Alternative Energy

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The latest solar power news from our solar energy and photovoltaic news sources.

Jan 18, 2018

Solar Energy

How Antarctic Ice Affects Climate in NYC

Jan 18, 2018: When we consider how best to address climate change, we tend to focus on the everyday actions we can do at the local level, whether that happens at the scale of personal habits like  recycling, composting or bicycling or the citywide effort to retrofit our… The post How Antarctic Ice Affects Climate in NYC appeared first on Solar One.

Japanese train barks and snorts to protect deer from harm

Jan 18, 2018: Researchers from the Railway Technical Research Institute (RTRI) in Japan have equipped a train with a speaker that plays the sounds of dogs barking and deer snorting to persuade deer to scramble off the train tracks, away from any oncoming train. A three-second deer snort is played first to catch the attention of any nearby deer, followed by twenty seconds of dog barking to scare the animals away.

L Train Closure Open Houses Are Coming

Jan 18, 2018: Got questions about the planned L train closures? Join the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the NYC Department of Transportation for a series of open houses to learn and ask questions about plans for the 15-month closure of the Canarsie Tunnel, beginning in April 2019. Please… The post L Train Closure Open Houses Are Coming appeared first on Solar One.

Norway shoots for 100% electric short-haul flights by 2040

Jan 18, 2018: More than 50 percent of new car sales in Norway were electric vehicles, according to Electrek. Now the country aims to take the electric revolution to the skies. Norwegian airports public operator Avinor wants all their short-haul flights to be electric in just over 20 years. CEO Dag Falk-Petersen told Agence France Presse (AFP) they're hoping "to be the first in the world" to switch over to all-electric air transportation.

Former Angry Bird marketing guru proposes 80-mile underwater tunnel to link two cities

Jan 18, 2018: Peter Vesterbacka, the former marketing chief for the smash hit mobile game Angry Birds, has embraced a new kind of challenge: the construction of an 80-mile-long tunnel between Helsinki, Finland and Tallinn, Estonia. This tunnel would facilitate a high-speed rail connection between the capital of Finland, a artificial island in the Baltic Sea that Vesterbacka plans on building, and the capital of Estonia. “Digging is just a few billion [euros],” Vesterbacka told Buzzfeed News…

The world's coldest settlement is so cold, its public thermometer broke

Jan 18, 2018: The coldest inhabited place on Earth is so chilly right now that the thermometer broke. In the village of Oymyakon in Siberia, a public thermometer lets tourists and local see how low the temperatures are. But this week, as temperatures dropped to -62 C, the thermostat gave up the ghost and went on strike. Some locals say their own thermometers went as low as -67 C, which is almost a record for the village. Oymyakon is a village of 50 people in Siberia, and has a reputation as the coldest...

This tent-shaped chapel in Portugal is in tune with nature

Jan 18, 2018: Panoramic views that this plateau in central Portugal offers informed the design of this inviting tent-shaped chapel by Plano Humano Arquitectos. The chapel will be part of the National Scout´s Activities Camp (CNAE) as a new addition that channels the scouting experience– outdoor life and camping– as well as the simplicity of the Christian lifestyle. The chapel, dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima, acts as a large tent that has its doors open to anyone looking for shelter or a space...

China wants to destroy space junk with giant lasers

Jan 18, 2018: Not only do we need to worry about pollution on Earth, but also in space. A team of six scientists in China are working on a very science-fiction-sounding solution: blasting that space trash with lasers. Could a space-based laser really help clean up the 20,000 pieces of junk orbiting our planet? From magnetic tugs to long tethers, the ideas of how to deal with our space mess have been imaginative but haven't given us a firm solution yet. Could lasers offer an answer? Related:…

Giant twisting staircase revealed in Schmidt Hammer Lassen-designed solar-powered office

Jan 18, 2018: Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects has unveiled designs of a new sustainable office campus in Oslo for the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI), Norway’s largest geotechnical specialist community. Topped with green roofs and solar panels, the approximately 30,000-square-meter campus comprises two modern structures that will accommodate up to 300 employees. Both buildings will be flooded with natural light, while the larger of the two features a dramatic spiral staircase that winds its way up a...

