Siemens debuts first electrified eHighway in the US

November 9, 2017 by  
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Siemens just launched a one-mile long demonstration site for its electrified eHighway system, the first of its kind in the United States . The eHighway demo is being run in California  near the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The demonstration system includes an overhead catenary system, through which three electric big-rig trucks can recharge, that is similar those found above trolley or streetcar lines. Through the eHighway system, select highway lanes could be electrified, allowing electric vehicles to charge as they move and empowering a zero-emissions transportation system on existing port infrastructure. Siemens, in collaboration with the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), is hoping to address a serious source of air pollution  with the new eHighway system. Large trucks, such as those used for shipping goods across country, are the largest contributing source of smog-forming emissions in Southern California. “This project will help us evaluate the feasibility of a zero-emission cargo movement system using overhead catenary wires,” said Wayne Nastri, SCAQMD’s executive officer. “This demonstration could lead to the deployment of eHighway systems that will reduce pollution and benefit public health for residents living near the ports.” Currently, a battery-electric truck, a natural gas-hybrid-electric truck, and a diesel hybrid truck are being tested for effectiveness at the demonstration site on South Alameda Street from East Lomita Boulevard to the Dominguez Channel in Carson, California. While this may be the first eHighway site in the United States, the first such system on public roads opened in Sweden in June 2016. Related: World’s first electric dump truck stores as much energy as 8 Tesla Model S cars The eHighway system is designed with the future in mind. “Experts expect global CO2 emissions from road freight traffic to more than double by 2050,” said Andreas Thon, head of Turnkey Projects & Electrification, North America. “This electrified truck system, what we call eHighway, can modernize the existing infrastructure using the latest technology to accommodate the growing amount of freight travel, reduce harmful emissions , and keep these ports, one of our country’s major economic drivers, competitive.” + Siemens USA Images via Siemens USA

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Siemens debuts first electrified eHighway in the US

Google will be powered by 100% renewable energy by 2018

October 13, 2017 by  
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After 10 years as a carbon-neutral company, Google has announced that all of its data centers and offices will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy , mostly from solar and wind sources. The corporate giant made quick progress towards meeting their goal, which was set in 2016 and will be fulfilled by 2018. In its 2017 Environmental Report, Google, self-described as the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy, declared that in making its big shift to clean energy, it had pioneered “new energy purchasing models that others can follow” and “helped drive wide-scale global adoption of clean energy.” “We believe Google can build tools to improve people’s lives while reducing our dependence on natural resources and fossil fuels,” said Google executive Urs Hölzle. Google’s rapid shift to clean energy is welcome not only for the influence it may have on other companies but also for its impact on Google’s energy consumption, which was estimated in 2015 to be as large as the city of San Francisco . In line with its sustainability focus, Google has also launched an initiative to add air quality sensors to Google Street View vehicles and plans to change its waste disposal systems to ensure that the company adds nothing to landfills. Half of Google’s 14 data centers have already reached that particular milestone. Related: Alphabet X to beam wireless service to Puerto Rico with a fleet of balloons Most of Google’s renewable energy is purchased from an outside provider. However, they are making important moves to provide some of their own in-house energy, including the company’s recent acquisition of the Tellenes wind farm in Norway. The 12-year deal to provide 100 percent of the energy produced will power Google’s data centers in Finland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Ireland . Google expects to purchase power as soon as it is available, which is expected in fall 2017. Via Inverse Images via Wikimedia Commons   (1)  and Robbie Shade/Flickr

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Virgin Hyperloop One: Richard Branson invests in Musk-inspired high-speed transportation

October 13, 2017 by  
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A Hyperloop project just got a huge boost from none other than business magnate Richard Branson . Hyperloop One will rebrand as Virgin Hyperloop One, as the Virgin Group invests in the high-speed transportation effort. The investment follows a July full-scale test , which co-founder Shervin Pishevar described as their Kitty Hawk moment. Virgin Hyperloop One seems set to take on the world with help from Branson. He said in a blog post Virgin has always “been known for disruption and investing in innovative companies” and that he visited their test site, DevLoop, near Las Vegas during the summer, and was impressed with the tests. He’s now investing in the effort, and will also sit on the company’s board of directors. Related: Hyperloop One conducts first full-scale test of superfast transportation system Branson said during the second phase of testing, the Hyperloop team achieved a top speed of 192 miles per hour, and the longest test was 10.6 seconds. 436 meters, or around 1,430 feet, is the maximum distance traveled. The DevLoop tube length is 500 meters – around 1,640 feet – long, with a diameter of 3.3 meters, or around 11 feet. Hyperloop One said in their statement on the investment that the partnership “feels like a natural fit.” Their President of Engineering Josh Giegel once worked at Virgin Galactic. Branson said he invests in people, not simply technology . Hyperloop One said they already have projects afoot in the United States, United Arab Emirates, India, Canada, Finland, and the Netherlands, and hope to accelerate commercialization with the help of the Virgin Group. Both Branson’s blog and Hyperloop One’s statement mentioned the importance of clean transportation technology – the Hyperloop mode of transportation will be all- electric and efficient. Even though the Virgin name is now attached to the project, Hyperloop One said Virgin won’t be the sole operator. Around the world, they’ll work with many different operators, chosen by customers. Via Virgin Group and Hyperloop One Images via Greg Rose/Virgin and Hyperloop One

