The Dice House looks like part of a Monopoly set, but the design has real-world ambitions. The 30-by-30-by-30-foot concept home, designed by the British architecture firm Sybarite, improves on standard building tech to erase its carbon footprint. The centerpiece is a photovoltaic umbrella dome that collects roughly 90 percent of the house’s energy needs. Made of a common plastic, the pillowy dome traps heat like a greenhouse. That hot air warms water in a tank tucked under the roof, turning out a daily average of 80 bath-ready gallons, even on the darkest days of December. At the umbrella’s apex, a generator-equipped turbine produces electricity and, in chilly months, drives heat into the house. Photovoltaic cells studding the 484-square-foot dome floor create additional electricity. Generating an estimated average of 33 kilowatt-hours per day, the house can power itself and charge a Tesla Roadster.
PAYERNE, Switzerland – An experimental solar-powered plane completed its first 24-hour test flight successfully Thursday, proving that the aircraft can collect enough energy from the sun during the day to stay aloft all night. The test brings the Swiss-led project one step closer to its goal of circling the globe using only energy from the sun. Pilot Andre Borschberg eased the Solar Impulse out of the clear blue morning sky onto the runway at Payerne airfield about 30 miles (50 kilometers) southwest of the Swiss capital Bern at exactly 9 a.m. (0700 GMT; 3 a.m. EDT). Helpers rushed to stabilize the pioneering plane as it touched down, ensuring that its massive 207-foot (63-meter) wingspan didn't scrape the ground and topple the craft.
Confidence soared among the crew of an experimental solar-powered aircraft on Wednesday as it cruised above Switzerland in a historic bid to fly around the clock and prove the value of solar energy. The Swiss pilot's take-off run took barely 90 meters, testimony to the light weight and giant airliner-size wingspan of the single seater craft, which relies totally on 12,000 solar cells and nearly half a tonne of batteries.
After outracing the competition over the course of a week and 1,100 miles, the University of Michigan has captured top honors at the American Solar Challenge 2010. U-M's Solar Car Team cruised to victory in 28 hours, 14 minutes, and 44 seconds, crossing the finish line in Naperville, Illinois on Saturday with a time more than two hours better than that of the second place squad from the University of Minnesota. This was University of Michigan’s sixth North American title, having won the first race in 1990 in Sunrunner and third in a row.
Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego, Canadian Solar Inc and HelioPower announced a new 116kW roof-mount photovoltaic (PV) solar electric system at the Ronald McDonald House of San Diego at 2929 Children’s Way in San Diego. This is the first Ronald McDonald House in California to use solar energy to help power the House that supports families with seriously ill children in local hospitals. Ronald McDonald House of San Diego will serve more than 20,000 families this year alone, and the solar electric installation will help offset the electrical needs of the families with clean energy. This month, the House celebrates the one-year anniversary of its 47-bedroom House for overnight guests and its Family Care Center, which serves as a day-time refuge for anyone with a child in a San Diego hospital.
Yuliya Chernova from the Wall Street Journal has an interesting article on why Tesla Motor's succeeded with yesterdays IPO while thin-film solar panel maker Solyndra Inc pulled its IPO just two weeks earlier.
America will need to build 527 biorefineries at a cost of $168 billion to meet the 2022 target of the Renewable Fuels Standard. That is according to the US Department of Agriculture, which said yesterday that it expects the biofuels market to react to the need for more renewable fuels infrastructure. It is expecting the cost of new advanced biofuels plants to be equivalent to $8 per gallon, although as more and more plants are built the costs would come down. And, in a new USDA report on the road ahead under the Renewable Fuels Standard, other costs to be met include at least $12 billion for fuel distribution infrastructure.
Rhone Resch, President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), released the following statement today after announcing an industry-wide goal of installing 10 gigawatts of solar capacity annually by 2015. Resch made the announcement during a presentation at the 35th IEEE Photovoltaics Specialist Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii: “Over the last few months, we have seen disaster after disaster caused by the fossil fuel industries and Americans are calling for a new direction for our energy future. And in communities across America, people are asking for an energy source that is clean, reliable, safe and creates economic opportunity. That energy source is solar.” Read the Full Release here.
The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), announced today that it expects the European wind energy sector to create over 250,000 new jobs in Europe in the next decade. "The European Wind Energy Association expects strong growth in wind energy employment in Europe over the coming years to 280,000 by 2015 and 450,000 by 2020. That's on average, 450 new European wind energy jobs per week over the next decade" said Christian Kjaer, Chief executive of the European Wind Energy Association. Three key areas - offshore wind, electricity grids, and the training and education of more engineers and technical staff - were identified as critical to creating those new jobs. "Only if we continue to install large amounts of renewable energy in the EU and support pilot projects of new technologies, will European renewable energy companies be able to compete", said Rasmussen, "Offshore wind has the largest growth potential and needs to receive stronger public support from and within the European Union".