Hairy micro-office teleports you to a world of calm

Jan 18, 2018: We’ve seen our fair share of unusual architecture, but this “hairy” building is a first. UK-based 2hD Architecture Workshop designed a surreal structure called “Mission Control” that’s entirely clad in brown bristles and appears to be mysteriously void of any doors or windows. Created as a micro-office and haven for concentration, the workspace located in a Nottingham garden is described by the architects as “an exercise in teleportation, designed to take us from the everyday hurly...

China built the 'World's biggest air purifier' - and it's actually working

Jan 17, 2018: What has been called the world's largest air purifier by its operators is now up and running in the city of Xian in Shaanxi province, China. The 100-meter (328 feet) tall tower has already improved the local air quality, according to Cao Junji, the scientist in charge of the project, and could prove to be a valuable tool in China's fight against urban air pollution. Greenhouses covering the size of half a soccer field surround the base of the tower, into which polluted air is pulled. The smog...

24-year-old Yemeni engineer invents mini biogas plant that turns trash to fuel

Jan 17, 2018: Some villages in the country of Yemen still don't have electricity since the recent conflict started nearly two years ago, according to 24-year-old chemical engineering graduate Omer Badokhon speaking to Reuters. He hopes to bring power and combat indoor pollution with micro-scale biogas devices to transform trash into cleaner fuel. He recently among the winners of the Young Champions of the Earth prize from United Nations Environment, winning a $15,000 prize he plans to use to construct 50 to 80...

These Adidas sneakers double as subway passes in Berlin

Jan 17, 2018: No ticket? No problem. If you're wearing one of just 500 pairs of these Adidas sneakers, you can hitch a free ride on Berlin's subway for most of 2018. Photos by Overkill…

A run-down property in Portugal gets a playful renovation using a blend of colors and patterns

Jan 17, 2018: The renovation of this house in Ovar, Portugal, reconnects the main residence with the backyard addition and uses subtle patterns to introduce an element of modernity to the property. Architect Nelson Resende approached the project with a clear intent to find a balance between the past and the present. The house is located in the city of Ovar in Portugal, on a lot bordering the access road, leaning against the adjacent buildings. The secondary structure and the main house itself are treated differently–...

The majority of the National Park Service board just resigned

Jan 17, 2018: The majority of the 12-person National Park Service advisory board turned in their resignations this week. Led by Democrat Tony Knowles, former governor of Alaska, nine members resigned because they said President Donald Trump's Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke was unwilling to meet with them, according to NPR. Knowles said in their resignation letter provided by The Washington Post, "...from all of the events of this past year I have a profound concern that the mission of stewardship, protection,...

Semiconductor breakthrough may be game-changer for organic solar cells

Jan 17, 2018: In an advance that could push cheap, ubiquitous solar power closer to reality, researchers have found a way to coax electrons to travel much further than was previously thought possible in the materials often used for organic solar cells and other organic semiconductors.

French company debuts hydrogen-powered bikes

Jan 17, 2018: Pragma Industries is the first company to begin industrial production of hydrogen-powered bicycles for commercial and municipal purposes. Founded in 2004, Pragma has turned its fuel-cell expertise, gained through building and supply cells for the French military among other clients, to the development of hydrogen fuel-cell powered bikes. Based in Biarritz, France, Pragma has already secured 60 orders for the hydrogen bikes from French municipalities such as Saint Lo, Cherbourg, Chambery and Bayonne....

