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New York City to install around 1,000 fast-chargers for EVs

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New York City aims to majorly expand their electric vehicle (EV) charging network with a $10 million investment. They recently introduced a plan to bring 50 fast-charging hubs to the city by 2020 – and each hub could have 20 chargers. The city hopes to encourage more people to drive EVs, with the goal that by 2025, 20 percent of new car registrations will be electric cars.

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New York City is working to become a more EV-friendly region. They want to install fast-charging hubs in each one of the five boroughs. Starting next year, the city will work with energy company Con Edison to pick one site in each borough – and together those five hubs could charge over 12,000 EVs a week. Ultimately, under the plan, there could be around 1,000 high-speed chargers in the city.

Related: Germany unveils plans for the world’s largest EV charging station

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Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement, “New York will continue to invest in the new technologies we need to reduce our emissions, especially in the face of Trump’s abdication of leadership on climate. By helping develop the infrastructure necessary for electric vehicles, we’re going to make it easier than ever for New Yorkers to switch. This is another step towards aligning our action on climate change with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 degree stretch goal.”

Many public EV charging stations currently offer only a few chargers – International Business Times pointed out even Tesla Supercharger stations typically don’t have more than six chargers. Also, there are level two chargers at around 300 sites in New York, but these aren’t as rapid as high-speed chargers. The 526 level two chargers in New York City are ideal for charging an EV overnight, but not for topping off a car in hour or two while a driver is shopping or eating lunch.

In contrast, fast chargers are closer in function to a Tesla Supercharger, providing what International Business Times described as a meaningful amount of range in less than an hour. Right now, New York City only has 16 of these fast chargers.

Via The City of New York and International Business Times

Images via Pixabay (1,2)

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Futuristic floating bubble car wins London design competition

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Renault, Central Saint Martins, designjunction, designjunction 2017, electric car, autonomous car, urban planning, electric motor, connected car, green car, green transportation, Yuchen Cai

Renault and Central Saint Martins – UAL have teamed up to develop the car of the future. Part of a design competition, students of the school’s MA Industrial Design program have been challenged to think about the future of autonomous, modular cars, along with the infrastructure and services that might support them. The winning design, The Float, envisions futuristic bubble cars that use magnetic levitation technology to get around.

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The competition started with 15 students with three semi-finalists left standing – Stephanie Chang Liu for her ‘Flo’ design, with three different sized vehicles, Tuna Yenici for his emotive vehicle named ‘Vue’ and Yuchen Cai for her vision of vehicles moving around using Maglev technology, called ‘The Float’.

Yuchen Cai was announced as the winner at the opening of Designjunction 2017. The Float connects people in a new way, demonstrating how autonomy will help drivers become more open and social with the outside world. With the appearance of a bubble that moves without conventional wheels, it uses magnetic levitation technology that gives it the ability to move in any direction without the need to turn around.

Related: Audi unveils two new swanky self-driving concepts in Frankfurt

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The exterior is covered in transparent glass, while passengers sit in silver seats. The large swathes of glass will provide a new way for people to connect through tessellation. Users can also use a smartphone app to rent a Float, just like how a user would request an Uber or Lyft ride.

The concepts have been unveiled in London at Designjunction 2017, which runs from September 21-24. Renault is a partner in the competition, since it is eager to develop the technologies of the future with an emphasis on electric power, autonomous driving and connected technologies. Renault’s ultimate goal is to have autonomous electric vehicles on the road by the early 2020s.

+ Renault

Images @Renault

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UNEP chief: Polluters should pay for environmental destruction, not taxpayers

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Companies often profit from environmental destruction, leaving taxpayers to pick up the cleanup bill. That shouldn’t be the case, according to Erik Solheim, executive director for the United Nations Environment Program. At a conference at Columbia University earlier this week, he said, “The profit of destroying nature or polluting the planet is nearly always privatized, while the costs of polluting the planet or the cost of destroying ecosystems is nearly always socialized. This cannot continue.”

