July 27, 2012 in Random Cool, Water

DontFlushMe is a NYC-based crowdsourcing project to engage residents in reducing the amount of sewage pollution in the New York Harbor through network-connected Arduino-programmed sensors. Did you know that approximately 27 billion gallons of raw sewage (re. the goods you flush down the toilet) gets dumped into the New York Harbor every year? New York [...]

Weather Harvester. Turning rain into electricity.

July 20, 2012 in Random Cool, Wind

Canadian Raymond Wang is developing a roof-mounted system based on piezoelectric technology (converting mechanical stress into electricity) in order to harvest energy from rain, hail, and snow and convert it into useful electricity. Did I mention that “Weather Harvester” is not a company, but the name of a science fair project? Oh yes, and did [...]

Mera Gao Micro Grid Power. Solar-powered network systems for rural off-grid villages.

July 6, 2012 in Appropriate Technology, Distributed Power, Solar

The world’s off-grid population – who are also the world’s poorest – not only rely on dirty and unsafe sources for their energy needs (kerosene for lighting, charcoal for cooking), but they are also paying a much higher price for energy needs than their grid-connected counterparts. We’ve seen a number of off-grid projects respond to [...]

BioLite. Energy everywhere.

June 27, 2012 in Appropriate Technology, Biotech/ Biofuels

Brooklyn-based BioLite has developed a cookstove technology that provides heat and electricity, fueled simply by wood or found biomass.  Targeting both the 3 billion people in the world that cook using open fires on a daily-basis, as well as the market of hikers and campers far from ovens and electricity, BioLite provides an efficient, clean, [...]

Eight19. Transforming lives with flexible solar technology.

June 14, 2012 in Appropriate Technology, Solar

Cambridge, UK-based Eight19 combines an innovative technology (organic solar PV) and an innovative business model (pay-as-you-go solar electricity system) to provide a low-cost solution for clean energy access to rural off-grid communities. Eight19 is a technology company.  They develop and manufacture a novel printed plastic solar cell technology based on organic semiconductor materials.  As compared to the [...]

Marché sur l’eau. Local food baskets – delivered by boat.

June 6, 2012 in Efficiency, Transportation

Marché sur l’eau (“Market on the Water”, or “Walk on Water” cleverly playing on the double meaning of “marché” in French), is a Paris-based non-profit organization delivering fresh produce baskets from local producers via canalway transport. It’s no Venice, but Paris has quite a developed canal system dating back to early 19th century when Napoleon I ordered [...]

Fermentalg. CO2-absorbing algae street lamp.

May 30, 2012 in Biotech/ Biofuels, Carbon capture

Based just outside of Bordeaux, France, biotech Fermentalg is designing a groundbreaking street lamp that absorbs enormous amounts of CO2, over 150-200 times more than a tree – using microalgae. French biochemist Pierre Calleja founded Fermentalg in 2009 to exploit the wonders of microalgae for many applications from fuel to health to the fishing industry. The microalgae street [...]

Sadoway’s “dirt cheap” battery. A solution for grid-scale renewables?

May 24, 2012 in Energy Storage

Grid-scale adoption of renewables requires energy storage.  Cheap energy storage. For instance, the cost of PV solar, approaching $0.25/kWh, is becoming cost competitive with traditional baseload energy sources (gas, coal, nuclear, etc.), with production costs of about $0.05-$.015/kWh. But solar is intermittent.  And to become “baseload”, PV solar needs to be coupled with an electrical storage system. [...]

The Cineroleum. Film’er up!

May 21, 2012 in Recycling

With a mere budget of 6,500£, a collective of artists, designers, and architects transformed an abandoned gas station in central London into … the Cineroleum, a street-side, hand-built cinema. The Cineroleum was conceived and constructed by the Assemble collective in just three weeks during the summer of 2010 using donated and found materials, and with [...]

Solar Impulse. The revenge of Icarus.

May 17, 2012 in Solar, Transportation

I was inspired to approach the topic of low-carbon travel, after reading Sustainable Energy – without the hot air and realizing that no matter how much effort you make in your daily life to reduce your carbon emissions and live efficiently – take shorter showers, turn down the heat, avoid using a car, eat less meat – as [...]

WeBike. Wheel to feel it.

May 14, 2012 in Efficiency, Random Cool

Belgium-based WeWatt is developing the WeBike, a pedal-powered table that generates electricity for devices such as laptops and cell phones — to be installed in offices, restaurants, or even at home. Human power is not an efficient means for generating electricity.  But the WeBike is not solely about generating electricity.  The objective of the WeBike is [...]

BrightSource Energy. A future for CSP?

May 4, 2012 in Solar

When you hear solar power, you’re probably thinking photovoltatics (PV) .  In fact, all but one* solar projects documented on Watt Now have been PV technologies.  And solar PV has dominated the media lately due to significant cost reductions in PV manufacturing and concern about China’s control over the PV supply chain. But there’s another [very significant] solar player [...]