The world's largest wildlife sanctuary proposed for Antarctica

Jan 17, 2018: While the US is busy trying to open more precious areas to fishing and drilling, a campaign led by the EU and Greenpeace seeks to protect an area the size of Germany in Antarctica. A nearly 700,000 square-mile around the Antarctic Penninsula and the Weddell sea would become the world's largest sanctuary if the proposal is accepted, protecting killer and blue whales, seals, penguins and other sea life.  …

Iceland supermarket commits to eliminating plastic within five years

Jan 17, 2018: Iceland Foods has committed to removing all plastic from its brand-name products within the next five years and replacing it with recyclable materials such as pulp and paper. The UK-based supermarket chain is the first major retailer in the country to commit to a complete elimination of plastic. “The world has woken up to the scourge of plastics. A truckload is entering our oceans every minute, causing untold damage to our marine environment and ultimately humanity – since we all depend on the...

Geothermal-powered Halifax home uses automation for energy savings

Jan 17, 2018: Omar Gandhi Architect completed a handsome luxury home in Halifax that’s both modern in appearance and in its use of energy-efficient technologies. Located in the south end of Halifax, Nova Scotia, the Syncline House is a two-story residence with a mezzanine set atop a rocky foundation that inspired the home’s name. Energy efficiency was a major feature of the new-build, from the ample natural lighting and triple-glazed windows to the use of geothermal and solar energy. Set atop...

Smart Home targets affordability and eco-friendly design in Australia

Jan 17, 2018: Green Sheep Collective aimed to create an affordable and highly energy efficient home with the design of Smart Home, a renovation and extension in Melbourne, Australia. Built for approximately $200 per square foot, the home is by no means a low-cost home but the price is impressive given the inclusion of high-level environmentally sustainable principles and components. In contrast to Melbourne’s many McMansions, the Smart Home is a site-specific compact home that boasts low to zero emissions, recycled...

Cape Town's water pipes could run dry by April

Jan 16, 2018: Cape Town in South Africa is experiencing its worst drought in a century, according to Reuters, and their water supply is in trouble. City authorities are scrambling to drill boreholes or construct desalination plants, but Day Zero - when water taps could run dry - is now April 22. Related:…

Most active volcano in the Philippines sends locals and tourists fleeing

Jan 16, 2018: Mount Manyon, the most active volcano in the Philippines, sent lava billowing down its slopes on Tuesday and prompted an evacuation of more than 21,000 locals who live in threatened areas. According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, lava flowed as far as 1.2 miles from the crater while ash from the volcanic activity spread to several communities in the northeastern Albay Province, where Manyon is located. Although the sight of an active volcano is breathtaking, authorities...

This highly insulated modular home is completely self-sustaining

Jan 16, 2018: Going off grid isn’t just for solo meditative retreats—nowadays you can comfortably bring the whole family along. Australian firm Modscape recently completed their latest custom modular build called Franklinford, an off-grid residence in Victoria, Australia. Shared between two families, this four-bedroom home is completely self-sustaining with its own solar system and 80,000-liter water tank. Set in an open farmland in Victoria’s Central Highlands, Franklinford takes design...

Ford's new electric SUV will battle Tesla's Model X

Jan 16, 2018: Over the past few days, Ford has released lots of new information about its future lineup at the Detroit Auto Show. While our eyes were on its latest trucks and even a new Mustang, Ford quietly tweeted some information about its new electric SUV that's slated to arrive in 2020. In a tweet, Ford posted a quick teaser video with the end of it announcing that the new SUV will be called the Mach 1. The Mach 1 name isn't a new name, since its roots go back to the 1960s when it was introduced as a performance...

Heritage-listed church repurposed into modern solar-powered home in Brisbane

Jan 16, 2018: Brisbane-based architecture studio DAHA merged old and new with the Church House, an eye-catching modern home and adaptive reuse project. The unusual combination attaches a sleek structure of concrete, steel, and glass to a brick church, known as the Church of Figuration that was built in 1924. While the church’s position wasn’t moved, the architects carefully positioned the new-build based on climatic site conditions and to optimize passive heating and cooling and conditions for a photovoltaic...

