Jan 5, 2009 | 9
Toyota won't just be adding solar panels to its popular Prius gas-electric hybrid car—like the solar electric conversion kit seen at left—it'll be powering a version of it exclusively via sunshine, according to The Nikkei, Japan's business newspaper. In fact, Toyota will be relying on the solar-electric car to "turn around its struggling business," which resulted in its first operating loss in more than 70 years, the Associated Press reports.
ScientificAmerican.com and other media outlets reported last summer that Toyota was planning to begin selling a Prius with some solar panels as early as May of this year. But the latest reports are that the Japanese automaker is seeking to build a totally solar-driven vehicle.
Dec 11, 2008 | 1
President-elect Barack Obama is set to tap a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, Steven Chu, as energy secretary, according to published reports.
Chu, 60, is director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a proponent of solar energy, biofuels and curbs on Earth-warming emissions – three features central to Obama's alt-energy and environmental platforms during the campaign.
Nov 24, 2008 | 1
Maybe they're trying to bring the dead back to life.
A Spanish town alarmed about climate change has installed solar panels on its mausoleums, turning "a place of perpetual rest into one buzzing with renewable energy," the Associated Press reports with mirth.
The 462 panels are mounted on graves in the blue-collar town of Santa Coloma de Gramenet outside of Barcelona. The panels started absorbing energy from the sun to power the local grid last Wednesday, three years after the project began, according to the AP.
Oct 21, 2008
The crux of the global warming crisis is how to reduce energy-related carbon dioxide emissions while keeping the lights on. A new In-Depth Report by ScientificAmerican.com takes a look at future technologies that might help.
One option is to build wind farms off shore, where stronger breezes can generate more energy than sites on or near shore and turbines won't block residents' ocean views. Leasing the outer continental shelf to offshore wind farms could generate nearly 1,000 gigawatts — slightly more than the country's current electrical capacity, according to a piece by Emily Waltz.
Another possibility is geothermal power, electricity generated by the Earth's own heat. Iceland, where nearly 90 percent of homes are heated with geothermal power and residents would pay an estimated five times more if they used traditional fossil fuels, is at the leading edge of the technology, exporting its expertise to Nevada, Germany and China.
Oct 15, 2008
We recently asked, is keeping kosher good for the environment? We tried to answer the question by running the carbon footprint numbers based on what you substituted for forbidden foods like pork and shellfish.
Now, the New York Times Magazine offers its own spin on the question. An emerging movement among kosher-keeping Jews infuses modern-day ethics into the practice, taking care that workers at processing plants and the animals themselves are well cared for. In a widely reported story, immigration authorities in May raided the country's largest independent kosher manufacturer, Agriprocessors, arresting nearly 400 workers, and last month, Iowa's attorney general slapped the company with more than 9,000 criminal misdemeanor charges, including child-labor violations. At that time, company spokesman Chaim Abrahams said the workers "lied about their age" to Agriprocessors. "We look forward to our day in court,” he said in a statement then.
Oct 8, 2008
Munich-based Phoenix Solar AG, a German photovoltaic system installer, has committed $615 million (450 million Euros) to purchasing Solyndra's cylindrical solar cells as a core part of its future rooftop installation business. Why? "We see significant cost-savings," says chief technology officer Manfred Bächler. "We simply do not need any supporting structures or ballasts or roof penetrations," because, unlike traditional flat solar panels, the new round kind don't need any help to keep grounded when the wind blows.
In addition, the ability of the solar cylinders to collect direct, diffuse and sunlight reflected from the rooftop—as well as the ability to lay panels of them horizontal to the roof itself means more electricity can be made from a given rooftop. Further, the solar cylinders keep cooler overall, which enhances the performance of the system, Bächler says.
Sep 9, 2008
The Tech Museum of Innovation today named 25 laureates as winners of its 2008 Tech Award for using technology to "benefit humanity and spark global change." The awards are broken down into five categories (education, equality, environment, economic development and health); Tech Awards executive director Lee Wilkerson says that in November one winner in each category will receive a $50,000 cash prize during an awards ceremony in San Jose, Calif.
This year's education awards (started in 2000) recognize a technology in India that records classroom lessons and distributes the videos to areas of the country where there are few or no schools; a program that chronicles Arctic expeditions live via the Web; a Web site that delivers art lessons through interactive video conferencing; a site where lesson plans can be shared worldwide; and software that enables a PC to render two-dimensional images written using a special light pen on the computer screen into 3D images in real-time. [see picture]
Jul 17, 2008 | 29
Former vice president Al Gore today challenged the U.S. to go from getting more than half its electrical power from greenhouse gas-spewing coal-fired power plants to getting all of it from 100 percent carbon neutral sources in a decade. In other words: eliminate fossil fuels for electricity, until the greenhouse gases can be captured and buried, in favor of nuclear, solar, wind and geothermal.
Deadline: Dec 11 2013
Reward: $52,000 USD
Platform technologies – tools, techniques, and instruments that enable entirely novel approaches for scientific investigation across a b
Deadline: Jan 27 2014
Reward: $15,000 USD
The Dow Chemical Company is the leading producer of polyalkylene glycols (PAGs) used in synthetic fluids and lubricants where petroleum,
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