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Virgin Hyperloop One: Richard Branson invests in Musk-inspired high-speed transportation

Architects seek to give eternal life to a temporary wooden market hall in Stockholm

October 13, 2017 by  
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Years ago, Swedish architecture firm Tengbom created a temporary market hall for Stockholm’s Östermalm district while the permanent market was being renovated. Since its installation, however, the modular wooden building – constructed with sustainable and cost-efficient materials – has become quite popular among the locals, prompting the architects to find a permanent use for the beautiful building. Currently located on Östermalm’s Square in Stockholm, the modern wooden structure served as a temporary market space while the Tengbom team renovated the original market hall. The base of the building is clad in vertical strips of untreated pine, while the upper floor is covered in translucent polycarbonate sheeting that allows natural light to flood the interior. The building has a modular mounting system composed of steel brackets that allows for easy assembly and dismantling – a feature that will come in extremely handy when it’s time to move the building. Related: Temporary Market Hall made from sustainable materials pops up in Stockholm The first proposal for the building’s new use envisions a youth house that would be located near the Skärholmen’s shopping district. With a strong focus on physical fitness, the center would offer various activities that appeal to youngsters such as dance, climbing and skating. The center would serve as a community meeting point where young adults – girls in particular – can have a secure place to be active year round. The second proposal calls for a cultural center that would be located between the suburbs of Risse and Ursvik. The building would have space for art exhibitions and performances, as well as areas for various activities that would be geared to locals of all ages. The third idea is an open-air public bath, complete with a sauna and heated pools . The bath would be installed directly across from a sports center in Eriksdal, in central Stockholm. The building would provide a social place for the community that, according to the architects, would not only prolong the bathing season, but also extend the connection between the city and the water. + Tengbom Architects

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Architects seek to give eternal life to a temporary wooden market hall in Stockholm

New Passenger Drone can fly you to work hands-free with zero-emissions

September 28, 2017 by  
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Get ready to commute in style. For the past three years, Passenger Drone has been developing a zero-emissions , easy-to-use passenger drone that has the potential to eliminate stressful commutes. With 16 electric engines, the drone can travel up to 80 km/h while barely making a noise. Not only will the Passenger Drone limit air and noise pollution , it could reduce stress levels and improve the general health of commuters around the world. Daily commutes to the office can be quite burdensome to the average worker. In the United States, the average travel time to work is 25.4 minutes. Most of that time is spent sitting in traffic or in public transportation — environments that can produce stress even before the workday has begun. Passenger Drone seeks to improve the overall health of the populace and reduce pollution by improving daily commutes. The newly-unveiled electric aircraft is slightly larger than a car and allows commuters to select their destination, then sit back and relax. The quick-flying drone can travel up to 80km/h, and it features a lightweight body made of carbon fiber composites. The Passenger Drone’s 16 electric engines offer some distinct advantages – according to the company, the “engine system sheds the complexity of most quad-copters providing enhanced safety, performance, greater payload and range, and less noise than anything else available on the marketplace.” Related: Drones are planting an entire forest from the sky Passenger Drone envisions the aircraft becoming the “go-to” form of daily transportation for hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of commuters in the future. Said the company, “Air travel has historically been seen as an expensive proposition, due in great part to the small volume of production seen in today’s aerospace industry. Mass production of the Passenger Drone could potentially revolutionize traditional notions of transport .” + Passenger Drone Images via Passenger Drone

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New Passenger Drone can fly you to work hands-free with zero-emissions

