Some of the biggest impact on resource consumption could come from analytics, automation, and Internet of Things advances. These technologies have the potential to improve the efficiency of resource extraction—already, underwater robots on the Norwegian shelf are fixing gas pipelines at a depth of more than 1,000 meters, and some utilities are using drones to inspect wind turbines. Using IoT sensors, oil companies can increase the safety, reliability, and yield in real time of thousands of wells around the globe. These technologies will also reduce the resource intensity of buildings and industry. Cement-grinding plants can cut energy consumption by 5 percent or more with customized controls that predict peak demand. Algorithms that optimize robotic movements in advanced manufacturing can reduce a plant’s energy consumption by as much as 30 percent. At home, smart thermostats and lighting controls are already cutting electricity usage.
More than two years after Tesla broke ground on the facility, the $5 billion Gigafactory has begun producing lithium-ion battery cells. The first such cells under the partnership between Tesla and Panasonic have rolled of the Gigafactory for use in Tesla’s Powerwall 2 home energy products. By the second quarter of this year, Tesla expects to the Gigafactory to be cranking out batteries for its Model 3 electric vehicles.
Tesla said the factory has opened with a footprint of 1.9 million square feet and 4.9 million square feet of operational space over its various floors. And all of that building space is small compared to what Tesla has planned: The company said the Gigafactory is actually less than 30 percent complete, and that it will be the biggest building in the world when finished.
Happy Thanksgiving! As you enjoy turkey think of another growing form of protein.
The world’s largest open ocean farm in Panama started in 2007. The goal is to raise cobia in a stress free, low density and high-oxygen environment. The company says it “results in healthier fish that is naturally high in protein and very rich in Omega 3 (DHA & EPA), with levels almost 2X as high as farmed Atlantic salmon.”
The video below was from 2014
Today, you can download their virtual reality app and see the rapid progress they have made since
A Volvo executive gave me a quick tour of his hometown, Gothenburg from a 29th floor restaurant. He pointed to the area where ship builders dominated. It is mostly software and digital businesses today. A boat tour of the harbor showed the changing fortunes of the largest port in the Baltics – plenty of Norwegian oil and Volvo cars flow today. A taxi driver told me the success of the XC90 SUV is keeping the local Volvo plant extremely busy. The ownership today is Chinese and another Swede told me of Ericsson’s challenges over the last few decades. The well preserved section of Gamla stan, medieval Stockholm is in sharp contrast to the “train of the future” I had taken to it from the airport.
The economy keeps evolving, and Swedes continue to be rated as some of the happiest people on earth. That’s saying something given the harsh weather they endure most of the year and even with having to pay some of the highest taxes in the world.
It showed in small and large innovations I noticed throughout my trip to Sweden this week. The Arlanda airport express train is ergonomic, has cotton filled seating, soft LED lighting, glass luggage racks, biodegradable paper in restrooms - all make you wish it took longer than 20 minutes (in contrast a bus ride I took on way back took 45 minutes). The trains run on 100% green electricity from renewable sources, such as hydropower, wind power or biofuels. Only biking would emit less CO2 on the 25 mile stretch. BTW, only one per cent of solid waste goes to landfill in Sweden – with the rest recycled or used to produce heat, electricity or vehicle fuel in the form of biogas.
The SJ train from Stockholm to Gothenburg was a model of efficiency and friendliness with free wifi even at speeds of 125 mph. The attendant scanned my paper ticket with her mobile phone. My fellow passengers were pleasant and welcoming.
The airports have self-service kiosks to generate baggage tags and you scan them on your own onto conveyor belts which confirm your flight number on their displays and send the bags on their merry ways. The security lines have automated trays.
Sweden is sparsely populated – still recovering from the mass emigration in the late 1800s when a quarter of the population left for the US. So such automation is commonplace.
And yet the intellectual and design capital is first rate. ABBA, Steig Larsson and IKEA designers are just a few of such examples. This blog has cataloged Swedish leadership with cashless payments, telematics, voice over IP, next-gen bike helmets and countless other innovations.
The infrastructure California needs to generate energy for electricity and clean water, which will be significant, need not blight the landscape. Designs like The Pipe demonstrate how the provision of public services like these can be knitted into every day life in a healthy, aesthetically-pleasing way. A finalist of the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica Pier, the solar-powered plant deploys electromagnetic desalination to provide clean drinking water for the city and filters the resulting brine through on-board thermal baths before it is reintroduced to the Pacific Ocean.
“British scientists first noticed a dramatic thinning of ozone in the stratosphere some 10 kilometres above Antarctica in the mid 1980s. Ozone is important because it blocks out harmful ultraviolet radiation from the Sun. Its absence increases the chances of skin cancer, cataract damage, and harm to animals and plants.”
Now, researchers have found “that in September 2015 the hole was around 4 million sq km smaller than it was in the year 2000 - an area roughly the size of India. The gains have been credited to the long term phasing out of ozone-destroying chemicals.”
Watly, a 15-ton, 130-foot-long computer, uses energy from 80 solar modules to purify water, provide wireless coverage, and power or charge other devices. Its inventors say it can meet these daily needs for about 3,000 people.
Attisani says he’s working to bring Watly’s price down as he refines a new model, due in July. He’s also working on a water purification unit that’s one-tenth Watly’s size, which he plans to price at €20,000 or less. Rachida Justo, an entrepreneurship professor at IE Business School in Madrid, says Watly’s potential justifies the upfront cost. “I see a lot of innovation in just one machine,” she says.
Roughly a billion cicadas will soon take over parts of Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New York, filling the air with their raucous mating call.
The invasion only lasts six weeks. Once the baby cicadas, also called nymphs, have hatched from their eggs in the trees, they’ll fall to the ground and burrow into the soil, not emerging for another 17 years. Underground they survive off moisture from tree roots. Cicadas don’t eat solid food.
The adult cicadas are a gluten-free, low-fat, low-carb source of protein. They’re a favorite treat of dogs and cats.
The Rising Creek Bakery in Mount Morris, Pennsylvania, is making special cookies and custard to mark the 17-year occasion. Bakers freeze cicadas, remove their wings and coat them in sugar before placing them on top of a chocolate chip cookie or custard with caramel sauce, CBS Pittsburgh reported.
Pair the paint with related tech like infrared-reflecting windows, and the effects are amplified. When the DOE tested a Cadillac STS with infrared-reflective glass (offered by automakers including Mercedes, Volkswagen, and Volvo) and solar reflective paint, it found the car’s cooling demands dropped by 30 percent (from 5.7 to 4.0 kW).
Though city dwellers may not realize it, agriculture is a big source of carbon emissions. That’s because of livestock’s production of methane, how manure is handled, and soil management (something as simple as tilling the soil releases greenhouse gases). Dairy geniuses Mike and Sue McCloskey, partners in one of the country’s biggest dairy operations, have come up with an elegant approach to tackling several of these problems at once in the hopes of creating a zero-carbon footprint dairy farm. At the heart of the operation: a process that turns their dairies’ tons of cow manure into natural-gas fuel. Here’s how it works.