A backpack that recharges your gadgets isn’t even news anymore, but what if it could also turn into a bike? Frag Woodall, a student of University of Technology Sydney, has designed a backpack, called the Everglide, that amazingly is a backpack bike than can charge your iPod.
The backpack can be carried normally, wheeled like luggage or, converted into a bicycle. Instead of utilizing photovoltaics, it charges handheld devices by using "frictionless magnetic dynamo technology." Carbon fiber and aluminum materials make it lightweight and durable. His inspiration for the Everglide came from wanting to address the problems of bicycles being heavy and difficult to store and carry after the user is done riding.
Despite it looking like a funky scooter, there definitely is a need for a convenient bike like this. In any case, it could always be a fun way to power a lightbulb during a power outtage… or your iPod.
Yet another EcoGeek 3 wheel wonder, the Aerorider is Â“the ultimate single seat hybrid: sensational, comfortable, sporty and relaxingÂ”.
The Aerorider is a hybrid – human and electric powered vehicle that can achieve 45km/h (28 mph) cruise and the ability to overcome hills without breaking into a sweat. The single bucket seat supports your entire body placing you in a position to comfortably focus on pedaling. Pedaling efficiency is maximized by the Â“recumbentÂ” position where you are seated with the pedals out in front.
In the United States the Aerorider is considered a bicycle and can go wherever a bike is permitted.
Battery range, usually the Achilles Heel in an electric vehicle, depends on how the Aerorider is used and on the terrain. The more you pedal the greater the range, slopes and frequent acceleration reduce it, so range varies between twenty and eighty kilometers. Various battery options allow the Aerorider to be tailored for your needs. The battery charger can be plugged into a standard household outlet. The more advanced batteries, which are lighter and smaller, can be removed from the vehicle.
The Aerorider is currently under development in Amsterdam.
Intel has recently announced
that their newest chips (and all future chips) are going to be lead-free.
And this is not 99.99% (like we see for batteries and some other
applications for various materials) but 100% lead free.
Intel on Tuesday said its future microprocessors will be lead
free, a move that coincides with the tech industry trend toward more
environmentally friendly products. The chipmaker said its "green"
processors would start with its next generation Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad,
and Xeon products. Production of the 45-nanometer processors is set to
begin the second half of this year.
There are a number of unpleasant chemicals inside the case of the average
PC. But things are starting to get better. European RoHS
standards (which we’ve mentioned before) require reductions
or elimination of many of these chemicals.
Unforunately, lead is not the most egregious of these chemicals, and the CPU
chip is not the greatest source of contamination inside a PC case.
Brominated fire retardants among other chemicals inside the case are
more worrying to us than lead is. We’re generally more excited about
announcements of new processors with lower energy demands,
because those have a bigger impact than the relatively tiny amount of some
elements in the chips. But it’s good to see manufacturers continuing with
these incremental steps, as well as the bigger ones.
Using hydrogen as a vehicle fuel is one of the possible solutions being
touted as a replacement for oil-based fuels. Hydrogen fueled vehicles
would be preferable because their emissions are merely water vapor, rather
than CO2. But carrying around hydrogen in fuel tanks makes people
twitchy. And there is no national infrastructure to distribute hydrogen
the way we currently distribute gasoline.
Researchers at Purdue University have developed a process that
produces hydrogen gas when water comes in contact with special
pellets made of aluminum and gallium. Normally, aluminum quickly forms a
skin on its surface which inhibits this process from taking place (which is why aluminum cans don’t dissolve into clouds of hydrogen gas when filled with liquid). But the gallium
prevents the skin from forming, and allows the aluminum to remain
Of course, refining aluminum in the first place is an incredibly energy
intensive process, so the production of these gallium-aluminum pellets
won’t be cheap. But the ability to produce hydrogen as it is needed and
in a transportable form is an interesting prospect. Those of you who are patiently waiting for the hydrogen economy now have a little bit less to wait for.
It’s amazing the difference good design can make. Yeah, those stupid little lawn lights we see all around nowadays are solar powered. But they’re not very attractive or versatile.
Which is why we love The Corona. The Corona is very attractive and can do pretty much anything. They can be staked into a lawn, hung from a wall or placed on a table. They’re water-proof, use high-efficiency LEDs and look as if they belong in the natural environment.
The materials, design, and idea of the Corona are all completely conscious of the environment. And that environmental consciousness has resulted in a stunningly attractive design. Solar lighting looks to be ready for the big leagues. Who could argue against these gorgeous little things.
The developing world is leapfrogging us again! First they skipped the land-line step, opting for inexpensive and less infrastructure-dependent mobile phones, now it looks like they’re eschewing cables completely and opting for distributed sources of electricity.
Motorola has created a pilot project in Nambia that will power cell towers using solar and wind energy. This, the first project of it’s kind, could be the start of a system that would bring global communications to small and rural communities.
This independence from the electric grid could become a significant empowering force for rural communities across the world. While we don’t have technical details on the project (kilowatts generated, battery backup systems, etc,) we have confidence in Motorola’s ability to create this kind of distributed power and communications network. The question is, can they make it financially viable.
This $100 Kenyan bike engine quickly converts any bicycle to a 100 mpg motorbike. It might not be the most efficient engine, or the cleanest. But as the world develops, simple solutions like these are necessary to make the world a better place for people, without upsetting the balance of the environment.
Based on the Ariel Atom and utilizing next-generation battery materials (of course meaning: no further details available), the Wrightspeed X1 plug-in hybrid will set you back $120,000. The batteries alone cost more than double that used Prius you’ve had your eye on. But a 0-60 time better than any other production street car under $1,000,000 – 3.07 seconds – suddenly makes this supercar look like a bargain.
