Schwarzenegger-backed startup takes on Tesla with new battery tech

September 20, 2017 by  
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Tesla may be the best-known electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer, but its grip on the industry isn’t certain. The Elon Musk-founded company has plenty of competition, including the Austrian startup Kreisel Electric GmbH – backed by former California governor Arnold Schwarzeneggar and his nephew. Having experienced sweeping success in the past two years, Kreisel is moving into a $12 million research center and battery assembly facility where it will test new battery technology. Since 2014, Kreisel Electric GmbH has been operating out of a three-door garage. Now the startup is moving into a $12 million facility where its technology to improve upon its promising technology. “In the past two years, battery development has really taken off, and it’s now becoming incredibly dynamic. We have a different way of going about developing the technology, and we don’t carry any baggage,” said co-founder Markus Kreisel. Now that licensing deals have been signed, the startup’s battery technology will enter production lines with carmakers in 2020. The Austrian company has experienced rapid growth primarily because it promises to squeeze an extra 65 percent from standard lithium-ion batteries using its own patented laser-welding and thermal-cooling techniques, according to Bloomberg. Kreisel has received backing from not one, but two Schwarzeneggers. Patrick Knapp Schwarzenegger, Arnold’s nephew, led an investment round in the start-up, and Arnold hired the brothers to add an electric drivetrain to his Mercedes G-Class off-roader, according to Bloomberg . Though changes are afoot, the startup still faces challenges. So far they have only secured charging infrastructure cooperation with Porsche Holding Salzburg and VLD Groep in the Netherlands, for whom they need to deliver 2,000 electric powertrains and battery packs. The brothers must proceed carefully, though, as 95 percent of technology companies working in the electric and autonomous car spectrum will likely fail, according to BMW’s development head Klaus Froehlich. Related:  Ukraine’s leafy green ‘Tunnel of Love’ is a passageway for trains and lovers One of Kreisel’s tactics to “survive” the competition is to focus on the development of technology and leave mass production to Tesla’s challengers. Markus Kreisel said, “Our goal isn’t to get into large-scale production of batteries but to help carmakers with the development of the technology.” +  Kreisel Electric GmbH Via Bloomberg Images via  Kreisel Electric GmbH

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Norway wants to give Finland a mountaintop for its birthday

January 26, 2017 by  
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What do you give the country that has everything? The peak of a 4,500-foot mountain, naturally. As U.S. President Donald Trump continues to spew protectionist invective about walls both literal and figurative, the good people of Norway want to ring in Finland’s 100th anniversary of independence from Russia by giving it the top of Mount Halti, a feat of topography that would require the country to nudge its border 130 feet up the mountainside. Bjørn Geirr Harsson, a retired Norwegian geophysicist, arrived at the idea during gravity survey back in 1972. “I saw that the highest point in Finland was on a hillside and for Norway on a mountain, so I wrote a letter to the foreign ministry and proposed that a gift from the Norwegian people to Finland should be a mountaintop,” he said in Battle for Birthday Mountain , a new film about the proposed gift, and the legal and political debates it has generated in its wake. “All over the world you find countries that fight or make war to enlarge their countries, but in this case Norway is willing to give away a small part without anyone asking for anything return,” Geirr Harsson said. “It is a gift from the heart of the Norwegians to Finland so we don’t expect anything back; we just want to give them something really nice when they celebrate 100 years as a free nation.” Despite the idea’s widespread popularity—a Facebook group about the unusual present has rallied more than 17,000 likes—proponents of the idea face an uphill climb, so to speak. Norway’s constitution, as Prime Minister Erna Solberg notes in the film, stipulates that the country should remain “indivisible and inalienable,” meaning it can’t go around parceling out parts of its territory. “This creative proposal has received a very positive response from the public,” she said in October. “I welcome this and I see a clear sign that Norway and Finland have a close relationship,” adding that “the alteration of borders between countries causes too many judicial problems that could affect, for example, the Constitution.” Related: Norwegian Mountaineering Centre mimics a dramatic snow-covered mountain “We will think of another worthy gift to celebrate the occasion of [the] Finland centenary,” Solberg added. Despite the rejection, Geirr Harsson is not giving up, and neither are his supporters. “While we witness the rising tumult along international borders – from Ukraine and Russia, to the South China Sea, to Trump’s proposed border wall with Mexico – the idea behind Birthday Mountain is a rare international gesture worth admiring,” David Freid, the film’s director, told The Local . “On the surface, this is a cute film about a very unique kind of gift between nations. But at its heart is something real and relevant.” Via the Independent

