Major utility company Xcel Energy commits to go carbon-free by 2050

December 13, 2018 by  
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A major utility company is making history. Xcel Energy, Colorado’s largest utility company, has pledged to go completely carbon-free by 2050. The company serves eight states, and its ambitious new carbon reduction goal far exceeds its current target of a 60 percent reduction in Colorado by 2026. “Our biggest energy source in a few short years is going to be renewable energy . We’re going to absolutely integrate as much of that as we can into the grid,” said Xcel CEO Ben Fowke. The company said that it will be 80 percent carbon-free by 2030 before reaching the goal of 100 percent carbon reduction in 2050. These changes should mean more solar and wind energy  along with a reduction of coal. Fowke said that there will also be other technologies needed to meet the 100 percent carbon goal, including battery storage technology and maybe even carbon sequestration. Related: Blue dye could be the next key to harnessing renewable energy Xcel serves 3.6 million people in Colorado, Minnesota, Michigan, New Mexico, Texas, Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota. For years, those customers have been demanding that the company make some changes. The utility company said that it really does listen to its customers, and with citizens of cities all over Colorado deciding that they want 100 percent renewable energy, Xcel decided it would be in its best interest to give the customers what they have asked for. Xcel’s commitment is the latest in announcements by large utility companies regarding huge new carbon reduction goals. Indiana’s NIPSCO sped up the retirement of multiple coal plants in favor of renewable energy, and Midwestern Utility MidAmerican announced that it would reach its 100 percent renewable energy goal by 2020. With companies turning away from fossil fuels in favor of renewables like wind and solar, the U.S. Energy Information Administration expects America’s coal consumption to soon be at its lowest level in four decades. Via CPR Image via Laura Lee Dooley

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Major utility company Xcel Energy commits to go carbon-free by 2050

Green-roofed eco resort on Easter Island designed to blend into the landscape

December 13, 2018 by  
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Easter Island is world-renowned for its monolithic Moai statues and incredible natural beauty. Now, visitors to the unique Polynesian island can enjoy a responsible stay in one-of-a-kind beautiful eco-resort , the Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa . Located in the village of Hangaroa, the sustainable solar-powered retreat was designed to provide a luxurious stay for guests without harming the surrounding natural landscape. Circular buildings covered with lush green roofs and natural wood throughout the hotel reflect the textures of the island. According to the hotel description, the inspiration for the design was based on a village concept, where small singular buildings can be reached via a short walk along stone paths. The hotel’s commitment to sustainability was driven by the owners’ desire to support responsible tourism to the increasingly popular island destination, “The vocation of the Schiess family, is to create tourism experiences that support the social development of the environment in which they operate, care for the environment and leave a legacy.” Related: Eco-resort in Tulum features luxury beach huts made of natural materials The eco hotel design was meant to offer all of comforts of a luxury hotel, while reducing its impact on the environment. Additionally, the hotel has a number of passive and active energy-saving features . Each of the structures within the hotel compound run on highly efficient electrical equipment, a solar lighting system and a self-sustaining water irrigation system. Additionally, all of the detergents and cleaning products used in the daily upkeep of the hotel are non-toxic. The interior design schemed used the local vernacular as inspiration, namely the island’s most prominent geographical features. Small round buildings mimic the rolling hills that lead out to the sea, while lush green roofs blend the buildings into the environment. Natural light floods the interior community spaces, providing a strong connection with the surrounding nature. + Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa Images via Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa

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Green-roofed eco resort on Easter Island designed to blend into the landscape

Startup fights food waste with travel companions for fruits and veggies

November 22, 2017 by  
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Hazel Technologies borrows from nature’s chemistry to tackle supply chain spoilage.

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Startup fights food waste with travel companions for fruits and veggies

Fast-growing wind power market waits out toxic proposal

November 22, 2017 by  
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Corporations have signed thousands of megawatts worth of contracts this year. But Microsoft and others are on hold amid threats to federal tax credits.

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Fast-growing wind power market waits out toxic proposal

Google’s search for business value in circular cities

September 20, 2017 by  
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A new report explains how four technologies can help cities become hotbeds of the circular economy.

