanted to get your hands on a 3D-printed shoe, here’s your chance. In honor of World Oceans Day , Adidas and Parley for the Oceans are giving away 50 free pairs of their beautiful 3D-printed running shoes made almost entirely of recycled ocean plastic. Around 16.5 post-consumer plastic bottles and 13 grams of gill-net plastic were used in the production of every sneaker. Read on to learn how you can enter.

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Adidas x Parley host giveaway for 3D-printed sneakers made from recycled ocean plastic

MIT is 3D printing fully-functional robots that can walk right off the printer

April 7, 2016 by  
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MIT researchers just made a giant leap for robot-kind, by creating a working robot using 3D-printing . The breakthrough could lead to a world of ready-made machines that come off the production line needing only a motor and a battery. The initial prototype is tiny, but demonstrates that a 3D printer with inkjet nozzles can work together to print both liquid and solids, with a little help from UV light. Read the rest of MIT is 3D printing fully-functional robots that can walk right off the printer

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MIT is 3D printing fully-functional robots that can walk right off the printer

WWF’s new Markets Institute sets the table to feed 9 billion

February 17, 2016 by  
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Mars, Kellogg, Unilever, General Mills will work with the WWF on the systemic change needed, through the Markets Institute to Advance Sustainable Food Production.

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WWF’s new Markets Institute sets the table to feed 9 billion

Lexus has created a drivable electric car made out of cardboard

October 6, 2015 by  
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Lexus has created one of its most unique cars yet – a full size vehicle made of recyclable laser-cut cardboard sheets. At first glance Lexus Origami Car may look like the Lexus IS sedan, but if you look closer you’ll see that the traditional sheet metal, glass and plastics from the production car have been replaced by 1,700 cardboard sheets. And it drives. For real. Read the rest of Lexus has created a drivable electric car made out of cardboard

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Lexus has created a drivable electric car made out of cardboard

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