IceWind demos new residential wind turbine in Texas

June 29, 2020 by  
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Residential micro wind turbines may one day become a popular way for people to produce their own power at home. Over the Fourth of July weekend, folks in Port Aransas Beach, Texas will be able to see a new Icelandic turbine in action during a special demo. The Icelandic renewable wind power company IceWind has invented this new home energy product. Home builder Daryl Losaw, IceWind’s San Marco, Texas-based investor, is excited to demo the tiny turbine to Texans. “We have a great story and showing off the turbines is the best way to tell it,” Losaw said in a press release. Unlike the horizontal axis wind turbines one sees at wind farms, IceWind’s new residential model sports vertical axes. Related: Windwords proposal turns wind turbines into public art IceWind has turned a decommissioned coal power plant in Reykjavik into its headquarters. The company is now in the final stages of development. “The concept is simple: We’re taking time tested technologies and bringing them into the modern era,” said IceWind CEO Saethor Asgeirsson. “Using super-strong materials such as aerospace-grade aluminum, carbon fiber, and high-grade stainless steel, our turbines are built to withstand anything.” This includes Iceland’s furious winds, which regularly surpass 50 mph during the island country’s dark and chilly wintertime. “It’s actually quite funny,” Asgeirsson said. “We are the only people in Iceland who get excited when there is crazy wind in the weather forecast. While everyone else is hunkering down at home, we’re huddled around a computer, excitedly watching our data feed.” IceWind has two product lines currently in development. In addition to the micro turbine for homes, the company is also working on a model to mount on telecom towers that will work in extreme arctic conditions. They’re already selling turbines in Iceland and plan to expand into the European and North American markets later this year. “I am looking forward to showing potential customers a rugged, bird-safe, micropower generation method, that represents independence from fossil fuels over this appropriate weekend,” said Losaw of the Port Aransas demo. “Hopefully, it will inspire beachgoers to look at energy in a new way.” + IceWind Images via IceWind

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IceWind demos new residential wind turbine in Texas

US renewables hit milestone in surpassing coal output

May 21, 2020 by  
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The  COVID-19  pandemic has disrupted nationwide  energy  supply-and-demand patterns. Stay-at-home social distancing measures have altered U.S. electricity consumption. Bulk electricity usage by commercial businesses and industrial manufacturing has given way to increased household electricity consumption as the general population isolates at home. In turn, this economic slowdown has shifted electricity generation to rely more on the renewable energy sector. Both the  US Energy Information Administration (EIA)  and the  Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysts (IEEFA)  have revealed that, from March 25th through May 3rd, utility-scale solar, wind and hydropower collectively generated more electricity than coal! This record 40-day timespan has edged over 2019’s run of 38 days when U.S.  renewables  first beat coal last year. Last year marked the first time renewables outpaced coal-fired electricity generation. This led to  IEEFA forecasts  of renewables eclipsing coal by 2021. Unexpectedly, this year’s COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated  renewable energy ‘s first-quarter performance in producing electricity. Hence,  EIA forecasts  expect electric power generated by coal “will fall by 25% in 2020.” Related:  COVID-19 and its effects on the environment Interestingly,  Forbes  notes that “The electric power sector consistently sees its lowest  coal  demand in April,” owing to seasonal temperature adjustments when winter transitions into springtime. Because of the change in season,  natural gas  and coal generators often “schedule routine maintenance for the spring…and many coal plants spen[d] part of April offline for planned, temporary outages.” This illustrates why wind generation is typically relied upon most in springtime. As for  hydropower , snowmelt often feeds rivers, thus accounting for increased electricity generation downstream each spring as well, Forbes explains. Last year’s forecasts showed trends at play within the energy industry. Not only have upgrades expanded  solar , wind and hydro infrastructure capacities, but coal plant closures have likewise been commonplace, hinting at the changing energy landscape. Several factors have quickened the demise of coal reliance. As the  EIA  has shared, both investor-owned and publicly-owned municipal electric utilities began decommissioning coal-fired power plants a decade ago at the behest of local and state government public utilities commissions. Secondly, costs to construct  wind farms  have slid over 40%, whereas solar costs have sunk by over 80%, making both more appealing. Naturally, the decline of coal-fired power plants has positive implications for the environment and  climate , since coal produces excess  greenhouse gas emissions .  But another concern is alleviated, too. Back in 2008, a joint Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy (CIDRAP) and University of Minnesota  research report  raised alarms on critical infrastructure planning. This report warned that pandemics could adversely affect coal supply chains and thereby prompt shortages in generating electricity to the Midwest, a region that relied on coal for 75% of its power generation, as opposed to only 5% on the West Coast. Transitioning away from coal-generated electricity these past 12 years following this report has mitigated the risk of wide swathes of Middle America losing electricity during the 2020 pandemic. + US Energy Information Administration (EIA) + Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysts (IEEFA) Images via Pexels

