1

Solar Hybrid Lighting Tested In California

by Justin Thomas •

A handful of buildings in California are beginning to try a new kind of indoor lighting: sunlight without windows. It’s called hybrid solar lighting, and it is being marketed by a company called Sunlight Direct. During the day, sunlight is captured and channeled into lighting fixtures, then at night, the fluorescent bulb takes over. On the roof, sunlight is captured …

5

A Solar Carport: Charge Your Car Or Home

by Justin Thomas •

A carport that can generate power from the sun is debuting at the Electric Vehicle Symposium 23 (EVS-23) this week in Anaheim, California. Created by a company called Envision, the Lifeport can generate power for the home, or it can used to recharge electric vehicles directly.

First Hybrid Car To Use Lithium-Ion Battery

by Justin Thomas •

Ener1, an alternative energy company, has become the first to successfully integrate a lithium-ion battery into an operating hybrid electric vehicle (HEV), an important milestone for the electric vehicle industry. The company’s battery division, EnerDel, will exhibit its lithium-ion battery pack in an operating HEV at the EVS-23 show in Anaheim, California Dec. 2-4.

2

Electric Eel Used To Power Christmas Tree

by Justin Thomas •

In Japan,  there’s an aquarium with an electric eel in it. And the eel’s electrical power is being used to energize the lights on a Christmas tree. It’s clean energy right? Each time the electric eel at the Aqua Toto Gifu aquarium touches a copper wire in its tank, it sends power that lights up globes decking a Christmas tree. …

4

Wind-Up and Solar-Powered Lanterns

by Justin Thomas •

Here are some lanterns that can be charged via the sun or via human power. Freeplay’s Indigo is a well-designed, rugged lantern. It’s one of those products that, when you hold it, feels extremely solid. This lantern shines with a cluster of seven bright LED bulbs. It won’t brighten a room, but at full power, it provides good illumination. It …

5

Christmas Trees Made With Recycled Bottles

by Justin Thomas •

These two Christmas trees were made with recycled bottles. Quite an efficient use for all those empties! The one of the left was made with 1050 beer bottles by Paul Deakin, a student at the University of Southampton (the south coast of England). The tree on the right was made with Grolsch beer bottles. Anyone feeling inspired to knock a …

Optimal Gift Wrapping

by Justin Thomas •

Optimal gift wrapping comes from renewable sources and does not contain toxic substances. Virgin forest fiber, bleach and heavy-metal inks need not be a part of gift giving. What are some of the better choices? One of the more optimal ways to wrap gifts is Furoshiki, a traditional Japanese technique of wrapping gifts using cloth. The appeal of this form …

HP To Install 1 Megawatt Solar Rooftop

by Justin Thomas •

Hewlett-Packard has announced it will install a 1-megawatt solar array in its San Diego facility. The installation will be made up of 5,000 panels on seven buildings. It’s a large solar array, but smaller than Google’s 1.6-megawatt solar array, which is thought to be the largest corporate installation to date in the United States.

4

Biomethane: A Fuel From Pure Grass

by Justin Thomas •

This is highly optimal. In Austria, cars can now fill up on a renewable, locally-produced fuel. The fuel is called “biomethane”, and it’s created by fermenting meadow grass (Poa pratensis). The grass is grown without the input of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. And it’s a true ‘cellulosic biofuel’ — it doesn’t rely on grains and oilseeds.

5

Extreme Folding: MIT’s Bike Folds To Become Suitcase-Sized

by Justin Thomas •

A group at MIT has unveiled a scooter that folds in half, and collapses to the size of a suitcase. The low-cost bike could be carried on a bus or stored under your desk at work. A prototype of the new design was recently unveiled at the Milan Auto Show. According to William J. Mitchell of MIT’s Smart Cities Group, …