September 30, 2009

LCNB Bank Erects Solar Drive-Through

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LCNB Bank claims that they have the first solar powered drive-through. It works like any other but has a solar panel that charges a 12V battery to do its thing. There is enough power for about 1,000 transactions without costing the bank extra electricity, even on cloudy days. Built by E.F. Bavis and Associates Inc., would that this device be adapted for drive-through restaurants, dry cleaners, pharmacies, etc.

Via Business Courier

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September 30, 2009

Smart Solar Dragonfly Light

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Smart's Solar Dragonfly Light casts a pattern on any surface. An Ni-MH battery will give up to 8 hours of light on its white LED when fully charged. At a size of 4 x 4 x 8", it has an on/off switch, is made of galvanized steel and comes in antique brown.

Via Smart Solar

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September 29, 2009

Luna Road Glo Solar-Powered Paint

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Luna Road is a clever company that provides solar solutions such as easy to install Streetlights and portable Decolights. But what really got our attention was their Glo solar powered paint. Not only can they be used for roads and highways, it can be applied to tunnels, street signs and fire hydrants. The energy it absorbs will last for up to 10 hours with a life span of 2 to 3 years.

Via Luna Road

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September 29, 2009

Suspended Solar Globe Rotates Continuously

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Leave it to Hammacher Schlemmer to come up with a deluxe solar globe that rotates. Developed by a team of physicists, photoreceptors inside it gather both sun and incandescent light to power its internal drive. The planet's magnetic field provides the torque to spin it. The globe itself is suspended in a clear acrylic shell in liquid and can rotate 360º in any direction while staying upright. The 8.5" Perpetually Rotating Solar Globe carries a hefty price of $399.99, but it not only turns and displays land and water location, it has 3,5000 place names.

Via Hammacher Schlemmer

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September 28, 2009

Verde es Bueno Buildable, Affordable Housing

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Container houses that can be shipped are neat enough, even better if they have been made of recycled materials. Buenos Aires' Verde es Bueno (green is good) looks better than most prefabs and will save energy partially with solar panels, LED lighting and extra insulation. The 4 room house has surfaces covered with bonded leather (not good for PETA fans) and wood from sustainably managed forests.

Via Tree Hugger

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SolarWindows Generate Energy for Own Buildings

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New Energy has been producing solar cells in transparent SolarWindows that can generate electricity from fluorescent lighting in offices and commercial buildings. When tested, the tiny solar cells produced twice the power of mono crystalline silicon, 8 times more than copper-indium-selenide and 10 times more than thin amorphous-silicon. The research has a ways to go as they figure the first applications would be in solar calculators, MP3 players, etc.

Via Clean Technica

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September 25, 2009

Solar Butterfly Wind Chimes

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We don't tend to appreciate "pretty," but these Butterfly Wind Chimes may soften our rough edges. They collect energy during the day and begin to shine when fully charged with their solar powered, multicolored LED lights. At a size of 20" in length and 6' of cord, they come with a clip and suction cup for mounting.

Via Butterfly Wind Chimes

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Site O' the Week: GSE Solar Plates Work In Bright Light

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GreenSun Energy has developed solar panels that only need bright light to recharge as opposed to requiring direct sunshine. The multi-colored plates capture light and diffuse it to solar receptors located on the edges of them. If you live in an area that is not sunny CA, this is indeed a good thing. GSE has been around for about 20 years and develops, produces and sells systems to help save the planet. And for their tireless efforts, we award our SOW to the Jerusalem based company.

Via GreenSun Energy

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September 24, 2009

Solar Winds Coffee House Concept

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There are design concepts that are neat, some that are utile and others that are almost more artsy than we can handle. Michael Jantzen's Solar Winds Coffee House is completely powered by both the sun and wind, with photovoltaic cells, a wind turbine and a geo-thermal heat pump. To be built of only sustainable materials, it will have an option for rainwater gathering and storage. And while he is at it, could we have that in earth tones?

Via Green Muze

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Novothink Surge Charger Series Apple Approved

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Novothink has produced the first Apple approved Solar Charger series. The Surges are available for the iPhone 3G and 3GS as well as the iPod touch 2G. In several different colors, each has a USB connection to charge or sync with iTunes without taking your iPhone/iPod out of its case. It also comes with a Novocord to attach to belt, backpack or wrist and a Solar Planner App to figure your needs based on usage. At a price of ~ $70.00, the Surges provide 30 minutes of power from two hours of exposure. Look for their debut this month.

