New York City is looking at several ways to reduce its carbon emissions. The city recently launched a pilot project together with MOVE Systems, an American start-up created to bring the mobile food industry into the 21st century. They’ve come up with the MRV, a food cart with cutting edge technology such as solar panels, batteries and alternative fuels. Nowadays, food carts mostly run on propane gas, both polluting and potentially dangerous in urban environments. The MRV carts are for free for vendors who sign up; the carts are paid for by donations and private funding. Yet, it will take some time before you will see them in the streets of the Big Apple, because the city only gives a limited amount of permits for food carts every year.
Great Britain has a lot to win from its all-surrounding waters. And green energy company Tidal Lagoon Power knows that. They’re planning to build a 10 kilometers-long sea wall from Newport to Cardiff to create a artificial lagoon. At high tide the water can stream in via turbines in the wall. The lagoon is then closed until low tide, when it is opened again to let the water stream out via the turbines. The company claims it could generate enough energy to power Wales. The project would cost around 6 billion British pounds (8.3 billion euros). Governement has already said it supports the idea, although negotiations over subsidies over a pilot project in Swansea have yet to start. Consumer charity Citizens Advice has warned that the project is a “appalling value for money”. It would indeed be the most expensive green energy project in Great Britain so far. Tidal Lagoon Power says it will only be expensive in the first thirty years when they have to pay constructions bills and turn a profit, but afterwards the generated energy would become very cheap.
The Eiffel Tower, Paris’ most famous icon, is going green. Earlier this year an American company installed two vertical axis wind turbines at a height of 120 metres, spinning above the second level. Both turbines generate around 10 000kWh a year, enough to power the restaurants and shops of the tower. The monument is already equipped with LED lightning and all toilets run on rainwater. According to UGE’s Gromadzki, who led the installation, “The project happened because the mayor’s office wanted it to happen. They really wanted to make a strong statement about renewable energy”. This is not a surprise, since Paris will host the much anticipated climate summit at the end of the year. Many people see this as a turning point in climate negotiations.
Last week the first commercial-scale grid connected wave energy array was switched on in Perth, Australia. Carnegie Wave developed a technology to drive pumps at the sea bed by the up and down movement of great buoys near the water surface. These pumps feed high pressure water onshore to a power station and desalination plant, not only providing energy but also fresh water. One unit was measured to have 240kW peak capacity during testing, but the company is already working on a next generation of converters to make it more cost-effective.
Learn more: Carnegie CETO Technology
Some US states consider a new way of generating clean energy: harvesting power from water flow in drinking water pipes. The city of Portland already took the step and installed a pipe system equipped with turbines generating energy to power street lights and buildings. This system only works in places where water flows naturally because of height difference. In this occasion it offers some advantages over typical solar or wind installations. First of all it’s not directly dependent on weather elements. Secondly the pipes are equipped with sensors to keep an eye on water quality and pressure. Water contamination or leaks can be detected much earlier, resulting in a smaller loss of water. Last but not least the installation doesn’t form any danger for water animals, a major problems with hydro power from dams – since there is no fish swimming around in the pipes.
Last Saturday January the 31th, NASA successfully launched its first of five Earth satellites. SMAP (Soil Moisture Active Passive) will give new insights about what is happening in the top layer of Earth’s soil. For the next three years it will be scanning the top 5cm of the ground below our feet to produce global maps of soil moisture with an unseen detail. This will give scientists new insights in how the Earth’s water, energy and carbon cycles are connected. This enables scientist to forecast droughts, floods and crop yields better. It will also improve weather forecasts. “SMAP will improve the daily lives of people around the world,” said Simon Yueh, SMAP project scientist at JPL.
Find out more on NASA’s website.