Green tech finds – 8/18/11

Old school shipping, CO2 as a source of fuel and yet another new solar technology for charging your phone: this week’s green tech finds.

Another recycling robot: While not as directly practical as the ZenRobotics Recycler we mentioned in an earlier post, Florida Robotics‘ Dr. R.E. Cycler is designed for educational purposes – essentially, to show kids what happens to the aluminum cans that go into those blue bins. Take a quick look at it above. (via Fast Company and @TaigaCompany)

Plug-in hybrids meet car sharing: Enterprise Rent-a-Car’s WeCar car sharing program is adding a Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid demonstration vehicle to its fleet at Yahoo!’s campus in Sunnyvale, California.

Offshore wind farms – good for wildlife? That may be the case: a new study out of the Netherlands suggests that not only do offshore wind turbines produce minimal negative effects for ocean fauna, but they can also provide a habitat for numerous species. (via The Guardian and @adamwerbach)

More solar phone charging: Engineers at UCLA have developed a new way to charge your phone when you’re away from an outlet, “one that involves equipping these devices’ LCD screens with built-in photovoltaic polarizers, allowing them to convert ambient light, sunlight and their own backlight into electricity.” (via Green Conduct and @oppgreen)

Shipping canals could cut cargo emissions: Canals are hardly cutting edge, but in the UK they’re getting a second look as researchers find that shipping by barge can cut carbon emissions dramatically. The Manchester Ship Canal, opened in 1894, has become a test case. (via Grist)

Find a parking space on your phone: Wasting gas by circling the neighborhood or a garage in pursuit of a parking space? Sure, you could avoid that by taking the bus or biking, but when you need to drive, the Parker app from Bay Area start-up Streetline ties into the company’s sensor network to help you find a spot. You can also pay for your parking with it. The downside: it’s only available in a handful of locations at this point. (via San Jose Mercury News and @RepowerAmerica)

CO2 to fuel? The idea of collecting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and recycling it into fuel has been around for some time, but the energy equation has never made sense. Researchers at the Sandia National Laboratories are working on developing solar technology for the process so we don’t have to burn fossil fuels to capture CO2. (via @Greenopolis)

Anything else on your radar in the green tech space? Tell us what we missed in the comments.


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