Students from Mississippi State University placed first in the 2010 EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge finals in San Diego, Calif. after designing and building an exceptional biodiesel extended-range electric vehicle (EREV). Virginia Tech earned second place with an ethanol EREV design and Penn State came in third place building a biodiesel EREV vehicle. Mississippi State University competed against 15 other universities to win first place in Year Two Finals of the three-year competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors (GM). The competition challenges university engineering students from across North America to re-engineer a GM-donated vehicle to minimize the vehicle's fuel consumption and emissions, while maintaining its utility, safety and performance. Read about how the contest works here.
With a total of just over 7,000 participants from 55 countries; and over 450 exhibiting companies from 16 countries All-Energy 2010 (Aberdeen, 19-20 May 2010), the UK's largest renewable energy exhibition and conference, has proved to be a true record-breaker. The conference boasted more than 270 speakers and chairs taking part in over 50 sessions over the two days. "Total attendance was up by 25%, and incredibly the exhibition was 25% larger than the 2009 show," explains Event Director, Jamie Thompson of Media Generation Events Ltd.
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and the United Steelworkers (USW) today released a joint ‘Framework Agreement' to create a ‘Partnership for Progress' in accelerating the development and deployment of wind energy production in the U.S. In the coming days, AWEA and the USW will release a cooperative action agenda they intend to jointly pursue and advocate for adoption by Congress and the Obama Administration. That agenda will include policies such as a federal Renewable Electricity Standard and the extension of necessary tax incentives. The USW's Leo W. Gerard expanded on the Framework Agreement by explaining it has four components. "First the agreement calls for an initial assessment of exactly where we are. On any journey, it's vital that you know where you're starting from. Second, it calls for results-oriented targets that identify the destination. Third, to get us from here to there, it creates a partnership on a public policy agenda with the goal of enhancing the expansion of domestic supply chains and ensuring that we have the qualified and skilled workers we need. During the journey, it lastly calls for periodic assessments to ensure that the effort stays on track."
Professor Michael Gratzel The inventor of a low-cost solar cell that could be used to build electricity generating windows has been awarded this year's Millennium Technology Prize. He received the €800,000 prize at a ceremony in Helsinki. Explaining his inspiration, he said: "I was always intrigued by the way plants capture sunlight and turn it into fuels like sugar. Gratzel says "Natural photosynthesis was the inspiration, and our solar cell is the only one that mimics the natural photosynthetic process." Gratzel cells rely on nanotechnology to produce power from sunlight. "We are using nanocrystal films in which the particles are so small, they don't scatter light," said Professor Gratzel. "You can imagine using those cells as electricity producing windows. What's very exciting is that you collect light from all sides, so can capture electricity from the inside as well as the outside. You could think that the glass of all high-rises in New York would be electricity generating panels."
Cisco Systems is helping build a prototype in South Korea for what one developer describes as an instant "city in a box." Cisco, which has more than 4,400 employees and contractors in Research Triangle Park, is wiring every tech nook and cranny of the new city, making it one of the most technologically sophisticated urban centers on the planet. New Songdo City, a soon-to-be-completed metropolis about the size of downtown Boston that serves as a showroom model for what is expected to be the first of many assembly-line cities. In addition to state-of-the-art information technology, Songdo will emit just one-third of the greenhouse gases of a typical city of similar size. "Everything will be connected - buildings, cars, energy - everything," said Wim Elfrink, Cisco's Bangalore-based chief globalization officer. "This is the tipping point. When we start building cities with technology in the infrastructure, it's beyond my imagination what that will enable."
LA Times - Coulomb Technologies plans to install 4,600 electric vehicle charging stations for free around the country. The installations are part of a $37-million project called ChargePoint America, funded partly by a $15-million stimulus grant administered by the Department of Energy through the Transportation Electrification Initiative. Once the stations are in place, Purdue University and Idaho National Labs will analyze data about vehicle use and charging patterns. The company, based in Campbell, Calif., will immediately start setting up public and private stations in Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Jose and San Francisco Bay Area. The stations will also go up in Austin, Texas; Detroit; New York; Orlando, Fla.; Redmond, Wash.; and Washington, D.C. Once installation launches in the coming weeks, more than 1,000 stations are scheduled to be put in by December, with the rest to be in place by September 2011.
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