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275 Homes With Solar Tiles Opened

by Justin Thomas •

One of the nation’s biggest home builders, Lennar Homes, has announced the completion of 275 solar powered homes in Windemere community of San Ramon (near San Francisco). The homes will be powered by solar tiles integrated into their roofs. The tiles are PowerLight “Sun Tiles” made by a company called SunPower. In its promotional video and related materials, SunPower boasts …

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Plug-In Cars That Power Your Home

by Justin Thomas •

Soon, in California, you may be able to power your home with your car during a blackout, or even have the utility company pay you for the power that your car produces. San Jose Mercury News reports that PG&E, a Californian utility company will showcase a converted Toyota Prius in Sunnyvale, CA. (Update: See a video of the prototype cars …

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Wind Turbine Art: Portable, Wind-Powered Lights

by Justin Thomas •

Young Dutch designers demakersvan have created a wind-powered outdoor light inspired by windmills. Called Light Wind, the freestanding design is topped by a 2m-diameter propeller. The blades are made out of sail fabric, so there’s no possibility someone will have their head taken off by one of these. Here’s how the designers describe the turbine: An outside lamp drawn from …

Report: Solar Costs To Match Coal By 2010

by Justin Thomas •

The cost of producing solar power will fall to that of coal-fired electricity by the end of the decade, according to a report by Europe’s Photon Consulting. However, falling costs of production won’t lead to substantially cheaper prices for consumers because of current market dynamics which see rising demand outstripping supply. The report predicts that by 2010 solar power will …

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Blueberries Used To Capture Solar Power

by Justin Thomas •

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We just reported on the breakthrough in solar dyes in New Zealand. Now, researchers in Italy have discovered that blueberries have natural pigments that absorb sunlight extremely well. Apparently, dark-colored berries outperform most other plant species when it comes to spectral absorption of sunlight. The blueberry pigment, called, anthocyanine, can be used to make dye-sensitized solar cells, which require no …

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Efficient Concrete Replacement: Blocks of Trash

by Justin Thomas •

From Live Science: Last year’s trash could become next year’s model home, thanks to the invention of a new type of construction material made entirely from waste products. “Bitublocks,” created by engineer John Forth of the University of Leeds in England, are composed of recycled glass, sewage sludge, incinerator ash, the by-products of metal purification and pulverized fuel ash from …

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Innovative Solar Dyes: Inexpensive Liquid Solar Power

by Justin Thomas •

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Researchers from the Nanomaterials Research Centre at Massey University in New Zealand have developed synthetic dyes that can be used to generate electricity at one tenth of the cost of current silicon-based solar panels. These photosynthesis-like compounds work in low-light conditions and can be cheaply incorporated into window-panes and building materials, thereby turning them into generators of electricity. Dr Wayne …

San Francisco To Ban Styrofoam

by Justin Thomas •

The city of San Francisco is planning on banning the use of Styrofoam, or more technically, polystyrene containers. The ban would take effect on June 1st, and would require city restaurants and government agencies to stop using polystyrene containers. See the details of the proposed law here. The new law was created because the manufacturing of the material involves polluting …

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Australian Island Using Flow Batteries To Store Wind Power

by Justin Thomas •

King Island is a small island off the Australian coast, near Tasmania. King Island isn’t connected to the mainland power grid, and apart from its own small wind farm it relied for a long time on diesel generators for its electricity. That changed in 2003 when the local utility company installed a mammoth rechargeable battery which ensures that as little …

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0 to 60 MPH in Under 1.5 Seconds, Electric KillaCycle Sets New World Speed Record

by Justin Thomas •

The KillaCycle, the world’s electric motorcycle, and the official world record holder in the ¼ mile drag, broke the world record again using its lithium-ion batteries. The official record for any electric vehicle worldwide in the ¼ mile is set now at an elapsed time of 8.16 seconds. Weighing just over 165 pounds, the A123Systems battery pack delivers over 350 …