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Norway wants to give Finland a mountaintop for its birthday

China set to invest $174 billion in clean energy over next four years

December 2, 2016 by  
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The world’s most populous country is about to invest a whole lot of money in clean energy . Clean Technica reports that China is planning to spend about $174 billion on hydroelectric and wind energy projects over the next four years. The news comes from reports from China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) that were obtained recently by Reuters . To break it down further, China’s NEA is planning to spend about 1.2 trillion yuan, or $174 billion U.S. on renewable energy between 2016 and 2020. That money will largely go towards the construction of new wind farms, the building of which is predicted to provide about 300,000 jobs over the next four years. They’re also planning to put in place a market-based subsidy for the wind industry. Related: China is building a giant solar plant at Chernobyl To those familiar with China, news like this will come as no surprise, as the country has been largely leading the charge when it comes to implementing clean energy projects. They have been moving away from coal power, and recently signed on to the Paris climate deal along with the U.S. The Chinese even recently told Donald Trump that climate change is not a hoax, and then publicly criticized him for his plan to pull out of the Paris agreement. While solar growth in China was slower this year, the country will have installed about 30 gigawatts of new solar capacity by the end of this year. Part of that capacity could come from the giant solar plant that China is building at the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the Ukraine. And though targets have been decreased, the country plans to boost its offshore wind power capacity to 210 gigawatts by 2020. Via Clean Technica Images via Chris Lim and Drenaline, Wikimedia Commons

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14 cruelty-free gifts for animal lovers

December 2, 2016 by  
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‘Tis the season of light, love, and goodwill to all, and those wishes certainly extend to our animal cousins. Gifts that are cruelty-free and ethically made are true symbols of peace, and those that benefit others are even more exceptional. Vegan gifts can be enjoyed by anyone on your shopping list — not just those who specifically follow a vegan lifestyle — and your recipient’s holiday might be just a bit brighter if they know that the present they received also helped another in need. Check out our list of vegan, compassionate gift ideas and help spread gentleness to all. GIFTS FOR ANIMAL LOVERS >

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Ukraine might transform Chernobyl into a gigantic 4GW solar farm

July 29, 2016 by  
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The nuclear disaster site at Chernobyl remains abandoned, as lingering contamination makes the area too dangerous for human inhabitants. Ukraine leaders are now suggesting a new use for the danger zone, with a proposal to transform Chernobyl into a sprawling solar farm that could produce nearly one-third the amount of electricity generated by the nuclear power plant at its peak. The Ukrainian government released a presentation to a number of banks, and the Guardian reports the proposal includes solar, biogas, heat, and power generation and could produce more than 1,000MW of solar and 400MW of other renewable energy for the region. Currently, Chernobyl’s exclusion zone spans 386 square miles (1,000 square kilometers) and Ukrainian leaders are eyeing nearly 15,000 acres for a renewable energy farm. The contaminated land is too dangerous for people to live in, and is similarly unfit for agriculture, so evolving the site from a dangerous nuclear power plant location to a massive clean energy farm seems like a good possibility. In the 30 years since the Chernobyl accident, many proposals for repurposing the land have been discussed, but none have gained the traction that this idea has garnered. Related: Unexpected Aurora Skyscraper purifies air and water in Chernobyl That is in part due to changing attitudes about Chernobyl’s potential. “There has been a change in the perception of the exclusion zone in Ukraine. Thirty years after the Chernobyl tragedy [it] reveals opportunities for development. A special industrial area is to be created in compliance with all rules and regulations of radiation safety within the exclusion zone,” says the presentation. It seems likely the plan for the four gigawatt solar farm will move forward. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which already invested $500 million to seal off the destroyed nuclear reactor with a steel canopy, indicated this week it would invest in the Chernobyl solar farm as well. In addition to the obvious benefits of renewable energy, the proposal suggests that parts of the nuclear power plant could be repurposed for solar power generation, and the project could employ many of the skilled engineers who currently represent a surplus in the available pool of workers. Via The Guardian Images via Shutterstock , Wikipedia , and SSE Chernobyl NPP