It’s creator, Ian Wright, created the X1 full-electric prototype in his Silicon Valley garage. It gets 170 MPG equivalent, and even with an electronically limited top speed of 112 MPH it still runs low 11’s in the quarter mile. An obvious EcoGeek, Ian did some math and figured out that we’ll save more fuel by bringing efficiency to the "high-end, big-margin gas guzzlers that garner big profit margins" than by improving already efficient passenger cars.
From the WrightSpeed website:
If reduction in fuel consumption is the goal, it would be better to replace 10mpg cars with 20mpg cars, than to replace 50 mpg cars with 100mpg cars. 5 times better.
Counter-intuitive? HereÂ’s the arithmetic. The 10mpg car uses 10 gallons to go 100 miles. The 20 mpg car uses 5: a saving of 5 gallons. The 50 mpg car uses only 2 gallons for 100 miles, so replacing it with a 100mpg car only saves one gallon.
The street-legal hybrid version, probably available in 2009 or 2010, is slated to be even more powerful.
via Wired News
Remember when the military was on the fore-front of innovation? When what we did at war pulled the world into the future? I’m not saying that war was ever good…I’m just saying that it used to be a lot smarter.
Which is why it’s nice to see the US Army actually considering energy efficiency when building a vehicle. The Aggressor is a diesel-electric hybrid two seater designed for reconnaissance and light transport. While it can easily hit 80 mph and has a zero to forty time of just four seconds, the coolest feature is probably its stealth mode.
The Aggressor can switch to an all-battery mode that makes the vehicle virtually silent. The military initially looked to fuel cells to provide this feature. But then the impracticality of shipping hydrogen around a battlefield hit them, so they paid some attention to the rest of the world and went with batteries.
The Aggressor could be ready for operations within the next couple years. And while it’s kinda sad that these could be the first hybrids Iraq will ever see, it is at least better than the alternative: More Hummers.
Via Popular Mechanics
In Eastern Kenya the four Ututu brothers inherited a large area of fertile farmland, which had been terraced by their father in the late 1950s. Despite this resource, they were experiencing problems because they lacked water both for drinking (meaning wasted time, fetching water from 9 miles away in the dry season) and for irrigation.
The Ututu brothers drilled their first successful well in 1997 where water was found at a depth of 30 feet. One of the brothers, Joseph Ututu, designed a working wind-pump to try on one of the wells. He and his brothers constructed the moving parts mainly from spare bicycle tires, and made the sails from corrugated steel roofing sheets. Joseph is particularly proud of the enclosed pulley mechanism, which has so far worked for six years without maintenance. The wind-pump is fixed in position and faces the prevailing wind. At night, when the wind picks up, the sails turn very fast, clanking and creaking as they turn. Every night, the turbine pumps over 1,000 liters of water.
While it may seem extraordinary that wells had not be Â“discoveredÂ” in this part of Kenya until the last decade or so, the Ututu brothers have certainly capitalized on their initiative. There is a good market for water, and from the income earned they have managed to educate all their children. They have also raised vegetables for food and for sale on a small horticultural plot close to the wells. Since they began, more than 30 wells have been dug by neighbors.
Wells and wind-pumps are hardly revolutionary technologies; nevertheless their development by the Ututus has revolutionized the local water supply. With improved technical knowledge, people gain the tools to make the most of their own imaginative design capability to solve local problems in the most relevant way. We should therefore recognize and encourage initiative where it occurs, and support such creativity with Â“scientificÂ” knowledge.
Via: Afrigadget and Farming Solutions
A 43-foot hydrogen behemoth will take to the streets of Belgium early next month. Rolling in with three axles, a tank of hydrogen and plenty Sodium Nickel Chloride batteries, the new zero-emissions passenger bus will be the largest of its kind. Built as a joint venture between bus manufacturer Van Hool and United Technologies Corp., the mega hybrid will join Europe’s "HyFleet" project. HyFleet is an international panel on a mission to pollinate the European countryside with transit buses powered by H2.
The queen of HyFleet’s fleet will cart over 100 passengers distances of over 217 miles before an H2 fill-up is required. The bus has a 40kg tank on board and the numerous batteries on board can keep 53 kWh of electricity on board to zap the monstrous electric motor. Despite all these impressive techno-stats, the bus’s greatest asset is just being so frikin’ big. The last H2 bus that came along only held 70 riders, so the Van Hool/UTC bus is a money tree in cost-per-rider category.
Via Green Car Congress
Solar Power is cropping up in some weird places. While it’ll take some time for sunlight to become the fuel of the future, already solar power is being adopted by individuals and communities you might not expect.
The city of Rizhao, for example, is a poor coastal city in China. While the per-capita income is significantly lower than surrounding cities, almost every flat surface is covered in solar panels. Of course, these aren’t the electricity-creating kind, they’re the hot-water-creating kind. 99% of the hot water in the city comes from roof-top solar, and all the streetlights are powered by photovoltaics. Though it’s a poor city, Rizhao has turned solar power into an economic engine while becomming one of the ten cleanest cities in China.
And then there’s the Amish. You wouldn’t think that the Amish would be early adopters of anything (as many of them aren’t ready to embrace innovations such as buttons on pants) but solar seems to be right up their alley. Amish families are the leading per-capita adopters of solar in Pennsylvania. Their values of self-sufficiency and moderation are served perfectly by the panels.
So, as it turns out, poor people in China and the Amish are leading the way into the future. It’s about time we caught up.
Via Green Options
and Wired Blogs