If you’re looking for a practical car that’s inexpensive to operate, you may be checking out some of the new generation of electric vehicles: Though they’re still a bit pricey, cars like the Nissan LEAF are designed as solid, day-to-day transportation. But if you want something sleek, or something sporty, something that turns heads… you’ve got to go for something that runs on gas, right?
From cool iPhone covers made from old skateboards to silicon chips that can turn your shoes into phone chargers, there’s a lot of phone-related green tech out there this week.
One of the many symbols of 80s excess, the DeLorean’s back – as an electric vehicle. That, plus recycled jeans and the real cost to drive a Chevy Volt – your green tech finds for the week.
Gas prices getting you down? No worries – we’ve got gas-free transportation options this week, including an electric skateboard that just requires your weight, and a poop-powered rickshaw.
Refrigerate and cook food without electricity? We’ve got finds this week that get you pretty close, along with mushrooms that eat plastic, and plans to reuse dirty diapers (really!).
The DIY, electricity-free refrigerator: Ever heard of a zeer pot? This very old concept for keeping food chilled only requires two clay flower pots, and some sand and water to build yourself. (via @dothegreenthing)
And then cook that food without power: Well, not exactly, but with a lot less power. The Wonderbag keeps food cooking after the heat’s turned off, and was originally designed for very poor people who couldn’t afford much fuel. (via Inhabitat)
Underground skyscrapers, smart windows and more problems with natural gas drilling: Your green tech finds for the week.
Charge your car with your phone: Well, not exactly, but a new app developed by IBM and Swiss utility EKZ allows for better management of when your electric vehicle is charged and what sources of energy are used to charge it. Find out more in the video above. (via @greeneconpost)
The grain silo hotel: While not as green as it could be (because the structures used were built for the project), Silo Stay, a nine-unit New Zealand hotel built from grain silos…
Teenagers build a really fast hybrid, GM’s got an all-electric vehicle in the works, and Nissan has a concept for charging a car in ten minutes: your green tech finds for the week.
Another EV1? Let’s hope not. Chevy plans to start selling the Spark EV (above) in limited US markets in…
A plug-in outdoor table, and how your labtop might contribute to rainforest destruction: this week’s green tech finds.
Wisconsin as a microgrid hub: There’s more than ugly political battles going on in the Badger State. A university-industry consortium announced an initiative to establish “microgrids” at UW campuses in Milwaukee and Madison over the next two years. (via @RepowerAmerica)
Lots of green tech on wheels this week: Ford’s concept e-bike, Peugeot’s tiny electric car, and the Air Force’s big move towards EV adoption.
Ford getting into the bicycle business? Maybe: the company released an e-bike concept at the Frankfurt Auto Show. The frame weighs in at a very light 5.5 pounds, and the electric assist motor can run for 53 miles. (via Matter Network and Rodale)
The printed bicycle: The Aerospace Innovation Centre’s bicycle concept on display at the London Design Festival is made from nylon and created by a process similar to 3D printing. The result: a lightweight frame that’s supposedly as strong as steel. (via Do the Green Thing)
Roads that charge your electric car, biofuel from orange peels, and sucking CO2 out of the air – your green tech finds for the week.
Look out, Volt! The plug-in Prius is here: Car hackers have been converting the Toyota Prius into a plug-in hybrid (like the Chevy Volt) for years. The Japanese automaker has finally gotten in on the trend and released a plug-in version of its popular hybrid for the 2012 model year. That’s it above. (via Greenwala)
Charge your electric car while driving it: The concept of “electrified roadways” that could charge electric vehicles while they’re moving has been around for decades, and Japanese researchers may have now come up with a viable model. “Electrified metal plates are buried under roads, which ‘up-convert’ energy via a radio frequency to a steel belt inside a car’s tires, as well as to a plate sitting above the tire.” (via smartplanet and @greenamericatv)
Pig poop, coconuts, and seaweed: all the stuff of good green tech finds this week.
An affordable, fast and tip-proof electric motorcycle: Lit Motors CEO Daniel Kim claims all of those qualities come together in the C-1 concept, which could be available as early as 2013. Check it out in the video above. (via GreenTech Pastures)
Lots of news on the car front this week, plus electronic paper, and a (partially) green-powered STAR TREK theme park in Jordan (yeah, Jordan).
Lotus’ wine and cheese-powered car: Okay, not exactly, but the British automaker’s Exige 270E Tri-fuel concept can do 0-60 in under four seconds on ethanol made from “undrinkable wine (whew!), whey (a byproduct of making cheese), and surplus chocolate.” Check it out in action above. (via The Discovery Channel)
Ford getting into the solar business? Kind of. They’re partnering with SunPower to offer future buyers of the company’s planned electric vehicles a rooftop solar system that could power the car completely on renewable energy.
“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…
The original electric cars, a solar-powered train tunnel, and geothermal energy harvesting that also sequesters carbon… your green tech finds for the week.
Big battery breakthrough?: Researchers at MIT are redesigning batteries as “semi-solid flow cells,” which could eliminate charging time issues for electric cars, as well as provide viable storage of energy generated from renewable sources. (via Grist)
Solar-powered train tunnel opens in Belgium: A two-mile stretch of train tunnel near Antwerp is now covered with solar panels, and will provide electricity for both high-speed and inter-city rail links, as well as a train station. (via AOL Travel)
Mini electric Hummers, solar-powered prisons, and the climate risk posed by biodegradable products… this week’s green tech finds.
