Tech innovators don’t see the rural poor as a viable market. They don’t put money into inventing better and cheaper ways for very poor people to light their homes, cook or run appliances off the grid. “But because of the things you desire, these things have become reality,” Gaurav said. “LED technology, very efficient batteries and a falling solar panel price have suddenly allowed lights to be delivered to off-grid households at a fraction of the cost. “

Tiny New Satellite Produces Beautiful Global Vegetation Map - Wired Science
A satellite barely bigger than a washing machine and launched just two months ago has already made this great map of the world’s vegetation. 
The Belgian-built satellite called Proba-V is the latest in the European Space Agency’s PROBA series of small satellites and will take over vegetation monitoring duties from the Spot-4 and Spot-5 satellites, which are at the end of a 15-year mission.
Proba-V will circle the Earth 14 times a day, covering the entire globe every two days with its 100-meter resolution camera. Every 10 days, a new 200,000 megapixel image of the world’s vegetation will be produced.

Tiny New Satellite Produces Beautiful Global Vegetation Map - Wired Science

A satellite barely bigger than a washing machine and launched just two months ago has already made this great map of the world’s vegetation. 

The Belgian-built satellite called Proba-V is the latest in the European Space Agency’s PROBA series of small satellites and will take over vegetation monitoring duties from the Spot-4 and Spot-5 satellites, which are at the end of a 15-year mission.

Proba-V will circle the Earth 14 times a day, covering the entire globe every two days with its 100-meter resolution camera. Every 10 days, a new 200,000 megapixel image of the world’s vegetation will be produced.

upcominghorizon:

Amazon Is Building A Biosphere For Its Employees

If you’ve ever dreamed of working in a lush, greenery-filled dome, consider moving to Seattle. That’s where Amazon is building a biosphere (made out of three intersecting domes) alongside a new skyscraper project. Plans for the 65,000 square foot structure, unveiled earlier this month, call for a general temperature range of 68 to 72 degrees and plants from high-elevation climates (that’s the “montane ecologies” below) that can thrive in the weather.

It’s an experimental work environment, sure, but it’s not all that different from how tech companies like Google and Facebook are building green roofs for their employees to enjoy. Facebook’s roof will even have hiking trails. In rainy Seattle, an indoor biosphere might be preferable.

full article

IBM Solar Collector Harnesses the Power of 2,000 Suns | Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building 
A team of IBM researchers is working on a solar concentrating dish that will be able to collect 80% of incoming sunlight and convert it to useful energy. The High Concentration Photovoltaic Thermal system will be able to concentrate the power of 2,000 suns while delivering fresh water and cool air wherever it is built. As an added bonus, IBM states that the system would be just one third the cost third of current comparable technologies. Based on information by Greenpeace International and the European Electricity Association, IBM claims that it would require only two percent of the Sahara’s total area to supply the world’s energy needs. The HCPVT system is designed around a huge parabolic dish covered in mirror facets. The dish is supported and controlled by a tracking system that moves along with the sun. Sun rays reflect off of the mirror into receivers containing triple junction photovoltaic chips, each able to convert 200-250 watts over eight hours. Combined hundred of the chips provide 25 kilowatts of electricity.
The entire dish is cooled with liquids that are 10 times more effective than passive air methods, keeping the HCPVT safe to operate at a concentration of 2,000 times on average, and up to 5,000 times the power of the sun. The direct cooling technique is inspired by the branched blood supply system of the human body and has already been used to cool high performance computers like the Aquasar. The system will also be able to create fresh water by passing 90 degree Celsius liquid through a distillation system that vaporizes and desalinates up to 40 liters each day while still generating electricity. It will also be able to amazingly offer air conditioning by a thermal drive absorption chiller that converts heat through silica gel.
Replacing expensive steel and glass with concrete and pressurized foils, the HCPVT is less costly than many other similar installations. Its high tech coolers and molds can be manufactured in Switzerland, and construction provided by individual companies on-site. Through their design, IBM believes they can maintain a cost of less than 10cents per kilowatt hour.
 
 


IBM Solar Collector Harnesses the Power of 2,000 Suns | Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building

A team of IBM researchers is working on a solar concentrating dish that will be able to collect 80% of incoming sunlight and convert it to useful energy. The High Concentration Photovoltaic Thermal system will be able to concentrate the power of 2,000 suns while delivering fresh water and cool air wherever it is built. As an added bonus, IBM states that the system would be just one third the cost third of current comparable technologies.

 
Based on information by Greenpeace International and the European Electricity Association, IBM claims that it would require only two percent of the Sahara’s total area to supply the world’s energy needs. The HCPVT system is designed around a huge parabolic dish covered in mirror facets. The dish is supported and controlled by a tracking system that moves along with the sun. Sun rays reflect off of the mirror into receivers containing triple junction photovoltaic chips, each able to convert 200-250 watts over eight hours. Combined hundred of the chips provide 25 kilowatts of electricity.

The entire dish is cooled with liquids that are 10 times more effective than passive air methods, keeping the HCPVT safe to operate at a concentration of 2,000 times on average, and up to 5,000 times the power of the sun. The direct cooling technique is inspired by the branched blood supply system of the human body and has already been used to cool high performance computers like the Aquasar. The system will also be able to create fresh water by passing 90 degree Celsius liquid through a distillation system that vaporizes and desalinates up to 40 liters each day while still generating electricity. It will also be able to amazingly offer air conditioning by a thermal drive absorption chiller that converts heat through silica gel.

Replacing expensive steel and glass with concrete and pressurized foils, the HCPVT is less costly than many other similar installations. Its high tech coolers and molds can be manufactured in Switzerland, and construction provided by individual companies on-site. Through their design, IBM believes they can maintain a cost of less than 10cents per kilowatt hour.

