Breakthrough announced in electric vehicle charging technology

Most folks like the idea of owning an electric vehicle – no worries about the price of gas being a big factor. But the issue has always been the limited amount of miles per charge that their batteries can hold. No one wants to get stranded due to losing power on the road.

Canadian inventor Thane C. Heins, CEO of  Potential Difference Inc., seems to have solved this critical issue.

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US military seeks to create a hybrid flying car

The military's seeking bids to create a no-kidding hover car

The military's seeking bids to create a no-kidding hover car

The Defense Advance Research Project Agencyor DARPA has announced it is “seeking innovative solutions that would aid in the demonstration of a roadable flyable vehicle” – in other words, they want to build a real, honest -to-gosh flying car. Move over Hanna-Barbera!

DARPA is seeking design bids for this Transformer TX concept, which is envisioned as “a robust ground vehicle that is capable of configuring into a VTOL [Vertical Take Off and Landing] air vehicle with a maximum payload capability of approximately 1,000 lbs.”

This amazing vehicle, if it’s really built, will be shaped similar to an SUV, about the size and length of two Hummers nose to tail, and be capable of handling light off-road travel. The TX should also be able to lift off and land “without forward motion”, climbing to around 10,000 ft. and be able to cruise forward at speeds “represenative of a light single-engine aircraft.”

This cool hover craft would be able to travel up to 250 miles before refueling. DARPA has some specific mission plans for the TX. They also plan that it be capable of unmanned flight operations, similar to robotic supply choppers now being considered by the Marine Corps.

However this plays out, once again it proves the statement that what science fiction can dream of can become real science. Now when will this be available for consumers, at least as a test drive?

Living in a green cave?

A couple created an unusual home from this sandstone cave

A couple created an unusual home from this sandstone cave

People are going to great lengths to green their lives. But for some, it goes way beyond recycling or hybrids.

A couple in Missouri, Curt and Deborah Sleeper, built a home inside a sandstone cave. It’s a mix of a comfortable interior in a unique setting.

The home utilizes geothermal heating, eliminating the need for a furnace or air conditioning unit. Built on a 3-acre parcel, the home has three chambers, many retaining their unfinished sandstone walls. These provide natural properties for a comfortable indoor temperature throughout the year. Since the unfinished walls do shed, the Sleepers placed interior roofs and umbrellas over the areas that needed to stay sand free.

avehome 3In the 1970s, this unique location was a venue for rock concerts, featuring stars like Bob Seger, Ted Nugent and Tina Turner.

Ironically, the home fell into foreclosure last year. As their home didnt fit the standard mortgage model, they were unable to refinance. They ended up posting the unusual home on eBay for $300,000.

Cavehome 2Not sure how the Sleepers story ends, but the idea of living in a tricked out luxury-styled cave definitely has a certain appeal to it, don’t you think?

Will Costa Rica be the world’s first carbon neutral country?

Will Costa Rica be the world's first carbon neutral country?While in Costa Rica last Fall, I wrote a number of posts about that country’s ongoing commitment to sustainability. In one of them I mentioned Costa Rica’s goal to become the world’s first carbon neutral country.

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A Solar-Wind Turbine?

Bluenergy's Solar Wind Turbine combines 2 awesome technologies

Bluenergy's Solar Wind Turbine combines 2 awesome technologies

Put two great alternative energy technologies into one and what do you get?

Bluenergy, a Santa Fe, New Mexico start-up, has come up with a hybrid vertical axis wind turbine that’s covered with solar cells. Based on sailing engineering, the wind rotor is rotated by two spiral-formed vanes. The sun and wind produce electricity as one element.

Bluenergy Solarwind’s 5 kw double-helix design is touted to perform at wind speeds from as low as 4 mph up to 90 mph. These amazing wind turbines also  profess dual energy capture; low maintenance; and an all-important silent, safe operation for birds, humans and bats.

Standing at 18′ high by 6′ wide, these blue hued photovoltaic cells have an aesthetic appeal as well. System installation costs are relatively low. At 7 per watt, the SolarWind turbine is competitive with traditional solar and wind turbine alternatives.

When the wind blows, the solar cells are cooled by the device’s rotation, which is said to help create maximum electricity generation. This privately held company is looking for individual investors willing to pony up at least $50,000.

Global Warming: Earth Hour – Take 2

As a follow-up to the recent global Earth Hour, Los Angeles’ Sofitel Hotel announced their plans to implement a new custom – a nightly mini-Earth Hour.

Every evening at dusk, Sofitel guests will experience a “lights-out” ritual. Hotel staff will light candles in public areas of the hotel during that one hour, while guests are encouraged to extinguish lights in their rooms and enjoy the softer pleasant environment in the candle-lit lobby. Candles will also in the restaurant and bar, Simon LA and Stone Rose Lounge.

Sofitel Los Angeles has inistituted numerous “green” operational practices. These include: operating on wind power, utilizing an ozone laundry system to reduce water and energy use, complimentary valet parking for any electric, hydrogen or battery-powered vehicle for guests, providing charging stations for hybrid or battery-powered vehicles, using locally-grown and organic ingredients in their restaurant and using the only green cleaning solution approved for spa use in their spa.

“Protecting the environment has always been a priority for Sofitel Los Angeles,” said Gunther Zweimuller, general manager of Sofitel Los Angeles.

“We are very excited to continue the Earth Hour movement,” he said.

Located in Beverly Hills, Sofitel seems to be raising the bar for upscale and luxury hotels in going green. Look for more hotels to jump on this bandwagon.

Electric Cars to Charge up in San Jose

Electric cars – one of the most promising hybrid cars being developed – are gaining favor with consumers.

There are a few hurdles yet to their being widely adopted, not the least of which is charging their batteries.

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