Via Novothink

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September 23, 2009

Tom Lopez, the Gardener's Inventor

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When Tom Lopez decided to repair his wife's broken down tiller motor, he replaced it with an electric one run by solar charged batteries. But he didn't stop there. The inventor, who has a degree in aerospace engineering, came up with 10 walking tractors, used for plowing or weeding, that were converted to solar power as well. He also has been working on a solar riding tractor and hopes that the entire line will be picked up by an investor for mass distribution. We hope so, too.

Via Reporter Herald

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White House to Become Greener

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In addition to all his other myriad of duties, President Obama wants the White House to become LEED certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) by the U.S. Green Building Council. To do this, Christine Glunz, CEQ spokesperson, says that they are hoping to reduce their carbon footprint with energy management systems, window films to lower UV rays, auto light sensors and low-flow water valves. They will also utilize biodegradable cleaners and recycled equipment, and any leftover materials will be donated to local reuse organizations.

This is not the first time a president has gone green. Back in 1979, Jimmy Carter installed a solar water heater on the West Wing's roof and G.W. installed both a small photovoltaic system and two solar water heating systems.

Via Sierra Club

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September 22, 2009

Luxury Plus on Super Solar Yacht

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Dennis Ingemansson has designed a 45m super yacht for the Dutch company Esthec. The ship generates solar energy to keep the electric engine going and is light weight, has recyclable parts and little maintenance. Shown at the Monaco Yacht Show 2009, it features a high tech interior and swimming pool. We want one!

Via Super Yacht

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Bronze Solar Lamp Has Variable Adjustment

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The bronze Smart Solar Powered Table Lamp doesn't simply shed light, it has 10 bright light and 10 soft amber glow LEDs to choose between. The base's button switches between off and two color settings. A natural light charge produces 8 hours of use and at a size of 11.2 x 11.2 x 13.4", it comes with rechargeable Ni-MH batteries.

Via Smart Solar Powered Bronze Table Lamp

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September 21, 2009

Rice Competes at Decathlon with Zerow House

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Students at Texas' Rice University have designed the Zerow (Zero Energy Row) House, an 800 sq. ft. solar home that will be entered into the USDE Solar Decathlon competition. Up against 19 other houses next month at the National Mall in Washington , D.C., their aim is to make the house not only energy efficient, but affordable. The final cost of the entire house, with photovoltaic panel and evacuated tube hot water systems included, came to $160,000.00. The team plans to donate their edifice to Project Row Houses, a local community development organization in Houston, giving us reason to hope that they win and that their efforts will be appreciated.

Via Rice Zerow House

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Volkswagen's E-Up! Green Car

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Volkswagen has a new electric car they have dubbed the E-Up!, no doubt named after the fact that that it is powered by electrons. The 10 1/2 car seats four and can hit 60 mph in about 11 seconds. A 18 kWh lithium ion battery pack weighing 530 kilograms is seated underneath the vehicle in an air-cooled, crash-protected tray. The port for battery charging is located under its logo and the roof has solar cells to both supply energy to the electrical system and cool its interior. Don't get too excited. Production of the E-Up! is slated to begin in 2013 and become available for all by 2020.

Via Fareast Gizmos

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September 17, 2009

China to Have Largest Solar Plant on Planet

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China will soon have the planet's largest photovoltaic power plant that will power as many as 3 million homes with 2000MW of solar electricity. Interestingly enough, Government officials put the US company First Solar in charge and they will probably build a factory there to complete the project. The $6 billion plan is to be built in the Mongolian desert, will begin in June 2010 and should be completed by 2019.

Via NY Times

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Teens Create Solar Panel with Human Hair

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A team of teenagers in Nepal replaced silicon with human hair to create a solar panel that is 75% less expensive than those made now, and even less if you sweep up at your local stylist's shop. Since the hair has Melanin, which is sensitive to light and acts as conductor, the result was a panel that produces 18W at 9V and only costs £23 (~$38.00.) Head of the group, Milan Karki, claims, "This is an easy solution for the crisis we are having today. We have begun the long walk to save the planet." Amen to that.

Via Daily Mail

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September 16, 2009

Energy Curtains Collect and Create Energy

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The team of Anders Ernevi, Margot Jacobs, Ramia Mazé, Carolin Müller, Johan Redström and Linda Worbin not only design window shades, they make ones that create energy. Solar collecting and light emitting materials are built into the Energy Curtains and the length of time they are drawn during the day determines the amount of solar energy that can be used in the dark. It's a nice idea for a room that you only want to use at night, not so good for plants and people that thrive on the sun.

Via Static

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Key Hole Lamp Lightens Dark Entrances

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Get into that shed or back door more easily with the Solar Key Hole Light. The eco-friendly white LED comes with 3 interchangeable covers (brass, chrome and white,) mounts easily, and has an on/off switch. The light is good for 720 uses when fully charged.

