Solar Impulse Begins Round-the-World Journey

EcoGeek - Earlier this week, the Solar Impulse aircraft took off from Abu Dhabi on the first leg of it’s atempt to fly around the globe entirely on solar power.  We’ve been especially interested in this project from its beginnings as it has moved along setting new records, and we will now be watching as they make this trip around the world. Pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg will not fly non-stop (which Picard did in 1999 in the Breitling Orbiter 3, completing the first … [Read more...]

Superhydrophobic Coating Makes Better Solar Panels

EcoGeek - Scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a coating for glass that is superhydrophobic, making it so that it will literally bounce water off the surface. This coating also decreases the amount of light that reflects away from the glass. The benefits for solar collectors are immediately evident. The ability to be self-cleaning would be an enormous benefit for solar panels, even without the additional conversion efficiency benefits. Although many of the best … [Read more...]

Pioneering Waste-Reusing Plastic Roads

EcoGeek - A new way of building roads with recycled plastic is being developed by Dutch company KWS Infra. As a resident of Michigan, where the combination of hard northern winters and a legislature that refuses to do its job have led to a statewide condition with many roads in embarrassingly bad shape, this hits close to home. The plastic roads are claimed to offer a number of advantages that make this a potentially revolutionary technology. The proposed system is going to use “100% … [Read more...]

Osmosis Power Is Off the Table Now

EcoGeek - Not every energy technology that is explored is going to lead to a successful new power industry. Osmosis power was one of the more unusual technologies we’ve come across. But now, after a few years of investigation, it appears that this technology is not a viable option for larger scale power generation. Statkraft, the Norwegian company which had opened a pioneering research facility to explore the potential of osmotic power generation, has closed its operations.  Moreover, a … [Read more...]

Still Plugging Electric Cars at NAIAS 2016

EcoGeek - Nobody is trying to save the planet with green cars anymore. The days of green cars being featured at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) seem to be over.  Gone are the days of rainforest themes and bamboo floors and ostentatiously placed recycling bins.  But we’ve been reporting that for the past few years. We’ve continued to note the decrease in emphasis on the importance of fuel economy, resource conservation, emissions reduction, and similar features … [Read more...]

Using Metals as Carbon Free Fuel Alternatives

EcoGeek - Researchers are exploring the novel idea of using metals as fuels. This is not some new, exotic science-fiction material, but rather plentiful, ordinary metals such as iron that could be used in a novel way for storing and transporting renewable energy. According to a McGill University article, the research being led by Professor Jeffrey Bergthorson is proposing “a novel concept for using tiny metal particles – similar in size to fine flour or icing sugar – to power … [Read more...]

Hybrid Airship Being Readied for Flight

EcoGeek - The “world’s largest aircraft,” the Airlander 10, is being readied for flights to begin later this year. The Airlander 10 is a massive hybrid aircraft that combines helium lift, aerodynamic lift, and direct thrust for flight. As we’ve noted before, we are big fans of airships (and even if there are tradeoffs in time and energy costs, we think that there is definitely a place for them in certain niches of air transport), so this is exciting news. Company … [Read more...]

Flow Batteries for Household Power Storage

EcoGeek - Residential power storage options are starting to get more competitive with a flow battery being introduced to the market in Australia. Flow batteries have been something we’ve looked at for grid-scale storage, and the research into the technology has been making advances. But it has been primarily a utility-scale technology. However, the technology has been developed to suit a smaller scale, and a commercial version of a household-scale flow battery is coming to market in … [Read more...]

The Surprising Green Lining at 2017 NAIAS

EcoGeek - For an EcoGeek, there were many surprises at the 2017 edition of the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). We’ve been watching the emphasis on green cars decline for a number of years. Some of that is in the mainstreaming of more efficient vehicles, with increased fuel efficiency standards, greater numbers of hybrid vehicles, and alternative fuels. But nothing brought home how far things have come quite so much as this year’s show. Last year, we thought, … [Read more...]

A series of other thoughts about NAIAS 2018

EcoGeek - Let’s start out with my in-the-moment string of notes during the Press Preview at this year’s NAIAS (Detroit Auto Show). This covers the main ideas about this year’s program at the time. I’ll add a few more comments and expanded thoughts at the end. Not sure if it’s an actual color trend, but there’s a lot of orange at this year’s #NAIAS #NAIAS2018 Attendance seems down and space more open at #NAIAS2018. Things just seem off this year. First … [Read more...]