Technology site Dvice is featuring a run down of their top ten concept cities from design visionaries worldwide, each encompassing innovative and sustainable construction techniques, green energy technology, and creativity.
Fortune Online has an article about how San Jose hopes to reduce the $3.5 million spent annually to light it's streets by replacing sodium lights with low-energy LED and by monitoring the whole system through a smart network. The 125-light test, due to launch this summer, will be implemented by hometown smart-grid company Echelon (ELON). The streetlight network will function in a similar way to a smart electricity grid. Using the city's wi-fi network, Echelon's networking technology enables the lights to transfer real-time data about the status and performance of any given bulb. That way, maintenance crews won't have to search for a fried bulb. The city will be able to monitor energy consumption, anticipate outages and dim lights to save energy at the flip of a master switch. Complete article.
A funny thing happened on the way to oblivion - for many scientists today, cold fusion is hot again. "We can yield the power of nuclear physics on a tabletop. The potential is unlimited. That is the most powerful energy source known to man," researcher Michael McKubre told 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley. McKubre is an electro-chemist who imagines, in 20 years, the creation of a clean nuclear battery. "For example, a laptop would come pre-charged with all of the energy that you would ever intend to use. Watch the entire 60 Minutes story here.
Livermore Cinemas in Livermore, Calif., now has a fully operational 132 kW rooftop system which produces 190,000 kilowatt-hours per year to help power the all-digital multiplex cinema. The SPG Solar system offsets 45 percent of the facility's electric use. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, this system will prevent the emissions of more than 3,400 metric tons of greenhouse gases, which is equivalent to removing 625 passenger cars from the road for a year.
One of the world's biggest photovoltaic projects is planned for southwest Florida. Florida Power & Light will spend $350 million to build a 75-megawatt photovoltaic solar plant at a planned city, Babcock Ranch, near Fort Myers. The plant could be the largest in the world if it reaches 75MW output--before somebody else does. Photovoltaic cells convert sunlight into electricity. Electric vehicles, able to plug in for recharge at convenient community-wide recharging stations, will glide along avenues beneath the glow of solar-powered street lamps.
As momentum gathers for the creation of an Internet-like "smart grid" that will do for the electricity grid what the Internet did for home shopping, the WSJ reports the cyberspace wars have begun. The big question is whether the move to a smart grid would increase the country's vulnerability to cyber attacks, or serve as the best form of defense. California-based Electric Power Research Institute has been selected by the Commerce Department to draw up the "roadmap" of the new smart grid. Its main task will be figuring out just what standards should prevail in that brave new world.
Germany's Reichstag in Berlin is set to become the first parliamentary building in the world to be powered 100 percent by renewable energy. Soon the entire country will follow suit. Germany is accelerating its efforts to become the world's first industrial power to use 100 percent renewable energy -- and given current momentum, it could reach that green goal by 2050. A new Roadmap published by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment sketches out the route the world's largest exporter plans to take to switch over completely to renewable energy, and add 800,000 to 900,000 new cleantech jobs by 2030 as it does so.
General Motors will make another push into the realm of alternative vehicle technology through a joint venture with Segway Inc. to produce a two-wheeled upright personal transporter. The auto maker is targeting a 2012 launch for its electric-powered PUMA transporter, which would also employ wireless technology to allow users to navigate in urban areas and avoid traffic congestion. A prototype of the PUMA - which stands for Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility - will take to the streets of Manhattan this week during the New York auto show .
Italy installed a national smart grid before the term was even coined. The Italian utility Enel has installed 30 million smart meters since 2001, and it estimates savings at $6.74 million a year. The savings that come from smart grid technologies, however, aren't always easily predicted. In Italy, for instance, the money in homes saved doesn't come through demand response programs. Instead, it comes because the utility can deliver electricity at lower voltages to homes because of the meters and because of phase balancing, a process that better matches the output from the utility with the usage patterns of homes.
The Clean Tech Open , the innovation catalyst that helps great ideas become viable clean tech businesses has challenged entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, government agencies, universities, and non-government organizations (NGOs) to participate in the Clean Tech Open's 100K Jobs Challenge - to create 100,000 clean tech jobs in America over the next five years. The leading clean tech business competition has already helped more than 120 entrepreneurs launch companies-and subsequently raise over $125 million in external funding-since its inception in 2006.
The high cost of heating water in hotels, restaurants, health care facilities and other big users may now be cut drastically with a geothermal heat pump.
The Institute of Rural Research and Development (IRRAD) is an initiative of S.M. Sehgal Foundation working on poverty reduction in rural villages in the State of Haryana, India. IRRAD's campus, which resides among some of the ultra-modern high rises of Gurgaon, meets the standards of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System'. It generates 35Kw of solar energy on-site, enough for all the electricity requirements of the building except air-conditioning.
America's electric power grid is subject to immense inefficiencies that arise from the interplay between centralized power generation, local power consumption and on demand utility service.
Remember the First law of thermodynamics? Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It can only change forms. Or, if translated into an idiot-proof rule of thumb: you can't go above 100%. Remember this? Now forget it; this law has got a loophole.
The term micro grid is mentioned more and more in publications on distributed generation. It generally means a collection of consumers, generators and potential energy storage entities connected together and operated as a small grid which is connected to the main grid, but capable of operating a self-sufficient island. The micro grid is typically linked to the grid with the help of a switch, which allows it to work both in grid-connected as well as island mode. However, island operation is not currently permitted in the majority of countries.
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