Via Smart Solar Key Hole Light

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September 15, 2009

Early Tokai Solar Cars

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After posting about the University of Tokai's entry into the Global Green Challenge, we happened to notice that they have been doing it for quite a while now. It seems that in the past, the vehicles were more whimsical and gimmicky than the ones produced now, including one with Doraemon, Japan's robotic cat.

Via 3 Yen

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Next Gen Solar Cells Smaller

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Associate Professor Paul Meredith, from the Universary of Queensland, has been working on the next generation of solar cells. They are made of molded plastic, are tiny and can be stuck to windows for shade tinting or on a roof. Meredith says that the cells should be out on the market in the next three years and can also be utilized for vehicles, cell phones and PMPs. The cost should be around $1.00 per watt, about an eighth of that of a silicon cell.

Via Brisbane Times

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September 14, 2009

Uganda telecom to Offer Solar Cell Phones

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Uganda telecom has unveiled their first cell phone that runs on solar power after an initial electrical charge. The Kasana is made from recycled materials and has a built-in solar panel. An hour of exposure provides up to 12 hrs. of talk time. The UCC (Uganda Communications Commission) claims that only 10% of the country has access to electricity and that only 30% have mobile phone excess.

Via New Vision

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Wixom Assembly Plant To Become Renewable Energy Park

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Good news for Michiganders. Ford has teamed with Austin, Texas' Xtreme Power to turn the now empty Wixom Assembly Plant into a renewable energy manufacturing park. About $725 million will be spent on the 320 acre site and 4.7 million square feet of building. The companies will use half of the space to create solar panels, wind turbines, batteries and turnkey systems and lease the rest of the space. Best of all, more than 4,000 jobs will be created as well as support for suppliers. The makeover will begin early next year and should be completed late in 2011.

Via Ford

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September 11, 2009

Gaiam Solar AM/FM Radio

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Gaiam's Solar Powered AM/FM Radio also features a flashlight, emergency siren and a very tiny price. The built-in solar panel offers up to 12 hours of usage per charge and the device can also be hand cranked, or run on 2 AA batteries or AC/DC power.

Via Gaiam Solar Powered AM/FM Radio

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Solar Site O' the Week: San Jose Tech Museum

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Beginning in 2001, the Tech Museum in San Jose has been awarding those who think green. This year Al Gore received an individual Tech Award. Other laureates announced were Dr. Joseph Adelegan and his Cows to Kilowatts program in Nigeria that turns slauterhouse waste into methane, GRUPEDSAC in Mexico that works on alternate energy sources like solar ovens and SuryaHurricane that provides mobile solar lighting and panels on boats in Bangladesh for transient settlers in flood and hurricane prone areas.

We were so pleased that the Museum rewards others for their humanitarian services that we name their online site this week's SOW. Visit it to see the other winners.

Via Tech Awards

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September 10, 2009

SunVee Inspired by Y2K

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The SunVee (Solar Utility Neighborhood Vehicle) takes your basic cart and integrates solar-electric panels to charge batteries for powering up an electric motor. It has a top speed of 25mph and can travel about 30 miles. The concept began in 1999 by Kelly Hart, who was concerned with both Y2K and the environment. The original Sunmobile worked both by solar energy and pedaling. Fred Flintstone would be proud.

Via SunVee

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Floating Solar Lamp Changes Hues

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There is nothing quite like taking a dip in your pool or jacuzzi with the Floating Solar Power Lamp and getting in the mood as it changes colors. Working continuously, the built-in LED bulbs automatically come on as the sun sets and can work for up to 15 hours or when your skin turns wrinkly, whichever comes first.

Via Solar Pool Lighting

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September 9, 2009

Yale's Kroon Hall Becomes Carbon Neutral

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Kroon Hall at Yale, its School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, is one of the first US buildings to become carbon neutral. It only uses about half the energy of any comparable building and has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 62%. The $33.5 million edifice gets 26% of its electricity from a 100KW rooftop photovoltaic array and uses advanced solar shading to lower its energy usage.

Via Kroon Hall

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Artist Creates Solar Hammer

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Artist Betsy Alwin has created a solar powered hammer at the Ace of Diamond Mine in Middleville, NY after watching miners. The inspiration of the "Determination and Desire / Destruction and Beauty," came after she witnessed their act of hammering and found it to be both obsessive and compulsive when seeking the perfect diamond. While we admit we can't quite see the connection, we admire Alwin for finding art in one of the least likely places.

Via WKTV

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September 8, 2009

China First in Producing Low Carbon Tech

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Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair claims in a report by the Climate Group that China is in the forefront of developing and commercializing low carbon technology by producing electric vehicles, wind turbines, solar panels and energy efficient appliances. The Report from The Climate Group says that the country supplies 40% of the planet's solar PV technology.