Dyson the famous vacuum maker is building an electric car

September 27, 2017 by  
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Dyson is famous for its bagless vacuum cleaners and other unique household appliances, but founder and chief engineer James Dyson has some bigger plans for the company. James Dyson sent out an email yesterday to the company announcing his ambitions to introduce an electric car by 2020. With an investment of at least $2.7 billion and a staff of 400 people, Dyson is hopeful that it can get an electric car to market in the next three years. Dyson has already started hiring engineers from automotive companies to help launch the vehicle. Related: James Dyson on using his famous vacuum technology to suck garbage from rivers In his email, Dyson outlined how in 1988 a study from the the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health that linked the exhaust from diesel engines to premature death in laboratory mice and rats, put the company on a path to improve air quality. Two years later, in March 1990, the Dyson team began work on a cyclonic filter that could be fitted on a vehicle’s exhaust system to trap particulates. Sadly, even though the prototypes were developed, automakers weren’t too interested. Now Dyson will do away with the need to reduce particulates by creating a zero emissions electric car. James Dyson hasn’t gone too far into the details, since competition in the electric car segment is incredibly strong right now. Several other startups are racing to bring their cars to market, like Lucid and Fisker, so it makes sense that Dyson would try to keep details about its technology under wraps. + Dyson Images @Dyson

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Audi unveils two new swanky self-driving concepts in Frankfurt

September 15, 2017 by  
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Audi is working hard on future self-driving cars that will forever change your daily commute. This week at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the automaker unveiled two new concept cars that feature Level 4 and Level 5 autonomous driving technology. Hit the jump for a closer look. The first concept, the Aicon, is a futuristic looking four-door electric vehicle with a 500-mile driving range. The Aicon is a large concept vehicle at almost 18-feet-long. Audi says its design is a preview of what cars will look like in the future; with pushed-out wheels and without the need for an engine, the overall layout maximizes the space between the wheels for more interior volume. Related: Audi’s new solar-roofed car expected by the end of 2017 One cool feature is that the Aicon’s exterior surfaces can display information to warn pedestrians or cyclists of dangerous situations. Plus, horizontal stripes of light move from the bottom up when the car accelerates and in the opposite direction when braking. Their speed increases or decreases in sync with that of the car. The interior features two individual front seats that can move back and forth up to 19 inches and even swivel up to 15 degrees. There’s room for two additional passengers that sit on an integrated rear bench seat. Audi’s Aicon is powered by four electric motors that generate a total 349 horsepower. It can also travel up to 500 miles on a single charge and be recharged up to 80 percent in a short 30 minutes. The second concept, the Audi Elaine, looks familiar since it debuted as the E-Tron Sportback concept a few months ago. On the outside, not much has changed from the original concept, but Audi is using the Elaine concept to showcase its Level 4 autonomous driving technology with a new highway pilot autonomous system. The highway pilot system can control the vehicle between 37 to 80 mph. Audi hasn’t announced any production plans for the Audi Aicon concept, but the production version of the Elaine/ E-Tron Sportback will arrive in 2019. + Audi Images @Audi

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Audi unveils two new swanky self-driving concepts in Frankfurt

BMW releases a sportier i3 electric car

August 29, 2017 by  
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The words “sport” and “electric car” are rarely used in the same sentence – with the exception of cars like the Tesla Model S, BMW i8 and even the Acura NSX. Now BMW wants to change that with the 2018 BMW i3s, a sexier, sportier version of the i3 electric car. Last year the BMW i3 received a nice battery upgrade for the 2017 model year and this year, part of the upgrades include the introduction of the i3s. For starters, the i3s isn’t going to speed past a Tesla Model S , but it does have a more powerful electric motor, which now generates 184 horsepower and 199 lb-ft. of torque. That’s 14 more horsepower and 15 more lb-ft. of torque than the standard i3. Related: BMW just unveiled the sleek electric motorcycle of the future Some of the other upgrades include an 11 millimeter lower ride height, a wider track and 20-inch wheels that are a half-inch wider. The BMW i3s also has a new sports suspension with specially developed springs, dampers and anti-roll bars. If you want to amp up the “sport” factor even more, there is a new Sport mode that improves the accelerator response and tightens up the steering. The upgrades to the i3s give it a 0-60 mph time of 6.8 seconds, compared to 7.2 seconds for the standard i3 . The rest of the i3 lineup also gets some updates for the 2018 model year, including updated front and rear fascias, which emphasize the i3’s width. There aren’t any battery upgrades to the 2018 i3, which means that the standard i3 can travel 114 miles, while the Range Extender with its two-cylinder gas engine gives it a range of 180 miles. A new BMW TurboCord charger is now part of the options list that features a 20-ft charging cord, and provides two chargers in one. Level 1 charging is available when plugged into any 120 V outlet and it also lets you charge up-to 3.6 kW, nearly three-times faster than the standard occasional use cable when used with a 240 V outlet. + BMW Images @BMW

