World’s most powerful wind turbine breaks 24-hour record for energy generation

January 31, 2017 by  
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Anyone who still thinks wind power is just a load of hot air obviously hasn’t been paying attention. Witness the V164 , a prototype wind turbine that Denmark’s MHI Vestas Offshore tested at Østerild over December. With a rated power of 9 megawatts under optimum conditions, the V164 set a new energy-generation record by a single wind turbine by producing a staggering 216,000 kilowatt-hours over a 24-hour period. The V164 is no glorified windmill. Standing nearly 722 feet tall, the V164 boasts with a sweep area of 227,377 square feet—or larger than the London Eye. Its 262-foot-long blades, the equivalent of nine London double-decker buses, weigh 77,160 pounds apiece. The platform is part of MH Vestas Offshore’s “continued commitment to deliver affordable offshore wind power,” Torben Hvid Larsen, the firm’s chief technical officer, said in a statement. Related: The World’s Most Powerful Wind Turbine Has Blades That Are Over 24 Stories Tall “We are committed to delivering turbine technology that is in line with the development of our industry, based on our 20-plus years of offshore experience,” he said. “Reliability remains a key enabler, and our approach to developing our existing platform supports this strategy.” With the new record secured, the prototype is now ready to go to market. Built with the unforgiving North Sea environment in mind, V164 has an operational life span of about 25 years, after which 80 percent of it can be recycled. “We believe that our wind turbine will play an integral part in enabling the offshore industry to continue to drive down the cost of energy,” Larsen added. + MHI Vestas Offshore Via New Atlas

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World’s most powerful wind turbine breaks 24-hour record for energy generation

Space-saving furniture transforms to make the most of a Hong Kong micro-apartment

January 31, 2017 by  
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Hong Kong’s astronomical housing prices and tiny living spaces have made multifunctional furniture a necessity for many of the city’s homes. Local firm Design Eight Five Two maximizes the footprint of one such micro-apartment with the addition of space-saving furniture. The Kowloon Bay apartment, called Flat 27A, was completely redesigned and customized for the owner, a photographer, and his cat. Flat 27A was formerly subdivided into five rooms, two of which were used as bedrooms. Design Eight Five Two knocked down most of the internal walls to create a single bedroom and a large open-plan living area with sliding doors to delineate the private quarters from the communal area. Custom-made hidden storage minimizes clutter and conceals the owner’s extensive library as well as a variety of objects, from camera equipment to a coffee machine. The cat’s bed is even hidden away behind a hole carved in a cabinet of a storage unit. Related: Tiny transforming home in Hong Kong makes 309 square feet feel huge “Flat 27A was an opportunity to bring a kind of subtle magic to our client’s home,” write the architects. “A powerful sense of pleasure and comfort that would set it apart – for its simplicity, ease, and efficiency.” With the removal of the internal walls, the apartment has a more spacious feel and has greater access to natural light . In addition to hidden storage and sliding partitions , the architects added a custom-built dining table that folds out to accommodate ten people. + Design Eight Five Two Via Dezeen Images by Hazel Yuen Fun

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Revolutionary flapping wind turbine mimics hummingbirds to produce clean energy

January 23, 2017 by  
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A new flapping wind turbine from Tunisia marks a revolutionary breakthrough in the field of mechanics. Until recently, scientists have been limited in their ability to apply new understandings of animal and human motion to machines, according to Tyer Wind . In the wind energy sector, this limitation has resulted in fairly simple and relatively inefficient turbines. Using 3D Aouinian kinematics that he pioneered, Anis Aouini is disrupting that space with a unique wind turbine modeled on articulations of the only bird capable of sustained hovering– the hummingbird . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4r4qnfLns_s Tyer Wind has replicated the mechanism that allows hummingbirds to fly in one place with their flapping wind turbine that moves in a figure 8 configuration. It has two vertical axis wings made from carbon fiber, each 5.25 feet long, that convert kinetic wind energy into emissions-free electricity. Combined, the two wings sweep an area of nearly 12 square feet, with a pre-industrial rated power output of 1kW. Hassine Labaied, partner and co-founder of Tyer Wind, told Inhabitat this is the first time a mechanical device has successfully mimicked the hummingbird’s motion, and that the video above illustrates a pilot machine currently being tested in Tunisia . The group says their initial tests for power efficiency, aerodynamic behavior, and material resistance are encouraging, and they will release the resulting data after a sufficient period of time. (Those interested in more technical details are encouraged to take a look at this PDF .) 3D Aouinian kinematics have applications in other technologies as well, according to Tyer Wind, including external combustion engines, internal combustion engines, pumps, and marine propulsion–among others. The biomimicry revolution may not be televised, but it is definitely underway. + Tyer Wind

