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Green tech finds (7/14/11)


“Brown” hybrids, super-efficient wind turbines, and a solar-powered golf bag… your green tech finds for the week.

  • Not all hybrids are created equal: Yep, the Prius, the Honda Civic Hybrid, and the Ford Fusion Hybrid all deliver on the value promised by this vehicle platform. But, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, there are also a number hybrid models that just aren’t worth the cost, and do very little in terms of fuel efficiency… check out the video from CNET above to see the top five “brownest” hybrids.

  • Enterprise, Fed Ex love them some EVs: Yesterday at the National Summit on Energy Security, Andy Taylor, CEO of Enterprise Holdings (which owns Enterprise Rent-a-Car and others) and Fred Smith, CEO of Fed Ex, made impassioned arguments for ramping up vehicle electrification. Marc Gunther has the details…

  • Cover mine-damaged land with solar panels: Dan Hoffman, president of RengenEn Solar in Louisville, Kentucky, has an idea for dealing with land damaged by strip mining and mountaintop removal for coal: cover it in solar panels.

  • Energy efficient, biodegradable carpet: Carpet comes with a pretty heavy environmental footprint, but researchers at UPC’s Terrassa Campus in Spain have developed carpeting that’s compostable, and also cuts the energy use of manufacturing by half. (via Treehugger and @visionaryvalues)

  • The solar golf bag: OK, golf isn’t necessarily the most eco-friendly of pursuits, but if you’re going to hit the links, at least you can now keep your gadgets charged with solar power. (via Earth Techling).

  • Vertical wind turbines that produce 10x the efficiency: Using the movement of schooling fish as inspiration, researchers at CalTech are experimenting with vertical axis wind turbines that maximize winds closer to the ground (and have a much smaller footprint). With certain configurations, they’re generating ten times the power. (via Cleantechnica)

  • Israeli company creates solar window: Pythagoras Solar, an Israeli start-up, claims to have created the world’s first solar window. The technology both generates power, and can shade the inside of the building from sunlight, thus reducing cooling costs.

Got something else? Share it with us in the comments…

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Image credit: DrivingtheNortheast at Flickr under a Creative Commons license