First passengers make history on BIG-designed Hyperloop Pegasus pod

December 10, 2020 by  
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In November 2020, Virgin Hyperloop’s Pegasus pod made history when its first passengers successfully completed a trial run at the 500-meter-long DevLoop test site in Las Vegas. Designed by Bjarke Ingels Group and Kilo Design, Virgin Hyperloop’s Pegasus, or ‘XP-2’, is an autonomous transportation system created for hyperloop travel at speeds of over 1,000 kilometers per hour — the fastest land-based means of travel yet. The Pegasus pod prototype was only created to seat two; however, the production vehicle will be larger and seat up to 28 passengers. Launched after more than a year of close collaboration, the Virgin Hyperloop’s successful first passenger trial follows 400-plus tests in unoccupied pods. The industry-recognized Independent Safety Assessor (ISA) Certifier oversaw Pegasus’ historic demonstration as it works to become the first manned and fully functional Hyperloop system. The successful trial comes shortly after Virgin Hyperloop’s announcement to make West Virginia the location for the Hyperloop Certification Center (HCC), which will also be designed by BIG. Related: Virgin Hyperloop One unveils its first commuter pod for Dubai BIG and Kilo Design were brought on to not only design the two-seat Pegasus pod but to also define the design language for all future Virgin Hyperloop vehicles. Because Hyperloop travel is conducted in a near-vacuum environment, the designers crafted Pegasus as a sleek pressurized vessel that, instead of emphasizing aerodynamic features, placed a greater focus on occupant safety and comfort within its custom, 6-square-meter interior. Safety equipment, controls and lighting are seamlessly integrated into the seating elements, which can also be quickly assembled and disassembled as needed. “The design focuses on unifying and covering both the pressure vessel and sled, creating a seamless appearance that combines both performance and human-centered characteristics,” BIG explained. “This environment makes the transportation system much more energy efficient than traditional rail transit. It’s engineered with magnetic levitation and avoids the drag of wheels, allowing for the maximum amount of speed to move the maximum number of passengers or cargo.” + Bjarke Ingels Group Images via Virgin Hyperloop

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First passengers make history on BIG-designed Hyperloop Pegasus pod

Polar bears get a big win as court dismisses Arctic oil drilling project

December 10, 2020 by  
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Animal rights defenders and other advocacy groups found a reason to celebrate on Monday after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit rejected the Trump administration’s Liberty Project approval. The Liberty Project is a proposal to drill for offshore oil in Arctic waters. In opposition to the proposed project, several climate advocacy groups joined hands in a court battle to have the project rejected. Speaking on Monday, Kristen Monsell, the legal director at The Center for Biological Diversity, said that the court’s ruling has averted a disaster. Related: Oil companies use cooling technology to continue Arctic drilling “This is a huge victory for polar bears and our climate,” Monsell said. “This project was a disaster waiting to happen that should never have been approved. I’m thrilled the court saw through the Trump administration’s attempt to push this project through without carefully studying its risks.” Marcie Keever, the legal director of Friends of the Earth, one of the advocacy groups involved in the case, also applauded the ruling. “Thankfully, the court put the health of our children and our planet over oil company profits,” Keever said. The court cited various discrepancies with the proposed project. The court pointed out that the project had not considered the impact of the oil drilling activities on the local climate . In addition, the court also found that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service failed to consider how the Liberty Project would affect polar bears before issuing the approval. This means that the Trump administration has been found in direct contravention of the Endangered Species Act, a law that the government should defend and protect. Despite the momentary win for polar bears in the Liberty Project case, the animals are still at great risk due to the continuing efforts to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas companies. Research has shown that the Arctic is warming up at a much faster rate than other areas of the planet. Further exploration of this natural environment continues to have devastating consequences for the local communities, animals and climate. Via EcoWatch Image via Hans-Jurgen Mager

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Polar bears get a big win as court dismisses Arctic oil drilling project

New York state divests from fossil fuels in historic move

December 10, 2020 by  
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The retirement contributions of New York state workers will no longer be invested in fossil fuels. The state announced Wednesday that it is removing oil and gas stocks from its portfolio, making it the world’s largest pension fund to divest from the fossil fuel industry. The pension fund’s financial portfolio is worth $226 billion, and it disburses $1 billion to retirees every year. The new plan is to sell off the riskiest gas and oil stocks and be completely divested from fossil fuels by 2025. By 2040, the fund plans to completely axe carbon polluters. Related: BP to reduce oil, gas production by 40% to focus on clean energy “We continue to assess energy sector companies in our portfolio for their future ability to provide investment returns in light of the global consensus on climate change ,” said state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli in a statement. “Those that fail to meet our minimum standards may be removed from our portfolio. Divestment is a last resort, but it is an investment tool we can apply to companies that consistently put our investment’s long-term value at risk.” First to go? Companies that produce ultra-dirty tar sands oil . Tar sands are a sticky mixture of sand, clay, water and bitumen that require an especially environmentally harmful process to extract. Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Canada have the world’s largest reserves of tar sands. So Imperial Oil, Exxon Mobil Corp’s Canadian branch, is first on the chopping block. Then, the fund will review and probably eliminate frackers, such as Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil. Oilfield service companies, storage and pipeline builders are other top candidates. After that, fund managers will consider utility companies. Environmental activists have been pushing for divestment in fossil fuel companies for years. Ireland’s national government divested in 2018 and Norway’s in 2019. Oslo and New York City are planning to divest at the city government level. More than 1,200 universities, religious organizations, philanthropic foundations and other groups have also pledged to sell off their fossil fuel holdings. Via Huffington Post Image via Artem Sapegin