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US renewables hit milestone in surpassing coal output

We Earthlings: Green Your Wardrobe

May 12, 2020 by  
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Switching 60 percent of clothing production to renewable energy by … The post We Earthlings: Green Your Wardrobe appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Luca Curci Architects designs a zero-energy smart city of the future

May 11, 2020 by  
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According to the United Nations, 5 billion people are projected to live in cities by 2030. In response to the growing challenge of urban populations and their accompanying carbon emissions, Italian design practice Luca Curci Architects has proposed The Link, a self-sustainable “vertical city” with the goal of net-zero energy operations. Designed to accommodate 200,000 people, the futuristic proposal will be presented to cities around the world. The proposed Link project comprises four buildings, the largest of which would serve as residences with apartments, villas, common areas and a variety of green spaces within 300 floors. The 1,200-meter-tall residential tower would be connected to three other buildings that range from 650 to 850 meters tall and house offices, government departments, healthcare facilities, educational institutions, retail and other amenities. The architects want to blanket the vertical city with more than 120,000 trees and 2 million plants of over 150 species to help clean the air, reduce the urban heat island effect and provide residents with a closer connection to nature. Related: Luca Curci Architects proposes a self-sustainable Vertical City of the future “It is the first smart city ‘conscious oriented’ that will prevent urban sprawl , produce and storage energy, improve air quality, increase urban biodiversity and create a healthier lifestyle,” architect Luca Curci said. The city temperatures, humidity levels, carbon dioxide levels and lighting systems would be managed with an AI-equipped urban operating system.  The Link would be powered by several renewable energy systems, including wind and solar. The city would also make room for on-site food production and farming that follow zero-waste policies so that each community can create its own food supply. All transport would be entirely powered by renewable energy systems; external and internal docks for public transit systems would be located in the tower basements. Each tower would also be equipped with drone ports. + Luca Curci Architects Images via Luca Curci Architects

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Luca Curci Architects designs a zero-energy smart city of the future

Luca Curci Architects designs a zero-energy smart city of the future

May 11, 2020 by  
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According to the United Nations, 5 billion people are projected to live in cities by 2030. In response to the growing challenge of urban populations and their accompanying carbon emissions, Italian design practice Luca Curci Architects has proposed The Link, a self-sustainable “vertical city” with the goal of net-zero energy operations. Designed to accommodate 200,000 people, the futuristic proposal will be presented to cities around the world. The proposed Link project comprises four buildings, the largest of which would serve as residences with apartments, villas, common areas and a variety of green spaces within 300 floors. The 1,200-meter-tall residential tower would be connected to three other buildings that range from 650 to 850 meters tall and house offices, government departments, healthcare facilities, educational institutions, retail and other amenities. The architects want to blanket the vertical city with more than 120,000 trees and 2 million plants of over 150 species to help clean the air, reduce the urban heat island effect and provide residents with a closer connection to nature. Related: Luca Curci Architects proposes a self-sustainable Vertical City of the future “It is the first smart city ‘conscious oriented’ that will prevent urban sprawl , produce and storage energy, improve air quality, increase urban biodiversity and create a healthier lifestyle,” architect Luca Curci said. The city temperatures, humidity levels, carbon dioxide levels and lighting systems would be managed with an AI-equipped urban operating system.  The Link would be powered by several renewable energy systems, including wind and solar. The city would also make room for on-site food production and farming that follow zero-waste policies so that each community can create its own food supply. All transport would be entirely powered by renewable energy systems; external and internal docks for public transit systems would be located in the tower basements. Each tower would also be equipped with drone ports. + Luca Curci Architects Images via Luca Curci Architects

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Luca Curci Architects designs a zero-energy smart city of the future

Solar-powered bubble shield focuses on physical distancing in public

May 8, 2020 by  
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As of May 5, more than 3.5 million people in 215 countries around the world have been infected with the novel coronavirus , according to the World Health Organization . While the world continues to socially distance, designers and creatives are beginning to imagine different ways to protect people from the virus; case in point, this futuristic bubble shield by DesignLibero. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Milan-based DesignLibero has imagined a product that brings a whole new meaning to personal space. The team has released a concept for the “bubble shield” to provide wearers with a private, protective barrier for public spaces. According to the designers, the clear, inflatable plastic dome will let users walk around in public without coming into contact with germ-filled droplets or pollution . Related: 6 ways to save energy while sheltering in place So how would this bubble shield work? The designers imagined a way to go in public without worrying about microparticles of the coronavirus or even air pollution. In addition to its anti-pollution and anti-virus properties, the shield would run on solar energy thanks to a built-in set of flower-shaped, flexible solar panels on top of the plastic dome. The solar energy would fuel a fan coil and air pump to maintain an air supply and cool the inside of the bubble. The conceptual barrier would be made using thermic-welded ETFE , a type of fluorine-based polymer material. The battery pack in the backpack is used to inflate the microstructure and acts as a power supply for the air pump compressor and fan coils. Interchangeable filters are designed to purify the air inside the bubble. There are two separate halves attached together with an easy-open zipper so that wearers can simply step in and out of the bubble to use it. + DesignLibero Images via DesignLibero

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Solar-powered bubble shield focuses on physical distancing in public

What Engie’s tax equity deal tells us about financing renewables

May 1, 2020 by  
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So far, money is still flowing into utility-scale deals but it’s harder to come by for residential, distributed solar, commercial and industrial, and community solar projects.

