Behold! The wonderful efficiency of next-gen LED lighting is now being integrated with the grandeur of luxury illumination — specifically, massive chandeliers. Even more specific – the world’s largest chandelier currently installed at the Stanley theatre in Utica, New York.
This chandelier — weighing in at almost 7,000 pounds, 35 feet in diameter, 17 feet tall — uses 328 LEDs manufactured by Philips Luxeon and consumes just 1,120 watts of electricity. That’s almost seven times more efficient than conventional light bulbs. Not to mention the fact that will be many years before workers have to replace any of the bulbs due to burnout. Unless, of course, the Phantom has anything to say about it.
Would you like to own a lamp that doesn’t need to be plugged in and might last 200 years without even needing a replacement bulb?
Clay Moulton, a student at Virginia Tech, has created just such an LED lamp. He’s named it Gravia. It just won second place in the Greener Gadgets Design Competition during the Greener Gadgets Conference in NYC.
To “turn on” the lamp, the user moves weights from the bottom to the top of the lamp. An hour-glass like mechanism is turned over and the weights are placed in the mass sled near the top of the lamp. The sled begins its gently glide back down and, within a few seconds, the LEDs come on and light the lamp, Moulton said. â€śItâ€™s more complicated than flipping a switch but can be an acceptable, even enjoyable routine, like winding a beautiful clock or making good coffee,â€ť he said.
As a kid, no sandbox was complete without a fleet of Tonka dump trucks. Today’s kids have much cooler options; particularly if this design from Haishan Deng makes it from the drawing board and into the real world. It’s called the Super Tipper Truck and features independent suspension and electric motors in all four wheels. This allows for greater versatility in loading and unloading positions; as well as the ability drive down into pits and deliver cargo — something normal tipper trucks would have difficulty doing.
I’ve given readers a look into Coskata’s history and process, now I’ll take a little liberty and give my opinion on the partnership and the future of ethanol in transportation.
I have to admit, since the days of “Live Green, Go Yellow” – I’ve been perplexed a why GM would chase a blatantly unsustainable solution to our energy dependence problems – Corn ethanol. Despite what the public may feel about GM’s environmental record, I’ve met only extremely bright people working in GM’s environmental department. I’m sure that they have access to a calculator, and could do the math and figure out we’d need to cultivate nearly the entire land area of the US to grow enough corn to produce the ethanol needed to fuel our cars and trucks for a year (Pimentel 2001).
Turns out, they weren’t banking on endless fields of corn to produce the ethanol needed. Their strategy has been to look to ‘second-generation’ biofuels in the form of cellulosic ethanol. (I was told that the ‘live green go yellow’ ad campaign has since been retired).
A senior executive confirmed over lunch that a foreign auto company had approached Coskata prior to GM looking to invest in their technology. The story goes that that executive contacted GM, to see if they would be interested in investing and keeping the company domestic. GM and Coskata were able to work out a plan over the past 6 months for them to take a large (undisclosed) stake in the company, and the deal was announced in January at the Detroit International Auto Show.
When most people think of E.coli, the first thing that comes to mind is tainted food. It would be fair to assume that the last thing we would expect is its potential to provide cheap, clean hydrogen for America’s energy future. Thomas Wood, a professor in Texas A&M University’s Chemical Engineering department has discovered that when properly ‘tweaked’ at the DNA level, E.coli produces substantial amounts of hydrogen. Specifically, Woodâ€™s strain produces 140 times more hydrogen than is created in a naturally occurring process.
Of course, there are plenty of research hurdles left before his work can go commercial; but the results are encouraging. â€śOne of the most difficult things about chemical engineering is how you get the product,â€ť Wood explained. â€śIn this case, itâ€™s very easy because the hydrogen is a gas, and it just bubbles out of the solution. You just catch the gas as it comes out of the glass. Thatâ€™s it. You have pure hydrogen.â€ť
Wood also believes hydrogen-producing E.coli would solve another environmental hurdle associated with the technology: the infrastructure needed to support it. With bacteria, he believes the hydrogen production could occur on site. This would drastically increase the safety of hydrogen production; as opposed to trucking the fuel across the United States. It would also work for your home. From the article,
â€śTake your house, for example,â€ť Wood said. â€śThe size of the reactor that weâ€™d need today if we implemented this technology would be less than the size of a 250-gallon fuel tank found in the typical east-coast home. Iâ€™m not finished with this yet, but at this point if we implemented the technology right now, you or a machine would have to shovel in about the weight of a man every day so that the reactor could provide enough hydrogen to take care of the average American home for a 24-hour period.