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Solheim said we can turn around Earth’s environmental fortunes if businesses, citizens, and politicians work for a shared goal – with the biggest polluters paying for damage. He said, “Anyone who pollutes, anyone who destroys nature must pay for the cost of that destruction or that pollution.”

Related: The oil industry knew about dangerous climate change in the 1960s

Two scientists made a similar point in a recent opinion piece for The Guardian, saying big oil companies should pay for climate change. The Union of Concerned Scientists’ Director of Science and Policy Peter Frumhoff and University of Oxford professor of geosystem science Myles Allen pointed to July lawsuits against ExxonMobil, BP, and Chevron, saying they should pay for damages coastal communities face from rising sea levels. They, together with other researchers, published a peer-reviewed study quantifying sea level rise and rising temperatures coming from emissions from fossil fuel companies.

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Solheim also said businesses must play a role by creating new technologies to address needs. He pointed to China as an example, highlighting the work of bike-sharing firm Mobike, which boasts over a million shareable bicycles in the Beijing area. Meanwhile, China is also working on transportation with a high-speed rail network and urban metro systems.

He also pointed to India, where addressing environmental issues has been good for the country. Solar power has created jobs, simultaneous boosting the economy and helping the planet.

Solheim said, “Change is happening. Economic-wise, we are on the right track, but we need to speed up because the challenge is so big.”

Via Thomson Reuters Foundation and EcoWatch

Images via Sgt. 1st Class Malcolm McClendon/Army National Guard and Steve Snodgrass on Flickr

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New Antarctic farm will grow produce despite temperatures of -100 degrees F

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Antarctica, greenhouse, vertical gardening, sustainability, produce, German Aerospace Center, innovation, green technology,

Imagine having to go months without an adequate supply of fresh, nutritious fruits and vegetables. Scientists based in Antarctica know this struggle, which is why engineers at the German Aerospace Center (GAC) are building a high-tech, 135 square-foot indoor farm that can grow an abundance of produce — even when temperatures are -100 degrees Fahrenheit outside.

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The only way to transport food to McMurdo, the US station where the majority of researchers stay, is by plane or ship. Most of the food that is received is dry or frozen. During the summer, the scientists may receive one shipment of fresh food once a week, according to Atlas Obscura. Fortunately, that is about to change.

The Eden-ISS is already under construction and will grow food for all who are stationed at the Neumayer III polar station on the Ekstrom Ice Shelf. The greenhouse will be in a climate-controlled shipping and produce will be grown utilizing vertical gardening technology. When the farm is complete, between 30 and 50 different species of plants — including leafy greens, peppers, radishes, strawberries, tomatoes and zesty herbs — will be grown on trays or hanging modules.

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Because of Antarctica’s climate, the plants are fed by LED lights rather than sunlight. This is actually a good thing, as the researchers have tuned the lights to red and blue wavelengths that are optimal for growing produce.

Related: Scientists discover nearly 100 unknown volcanoes – in Antarctica

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Business Insider reports that the Eden-ISS will be completed in October. The infrastructure is ready to go; the engineers are just waiting for the shipment of supplies which will arrive next month. Reportedly, the GAC team grew its first cucumber (which measured 96 grams and was 14 centimeters long) inside Eden-ISS in July. In Bremen, Germany, GAC has already been testing growing produce in a climate-controlled environment. Next month,  GAC scientist Paul Zabel will move to Antarctica and grow produce under 42 LED lamps.

Antarctica, greenhouse, vertical gardening, sustainability, produce, German Aerospace Center, innovation, green technology,

Because sub-Arctic regions have experienced an agricultural boon partly due to climate change, the researchers are pumping in excess carbon dioxide to help the plants thrive. The temperature is always set to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

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If the GAC team succeeds at building a greenhouse that can grow crops even when it is -100 degrees Fahrenheit outside, researchers will be able to use the same system to help astronauts grow food in space. Considering Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk — two of the most brilliant minds of our time — are intent on moving humans to the moon or Mars, this technology could come in handy.