- Autodesk meets sustainability: Design/engineering software suite Autodesk has now added a tool that allows users to generate environmental impact assessments of their creations.
- Biodegradable products may not be climate-friendly: Turns out that biodegradable disposable tableware and such may have a real downside — the creation of methane in landfills (most of which aren’t set up to capture the potent greenhouse gas). (via @conservationval)
Off-grid in the Big Apple, and geothermal energy capture that doesn’t cause earthquakes… your green tech finds for the week.
- The recycling robot: Finnish start-up ZenRobotics claims its ZenRobotics Recycler, a robot designed to sort recyclables from other waste, has correctly identified half the materials presented to it in tests. See the “trailer” for the robot above. (via Good News from Finland)
- Can electric vehicles work in car sharing programs: Electric Vehicle Update discusses the potential issues, and solutions, for incorporating EVs (with their long charging time) into “on-demand” car sharing services. (via Cleantechies)
- Are you ready for an electric vehicle? A new smart phone app and companion website from BMW tracks your current driving habits to show whether you’re ready to transition to an EV. (via Crisp Green)
- Crowdfunding community solar: Berkeley company Solar Mosaic creates a marketplace for individuals to invest in (and get paid from) community solar installations. See how it works above… (via Care2)
A new green smart phone, water from diesel, and the dirtiness of your data… your Earth Week green tech finds.
Recyclemania at Dell: The Austin, TX-based computer and electronics maker announced it recycled more than 150 million pounds of e-waste in 2010. (via GreenTech Pastures)
Google, Department of Energy mapping EV charging stations: The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory is working with Google to map electric vehicle charging stations, along with other alternative vehicle fuels. (via Earth Techling)
- Floating solar panels: “Offshore renewables” has generally meant wind or wave power, but an Australian company has developed a prototype for floating solar panels… and Indian company Tata Power is going to give the concept a go. Check out the Liquid Solar Array in action above. (via Calfinder’s Residential Solar blog)
- Plastic bottle schools: Plastic bottles get recycled into all sorts of consumer products… but the Bottle Schools Project is turning them into literal building blocks for schools in the developing world. (via Springwise and @COSEnergy)
Lots of solar this week… plus an app for Earth Hour, and lighter footprints for U.S. embassies.
- Water, water everywhere: It’s World Water Week, and this cool new interactive map and tool allows you to explore water supplies and consumption by country, and to see the embodied water in a wide range of products. (via @togethergreen)
- The Earth Hour app: Earth Hour 2011 is this Saturday… and this year, while the lights are off, you can check in on activities around the world with the Earth Hour iPhone app. (via The Alternative Consumer)
Raise a glass of Guinness to St. Paddy… and to a couple of Irish green tech finds this week.
Social gaming app for saving energy: JouleBug, a social gaming iPhone app for saving energy, was released this week at SXSW.
ENERGY STAR certified buildings increase by nearly 60%: That’s just one finding from this week’s release of its third annual report on the top 25 cities for ENERGY STAR certified buildings.
Lots of apps this week… for Freecycling, sharing your juice with electric vehicles drivers, and teaching the kids about rainforest ecosystems.
- Organize your Freecycling: Like to search for used treasures on service like Freecycle and Freegle? The Trash Nothing online app allows you to organize your activities at various recycling groups.
- i-Tree 4.0 is out: OK, this won’t garner the attention of the iPad 2, but the latest update of the US Forest Service’s i-Tree online tool for urban and community forest analysis features new applications for tree placement planning for individual land parcels, and “modeling the watershed-scale effects that vegetation has on local hydrology and water quality.”
Pyramid power, flying yachts, and solar soup… your green tech finds for the week.
Rent a Volt: St. Louis-based Enterprise Rent-a-Car now offers the Chevy Volt for rental at its Ontario, California branch.
The case for building efficiency: Energy efficiency measures aren’t as sexy as solar panels, but Heather Clancy shows how they’re paying off… which makes the Obama administration’s Better Building Initiative a smart move in today’s political climate.
Electric scooters, drainwater heat recovery, and 313 mph… this week’s green tech finds.
80% by 2035: Hard to think of any bigger news this week than President Obama’s call for massive investment in clean energy technology… with a goal of 80% of the US’ energy coming from “clean” sources by 2035. SustainableBusiness.com has some reactions to the POTUS’ declaration of a “Sputnik moment.”
Green foundry jobs come to Michigan: The small town of Eaton Rapids will be home to a new foundry that will produce castings for wind turbines. (via MLive)
For our last green tech finds of the year, we’ve got some predictions (of course), as well as new thoughts on tobacco, and high praise for white roofs.
- Green tech predictions: IBM’s fifth annual “Next Five in Five” list of tech predictions has four items with a green bent, including much more efficient “breathing” batteries, and environmental data collection from all of us via our phones and other devices. (via Information Week)
- Green tech hopes: Heather Clancy at GreenTech Pastures isn’t going so far as to make predictions, but has a thorough list of stories she’d really like to write in 2011.