17

Storing Solar Power In Molten Salt

by Justin Thomas •

Solar power is a truly efficient source of energy, but it tends to fluctuate, and, as you might know, it turns off at night. One clever way to alleviate this intermittence is to store solar energy in the form of heat using molten salt. An aerospace company, Hamilton Sundstra, has created a venture called SolarReserve, and it plans to have …

8

Bamboo Hangers

by Justin Thomas •

We’ve featured quite a bit of optimal and sustainable clothing over the years, but what about those devices you use to hang up your clothing? We mentioned the bioplastic hangers, available from Earthsaver. Now, the Great American Hanger Company has launched a new line of bamboo hangers, and these hangers really show off the beauty of bamboo (see the close-up …

25

North America’s Largest Solar-Electric Plant Switched On

by Justin Thomas •

North America’s largest solar photovoltaic system is now running and generating power — about 30 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. The 14 megawatt power plant is at the Nellis Air Force Base in the sunny desert of southern Nevada. It’s expected to save about $1 million in power costs annually, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 24,000 tons each year.

48

Aptera Test Drive A Success!

by Justin Thomas •

It’s the Aptera — a futuristic car that has generated a lot of buzz lately — and with good reason — the Aperta is a very, very efficient vehicle (just check out the video: you’ll see what I’m talking about). The car’s head-turning design has a purpose: the shape is highly aerodynamic (much like a jet). It ready available for pre-order, …

28

Solar Trees May Light Up Europe

by Justin Thomas •

This is a great innovation — the streets of Europe could soon be lit by "solar trees". These self-contained streetlights could save cities energy and money too. Unlike regular streetlights, they do not require costly underground wiring to install, and they are immune to blackouts. Designed by Ross Lovegrove, the lights have 10 solar panels arrayed at the top of …

229

U.S. To Phase Out Incandescent Light Bulbs

by Justin Thomas •

Photo credit: USA today After being passed by Congress, Bush just signed into law a massive energy bill that will, among other things, spell the end of traditional light bulb. USA Today reports that the bill will phase out the venerable (but power-hungry) incandescent bulb over the next dozen years in favor more efficient fluorescent, halogen, and LED bulbs. Specifically, …

6

The World’s First Biodegradable Umbrella

by Justin Thomas •

The Brelli is said to be world’s first biodegradable umbrella. Inspired by asian parasols, the Brelli’s handle and frame are crafted from bamboo (sustainably-harvested), and the canopy is made out of an innovative bioplastic. The canopy can be composted in conventional landfills  —  it has passed stringent tests certifying that it will fully biodegrade in one to two years.

22

Solar Film Debuts: Cheapest Solar Panel In The World?

by Justin Thomas •

Nanosolar has just announced that, after five years of development, it will be shipping its innovative “solar film” product. Basically, Nanosolar is able to print solar panels on machines that resemble printing presses. The company, whose backers include Google’s co-founders, say it is producing the world’s lowest-cost solar panel, costing as little as 99 cents per watt.

3

Optimal: Natural Rubber Pacifiers

by Justin Thomas •

Pacifiers that do not contain toxic materials are efficient. Infants are much more susceptible to chemical contamination that adults. A company from Denmark, Natursutten, makes 100% rubber pacifiers using natural latex from the tree Hevea brasiliensi. These pacifiers have no artificial colors, chemical softeners, parabens, PVC, or phthalates. They are softer than pacifiers made of silicone or plastic.

23

Italian Town Runs On 100% Renewable Power

by Justin Thomas •

Fossil-articleLarge

Varese Ligure, a town in Northern Italy, runs on 100% renewable power. The town uses a mix of wind, solar and small-scale hydropower. The town has reaped benefits from the energy network through added jobs, and an additional 350,000 euros [US $514,000] in revenues that are handed over to the council each year. Varese has also seen a six-fold increase …