 

 

(via phroyd)

Cheaper LED Bulbs Make It Easier to Switch Lights - NYTimes.com
LEDs last about 25 times as long as incandescents and three times as long as CFLs; we’re talking maybe 25,000 hours of light. Install one today, and you may not own your house, or even live, long enough to see it burn out. (Actually, LED bulbs generally don’t burn out at all; they just get dimmer.)
You know how hot incandescent bulbs become. That’s because they convert only 5 to 10 percent of your electricity into light; they waste the rest as heat. LED bulbs are far more efficient. They convert 60 percent of their electricity into light, so they consume far less electricity. You pay less, you pollute less.

Cheaper LED Bulbs Make It Easier to Switch Lights - NYTimes.com

LEDs last about 25 times as long as incandescents and three times as long as CFLs; we’re talking maybe 25,000 hours of light. Install one today, and you may not own your house, or even live, long enough to see it burn out. (Actually, LED bulbs generally don’t burn out at all; they just get dimmer.)

You know how hot incandescent bulbs become. That’s because they convert only 5 to 10 percent of your electricity into light; they waste the rest as heat. LED bulbs are far more efficient. They convert 60 percent of their electricity into light, so they consume far less electricity. You pay less, you pollute less.

10 Most Impressive Smart Cities On Earth
It wasn’t too long ago that the term ‘Smart City’ was not on very many people’s radar screens, but today smart cities are popping up all over the place and people are becoming more familiar with what that entails. In case you’re not familiar with the term a smart city uses information combined with technology to improve quality of life, reduce environmental impact, and decrease energy demand. This list of the smartest cities on the planet takes those factors into consideration, as well as the ‘smart’ plans the city might have for the future.

10 Most Impressive Smart Cities On Earth

It wasn’t too long ago that the term ‘Smart City’ was not on very many people’s radar screens, but today smart cities are popping up all over the place and people are becoming more familiar with what that entails. In case you’re not familiar with the term a smart city uses information combined with technology to improve quality of life, reduce environmental impact, and decrease energy demand. This list of the smartest cities on the planet takes those factors into consideration, as well as the ‘smart’ plans the city might have for the future.

Five Ways The Government Can Create Sustainable Innovation | Co.Exist
The government doesn’t have the best track record when investing directly in sustainable companies, but there is a lot it can do to create an environment conducive to real innovation. This is how it should do it in Obama’s second term.

Five Ways The Government Can Create Sustainable Innovation | Co.Exist

The government doesn’t have the best track record when investing directly in sustainable companies, but there is a lot it can do to create an environment conducive to real innovation. This is how it should do it in Obama’s second term.

smartercities:

Transport infrastructure is one of the main contributors to the increase of carbon emissions. But decarbonising the industry is likely to be challenging given that transport demand has continued to rise. In the OECD, passenger transport volumes in 2050 are expected to be 10% to 50% higher than in 2010. Freight transport is expected to grow by 50% to 130%.

How will these twin challenges play out? In this video, the Economist Intelligence Unit investigates how to make transport more sustainable.

While the predictable nature of tides makes them an ideal renewable energy source, more so than wind, the ability to effectively harness energy from the tides has proved elusive. In order to develop effective tidal current technology, a special issue of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A describes the status of leading research and projects in the field to rapidly advance tidal energy technology.

The sharing economy: Grist’s theme for January | Grist
This thing we call “the sharing economy” — the messy, fascinating world of networked goods exchange, freecycling, carsharing, and beyond — is an unusual hybrid of normally warring sensibilities and belief systems.
It’s got enough touchy-feely-huggy utopianism to turn the stomach of any self-respecting contemporary skeptic. But it’s got enough market-economics pragmatism to raise the hackles of your typical leftie communitarian.
The sharing economy, in other words, cuts across our assumptions in intriguing ways. That’s one reason we’ve picked this subject as our January theme here at Grist. Another is that the sharing-economy vision offers one imaginable route around that big pileup on the road just ahead of us, where an out-of-control growth economy is slamming into the physics of climate.
Why is there so much buzz and innovation around sharing right now? Part of it is the limping economy, of course — the “real one,” the one that’s all what’s mine is mine. Part of it is a growing awareness that mindless consumption is a big ingredient in the recipe for our sweating climate. And then there’s technology.

The sharing economy: Grist’s theme for January | Grist

This thing we call “the sharing economy” — the messy, fascinating world of networked goods exchange, freecycling, carsharing, and beyond — is an unusual hybrid of normally warring sensibilities and belief systems.

It’s got enough touchy-feely-huggy utopianism to turn the stomach of any self-respecting contemporary skeptic. But it’s got enough market-economics pragmatism to raise the hackles of your typical leftie communitarian.

The sharing economy, in other words, cuts across our assumptions in intriguing ways. That’s one reason we’ve picked this subject as our January theme here at Grist. Another is that the sharing-economy vision offers one imaginable route around that big pileup on the road just ahead of us, where an out-of-control growth economy is slamming into the physics of climate.

Why is there so much buzz and innovation around sharing right now? Part of it is the limping economy, of course — the “real one,” the one that’s all what’s mine is mine. Part of it is a growing awareness that mindless consumption is a big ingredient in the recipe for our sweating climate. And then there’s technology.

The Greenest Office Building In The World Is About To Open In Seattle | Co.Exist
The Bullitt Center is made from totally clean materials, has composting toilets, and catches enough rainwater to survive a 100-day drought. And it’s 100% solar-powered, in a city not known for its sunny days.

The Greenest Office Building In The World Is About To Open In Seattle | Co.Exist

The Bullitt Center is made from totally clean materials, has composting toilets, and catches enough rainwater to survive a 100-day drought. And it’s 100% solar-powered, in a city not known for its sunny days.