Wind power holds great promise as a clean energy source, but current windmill generators aren’t appropriate for all locations. Italian firm Kite Gen hopes to change that with its innovative new generator designs, which use “kites” to capture strong high-altitude winds. Read more
Hybrid vehicles keep getting bigger: first there were tiny experimental cars, then hybrid SUVs began to appear on the road. And now some of Delta’s next-generation Boeing 737 aircraft (like the one pictured above) will be equipped with Wheeltug hybrid motors for taxiing on the ground. These motors will improve efficiency and safety while planes maneuver around the tarmac, reducing fuel use and maintenance requirements. Read more
Magenn Power has been testing its airship-based wind turbines— the company hopes to prove that its “air rotor system” will work. The Canadian startup has named the system MARS. It consists of a blimp that is tethered to the ground, and rotates horizontally in the wind, generating electricity. According to Greentech Media, the blimp is designed to float between 600 and 1000 feet above the ground, and its intended to produce power capacities ranging from 10 kilowatts to several megawatts. Read more
This apartment high-rise concept won a sustainable housing award recently in China. It integrates a vertical greenhouse into the high-rise. Designed by Knafo Klimor Architects, the “agro-housing” concept allows the residents to produce their own food, reducing commuting needs and providing a green neighbourhood. The greenhouse is a multi-floor structure for cultivation of crops such as vegetables, fruits, flowers and spices, equipped with a drip irrigation system that re-uses grey water. Read more
In Fukuoka City in Japan, they have an amazing building called “ACROS Fukuoka” with two very distinct sides: one side looks like a conventional office building with glass walls, but on the other side there is a huge terraced roof that merges with a park. The garden terraces, which reach up to about 60 meters above the ground, contain some 35,000 plants representing 76 species. A huge semicircular atrium and the triangular lobby provide contrast to the greenery, in this space is a symphony hall, offices and shops.
The building was constructed on the last remaining green space in the city center, so the architects, Emilio Ambasz & Associates, created a design to preserve the green space as much as possible, while still fitting in a large office building. In addition, a green roof reduces the energy consumption of a building, because it keeps the temperature inside more constant and comfortable. Green roofs also capture rainwater runoff, and support the life of insects and birds.
The building is a success in Japan, its terraced south facade utilized by many in the area for exercise and rest, affording views of the city and the harbor beyond. Unfortunately it has received little press overseas, especially in the United States.
This building was also featured in a book showcasing green roofs. Published last year, this visually attractive book has photos and descriptions of forty case studies of exemplary green roof projects — from Mexico City to Malmo, Sweden to Fukuoka, Japan to Dearborn, Michigan. It includes contributions from many of the leading people in the field. The book is intended to inform and inspire communities, designers, building owners by showcasing the environmental and aesthetic potential of large-scale green roofs. It’s available from Amazon for $26.37.
One of the world’s largest solar energy plants, covering the hills of a valley dotted with olive groves in southern Portugal, started delivering electricity to about 8,000 homes on Wednesday. The solar panels, which are raised around 2 meters off the ground, cover an area of 60 hectares (150 acres) and produce 11 megawatts of electricity in one of Europe’s sunniest spots — Portugal’s poor agricultural Alentejo region. GE Energy Financial Services, a unit of General Electric, financed and purchased the project in an approximately US $75 million transaction last year. PowerLight, now a subsidiary of SunPower, designed, deployed, operates and maintains the plant. The plant uses PowerLight’s PowerTracker® system that follows the sun’s daily path across the sky to generate more electricity than conventional fixed-mounted systems. Via: Reuters and Inside Green Tech
In Japan, there’s a product called “Shell Walls” which allows walls to be plastered with a paste made out of waste eggshells.
Making full use of the eggshell’s porous structure, Green Techno 21 created Shell Walls which withstand humidity. The eggshell plaster is hazard-free and fireproof as it is made from natural calcium carbonate.
After having their inner film peeled off, eggshells are cleansed, sterilized, crushed and ground into powder.