Residents of New Jersey, a state well known for its elegant aesthetic sense, are unhappy with the solar panels installed on electrical poles in leafy residential neighborhoods by the state's largest utility company. In suburban Bergen County, locals call the panels "ugly," "hideous," and an "eyesore," in addition to protesting their installation with complaints and (possibly) vandalism, according to the New York Times.
The sun makes an excellent coffee roaster, it turns out
By Andrew Rosenblum
Posted 04.27.2011 at 10:11 am 0 Comments
In 2004, artist Dave Hartkop was looking for a way to move out of his parents’ house. Pairing his interest in alternative energy with his brother Mike’s passion for coffee, he decided to start an online coffee business, and designed a huge solar-powered roasting system to supply it. Now the brothers are on their fourth, and by far largest, version of the roaster. Dubbed Helios 4, it’s made up of more than 600 mirrors and has a 35-foot-by-35-foot footprint.
A new champion amongst solar-powered cars has emerged in sunny Australia: A student-built solar car, christened the Sunswift IV, has crushed the previous speed record with a run that topped out at 56.85 mph.
By Alessandra Calderin
Posted 07.22.2010 at 10:23 am 14 Comments
In February, the Swiss company PlanetSolar SA unveiled PlanetSolar, a floating test bed for renewable energy, during a ceremony held in Kiel, Germany. The $15-million catamaran measures 49 feet wide, 25 feet high and 102 feet long and weighs 94 tons. It is equipped with 5,380 square feet of photovoltaic solar panels, and its four motors run entirely on solar power (when it’s cloudy out, energy stored in batteries powers the boat).
In an ideal world, we'd use natural light to brighten every darkened nook that needs illumination. But in reality, skylights and windows can let only so much light into a structure, and the amount of light varies based on the time of day. The Sundolier robotic skylight from Boulder-based Sunflower aims to change all this by actively "pumping" natural light into interior spaces, illuminating areas of up to 2,500 square feet with a single unit.
Humans have been observing sunspots for over 2,000 years, but never has it been as simple as this. Thanks to NASA's new iPhone app, watching for intense bursts of magnetic radiation is as easy as playing Plants vs. Zombies or checking out the Yelp! review of the closest taco truck.
China, constantly straddling the line between super-polluter and clean tech pioneer, has unveiled what for the time being is the world’s largest solar-powered office building . The fan-like roof of the 800,000 square-foot facility located in Dezhou in Shangdong Province was cleverly designed to resemble an ancient sun dial, though rather than ticking off the passing hours, the building houses exhibition centers, research facilities, meeting and convention spaces and a hotel, all of which are powered by the hundreds of solar panels adorning its roof.
Plenty of cars can look cool and run green these days, but now designers are taking such concepts to extremes. The BMW Lovos has 260 exterior flaps that can collect solar power and act as airbrakes at the same time.
This week, a boutique builder of million-dollar supercars snapped up an established automaker with nearly 5,000 times its yearly output of vehicles. What's the deal? Is it a matter of super-hubris or another sign of a coming paradigm shift in the auto industry?
Thanks to inkjet printing, clothes embedded with solar cells are just around the corner
By Matt Ransford
Posted 03.26.2008 at 5:03 pm 3 Comments
Back to the Future II was a bit of a disappointment in the face of the original. Granted, it was hamstrung by the throw-away ending of the first, but it did have that brilliant opening sequence with the hoverboards. How much did you want a hoverboard after seeing that? Not to mention, the computerized, self-drying jacket Marty puts on to blend in. The stuff of fantasy, right? At least for the latter, not for much longer.
Can concentrated PV plants beat solar thermal technology?
By Michael Moyer
Posted 02.26.2008 at 5:34 pm 2 Comments
The last few years have seen tremendous growth in solar thermal power plants—huge arrays of mirrors that concentrate the sun's energy onto a liquid which then boils and spins a turbine. The process is generally more efficient than using photovoltaic panels, and new solar thermal plants under construction in Spain and Australia will be among the largest capacity solar plants in the world. Old-fashioned PV panels were starting to look archaic, or at least suitable only for small-scale projects like roof instillations. But not all PV panels are created alike.
Surf the Web from the hammock out back (or the park down the block) with this solar-powered Wi-Fi extender
By Mike Outmesguine
Posted 06.01.2006 at 2:00 am 2 Comments
The promise of Wi-Fi is freedom-the ability to bring your laptop or PDA away from the anchor that is your desk and into your life. With most wireless routers, however, your life had better stop at around 300 feet, and forget about heading outside. Between the noise generated by other local wireless devices and physical obstacles like furniture and walls, chances are your Wi-Fi signal is little more than a whisper by the time it hits your backyard. So I built a box that can pick up that signal and boost it another 200 to 300 feet.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.