Science & Technology

New wind blowing

Offshore wind is poised to explode: * Earlier this year, Delaware became the first state to approve an offshore wind project, a 200-megawatt installation that beat out proposals for coal- and natural gas-fired plants. * Rhode Island was next up, with plans for a facility that will supply 15% of the state's electricity. * New Jersey recently followed suit, granting… read more →

Paris Motor Show reveals industry’s electric obsession

The recently concluded Paris Motor Show showcased the industry's newfound obsession with all-electric and electric hybrid vehicles. I am neither a) a car guy, nor b) particularly turned on by Jetsons-inspired concept cars, so I can only offer the most outsider-y thoughts: **Thought 1: this is real** Electrics are no longer being touted as some sort of green window dressing.… read more →

Hot idea: recycling wasted energy

Bill McKibben once lamented the unsexiness of waste heat recovery, an energy efficiency technique that languishes in obscurity despite its potentially huge environmental benefits. Perhaps this story will capture the public imagination: in a move that will save money and cut carbon emissions, the University of Notre Dame in Indiana has begun housing some of its computer servers in the… read more →

Making good on a resolution

We had a very exciting evening at my house yesterday. At about 6:30 pm, my husband interrupted my post-run shower to tell me that the our hot water heater's inlet pipe -- the one that fills the water heater from the City's supply lines -- was hot. "You actually put your hand on it?" I said, a bit incredulously. "No,… read more →

Does the air-powered car really work?

Zero Pollution Motors is drumming up press again, with claims that an improved version of its "air-powered car" can travel 848 miles on a single tank of compressed air. The comments in response to the New York Times article run to the skeptical side ("I bet it can fly too"), which seems a little bit ironic, because -- unlike the… read more →

Hybrids a rare bright spot for the auto industry

I was struck by the August U.S. car sales reports, and couldn't help making a quick comparison to the same reports for hybrids. The bottom line: overall car sales through the end of August are tanking in the U.S., down 11.2% from the first 8 months of 2007. Light trucks are the heaviest anchor here, down a phenomenal 22.1% from… read more →

Plug in and drive

There's a lot to chew over in Wired's profile of Shai Agassi, the entrepreneur engaged in an audacious experiment to electrify an entire nation's transportation system, and in the process rewrite the automotive industry's business model. The nation in question is Israel, with Denmark and Hawaii possibly to follow. Agassi's idea is that electric cars should be sold on a… read more →

Clean energy on the move

Lots of renewable energy in the news lately: One: California is building two massive solar photovoltaic power plants, together big enough to generate 800 megawatts of power. To get a sense of the scale, consider that the current biggest PV installation in the U.S. has a capacity of 14 megawatts, and the biggest one in the world is a 23-megawatt… read more →

The future of flight

We don't devote a ton of ink here to environmental technofixes, but there is one area where technofixes are urgently needed: airline travel. Plane flight is both hard on the environment and also really wonderful for people, so let's hope some of the futuristic fuel-efficient designs featured in National Geographic pan out: Image by Georgia Tech/Courtesy NASA The proposed planes… read more →

Old homes get smart

Smart metering is coming. Within a decade, you'll know exactly how much every flip of a switch or turn of a knob costs in monthly utility charges. The Times profiles two British seaside towns on the forefront of the low-tech energy efficiency revolution. Take, for example, Hove residents Brenda and Jeffrey Marchant, owners of a typical Victorian house. The Marchants… read more →
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