â€śWeâ€™re trying to make bacteria so itâ€™s doesnâ€™t require 80 kilograms; it will be closer to 8 kilograms.â€ť
Sounds good to me. My propane bills are killing me. Hit the jump for more details.
We’re starting to enter the second-generation of personal solar chargers. Those little things –your cell phone, iPod — we’re all covered in the first wave. Now comes foldable panels about the size of a large beach towel that can charge quickly everything from your laptop to a dead car battery.
The latest entry is a product from Brunton called the Solaris 26. To achieve rockstar status in charging, the Solaris uses an extremely efficient solar cell called Copper Indium Gallium diSelenide. Since I have no idea what that means either, I looked it up on Wikipedia and discovered that it allows efficiencies of about 19.5% — the highest currently possible for thin-film.
The cool thing about Brunton’s products is that they can be linked up with additional modules to provide even more juice for whatever you’re running. This particular model — which isn’t expected to ship until sometime next month — will output about 52 volts. Expect to plunk down between $850-$900.
Still, the executive of the Shenzhen-based auto maker — one of several companies consulting firm JD Power and Associates has identified as “Chinese auto makers to watch” — said his company wants to launch in the U.S., among other vehicles, a new breed of a gasoline-electric hybrid that can be plugged into a home wall outlet and run 100 kilometers (about 61 miles) on electricity when fully charged.
Mr. Lin said the plug-in hybrid, based on its gasoline-fueled BYD F6 sedan, will likely hit U.S. dealer showrooms until the end of 2009 or the beginning of 2010. BYD Auto is expected to display the plug-in hybrid at the North American International Auto Show that opens to the public on Jan. 19.
The BYD plug-in hybrid, to be called the BYD F6 DM, is similar in design to General Motors Corp.’s Chevy Volt concept car which GM is aiming to launch by 2010. Both cars are propelled by electric motors using electricity stored on batteries and generated by a small gasoline engine on the car when the car run out of electricity when it isn’t plugged in.
BYD Auto, which began producing and selling cars in 2003, is displaying the plug-in hybrid car and four gasoline-fueled vehicles at the Detroit auto show.
Behind the fairly simple consumer settings was a sophisticated live marketplace, whose software and analytics were designed by I.B.M. Research. Every five minutes, households and local utilities were buying and selling electricity, with prices constantly fluctuating by tiny amounts as supply and demand on the grid changed.
“Your thermostat and your water heater are day-trading for you,” explained Ron Ambrosio, a senior researcher at I.B.M. Watson Labs.
Wow, talk about taking conservation AND economic power out of the hands of the utility conglomerates! I can’t imagine their CEOs would really be enthusiastic giving consumers this ability…
This is another example of how smart metering and allowing consumers to monitor their energy use has a positive correlation with energy conservation. Policy makers should be focusing on this technology as a key to conservation and carbon emission reduction.
To be fair, I thought that I should publish the response that I received from my contacts at GM:
XXXXXXXXXXX forwarded your question, based on comments made by Rick Wagoner on the Chevy Volt.
I assure you, the Volt remains a top priority for our company, and the program timing for the Volt has not changed.
Mr. Wagoner’s response while phrased differently than our previous responses, is consistent with what we have said all along, “we continue to work aggressively toward our 2010 internal target, but that date is dependent on the availability of battery technology that meets our safety, performance and durability requirements.”
The development of the Volt, and specifically its battery, depends on engineering solutions, rather than invention. We have been testing two battery packs for over two months. The results have been very encouraging with our confidence growing every day. However, we need more data to reliably predict how this battery will perform over 10 years of cycle life in varying conditions. Only through rigorous testing of the battery, which continues every day, will we be able to accurately determine where we are in the development of the battery and the ultimate production date of the Volt.
There are over 200 engineers working directly on this program, with another 300+ chassis, powertrain and manufacturing engineers, designers, and other technical support working every day to bring the Volt to dealers as quickly as possible. More batteries are due in our labs this month, and soon, these batteries will be moving to engineering “mule” vehicles for dynamic testing. We also recently opened a dedicated design studio for the development of the Volt and other future E-Flex vehicles. We have a great deal of talent and treasure allocated to this program all with the expectation that we will be the first to market with this technology.
I hope this answers your question, please feel free to call or e-Mail me if you have any others.
Mgr. Chevy Volt/E-Flex Communications
I want to reiterate to our readers that I am rooting for the Volt, not against it. I hope that GM can make this car a reality. I also believe that we should continue to keep pressure on them until they do.
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