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What Engie’s tax equity deal tells us about financing renewables

There’s a more sustainable way to deliver online grocery orders

May 1, 2020 by  
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Many shoppers will find the process quicker and easier post-pandemic, which begs the need for more serious attention to the transportation footprint associated with getting groceries to consumers’ front doors.

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There’s a more sustainable way to deliver online grocery orders

New Airstream camper uses solar panels for off-grid power

April 30, 2020 by  
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For nearly a century, Airstream has been designing campers built for both adventurous forever roamers or big families looking to enjoy summer time trips together. Now, the iconic camper brand has just introduced its latest concept, which is geared towards sustainable travelers of all types. The 2020 Atlas Camper features a solar-paneled rooftop and an ultra luxurious living space. Although Airstream has long leaned into contemporary and high-tech design, even featuring smart technology in their recent models , the Atlas 2020 is one of the company’s boldest designs yet. Modeled after the 201′ Mercedes-Benz  Sprinter , the exterior stays true to the camper’s signature shimmery silver cladding, which affords the camper an aerodynamicity that provides a very smooth ride. Related: Airstream unveils new 2020 camper with smart technology For power generation, the camper’s rooftop is lined with three-hundred watts of solar panels , which provides enough clean energy to charge electronic devices, and can be increased to potentially go completely off-grid. The contemporary camper stretches out over 24 feet and looks to be one of the company’s most luxurious designs yet. With the capacity to accommodate two passengers, the camper’s living space is increased thanks to its power slide-out — a first of its kind for the camper manufacturers. The interior design  is made up of sleek, shiny black and grey furnishings that give off a definite contemporary vibe. The main living space converts into a comfy bedroom thanks to a  fold-out Murphy bed . When not in use, the bedroom is a spacious living room with a hideaway smart TV. Past the living room is a small kitchenette, which features a refrigerator and two-burner stovetop. And for a true glimpse into luxurious design, the bathroom is a spa-inspired space with closet, standup-shower and porcelain toilet. For extra living space, the beautiful  Airstream model  features a wonderful amenity on its exterior. At just a simple push of a button, an exterior awning extends to let campers enjoy a bit of outdoor space for dining or just taking in the views while parked in amazing settings. + Airstream Via Design Boom Images via Airstream

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Project Lunark to test a prototype moon habitat powered by solar

April 30, 2020 by  
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“What does it take to live on the moon?” That was the question put forward by Sebastian Aristotelis and Karl-Johan Sørensen, the founders of SAGA Space Architects and the analog astronauts behind Lunark , a prototype moon habitat. Designed in collaboration with scientists, engineers and polar experts, Lunark will be tested over three months in northern Greenland as part of the first Arctic-simulated moon mission. In addition to its resilience to extreme temperatures, the habitat will be engineered for a zero-waste ecosystem and will draw power from solar panels. Currently in the research and prototyping stages, Lunark is scheduled for construction in Denmark over the summer of 2020. The expedition is expected to start in the fall of the same year, when Aristotelis and Sørensen will live in the prototype moon habitat for three months to carry out scientific experiments and evaluate the structural design. All of their research and analyses will be compiled in research papers and presented in a TV documentary. Related: SOM unveils designs for first-ever human settlement on the moon “The ultimate goal is to develop the best future moon habitat,” the duo said. “The experiment will develop and test a radically different moon habitat where architecture helps to counteract monotony, claustrophobia and psychological stress.” The designers have chosen northern Greenland as their testing grounds — and are looking at locations near Thule Air Base — because of the island’s extreme climate, remoteness, barren landscape and absence of normal circadian rhythms.  Inspired by origami, the Lunark habitat will be built from reinforced folding panels to allow for a unique expanding design that saves space during transport and expands by 560% by volume upon final installation. The exterior must be engineered to withstand temperatures of -40 degrees Celsius, wind speeds of 90 kilometers per hour and even polar bear attacks. Solar panels will be installed around the perimeter. In contrast to the tank-like exterior, the interior will attempt to follow the principles of hygge and will be equipped with systems that promote a zero-waste lifestyle. An algae reactor will be placed in the core of the habitat and provide highly nutritious food. + SAGA Space Architects Images via SAGA Space Architects

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