A huge factory was turned into a cozy home with plenty of room leftover for the residents' hobbies

Jan 16, 2018: This renovated residence/factory in Nobeoka, Japan, now functions as a modern home for a couple who wanted to preserve the legacy of the building. Considering the fact that the building was large enough to house production and manufacturing facilities, Schemata Architects reorganized the layout so to include several voids that will serve as areas where the owners can enjoy their future hobbies. The building occupies a corner lot in Nobeoka, Miyazaki Prefecture in Japan. It grew over time to reach...

Over 20,500 people have signed a petition to keep Starbucks out of Yosemite

Jan 16, 2018: Should a corporation like Starbucks be present in a national park like Yosemite? More than 20,000 people don't think so. They've signed a Change.org petition to keep the coffee company out. The petition says the Starbucks would pave the way for more undue development, and that with the opening of the shop the national park "will lose its essence, making it hardly distinguishable from a chaotic and bustling commercial city." Related:…

Perovskite solar cells: Perfection not required

Jan 16, 2018: Metal-organic perovskite layers for solar cells are frequently fabricated using the spin coating technique on industry-relevant compact substrates. These perovskite layers generally exhibit numerous holes, yet attain astonishingly high levels of efficiency. The reason that these holes do not lead to significant short circuits between the front and back contact has now been discovered.

Chinese company unveils wild new electric SUV with a 370-mile range

Jan 16, 2018: Need detachable headlights or augmented reality in your car? Chinese automaker GAC Motor unveiled a wild concept car at the North American International Auto Show that boasts these features - and a range of 370 miles on one charge. The Verge and Engadget covered the vehicle, the Enverge, that GAC debuted as part of their effort to start selling cars in America next year. Related:…

Magnetic liquids improve energy efficiency of buildings

Jan 16, 2018: Climate protection and the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions have been on top of global development agendas. Accordingly, research and development projects have been conducted on national and international levels, which aim for the improvement of the CO2-footprint in diverse processes. Apart from particularly energy-intensive sectors of the industry, the building sector in particular is among the biggest CO2-emmitters: from residential homes, manufacturing facilities and storage depots to big commercial buildings, about 40 percent of the energy consumption within the EU are due to the heating, cooling, air conditioning and lighting of buildings.

Slow 'hot electrons' could improve solar cell efficiency

Jan 16, 2018: Photons with energy higher than the 'band gap' of the semiconductor absorbing them give rise to what are known as hot electrons. The extra energy is lost very fast, as it is converted into heat so it does not contribute to the voltage. Researchers have now found a material in which these hot electrons retain their high energy levels for much longer.

US CO2 emissions declined during Trump's first year as president

Jan 16, 2018: What were United States carbon dioxide emissions like 2017, the first year President Donald Trump was in office? Based on preliminary estimates, the Rhodium Group said US emissions declined by just below one percent, thanks to changes in the energy sector. But emissions from buildings, industry, and transportation increased - and America has a ways to go to meet Paris Agreement goals. Related:…

New satellite paves the way for full-color, full-motion video from space

Jan 15, 2018: Satellites could soon offer colorful new high-definition video and images of our Earth from space. Earth-i, a British New Space company, confirmed its prototype satellite CARBONITE-2 launched successfully. It's a test version of a commercial satellite constellation, the Vivid-i, that the company said will be the "world's first full-color, full-motion video satellite constellation." Related:…

Solar fuels: better efficiency using microwires

Jan 15, 2018: Researchers have made significant efficiency improvements to the technology used to generate solar fuels. This involves the direct conversion of energy from sunlight into a usable fuel (in this case, hydrogen). Using only earth-abundant materials, they developed the most efficient conversion method to date. The trick was to decouple the site where sunlight is captured from the site where the conversion reaction takes place.