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8 teenage inventions that could save the world

January 23, 2017 by  
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Sometimes the brightest ideas come in young packages. Teenagers from around the world demonstrate you don’t need a high school diploma to come up with a life-changing invention . From $13 germ-killing door handles to Braille printers, check out these eight teenage inventions that revolutionize the way we view energy , food, and, of course, the oceans . 14-year-old designs pedal-powered washing machine When assigned with laundry duty after her mother got sick, Remya Jose, a 14-year-old girl from India , designed an ingenious pedal-powered washing machine to save the time of doing laundry by hand in a nearby river. Jose made her clever washing machine with recycled bicycle components, creating an appliance that could greatly assist families who lack access to electricity. Related: 13-year-old Maanasa Mendu invents groundbreaking clean energy device that costs just $5 16-year-olds discover way to increase crop yields for Combating the Global Food Crisis project Garden-loving teenagers Ciara Judge, Émer Hickey, and Sophie Healy-Thow of Ireland won the Google Science Fair 2014 with their Combating the Global Food Crisis project. The 16-year-olds paired a bacteria often found in symbiotic relationships with legumes with crops it doesn’t typically associate with, namely oats and barley. Crops that tested their unique pairing were wildly successful, germinating in about half the time and producing a 74 percent greater drymass yield. Increasing crop yields is vital as the global population grows, and discoveries like this one could greatly impact the way we combat food poverty . 19-year-old invents Ocean Cleanup Array For several years now, Inhabitat has been covering the efforts of The Ocean Cleanup CEO Boyan Slat of the Netherlands , who at 19 years old invented an Ocean Cleanup Array , and we’re continually impressed by his persistence. The Ocean Cleanup recently completed their first aerial reconnaissance mission of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch . The results weren’t pretty – 1,000 large plastic pieces spotted in two hours – but there’s still hope to clean up the mess we’ve made. The Ocean Cleanup won the Katerva Award in 2016 , and feasibility studies indicate one 63-mile array could “remove 42 percent of the Great Pacific garbage patch in only 10 years.” 12-year-old builds inexpensive, working Braille printer 12-year-old Shubham Banerjee of California utilized a Lego Mindstorms EV3 kit and about $5 of hardware from Home Depot to design an innovative Braille printer , the Braigo v1.0, that cost way less than similar devices. Around 285 million people are visually impaired worldwide, according to World Health Organization data, but as Braille printers cost over $2,000 when Banerjee invented his device, his disruptive technology held the potential to change how the blind communicate. He went on to start a company, Braigo Labs , and about three years later, has released an app and web platform and continues to develop his groundbreaking printer (and he’s still in high school.) 17-year-old creates a device that can purify water and produce clean energy simultaneously Millions of people around the world live without electricity or clean water , and 17-year-old Cynthia Sin Nga Lam of Australia decided to tackle both issues at once with her portable H2Pro device. The H2Pro unit harnesses photocatalysis, or using light to speed up a chemical reaction, to sterilize water. As a side bonus, the process also yields hydrogen , which Lam said could be used to produce electricity. 17-year-old designs human waste bioreactor to turn human poo into clean energy When Kenya ‘s Maseno School opened up new dormitories for over 700 students in 2013, the area around the students’ home often smelled because of pit latrines and a defective sewage system, which also polluted local freshwater. High schooler Leroy Mwasaru and four friends came up with a solution: a human waste bioreactor that could transform waste into a clean cooking fuel for the kitchen, which had been using firewood. Today, Mwasaru is the founder of Greenpact , a group aiming to provide biogas solutions to over six million Kenyans who lack access to adequate sanitation and renewable energy . 17-year-old and 18-year-old design $13 germ-killing door handle 17-year-old Sun Ming (Simon) Wong and 18-year-old King Pong (Michael) Li of Hong Kong knew bacteria spreads via handles on doors or shopping carts touched by hundreds of people daily. So they hunted for a material that could kill that bacteria and found an answer in titanium oxide. Instead of simply coating a handle in titanium oxide, though, they added an LED light into a bracket holding the handle to truly activate the compound, which can then annihilate 99.8 percent of germs . Even better, the device only costs around $13, meaning it could be accessible for more people worldwide. 16-year-old utilizes ingredients found in pencils and sunscreen to create pollution-cleansing coating Sunscreen and pencils might not be the first two items you’d go to for answers to clean up pollution , but 16-year-old Samuel Burrow of England utilized two ingredients found in those common items to create a “paint-like coating” that has the power to break down pollutants with the help of light. He mixed titanium dioxide with graphene oxide for a concoction with not one, but several applications, in addition to a surface paint. As a sponge, Burrow’s mixture can purify water, and when combined with sand, it has the potential to filter heavy metals out of water. Just imagine how clean the world could be if all buildings were painted with Burrow’s marvelous mix. Images via Brit + Co ; Ciara Judge, Émer Hickey and Sophie Healy-Thow on Google+ ; The Ocean Cleanup ; Shubham Banerjee ; Google Science Fair ; Innovate Kenya ; Student Society for Science ; and screenshot

