ReGen: the Tesla of eco-villages

Artist's impression of a ReGen village (photo: EFFEKT/ReGen)

What is the first thing you think about when you hear the term eco-village? Could it be that you envision a hippy-like commune, where people pass their days smoking pod and milking the cows? Then the ReGen village concept will surprise you. Envisioned by Harvard professor and tech-entrepreneur James Ehrlich and developed in collaboration with Danish architects bureau EFFEKT, this futuristic community concept went viral last year at the Biennale in Venice. It’s more than just some naive dreams: the first village is already under construction in Almere, a polder village 25 minutes from Amsterdam.

Artist’s impression of the neighborhood gardens (photo: EFFEKT/ReGen)

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World’s largest floating solar farm symbolizes China’s leadership

photo: Sungrow

While Trump performed a piece of first-class alternative facts-stuffed theatre in Washington to announce he retreats the U.S. from the Paris Agreement, industry leaders from around the world discussed the latest innovations in solar technology at the Intersolar Europe summit in Munich last week. It is there that Chinese inverter* manufacturer Sungrow announced exciting plans for a new floating solar farm on a lake in the South of China. With an installed capacity of 140 MegaWatt, it will be the largest floating solar farm in the world, a record currently held by another farm of Sungrow that was opened earlier this year.

Sungrow workers assembling the solar panels on plastic buoys (photo: Adam Dean/The New York Times)

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The Ocean Cleanup: getting rid of the Pacific garbage patch

Close-up of the Ocean Cleanup floating barrier (photo: The Ocean Cleanup)

Does the name Boyan Slat ring a bell? There is a good chance it does. The now 22-years old engineer from the Netherlands decided to tackle the huge plastic waste problem in our oceans, after encountering more bags than fish in a scuba diving trip in Greece when he was 16. He came up with an invention to clean up the ocean’s garbage patches, an idea that soon would capture the attention of many after a video of his TedX talk in 2012 went viral. What the young inventor proposed is, by all means, ambitious – and in the eye of some oceanographers straight away insane. Nonetheless, in 2013 Boyan Slat founded a company to realise his idea: the Ocean Cleanup was born. After he revealed some major design changes and an updated timeline during an announcement event Delft, the Netherlands, earlier this month, it’s time to have a closer look at how this young fella thinks he will make it happen.

Boyan Slat at the announcement event on May 11th, in Delft (photo: Pierre AUGIER for The Ocean Cleanup)

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Tesla’s solar roof: too good to be true?

(photo: Tesla)

Elon Musk has been in the spotlight a number of times on my blog now, and once again he succeeded in creating a good portion of buzz in the cleantech world which I cannot let go unnoticed. Yesterday the Silicon Valley entrepreneur announced that Tesla is now taking online orders worldwide for their latest disruptive technology: the solar roof. Seen by Elon as the third leg of the stool of a sustainable energy future, next to Tesla’s Powerwall and electric car, first installations in the US follow later this year, while worldwide rollout begins in 2018.

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The sky is the limit: Lilium’s electric flying taxi

So you thought Tesla’s electric cars are revolutionary? Ha! Electric cars are no longer the coolest kid in school. Airbus and a bunch of start-ups are fervently working on electric, zero-emission, airplanes for personalized transportation. They all share a similar dream: getting you as fast and comfortable as possible from point A to B, through the air. One of these start-ups is Munich-based Lilium, which completed their maiden voyage earlier this month.

Lilium’s fully electric jet (photo: Lilium)

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The rise of renewables in 4 graphs

Last week, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) released its 2017 statistics on renewable energy technologies. Should we be excited about a 60-page long document filled with numbers?! Ooooh yes, even if you are not a nerd. IRENA meticulously listed all renewable energy generation plants in the world, categorized them according to technology, and kept track of their total installed capacity over the last decade. The statistics show clearer than ever that renewable electricity generation is growing worldwide. Have a look at the graphs I made for you below.

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