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+ DLR German Aerospace Center

Via Business Insider

Images via DLR German Aerospace Center

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Waterproof solar cell generates power even after it gets soaked

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A new solar cell could go through the laundry and emerge still working. The photovoltaic cell, developed by Japanese research institution RIKEN and the University of Tokyo, is ultra thin and coated on both sides with waterproof film. The solar cell can be stretched or compressed or washed and continue to function.

RIKEN, University of Tokyo, solar cell, solar cells, solar, photovoltaic, photovoltaics, photovoltaic cell, photovoltaic cells, photovoltaic device, photovoltaic devices, wearable, wearables, water, waterproof, waterproof solar cell, stretchable, stretch, technology

Researchers in Japan have created a waterproof solar cell able to withstand a wash and keep on generating power. They developed flexible, super thin, organic photovoltaic cells based on PNTz4T, a material they developed in the past. Both sides of the cell were covered with an acrylic-based elastomer that allowed light to reach the cells, but prevented air and water from leaking on to them.

Related: This carbon nanotube yarn generates power when pulled

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The researchers then tested the waterproof solar cells to see if they’d retain efficiency. The initial device had an efficiency of 7.9 percent – per square centimeter it generated a current of 7.86 milliwatts. They soaked the cells in water for two hours and then found the efficiency had decreased by 5.4 percent. They also compressed the device by almost half for 20 cycles, while subjecting it to water, and found it had 80 percent of the initial efficiency.

Photovoltaics integrated in textiles in the past have suffered from a lack of energy efficiency, or they weren’t robust and didn’t resist being deformed well, or they weren’t stable over the long-term in water or air – or some combination of those three. This new waterproof cell, that’s able to be compressed, could open up more options for wearables with solar cells. The photovoltaic cells could power sensors that record body temperature and heartbeats or provide early warnings of health issues, according to research group leader Takao Someya.

The journal Nature Energy published the research online earlier this week.

Via RIKEN

Images via RIKEN

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Grow your own mushroom lamp with this brilliant DIY kit

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Ever wanted to grow your own lamp? Now you can, thanks to a brilliant collaboration between eco-designer Danielle Trofe and Ecovative. Recently launched on Kickstarter, the Grow-It-Yourself Lamp Kit lets you grow a beautiful lampshade by combining a mushroom substrate with a small amount of water and flour.

Grow-It-Yourself Lamp Kickstarter, Ecovative Design, MushLume Lighting Collection, Danielle Trofe, mushroom mycelium, lamp design, mushroom lamps, diy lamps, natural lamps, eco lamps, eco interior design, sustainable lamps, Grow Lamp kit, eco-friendly goods, diy gardening, shroom lamps, mycelium technology, earth-compatible products

The Grow-It-Yourself lamp kit includes one bag of mushroom mycelium substrate, a lampshade mold, a UL-certified pendant lamp set, and growing instructions. Using Ecovative’s patented Mushroom Material technology, the  mushroom mycelium – the root of the mushroom – is guaranteed to grow, making this a perfect project for those without any green thumb whatsoever.

Related: Danielle Trofe’s Brilliant Mush-Lume Lamp is Grown From Fungi!

Grow-It-Yourself Lamp Kickstarter, Ecovative Design, MushLume Lighting Collection, Danielle Trofe, mushroom mycelium, lamp design, mushroom lamps, diy lamps, natural lamps, eco lamps, eco interior design, sustainable lamps, Grow Lamp kit, eco-friendly goods, diy gardening, shroom lamps, mycelium technology, earth-compatible products

Once the substrate is placed in the mold, you’ll just have to add tap water and a bit of flour. After a few more simple steps, including baking it in the oven for a bit, your new eco-positive lampshade is ready to go. The kit comes with basic hanging pendant set, but can be updated to include a table lamp stand made from sustainable wood.