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Petroleum giant abandons tar sands in favor of wind power

December 29, 2016 by  
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In a startling move, Norwegian state-owned oil and gas company Statoil recently pulled all its investments out of the Alberta tar sands after winning a contract to develop an offshore wind farm in U.S. waters. CleanTechnica reports the company began selling off its tar sands assets almost within hours of learning earlier this month it had won the right to build a wind farm off the coast of New York State. According to CleanTechnica, the opportunity to develop the wind facility and provide power so close to New York City made the clean energy project a high-visibility, and thus high-status venture for Statoil. Winning the project was not easy, as the bid process was “intense,” but Statoil’s triumph means they’re part of a new coordinated program to develop a series of wind farms off the Atlantic coast. The project is just one of 11 offshore areas leased for development by the Department of the Interior, through its Bureau of Ocean Energy Management . Related: The world’s largest floating wind farm will be operational next year CleanTechnica notes that much of the 3000 miles of ocean along America’s Eastern Seaboard is perfect for renewable energy development for several reasons. The relatively shallow waters of the Continental Shelf make building easier, while the proximity to major population centers all along the way make accessing markets a breeze. Add to that the fact that hot southern states are in dire need of affordable energy to power air conditioners, and you’ve got a recipe for strong demand for power. While they might have taken a step in the right direction by dropping dirty tar sands oil, Statoil’s hands are still far from clean. It recently invested in oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, and has some questionable shale gas assets in the U.S. – including some in the Bakken play, the planned origin for the now-stalled Dakota Access Pipeline . Via Clean Technica Images via Parrot of Doom and Barrow Offshore Wind Turbines , Wikimedia Commons

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Did Tesla Autopilot predict an upcoming accident before it actually happened?

December 29, 2016 by  
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A recently surfaced dashcam video appears to show a Tesla in Autopilot mode alerting a driver to an upcoming crash moments before it actually happened. According to Twitter user Hans Noordsij , the Tesla used its radar to see “ahead” of the car in front of it, and predict that it was about to collide with another vehicle. In the video, viewers can hear the vehicle’s collision warning system activate as the car’s emergency breaks activate automatically. @elonmusk Finally the right one. pic.twitter.com/2fspGMUoWf — Hans Noordsij (@HansNoordsij) December 27, 2016 So far, Tesla hasn’t commented on the authenticity of the video, so it’s difficult to say if the incredible footage depicts exactly what the original poster claims. Some critics are already claiming that the car did nothing to “predict” a crash that an observant human driver couldn’t do better, pointing out that the incoming collision would have been obvious with or without the Autopilot system. However, even if a driver could predict and react to the oncoming accident as quickly as the vehicle’s AI, the fact that a car is able to see and respond with speed similar to a human is still impressive. Related: Elon Musk announces all new Teslas will be self-driving While the video may be impressive, it’s important to remember that Autopilot it not without its flaws. Back in July, Tesla Motors disclosed that one inattentive Model S driver had been killed when the Autopilot system mistook the bright white side of a truck for the sky and caused the car to collide with an 18-wheeler on the highway. Although Tesla has announced plans to build autonomous capabilities into all new cars produced going forward, drivers should still remain alert at all times and ready to take control of the vehicle if they sense something wrong. Via CNBC Images via Hans Noordsij /Screen capture