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Ukraine’s leafy green ‘Tunnel of Love’ is a passageway for trains and lovers

February 9, 2016 by  
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Image via Bored Panda We love seeing natural architecture here at Inhabitat, and the leafy green Kleven train tunnel is a beautiful example of what happens when nature is allowed to grow freely around manmade infrastructure. Image via YouTube The tunnel was made over many years as the passing train molded the trees’ lines. The train turned a luscious piece of woodland into a unique passageway as it traveled back and forth 3 times a day over several years. Photo © Oleg Gordienko In addition to serving as a train route, the tunnel is used by lovers to make a wish – it is said that if they are sincere in their love, their wishes will come true. If you are out and about Ukraine , don’t miss this fantastic green passageway – whether you are with a loved one, or on your own. Via Pijama Surf Photos © Oleg Gordienko / Amos Chapple / Rex Features, unless otherwise noted

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Ukrainian weightlifter packs a fully functional home into 18-sqm of micro space

September 18, 2015 by  
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Russia is burning tons of European foods to protest against sanctions over Ukraine conflict

September 1, 2015 by  
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In perhaps one of the dumbest headlines of the day, we sadly must report that Russian authorities have destroyed over 1.5 tons of food earmarked for the BMW car racing team. Was it because Russia has something against high-performance automobiles? They might, but the real reason for destroying the food was a much more eyeroll-worthy offense. The act was in retaliation for sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine, and Russia has been burning European foods for weeks. Read the rest of Russia is burning tons of European foods to protest against sanctions over Ukraine conflict

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Like Chernobyl all over again: Forest fires release plutonium particles into the air

May 5, 2015 by  
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Click here to view the embedded video. Forest fire danger is taking on a new dimension in the Ukraine, where a raging wildfire near the abandoned Chernobyl nuclear disaster site is sending radioactive plutonium particles into the atmosphere. The Ecologist  reports that as trees at Chernobyl burn, they are releasing radioactive plutonium particles that are being suspended in the air, which could pose a significant health danger in the form of radiation poisoning to people in the area. Read the rest of Like Chernobyl all over again: Forest fires release plutonium particles into the air Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: chernobyl forest fire plutonium , nuclear radation particles released by fire , ukraine forest fire burning , ukraine forest fire releases plutonium

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Arthur Kupreychuk’s Surrealist ‘Under the Cloud’ Railway Station is Topped With a Floating Roof

March 1, 2013 by  
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Arthur Kupreychuk’s creative design for a train station in Sevastopol, Ukraine , consists of a passenger terminal building with a cloud-shaped canopy suspended above it. The supporting structure of the canopy is similar to the structure of an airship. “The shell is filled with helium, and an aluminum frame consisting of longitudinal and transverse trusses makes the external form hard,” Kupreychuk explains . “The gas is inside a rigid framework in bags made of a gas-tight material, facing is made of fiberglass uniform panels.” The cloud-shaped mass would hover over the green-roofed main terminal of the train station, making it one of the most unique train stations in the world. Images © Arthur Kupreychuk The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: airship , Arthur Kupreychuk , blimp , floating architecture , green design , green roof , helium , Sevastopol , surreal architecture , train station , train station design , ukraine , Under the Cloud

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