The organic farm teaching sustainable growing techniques in Canada's cold, dark north

Jan 15, 2018: Tucked inside the lush boreal forest in Canada's Northwest Territories, you'll find something unexpected. There, cheek to jowl with the ever-encroaching trees sits a thriving farm with snuffling pigs, lush fruit trees, and acres of vegetables, all in an environment that is anything but hospitable to agriculture. But creating a flourishing, regenerative landscape perfect for a productive local farm is exactly what the Northern Farm Traning Institute is all about, and their goal is to help people...

Massive underwater volcanic eruption spewed rock raft visible from space

Jan 15, 2018: Over 70 percent of volcanic activity on our planet occurs on the seafloor, but scientists don't always get a close-up view of the events typically hidden by seawater. In 2012, the Havre volcano, northeast of New Zealand, erupted - and this time researchers got a chance to study the aftermath in what the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution described as "the first up-close investigation of the largest underwater volcanic eruption of the past century." The eruption was so massive it generated a raft...

Specially structured bird of paradise feathers suck up light like a "black hole"

Jan 15, 2018: Scientists have discovered that bird of paradise feathers…

Frank Lloyd Wrights final house hits the market for $3.25 million

Jan 15, 2018: Frank Lloyd Wright’s final project, the Norman Lykes House, is back on the market for $3.25 million. The residence, built into the side of a mountain in Phoenix, Arizona, offers stunning views of the city and includes some of Wright’s most celebrated trademarks. The famous architect designed the house just before his death in 1959. His apprentice, John Rattenbury, was appointed the architect for the home following Wright’s passing, and was hired by the current owners to update the property...

Denmark is cleaning up US pollution in Greenland

Jan 15, 2018: Denmark is cleaning up the United State's mess - literally. Half a century ago, the US abandoned several military bases in Greenland, leaving behind toxic pollution. Now, the Danish government announced that it will foot the bill to clean it up, to the tune of $30 million dollars. After World War II, the US didn't need it's Greenland military bases, so it abandoned them without cleaning them up. Since then, Greenland has petitioned Denmark, which controlled the island as a colony during...

Symbiotic Towers draw inspiration from desert oases to stay cool in Dubai

Jan 15, 2018: Nature and architecture come together in a design for a multi-use development in Dubai. AmorphouStudio drew up the Symbiotic Towers with environmental data to create buildings that will still be comfortable in Dubai's warm season. Voronoi patterns found in natural systems and oasis formation inspired the development design.

Gorgeous live/work home in Melbourne is built with recycled materials

Jan 15, 2018: Austin Maynard Architects completed their latest project, a 12-month build that’s stunning, playful, and eco-friendly. Commissioned by a couple that works from home, the Kiah House is a live/work extension in North Fitzroy, Melbourne that comprises a master bedroom and a treehouse-like office stacked on top. The beautiful home draws inspiration from Japanese and Buddhist influences to create a modern sanctuary that embraces outdoor living and contemporary art. The Kiah House was...

Charred timber home perched above Silicon Valley takes cues from nature

Jan 15, 2018: High above Silicon Valley sits a striking home with a two-story volume clad in blackened cedar. Schwartz and Architecture designed the residence, named Shou Sugi Ban House after the traditional Japanese method used to burn the wood to wrap it in a layer of carbon highly resistant to water, fire, and mold. The charred timber volume is an extension to an existing one-story home, the interior of which was also substantially remodeled by the architects. Located on the crest of a hill in...

All-black solar panel achieves groundbreaking 19.4% efficiency

Jan 12, 2018: California-based Solaria doesn't just offer a sleek, all-black solar panel. They manufacture their PowerXT-350R-PD with less space between the solar cells for better efficiency than conventional solar panels, which tend to hit 15 to 17 percent efficiency, according to the company. In contrast, their black solar panel boasts an efficiency of up to 19.4 percent. Related: + Solaria Via Electrek and Solaria Images via…