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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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The world’s cheapest offshore wind farm is coming to Scandinavia

November 14, 2016 by  
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Swedish energy firm Vattenfall will soon begin building the largest offshore wind farm in Scandinavia – the 600 MW Danish Kriegers Flak in the Baltic Sea. When it’s complete, the project will produce the cheapest offshore wind power in the world at 49.9 euros per megawatt hour (about $54 US). On Thursday Vattenfall announced that it made the winning bid to build the Kriegers Flak wind farm, one of three offshore wind farms promised by the Danish Parliament as part of plans to divest from fossil fuels by 2050. Vattenvall will also be building the other two projects, which include the 406 MW Horns Rev 3 and the Danish Near Shore project, with a 305 MW combined generating capacity. Not only is the Danish Kriegers Flak the largest offshore wind farm in Scandinavia – according to Clean Technica it will also produce the world’s cheapest offshore wind power – even cheaper than the 60 euros per megawatt hour of the Danish Near Shore project, which was the lowest in the world when it was announced in September 2016. Both of these projects are significantly cheaper than the average offshore wind cost of $126 per megawatt hour announced by Bloomberg New Energy Finance earlier in November. Related: Shares in the world’s largest wind turbine producer slump after Trump wins election “The announcement is an essential milestone for our ambition to increase our production of renewable power,” Vattenfall CEO, Magnus Hall said. “We are already the second largest offshore player globally. The winning bid of EUR 49,9 per megawatt hour proves that Vattenfall is highly competitive and brings down the costs for renewable energy.” When power starts flowing out of the 1.3 billion euro project, it will produce enough electricity to light up about 600,000 homes in Denmark, which represents about 23 percent of all households in the country. Via Clean Technica Images via United Nations Photo and A_Cro , Flickr Creative Commons

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The world’s cheapest offshore wind farm is coming to Scandinavia

This hybrid carport harnesses wind and solar energy to charge your EV

November 2, 2016 by  
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The Giraffe 2.0 features the same 24 solar panels and Windspot 3.5kW wind turbine as the original model from 2013, yet has been upgraded to include an EV charger . The unique curve of the photovoltaic panels allows for solar energy production that runs two hours earlier and two hours later than traditionally mounting. This artistic curve, and the wind turbine sitting atop wooden beams 12 meters off the ground, also resemble the majestic creature from which the structure gets its name. Related: New European Union law could require EV chargers in all new homes InnoVentum estimates the Giraffe 2.0 produces about 13,850 kWh of electricity every year through both the solar panels and wind turbine, or enough to power two EVs over 45,000 kilometers each, annually. The use of wood in the construction of the framework was a focused decision by the designers, who value a minimal carbon footprint whenever possible. The going rate for one of these bad boys is about $60,800 USD with a “relatively quick and easy” assembly. +InnoVentum Via Clean Technica Images via InnoVentum

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This hybrid carport harnesses wind and solar energy to charge your EV

Affordable and compact Dinky Dub camper offers a modular twist to the vintage VW look

November 2, 2016 by  
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Weighing in at just 1,000 pounds, the Dinky Dub does come with some sacrifices when compared with its full-sized sibling. The smaller VW Type 2 tow-along loses a pair of windows, 3 feet in length, and the pop-top roof, which means the interior height is maxed out at 4.3 feet. In return for these tradeoffs, the Dinky Dub starts at just $12,800—a fraction of the cost of the larger models. Related: Airstream’s new Basecamp is a tiny house you can tow practically anywhere The Dinky Dub is centered on a convertible dinette set flanked by benches that transform into a two-person bed. A modular kitchenette is tucked into the rear hatch and can be customized to include a sink and portable stove. Since the Dinky Dub was created with a modular design, buyers are free to customize their trailer from the inclusion of solar panels to additional appliances. Dub Box is finalizing design details and plans to launch the Dinky Dub, which is available for reservations, in 2017. + Dinky Dub Via New Atlas Images via Dub Box

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