Grow-It-Yourself Lamp Kickstarter, Ecovative Design, MushLume Lighting Collection, Danielle Trofe, mushroom mycelium, lamp design, mushroom lamps, diy lamps, natural lamps, eco lamps, eco interior design, sustainable lamps, Grow Lamp kit, eco-friendly goods, diy gardening, shroom lamps, mycelium technology, earth-compatible products

+ Grow Kickstarter

+ Ecovative Design

+ Danielle Trofe

Images via Kickstarter

Grow-It-Yourself Lamp Kickstarter, Ecovative Design, MushLume Lighting Collection, Danielle Trofe, mushroom mycelium, lamp design, mushroom lamps, diy lamps, natural lamps, eco lamps, eco interior design, sustainable lamps, Grow Lamp kit, eco-friendly goods, diy gardening, shroom lamps, mycelium technology, earth-compatible products

Grow-It-Yourself Lamp Kickstarter, Ecovative Design, MushLume Lighting Collection, Danielle Trofe, mushroom mycelium, lamp design, mushroom lamps, diy lamps, natural lamps, eco lamps, eco interior design, sustainable lamps, Grow Lamp kit, eco-friendly goods, diy gardening, shroom lamps, mycelium technology, earth-compatible products

Grow-It-Yourself Lamp Kickstarter, Ecovative Design, MushLume Lighting Collection, Danielle Trofe, mushroom mycelium, lamp design, mushroom lamps, diy lamps, natural lamps, eco lamps, eco interior design, sustainable lamps, Grow Lamp kit, eco-friendly goods, diy gardening, shroom lamps, mycelium technology, earth-compatible products

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Ericsson’s new mixed-reality platform envisions urban design in “real life”

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Ericsson has created a new mixed-reality platform that allows users to envision urban design projects in “real life”. Teaming up with UN-Habitat, Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) and WITS University as part of a community project called Building the Public City Through Public Space, the Swedish telecommunications company recently tested their prototype in Braamfontein, South Africa during the Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival. Albeit still very much in its early development phase, the technology gave the community a sense of what their own Minecraft public space design proposal would look like if it were actually built.

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Marcus Nyberg, a senior researcher with Ericsson’s Strategic Design unit, says they developed the mixed-reality platform as part of a larger initiative to engage partners outside of Ericsson in participatory planning, sustainable urbanism and future technology. JDA and WITS university chose a public space in need of improvement at the intersection of Stiemens and Bertha Street and invited passersby (and students) to use Minecraft to design a safe, welcoming space that caters to their specific needs. This is part of UN-Habitat’s broader Block by Block initiative that uses this relatively simple design program to engage underserved communities in their own urban planning.

Related: Water-purifying tower could heal landscapes scarred by acid mine drainage in South Africa

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Klaas Tswai, an urban design postgraduate student from WITS, coalesced the results of various proposals into one feasible, cohesive design that Ericsson then plugged into their new platform that uses “special smartphones enabled with sensors and 3D-sensing technology,” writes Joakim Formo. He continues, “For the technically inclined, the devices we used for this test were Tango-enabled smartphones/phablets that has parts of the on-board SLAM functionality disabled, instead using our own pre-loaded 3D mesh based on a Lidar-scanned point cloud which we used for occlusion-masking, ray-tracing shadows etc.”

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In addition to seating areas and other details, the community envisioned building a bridge over a busy street. Once the design was plugged into Ericsson’s new platform, participating community members could walk around with the smartphone and see what that bridge would look like as though it were right there in front of them. Their reactions exceeded Nyberg’s expectations. He said they did not expect people to be “so amazed” by the results.

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Albeit still quite elementary (I personally felt like I was walking around in Legoland), the prototypical technology clearly has immense potential. Imagine: instead of spending a pile of money and resources to design buildings or benches or whatever it is – and then finding it’s not really suitable for that particular space – this mixed-reality platform would give users an opportunity to test drive it for a while. Not only that, but getting the community involved gives them a greater sense of ownership and belonging.

+ Ericsson

+ UN-Habitat

+ Building the Public City Through Public Space

Images via Joakim Formo, Ericsson

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