January 29, 2009

China Installs Talking Solar Trash Cans


Ten solar-powered trash cans have been installed in People's Square, Shanghai.

Why would trash cans need solar power? These trash cans talk! The refuse receptacles tell people where the nearest bathrooms are and illuminate a map at night. Eventually, the city plans to install 480 solar-powered talking trash cans.

Via: CleanTechnica

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

January 15, 2009

Toyota Makes Big Annoucement: Plug-In Prius in 2009, EV in 2012

toyota_iq_ftev.jpg The plug-in Prius is coming a year early! Toyota has announced the plug-in Prius will be released in 2009, and they are rolling out 10 other hybrids by 2010. Even more exciting, Toyota will be debuting an all electric car at the Detroit Auto Show that will be on the market in 2012. Gas 2.0 explains Toyota's exciting annoucement:
Along with the announcement of the electric concept, Toyota has reiterated that, although the fully electric car will be a part of their overall strategy, the company sees conventional non-plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, like the current Prius, as their core long-term powertrain technology...And, in a new development, Toyota says they are moving up the roll-out schedule for the upcoming plug-in hybrid Prius from 2010 to late 2009. Initially only available to fleets, the car will sport a lithium-ion battery. Toyota says that the new generation Prius was engineered to be able to accommodate either a NiMH battery for the conventional gas-electric hybrid or a lithium-ion battery for the plug-in version.
I hope one of the new hybrids is a real 4wd for mountain people like me!
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

January 13, 2009

Japanese Airport to Store Winter Snow for Summer Air Conditioning

snow-covered-plane.jpg New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido, Japan plans to start storing winter snow for summer cooling in 2010. The winter snow will provide 30% of the summer cooling needs. EcoGeek explains this clean technology:
The snow will be covered by heat-insulating materials, which should retain about 45% of the snow collected. The remaining snow will then be used to chill the liquid of the building's cooling system. According to Japan Today, the practice could result in a 2,100 ton reduction in CO2 emissions per year.
Hokkaido's annual snowfall is between 20 to 30 feet. Hopefully this innovative technology will catch on in other snowy cities around the world.
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

January 8, 2009

Used Coffee Grounds Can be Made Into Biodiesel

coffee-beans-coffee-grounds.jpg I am an organic, biodynamic coffee junkie, and my used grounds end up in the compost pile. New research done in Nevada has revealed that wasted coffee grounds can be used to make biodiesel. 16 billion pounds of coffee are grown worldwide annually (so apparently I am not the only addicted to morning soy lattes). The used grounds contain 11 to 20-percent oil by weight, and its high level of antioxidants makes coffee more stable then other biodiesel blends. Researchers estimate that coffee grounds could add another 340 million gallons of biodiesel to the world's supply. If SVO cars smell like french fries, I wonder if coffee biodiesel will have that delicious roasted aroma when burned.
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

January 6, 2009

Lightdrops Umbrellas Harnesses the Power of Raindrops

lightdrops-ed03.jpg This umbrella is ingenious! The Lightdrops umbrella uses the energy of rain to power LEDs.  CleanTechnica explains how the umbrella uses the energy in rain:
The polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) umbrella features a "collective membrane" that powers its LED lights with energy from the rain.  The PVDF material actually harvests kinetic energy-- the heavier the rain, the brighter the umbrella's LED light becomes.
This cool alternative energy gadget just makes me want to sing:

Raindrops keep fallin' on my head
But that doesn't mean my eyes will soon be turnin' red
Cryin's not for me
'Cause I'm never gonna stop the rain by complainin'
Because I'm free
Nothin's worryin' me
Nothing's worrying me because my umbrella's LEDs are lighting the way!
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

December 31, 2008

Year in Review: Top 5 Really Natural Posts of 2008


Happy New Year! The following is a recap of the top ten posts that were written and received the most traffic on Really Natural in 2008.

  1. Solar Hot Water Heaters Found on 90% of Israel's Rooftops: In the 1950s, Israel experienced a fuel shortage, and residents responded by installing solar hot water heaters on their rooftops. By 1983, 60% of homes had solar hot water heaters, and current law requires their installation. Jerusualem's skyline is beautifully cluttered with 90% of homes' rooftops adorned with solar hot water heaters.
  2. Toyota Adding Solar Panels to Prius to Power Air Conditioning: The Toyota Prius has long been the golden child of the environmental movement for its fuel economy. When the EPA changed the standards for reporting fuel economy on new car stickers to include the use of air conditioning, the hybrid Prius lost a few miles per gallon. That may all change, now that Toyota plans to install solar panels on the roof of high end models to power the AC.
  3. Build a Green Home - No More Power Bills Ever: A New Jersey engineer Mike Strizki has created a green home resulting in no more power bills ever, and not just electric bills. Strizki converts sunshine into electricity using photovoltaic panels - and then uses the electricity to wring hydrogen for fuel out of ordinary tap water.
  4. Your Flat-Screen TV is Worse for the Environment than a Coal Burning Power Plant : Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) has been deemed the "missing greenhouse gas", because it is not covered by the Kyoto Protocol, yet it is 17,000 times stronger than carbon dioxide! NF3 used to be produced in tiny amounts, but the boom in flat-screen TVs has changed that.
  5. Solar Stik Portable Solar Array Cheaper than a Generator to Run: If you ever have the need for green, portable power, Solar Stik is the "new generator". For example, Solar Stiks were sent to assist in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. What is a Solar Stik? It is portable solar system that weighs about 100 pounds and can be set up in about 10 minutes.
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

December 23, 2008

Power Your Portable Gadgets with a Fuel Cell Sticker

fuelcellsticker.jpg Fuel cell technology may one day power all your portable devices with a simple sticker! According to Clean Technica:

FuelCellSticker technology from myFC AB could offer a new way to power cell phones, Blackberries, iPhones, laptops and all the other little boxes we carry around every day.