Via The Climate Group

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Basket Rotates Plants Under the Sun

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Treat your plants to a better sun bath with a Solar Powered Hanging Plant Basket Rotator. Attach it to your gardenia and it will turn a full 360º twice a day. Needing no batteries, the device uses a weatherproof timer and internal solar cell to power up. The Rotator comes in two sizes, one that can handle up to 20 lbs. and another that can take on 27 lbs.

Via
Rotating Plant Basket

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September 7, 2009

GBIC to Become Greener Airport

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The George Bush Intercontinental Airport, which is part of the Houston Airport System, has received $8.8 million in government grants to go green. After installing solar panels, heaters and chillers that will replace the gas-powered steam energy system, they estimate that change will cut emissions by 60%. The GBIC is one of 9 that received grants from the FAA Airport Improvement Program and should be up and running by 2011.

Via FAA

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Solar Roadways Gets Grant for Prototype

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Solar Roadways has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the DOT to build a working prototype. It will not only generate electricity, but being made of solar cells, glass and LEDs, it will provide info that is normally found on highway signs and melt snow and ice with built-in heating elements. The estimate is that one mile can power up to 500 homes. Each 12 x 12 ft. panel will cost $6,900 that can be recovered by charging customers for energy. The company estimates that it will take 5 billion panels to cover all the asphalt in the US.

Via Solar Roadways

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September 4, 2009

Kaito AM/FM Emergency Radio

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The Kaito AM/FM Emergency Radio is handy dandy when that next hurricane or tornado blows out your power. It works either by solar power, hand cranking, batteries or AC (adapter not included.) The KA339 has a convenient LED lantern, flashlight and siren. At a size of 8.2 x 5.5 x 2.5" and a weight of only 1.1 lbs., it would also be great for camping.

Via Kaito AM/FM Emergency Radio


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Solar Site O' the Week: My Solar Shop

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Our SOW this week it the literally refreshing My Solar Shop. They feature solar flowers such as this 8 x 8 x 15" Daisy that you can add to your garden or walkway. It is weather resistant and shows off with an LED white light at a price of $29.99 (batteries included.) The site has other flowers as well as as figurines, fountains and floating lamps. We think it is a fine thing when someone offers up solar gadgets that keep us greener in a more attractive way.

Via My Solar Shop

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September 3, 2009

Picnic With Cooladio

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Take those last days of summer and turn them into a few picnics with the Picnic Plus Cooladio Solar Cooler. The thermal foil-insulated cooler also contains a solar docking station with 2 speakers to house and charge up your PMP. For those who want a solitary experience, it also houses a headphone jack. The cooler is leak proof, has side pockets for storage and shoulder straps for carrying, and comes at a price of $84.99.

Via Sports Authority

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iPhone Solar Charger

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iPhones never seem to have a long enough life when you are right in the middle of using them, so for very little funding you can keep them going with the Solar Emergency Battery Recharger. Made for the 3G and 3Gs models, it attaches easily to the phone's port and takes about 2 hours for a full charge. It can be renewed via your PC's USB port.

Via Solar Emergency Battery Recharger

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September 2, 2009

Solar House Graces Greek Zante Islands

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The architecture firm Formodesign is into building housing on the water. The one shown here actually exists on Navagio beach on the Greek Zante Islands. The home is solar powered and can only be accessed by boat. We find the idea pretty cool and a literal way to sleep with the fishes.

Via Trend Hunter

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Fold Up Solaris 26 When Not in Use

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Solar panels can be quite bulky, so Brunton came up with the 21.5 x 37.5" Solaris 26 that folds up to a mere 11 x 8.5" when not in use. The thin CIGS solar cells can convert even low light into power. This means that the 26 watts can keep your laptop or camcorder going while you are traveling, camping or going through a power outage. As a bonus, it includes a clamp cable for charging car batteries.

Via Solaris 26


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September 1, 2009

Take An Urban Vehicle to Work

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Jay Sim has an interesting point of view. He thinks that the failure of ecofriendly cars thus far is in the entire system. The industrial designer's concept suggests that instead of owning and driving an EV to work, Urban Vehicle 2023 can be rented as a connection to mass transit systems. The car has an electric engine powered by roof-mounted solar panels.

Via Ecofriend

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Chevron Utilizes Solar Thermal Technology

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Somehow this seems an oxymoron. Chevron has decided to use solar thermal technology from BrightSource Energy to pump oil from some of its older wells in California. About 7,000 mirrors mirrors reflect light that are used to run turbines to generate electricity. Steam is pumped underground and heats up the oil so it is easier to extract. Chevron plans on building the solar plant sometime next year.

Via Reuters

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