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BMW releases a sportier i3 electric car

This gorgeous ‘Tree House Tower’ was built using repurposed timber and old ship materials

August 29, 2017 by  
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When architect Jason McLennan isn’t busying working on Leonardo DiCaprio’s new eco resort off the coast of Belize, the talented designer is enjoying some amazing views from his five-story “tree house tower” on Seattle’s beautiful Bainbridge Island. The home, which was built in 1978, was constructed out of reclaimed timber and outfitted with various repurposed ship materials. The three-bedroom, four-bathroom house is located on a secluded lot surrounded by a wall of 200-foot cedar trees on one side and the Puget Sound on the other. The home was built in 1978 by an unknown architect, who used salvaged wooden posts – which reportedly date back more than 100 years – in the construction. Related: Delightful treehouse residence weaves through a forest in Thailand The bohemian-inspired interior, which is well-lit by an abundance of large windows and skylights, is filled with repurposed trinkets taken from an old ship. Many of the windows were made out of old portholes and the home’s various brass doorknobs were repurposed from an old sailing boat. McLennan’s architectural studio is on the top floor where he has used the lush natural setting of the island as inspiration for his building designs, “It’s just nature’s paradise,” he said. “Everything is nestled in the trees, so the trees are intact and the ecosystem is intact. You do feel like you’re in a special place when you’re there.” Although the interior of the house is undeniably incredible, the outdoor space is definitely the heart of the home. Perennial gardens surround the outdoor areas, which include a massive outdoor chimney, covered dining area and lounge, Koi pond, fruit orchard, and even a basketball court. Of course, there are plenty of secluded nooks located on the grounds for solitude amongst the beautiful lush foliage. + Jason McLennan Via Dwell Photography by Eric Hecht  

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This gorgeous ‘Tree House Tower’ was built using repurposed timber and old ship materials

Iowa grocery grows 10-15 lbs of produce on outdoor vertical garden – every week

August 29, 2017 by  
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It doesn’t get much more local than this. In Davenport, Iowa, Hy-Vee grocery store commissioned Friday’s Fresh Market (FFM) to install and maintain two eight-tower Grow Walls , or hydroponic vertical gardens, on the outside of their store – which they then sell inside. Owner Andrew Freitag told Inhabitat they can obtain between 10 and 15 pounds of fresh produce every week, depending on the crop. Basil, lettuce, and mint flourish on the outdoor Grow Walls at Hy-Vee, installed by FFM in May this year. There’s no soil needed here: the plants are suspended in a growing medium made from recycled plastic bottles and grow in the sunlight. FFM also installed a smaller Grow Wall inside the grocery store in the produce section. They maintain both systems, germinating seeds, transplanting, supplying nutrients and water, harvesting, and packaging the produce for sale in the store. Related: Berlin grocery with vertical micro-farm reimagines the future of produce departments (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.10″; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); We are at the HyVee in Davenport, Iowa checking out a Grow Wall from Friday's Fresh Market! Posted by Inhabitat on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 FFM manager Chen Freitag told Inhabitat, “We see this disruptive technology becoming more and more popular in our future farming industry. It will help to improve the fresh food desert situation here in the Midwest tremendously and stimulate the local economy.” The Grow Walls aren’t the only aspect of FFM’s business. They also cultivate indoor farms in shipping containers , using the same towers and irrigation system as a Grow Wall. Freitag said these farms consume around 90 percent less water than traditional methods, and since FFM can control the environment, produce grown inside the shipping container farms is more colorful and flavorful, with a higher nutrient content. She said FFM started pursuing hydroponics as a more efficient, sustainable way to grow fresh food, no matter the weather outside. “Our goal is to improve the quality of life in our local communities,” Freitag told Inhabitat. “People here deserve to eat better, live better. We believe we are capable of being self-sufficient when it comes to fresh, local food year-round.” One small Iowa company may not be able to change the entire agriculture industry right away; instead, Freitag said they focus on changing people’s daily lives with better food, and hope the industry evolves from there. “The earth is the resource account we cannot afford to overdraw,” she told Inhabitat. “We need to think about future generations: what we leave them to live with.” + Friday’s Fresh Market Images via Lacy Cooke for Inhabitat

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