Swedish-based myFC's stated mission is to create power solutions for mobile electronics, freeing users from power cords and cumbersome, toxic batteries, while allowing manufacturers and service providers to create more energy-intensive mobile devices and applications.

How cool would that be to just slap a sticker on a device to power it? Each individual FuelCellSticker provides 0.9 watts and can be used together to provide as much power as you need.
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

December 22, 2008

Fuel Cell Power Pack for Emergency Preparedness


Medis 24/7 Fuel Cell Power Pack can charge your cell phone, Medis flashlight, smart phone, or iPod in an emergency. According to Wikipedia, a fuel cell is:

A fuel cell is an electrochemical conversion device. It produces electricity from fuel (on the anode side) and an oxidant (on the cathode side), which react in the presence of an electrolyte. The reactants flow into the cell, and the reaction products flow out of it, while the electrolyte remains within it.
Fuel cell technology is becoming more readily available for consumers, such as the Medis Power Pack. Simply squeeze the power pack to activate it, and you'll have energy to provide up to 30 hours of mobile phone time or 60-80 hours of iPod listening from the 1 watt power pack. The Medis Power Emergency Kit provides:
  1. Instant Power: No pre-charging needed as this fuel cell offers an instant and reliable power source, delivering energy only when needed and can sit on the shelf prior to activation for extended periods of time, while other chargers need to be pre charged for up to 6 hours. The flashlight can be powered for up to 10 days continuously, so it will last several weeks with average use during the night.
  2. Emergency Relief: Every family should have a fuel cell in their home or car so they can generate their own electricity if they lose access to the big grid. As we know, storms and disasters don't have time limits. The Fuel Cell Power Pack can add up to 30 additional hours of talk time to your cell phone, and the Flashlight provides up to 6 weeks of lighting on one Medis Fuel Cell.
  3. Eco-friendly: Medis' fuel cells are environmentally-friendly, using a proprietary fuel that is a patented mixture of Alcohol, sodium borohydride and KOH (alkaline)--all safe for the environment.
  4. Recyclable: Everything in the Power Pack can be recycled. Currently Spent fuel purification and further usage of borates are used for various products for example: detergents, cosmetics, fire retardants, etc.
  5. Retail Cost: Medis' Fuel Cell Emergency Kit retails for $49.99 to $59.99 and includes a Medis 24-7 fuel cell (charger), flashlight, and adapters to charge a variety of portable devices, such as smart phones, cell phones, radios.
  6. Travel Friendly: A DOT permit allows a passenger to carry up to 3 fuel cells in the cabin of the plane, keeping your phone charged on long flights and layovers. With a power pack, travelers never have to worry about being out of touch because they can't find a plug or adapter.
The shelf life for the fuel cell is 18 months if unactivated, or 3 months once it has been opened. There has been some controversy about Medis' fuel cell technology, but this technology could be very useful during power outages and other emergencies.
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

December 16, 2008

By 2090, The Whole World Could be Powered by Renewable Energy

Imagine a world powered completely by renewable energy! That's exactly what The European Renewable Energy Council and Greenpeace believes can happen by 2090. According the EcoGeek:
The report creates a scenario that includes biomass, geothermal, solar and wind energy providing the bulk of the world's power. While the development of those sources is key, the larger component of the scenario is major increases in efficiency. These gains would be made by instituting rooftop wind and solar so that energy is generated close to the consumer, as well as retrofitting and maximizing the efficiency of buildings, particularly through better insulation. The report claims that the bulk of these changes could be made by 2050.
Energy [R]evolution Report, a Sustainable Global Energy Outlook, outlines how to achieve this goal.  This comprehensive report is divided into the following sections:
  • climate protection
  • implementing the energy [r]evolution in developing countries
  • scenarios for a future energy supply
  • the energy [r]evolution
  • nuclear threats
  • key results of the global energy [r]evolution
Image: Elsie esq. on Flickr under a Creative Commons License
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

November 24, 2008

The Best Solar Powered Flashlight: SunNight Solar Task

41E+c1vYuKL._SL500_AA280_.jpg SNS SunLight Solar Task Flashlight is the best solar flashlight I have ever used! The charge lasts a very long time, it is ergonomically designed, and it comes with several levels of illumination.
Developed with the assistance of the Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program, supported by NASA, shaped by specific field work on our prototypes in Africa in the harshest conditions by scientists from the US Department of Energy and funded by research grants from the Rockefeller Foundation -- we offer you the next generation of portable, reliable and environmentally friendly lights for nightly use, for camping and outdoor activities, and a product which should be in every family's emergency preparedness kit.
When not in use, we leave our SNS SunLight Solar Task Flashlight in a sunny windowsill, and it always stays charged (even in low winter lighting).

Thousands of our SunLights have been donated to people who do not have access to electricity throughout the world. The BoGo Light program:

our Buy one/Give one - program has successfully provided lights to many, many thousands of people in the developing world, changing lives because of your purchase and participation. Education, gender equality, safety, security, economic improvement and overall quality of life have been transformed; all because of light. You buy and receive one light, we give a second light to one of our non-profit partners, delivering it to them in the developing world and then providing them $1 per light to offset importation and distribution costs.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

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