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Google’s search for business value in circular cities

sCarabane: a self-sufficient collapsible caravan powered by sun and wind

August 29, 2017 by  
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Green camping is about to get a lot more glamorous. Green Cat Technologies from France -has designed the sCarabane, a self-sufficient caravan with several fancy clean technologies: you’ll find solar cells but also a solar concentrator to generate hot water, and a telescopic wind turbine . The foldable caravan can rotate 360 degrees to follow the sun – and provide incredible views. The sCarabane folds up for easy travel, and one person can do the job in around half an hour. It can then be towed as a standard caravan. Once in place, it unfolds into a futuristic getaway that rests on a circular stand so it’s able to rotate and make the most of the renewable technologies on board. Related: Live off the grid and rent-free in the charming Wohnwagon mobile caravan A parabolic mirror atop the sCarabane tracks the sun. A telescopic vertical axis wind turbine can generate 500 watts of clean power. Solar cells supplement the renewable energy generation, providing another 500 watts. The bright space includes fold-out components to connect the indoors and outdoors. A hatch can open to connect the kitchen with a full-length deck outside. There’s a 77.5 square foot master bedroom, with a 59 square foot children’s bedroom next door. Each of these opens to the outdoors with a full-size door. The dining area in the kitchen also doubles as an extra bed. A bathroom area includes a toilet, sink, shower, and compact washing machine. A rotating bubble window offers a fun way to look outside, and rose windows on the bedroom roofs let those beneath control the sunlight’s intensity inside. Green Cat Technologies notes the sCarabane may not be completely self-sufficient anywhere a person could travel – that depends on weather and geographical location. They said right now, users still need a bottle of propane to cook. They are still developing the caravan – including rainwater harvesting and water filtration systems – so don’t yet have a date for when it will be on the market (or what it will cost). + Green Cat Technologies Via New Atlas Images via screenshot

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sCarabane: a self-sufficient collapsible caravan powered by sun and wind

SolarWindow unveils ultra-thin solar film for curved glass surfaces

December 12, 2016 by  
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In a revolutionary move for the solar power industry, Solar Window Technologies recently announced a new flexible solar panel coating for curved glass surfaces that is as thin as a business card and flexible enough to bend without breaking or cracking. The company says that, when applied to a 50-storey building, the coatings can achieve a one-year financial payback by creating 50-times more power than conventional solar. To put it that claim into perspective, the average solar system take about five to 11 years for a full payback. SolarWindow is currently a leading developer of transparent solar coatings for glass windows in tall towers and skyscrapers. With this new product, the first-ever electricity-generating flexible glass, the transparent SolarWindow coatings allow solar power to easily be integrated into a variety of non-flat surfaces, including applications in the automotive, aircraft and military industries. “Flexible glass could play a big role in window, canopy, smart building, and other building and transportation products. We believe that flexible glass can serve an even more valuable purpose by generating electricity using SolarWindow coatings,” said President and CEO, John A. Conklin. SolarWindow’s coatings are transparent, ultra-light weight and generate electricity when applied in layers thinner than a human hair. Related: Check out the world’s first lights powered by micro-sphere solar cells If the technology for their new product is the same as their original product for skyscraper windows , the coatings will be made of mainly organic components, including carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen; with the key part being the active layer that generates electricity through the absorption of light, and transparent conductors that extract electricity. The company estimates the market for their new product at about $25 billion. Now that it’s completed tests to show its coatings perform under real-life conditions, it’s well on its way toward accessing that money and keeping more carbon out of the atmosphere. + SolarWindow Technologies Images via SolarWindow

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SolarWindow unveils ultra-thin solar film for curved glass surfaces

"Vibranium" hyperloop pods will be 10 time stronger than steel

May 25, 2016 by  
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When Hyperloop Transportation Technologies announced that it would be using a new type of carbon fiber to make its capsules, what stuck out to many comic and film fans wasn’t the technical details of the innovative new material, but the name: “Vibranium.” The material takes its name from the fictional metal used in the Captain America comics to create the hero’s nearly indestructible shield. However, the name isn’t the only exciting thing about the startup’s announcement. Unlike the…

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"Vibranium" hyperloop pods will be 10 time stronger than steel

Parsing the hype behind the Hyperloop

November 30, 2015 by  
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Dirk Ahlborn, CEO of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, tells the VERGE audience that the once-futuristic concept of traveling between cities at the speed of sound will start to take shape next year.

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Parsing the hype behind the Hyperloop

Farm sensors, software and growing more food with less water

August 12, 2015 by  
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Tule Technologies, Rubicon Water and other ag-tech companies as well as university and government researchers have devised tools to grow more food with less water.

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Farm sensors, software and growing more food with less water

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