Start with the fact that it’s a plug-in hybrid powered by a high-revving V-8 mounted behind the cockpit and two electric motors. Armed with a 6.8 kilowatt-hour, liquid-cooled, lithium-ion battery pack, this futuristic arachnid can not only outrun the mighty Turbo, it can also slide around town silently without a single chug of petrol. Think of it as the Toyota Prius of the Bizarro World.
Scattered throughout remote Cajamarca state, 3,900 homes were granted solar panels, a model for a rural electrification program that President Ollanta Humala hopes will reach two million people in 500,000 homes in isolated villages throughout the Andean highlands and Amazon rain forest by 2018. About a third of Peru’s rural population has no electricity.
The program is getting under way as Peru hosts United Nations-sponsored climate talks this week in Lima, where solar power is one of the renewable energy sources that officials from nearly 200 countries are pressing to help lower C02 emissions.
In 2009, Williams developed a racing flywheel mechanism called a Kinetic Energy Recovery System, capable of capturing energy generated by Formula One cars during high-speed braking, storing it, then delivering it back to the wheels when drivers needed an extra kick of acceleration.
Starting this month, Williams will begin installing huge versions of its energy system at wind turbines around the islands. The units will store excess juice and channel it back to residents, stabilizing the power grid and eliminating the need for the generators, as well as limiting blackouts.
The Messrs. Grose intend to outfit the microbrewery with stationary bikes wired to produce the energy needed to brew beer. They estimate that Joe Sixpack can pedal at a rate to produce two to three beers an hour. Customers can shed calories and save energy before kicking back to drink some of the beer they helped create.
Deep in the bowels of the Stata Center on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's campus is an energy war room.
A row of flat-screen monitors lines one wall, showing exhaustive data on energy use in dozens of buildings across the campus. Buildings are displayed in colors that depend on their overall energy use. If a building is red, that indicates an energy leak in one of its lighting, climate-control or ventilation systems, or a water leak. The system, using software from KGS Buildings LLC, can also predict where problems will crop up.
"It makes us more efficient, because we know what to look for," says Balby Etienne, an MIT buildings-systems analyst. He also credits the software for a big drop in temperature and humidity complaints.
At Tesla, Popple could rely on early adopters eager to pay a premium for an electric car. As the new chief executive officer of Proterra, which makes an $850,000 electric bus, he’s got a tougher audience: municipal governments that are used to paying as little as $300,000 for a diesel-guzzler. They’re reluctant to invest so much in the promise of energy savings down the line. Proterra argues that the wait isn’t long. “We’ve seen paybacks against diesel and hybrids in as little as two years and as long as six years,” says Popple. He’s persuaded some powerful backers. On June 18 he announced a $40 million round of investment led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (where he remains a partner), GM Ventures (GM), and the Pritzker family’s Tao Invest, bringing Proterra’s total outside funding to $100 million.
Wired on why we will continue to depend on coal and how we can clean it
“Conceptually speaking, CCS (Carbon Capture and Stirage) is simple: Industries burn just as much coal as before but remove all the pollutants. In addition to scrubbing out ash and soot, now standard practice at many big plants, they separate out the carbon dioxide and pump it underground, where it can be stored for thousands of years.
Many energy and climate researchers believe that CCS is vital to avoiding a climate catastrophe. Because it could allow the globe to keep burning its most abundant fuel source while drastically reducing carbon dioxide and soot, it may be more important—though much less publicized—than any renewable-energy technology for decades to come. No less than Steven Chu, the Nobel-winning physicist who was US secretary of energy until last year, has declared CCS essential. “I don’t see how we go forward without it,” he says.”
Lit Motors is a San Francisco startup developing a two-wheeled electric vehicle called the C-1. It looks like a motorcycle wrapped in a candy shell and rides like a car. The C-1 aims to fill the commuter sweet spot between bicycle and automobile. Lit founder Daniel Kim, 34, says the vehicle is scheduled to begin production later this year.
“Their first effort involved inserting genes into sugarcane to push it to produce 1.5 percent more oil.
“That doesn’t sound like a lot, but at 1.5 percent, a sugarcane field in Florida would produce about 50 percent more oil per acre than a soybean field,” Long said. “There’s enough oil to make it worth harvesting.”
They also say they’ve upped photosynthetic efficiency by 30 percent in sorghum and sugarcane. Previous research has shownthat unmodified sugarcane is already one of the most efficient at converting sunlight into energy, storing away up to one percent of the radiation that hits it in sugars over the course of a year. In research published in February in the journal Plant Physiology, Long and colleague Justin McGrath found that inserting genes from cyanobacteria into certain crop species could boost carbon dioxide uptake in the leaves and more efficient use of nitrogen and water. Further, they estimate this modification could increase crop yields by up to 60 percent.
Finally, by crossing sugarcane with a more cold-tolerant grass that can grow as far north as Canada, they think they’ll be able to extend the geographic range of oil-producing biofuel crop.
During a recent trip to Ireland I was impressed how pervasive Diesel fuel has become. Strategy+Business magazine reports “automaker confidence on alternative powertrains is shifting to diesel. U.S. automakers believe that diesel cars will outsell hybrid and electric cars, despite those powertrains’ higher mpg and the availability of federal subsidies”. Part of the reason is diesel TCO is attractive to consumers.
In the mean time, Motor Trend reports on additives to enhance performance of gasoline
“So how do Top Tier fuels like Chevron and Texaco with Techron, Shell's Nitrogen-Enriched, and BP's Invigorate work? Each employs top-secret organic chemistry (Chevron admits theirs involves a polyether amine. Others often employ polybutene amines, if that helps), but by and large the molecules include a "hydrocarbon tail" (that keeps the detergent soluble in fuel) attached to a head that includes a functional group containing nitrogen. When enough of these nitrogens attach to a deposit, it comes off. Then the nitrogens can attach to the clean surface and prevent new deposits from forming. The fresh challenge with DI is designing functional heads that don't lose their cool at temperatures of 4000 degrees F or higher.
Chevron and Shell both claim that running a few tanks of fuel can remove the deposits left by miles of use of minimum-standard fuels.”