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New York state divests from fossil fuels in historic move

Virgin CEO Josh Bayliss: ‘Every one of us should think hard about whether we need to take a flight’

May 14, 2019 by  
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Boss of multibillion dollar brand, which holds a stake in Virgin Atlantic, reflects on how corporates should respond to consumer outcry over climate change.

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Virgin CEO Josh Bayliss: ‘Every one of us should think hard about whether we need to take a flight’

Virgin CEO Josh Bayliss: ‘Every one of us should think hard about whether we need to take a flight’

May 14, 2019 by  
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Boss of multibillion dollar brand, which holds a stake in Virgin Atlantic, reflects on how corporates should respond to consumer outcry over climate change.

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Virgin CEO Josh Bayliss: ‘Every one of us should think hard about whether we need to take a flight’

This new energy concept from Sweden can make any building net zero

October 11, 2017 by  
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A new Swedish energy concept can turn any building into a net zero energy structure. Pioneered by Malmö-based company Innenco , the concept utilizes a building’s thermal mass to drastically reduce energy use by around 85 percent. With their active elements systems, heat pumps, chillers, and adding solar panels , Innenco can bring new or existing buildings to net zero energy consumption. Inhabitat spoke with CEO and founder Jonathan Karlsson to find out more. Innenco, which stands for innovative energy concept, dramatically slashes a building’s energy use. Karlsson told Inhabitat, “Our vision is to create possibilities to make new net zero constructions in an efficient way, giving everyone the capability to do so.” Their technology changes how a building operates for vastly improved energy efficiency . Related: California city could become the first Zero Net Energy city in the U.S. It starts with their active elements system: pipes are integrated into the frame construction to utilize a building’s thermal mass. Adding heat pumps and chillers to the system allows Innenco to get four to six times greater efficiency in heating and cooling . At this point they’re able to reduce energy use by 85 percent, so to cover that last 15 percent, they install Innenco Quantum Solar panels. “This makes an investment in solar cells much lower than a traditional system, and we can get net zero for a really cost-efficient investment,” Karlsson told Inhabitat. Buildings with the Innenco system installed tend to maintain a temperature of around 22 degrees Celsius, or around 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Innenco has already seen their concept work in the real world. They’ve installed their system in homes, offices, schools, and industry premises. Karlsson said they were excited to discover they could utilize a really high rate of thermal mass in industry buildings, and think their concept could translate well to skyscrapers . They’ve worked in Sweden, the Czech Republic, Spain, and the Netherlands, with projects coming up in Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. They provide maintenance, and their energy concept can be installed as new buildings are built or integrated in old ones. Karlsson said sustainability projects should deliver social, environmental, and economical benefits, all three of which Innenco aims to offer with their concept. “Reducing carbon dioxide emissions is a really high goal for us,” Karlsson told Inhabitat. “It’s the climate condition; it’s really necessary to figure out how we can help the planet.” Innenco hopes to introduce their energy concept to other markets too, such as the United States. You can find out more on their website . + Innenco Images courtesy of Innenco

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This new energy concept from Sweden can make any building net zero

FedEx, United bet it’s (finally) time for jet biofuels to take off

July 21, 2015 by  
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Aviation biofuels are on the rise again thanks to airlines like Virgin, Southwest and United, as well as buy-in from manufacturers and logistics providers Boeing and FedEx.

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FedEx, United bet it’s (finally) time for jet biofuels to take off

Confessions of a VERGE Virgin

December 12, 2012 by  
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It's not a tech conference, it's not a sustainability conference. It's something in between that's new and different.

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Confessions of a VERGE Virgin

4 steps for post-storm recovery of building systems

December 12, 2012 by  
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Post-Hurricane Sandy, building remediation became a necessity in many locations. Here's how to do it right.

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4 steps for post-storm recovery of building systems

Lessons from Richard Branson: Boosting your brand with sustainability

March 27, 2012 by  
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Jean Oelwang, CEO of Virgin Unite, speaks with GreenBiz contributor Marc Stoiber about how Virgin has spread its entrepreneurial zeal around the world. Here are some lessons marketers could learn from Virgin.

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Lessons from Richard Branson: Boosting your brand with sustainability

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