Science & Technology

Detroit Electric is reborn. Just not in Detroit.

Are you a fan of cheap symbolism? Well then, feast on this: a popular and successful electric car used to be produced in the United States under the name Detroit Electric. Competition with conventional gasoline-powered cars finally shuttered the line -- in 1939. Now the Detroit Electric brand is being revived by a British entrepreneur as a Netherlands-based company backed… read more →

Windbelts: wind power without the turbine

We've covered micro-wind a number of times here, but I think this may be the coolest innovation I've seen in a while: inventor Shawn Frayne has come up with a device that harnesses the power of wind without any rotating parts. Instead, his company's Windbelts capture energy using fluttering fabric. You can best understand the process by watching this short… read more →

Unleash your inner Edison

Yahoo! Green is running a contest for would-be inventors: submit your idea for a green product, and vie for the chance to see your creation on store shelves. The contest is open for one week more, and for the final week Yahoo! is waiving all submission fees. The winner will receive $2,500, plus a share of the sales for 20… read more →

The 100K House project gets passive

A few months ago I wrote about the 100K House, a project to build a LEED-platinum certified home for $100,000 in construction costs. The developers, a company called Postgreen, are continuing in their quest for world domination, and their next batch of urban homes will be built to the even more exacting Passive House standard. Passive Houses, you may recall,… read more →

Natural gas to the rescue?

The development of potentially enormous new natural gas deposits in the U.S. has revived an old idea for cleaning up America's power sector: using natural gas a low-carbon bridge from dirty coal to clean renewable power. What makes the idea enticing is that we don't need to build much new infrastructure to significantly reduce carbon emissions. According to Geoffrey Styles,… read more →

Incandescent lights may mount a comeback

Reports of the death of incandescent lights may be exaggerated. Although the current generation of bulbs will effectively be banned under the lighting efficiency standard passed, we learn via the New York Times that a research team has roughly doubled the efficiency of regular light bulbs by blasting the filaments with a laser: > The key to creating the super-filament… read more →

Beat summer heat with…ice

As the temperature across the country begins to climb into prime air conditioning territory, building managers are preparing to crank up their commercial HVAC units. Because daily temperature peaks tend to coincide with daily electricity usage peaks, air conditioners put an especially heavy strain on the electrical grid. The folks at Ice Energy have a clever way to shift power… read more →

The sixth extinction

Elizabeth Kolbert's latest New Yorker article on the present era of mass extinction reads like a detective novel with a healthy dash of gothic horror thrown in. Unfortunately, it's behind the pay wall, so I'm going to have to do my best to summarize a long and intricate story. The cause and nature of extinction has been hotly debated since… read more →

High-tech greenhouses

Because I've been frequently critical of the half-baked notion of vertical farms, it seems only fair that I link to this article about high tech greenhouses that, at first blush, have a somewhat vertical farm-y feel to them. Vertical farms, you may recall, represent the extreme of the local food movement: massive edifices sited in urban environments that use a… read more →

In the future, we’ll all be energy traders?

Journalists tend to focus a lot of attention on smart meters, simply because these are the piece of the smart grid puzzle what will be most directly visible to consumers. And as with any nascent technology, we're treated to a lot of highly speculative "world of tomorrow" descriptions of the changes just around the corner. In the future, consumers will… read more →
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