Archives for July, 2012

In March we took you on a video test drive of the all-electric Nissan Leaf (see below). Today we explore a few other electric models. With estimated electric car sales in the United States set to jump from less than 20,000 in 2011 to 40,000–60,000 in 2012 (with some optimistic predictions going as high as…

How can cities, especially those in developing countries, become more energy-efficient and sustainable? The recent World Cities Summit in Singapore brought no easy answers. Dr. Isher Judge Ahluwalia from India highlighted during the conference’s keynote plenary that her country needs to pump in some $400 billion in the next two decades to improve its urban infrastructure…

Buildings designed by Frank Gehry tend to function both as city landmarks and tourist attractions, and they certainly don’t come cheap. His works, which have been cited as among the most important works of contemporary architecture by World Architecture Survey, include include the titanium-covered Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, constructed at a cost of $100 million, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, which came in…

Looking for signs that renewable energy is gaining real traction? We present IKEA. Back in the day, every single solar installation from the purveyor of cheap and cheerful home furnishings was news. Now, IKEA solarizing a store is as common as, well, a birch veneer bookshelf. That’s got to be a sign of progress. Already this month, the…

In five to six years, highly diluted radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan could arrive on the Pacific shoreline in the United States, a new study concluded. The model developed by German oceanographers and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Pacific Marine Environment Laboratory traced the probable pathway of…

Reports that SolarWorld had formally brought its solar trade fight against China to Europe elicited a fresh round of scorn from critics within the industry this week, but the company said it had not in fact filed a complaint. Yet. “We have always said that we will ask the European Union to take urgent action against unfair competition from…

Today National Geographic News published a story by Victoria Markovitz on the size and relative greeness of wind turbines. In it, she summarizes a new study by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. Those researchers did an energy accounting of commercial-scale wind turbines in Europe, taking into account the energy they produce as well…

The Navy’s Great Green Fleet staged an impressive show of force as it gears up for more battles — of a political nature — ahead. This week, F/A-18 Hornets powered by a mix of petroleum biofuels roared off the deck of the USS Nimitz for the first time in a demonstration north of Hawaii. Some…

Water samples in Pennsylvania suggest there may be natural pathways for contamination. Drinking water contamination from horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing — a k a fracking — for natural gas in Pennsylvania, does it occur? No, say the gas companies (and many geologists). A new paper adds a “but.” Many Say It Can’t Happen There…

Change is hard in the world of energy, and nothing shows that more than attempts to change the deep roots of the vehicles Americans drive every day. Almost all the oil we use as a nation goes for transportation, with all the implications that brings in terms of dependence on foreign oil, gas prices that…

Two teams from Qatar were the first to build cars powered by gas-to-liquid (GTL) fuel in Shell* Eco-marathon Asia since the regional competition began in 2010. The Aggielanders from Texas A&M University at Qatar, which contested in the Urban Concept category, failed to complete the trial runs while Gernas 2 from Qatar University, which joined the…

Team Luk Jao Mae Khlong Prapa from Thailand surpassed their own fuel efficiency record from last year by 31 percent to clinch the top place at Shell* Eco-marathon Asia, which concluded on July 7. The students from Dhurakij Pubdit University, whose prototype car runs on ethanol, improved their mileage from 2,213.4 kilometers per liter (5,206.2…

Named after the legendary king, the Solomon Fuel Cell Vehicle from Taiwan won the Design Award at Shell* Eco-marathon Asia over the weekend and topped the race in the Urban Concept – Hydrogen category with a fuel efficiency record of 63 kilometers (39.1 miles) per kilowatt-hour. The vehicle featured a Star Wars-inspired “Jedi Knight” design, touch…

An electric car designed by students from Universiti Sains Malaysia stood out among 119 teams competing in the Asian leg of Eco-marathon, an annual fuel efficiency competition, for its unique choice of body material: plywood. “We chose to use wood because it’s strong and biodegradable,” said manager of Team USM-EVT, David Chew, when met at…

The Zero Energy Building in Singapore is the first of its kind in Southeast Asia. The retrofitted building has been running entirely on solar power since it began operating in 2009 and had even recorded a cumulative surplus of 37 megawatt hours of electricity as at June 25 this year. Converted from a former workshop, the…

On a recent visit to Pennsylvania, I saw signs of a natural gas boom on the wane. Googling “Pennsylvania ‘natural gas rush’” this morning got me 356,000 hits. Some may call it a gas boom instead of a rush, but, regardless, it seems to be a happening thing. The development of the technology that combines…

On the heels of the violent storm system that felled enough overhead wires to disrupt electricity for 4.3 million utility customers on the U.S. East Coast,  new research suggests that the technology for transmitting power without connection to the vulnerable electric grid may be closer at hand than most people think. “Wireless power” will be…

Shell* Eco-marathon Asia begins July 4 in Kuala Lumpur, and Team ITS’ Sapu Angin vehicles will be there to compete on the Sepang International Circuit, among other teams hoping to get the most mileage with the least amount of fuel. Both hailing from Indonesia, ITS Team 1 will join the prototype class with its Sapu…

With a smart heating and cooling system and renewable energy, the city district of Västra Hamnen (Western Harbor), in Malmö, Sweden has established itself as the first carbon-neutral neighborhood in Europe, says Malmö mayor Ilmar Reepalu. Västra Hamnen, also known as the City of Tomorrow, was transformed from a former shipyard in 2001 and is now…

Every year, the Annual Energy Outlook  from the U.S. Energy Information Administration  tries to identify the big trends that are likely to shape the next 20 years in energy – and in this year’s edition, some key trends  are different from those that shaped the last 20 years. For instance: We keep getting more efficient.…

Over 15,000 government leaders, industry experts and civil society delegates converge in Singapore from July 1-5 to attend the World Cities Summit, Singapore International Water Week and the inaugural Clean Enviro Summit to exchange ideas and emerging solutions to develop sustainable cities. Driven by emerging economies, close to half a billion people in India and…