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Sunday, September 28, 2014

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Wind Energy: As Easy As Flying a Kite … A Very Big Kite


altaeros wind turbine

If you find yourself traveling down your 5-mile gravel driveway in the pouring rain, returning from a bi-weekly grocery run or a quick trip to the mailbox, and an unidentified flying donut appears high in the evening sky, do not be alarmed. It is not going to hurt you; this is not an Independence Day-type scenario; the Led Zeppelin tour likely has not stopped in your small town in rural America, either. Your home greets you with porch and interior lights as you clamber up the steps to your front door, reusable grocery bags and a wealth of paper bills in hand. You find that the phone, television, internet and trash utilities await payment, but the power bill has been strangely absent for some time. Soon thereafter, you collapse into your couch and turn the television to the nightly news, where the headline story covers the widespread electrical outages in the city in the next county. The newscaster says that high winds and heavy rains have knocked out critical elements of the power grid leaving hundreds without electricity, as you think to yourself, “what was that man’s name from Altaeros? I must thank him for the ‘BAT’ outside.”

altaeros wind turbines

Based in Boston, Massachusetts, Altaeros is a leading innovator in the wind energy sector, recently receiving a large grant from the Alaska Energy Authority to field test their new Buoyant Airborne Turbine (BAT) system in the skies over Fairbanks, Alaska.  (more…)

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Transparent Photovoltaic Glass May Soon Power Smartphones and Buildings


Apollo Glass

There are so many technologies and sensory contraptions packed into today’s smart devices, the average Joe or Jane would not know of many besides perhaps the battery, some sort of high-definition touchscreen and a few volume, home and power buttons. To illustrate, one could consider the Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone as an all-in-one personal computer, television, digital camera, cordless payphone, flashlight, mp3 player, global positioning device, and personal trainer. If we include what these little metal and glass rectangles can replace through software functions, one could also consider them alarm clocks, calendars, shopping malls, personalized banking centers, address books, instant messengers, newspapers, or photo albums. Most adults in the United States are walking around with small weathermen, stockbrokers and personal assistants in their pockets; wireless and free to move about their daily lives, these smart devices still must inevitably rest and recharge just like their owners. But in the near future, just as we may feel energized from a cool, radiant day, our smart devices may benefit from some daily sunlight exposure as well.  (more…)

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Shoes that Sprout: Biodegradable Shoes that Grow Plants


OAT shoe with plant

When your trusty tennis shoes wear out, the fastest and easiest option to dispose of them – also the one that is not eco-friendly – is to pitch them in the trash. Once in the trash your old shoes find their way to the landfill where they remain for many, many years. If you think about how many shoes you and everyone else have tossed out over the years, it adds up to a lot of shoes in the ground.

OAT shoe

But with footwear from OAT shoes, your shoes will biodegrade in about a year’s time and plants might even sprout from them. OAT shoes are completely biodegradable and the shoes actually contain seeds in the tongue that can sprout if buried.  (more…)

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Film Review: Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch


plastic paradise poster

From its alarming introduction to its startling realizations, Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch provides some much-needed factual exposure of the environmental impact of plastics and a first-hand glimpse of the continent of trash collecting in the south Pacific gyre currents. (more…)

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Monday, September 8, 2014

HomeKit: The Technologically Ecosystematic Home from Apple


Apple HomeKit

Apple recently filed a patent application for an all-encompassing home automation system that promises to turn your home into a subconscious extension of yourself. Imagine your coffeemaker brewing a fresh cup in the morning, the clothes washer spinning into life, and your television tuned to your favorite news channel simply by opening an app on your iOS or Android device, and even before you get out of bed! And yes, Apple plans to accommodate Android, other non-Apple devices, third-party app developers and several partnered corporations. (more…)

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Virtual Water Dilemma: Act 3 – Our Stuff


fresh water with bubbles

Virtual water may be defined as all the water that goes into the creation of a product. Conservation usually means shorter showers and watering less. However, only about 5 percent of the water an average American uses each day comes from their home and garden. 95 percent of daily water consumption is hidden in the virtual water used to make the food we eat, the energy we rely on, and the goods and services we use. (more…)

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Monday, September 1, 2014

The Virtual Water Dilemma: Act 2 – Energy


water droplet falling

When we flip on the TV and hear about water scarcity, the suggested ways to conserve are usually to water our yard less and use less water in our home.  It might interest you to know that even turning on that TV is using water in the form of virtual water. Virtual water is all the water that goes into the production of a product; and it often goes unnoticed by consumers.

Like food, energy consumption is another area where we are guilty of using virtual water. Because the production of both electricity and fuel use large amounts of water when consumed, we increase our virtual water footprint on an ongoing basis. As already discussed in Act One, more than 50 percent goes into our food production. But water is also used up in the production of the energy that we rely on to support our everyday lives. On average, an American relies on about 670 gallons of water a day just in energy consumption. (more…)

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

American Performance Technologies: The SmartCarb


Small engine fuel delivery systems have experienced a constant evolution since the introduction of the internal combustion engine towards the end of the 19th century, with innovations such as the carburetor and the electronic fuel injection (EFI) system appearing to feed larger and more powerful engines. It’s now become common knowledge that the newest EFI systems provide the optimal blend of engine power, fuel efficiency and emissions reductions, but one good ol’ American company is working to change that.

The SmartCarb® from American Performance Technologies, based in Kansas City, Missouri, is poised to revolutionize the small engine fuel delivery system industries by turning back the clock on what is “best” for the consumer. The SmartCarb® is the culmination of 45 years of development on the classic, flat slide carburetor, featuring automatic altitude compensation, increased horsepower and significantly better fuel economy than other carburetors on the market. This device can potentially be installed on motorcycles, all terrain vehicles, portable generators and small aircraft, or perhaps conventional full-size vehicles in the future!

The most notable improvement in the APT SmartCarb® is it’s revolutionary high atomization rate of fuel (in other words, the “stream” of fuel is converted into a “mist”) which allows for a significantly higher amount of fuel to be burned in the combustion process. (more…)

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