Articles With "alternative energy" Tag

Envision Solar Trees as Energy Stations?

Envision Solar

As you can see above and below, Envision Solar plans to make parking lots into beautiful power plants with their Solar Groves and Solar Trees.  Envision Solar takes the hassle out of designing structures for solar with their turn-key solutions.  Although the company is working on a next generation design for the Solar Tree, the current iteration includes 64 Kyocera solar modules laid out in total measuring 30' x 40'.  The panels sit at a five degree angle and provide shading for six vehicles, too.  Envision Solar has found success installing these parking canopies near commercial buildings and retail parking lots because the energy can be sold to businesses through power purchase agreements. 

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Wind Turbines Big and Small at WINDPOWER 2008

Broadstar

This is a guest post provided by Maria Surma Manka direct from WINDPOWER 2008.  Maria writes about renewable energy policy, innovation, and private sector leadership at Maria Energia.

Greetings from Houston, site of the American Wind Energy Association’s WINDPOWER 2008 conference. I am a guest of AWEA and have spent the last few days meeting several of the 12,000 attendees and visiting many of the nearly 800 exhibitors.  Below are some of the interesting small wind turbine designs I found.

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Nano Vent-Skin Demonstrated in Concept Tower

Nvs_building

I was pretty impressed by Agustin Otegui’s design for Nano Vent-Skin (NVS), rendered on the building above.  NVS is a building skin that uses organic photovoltaics to capture sun and micro-wind turbines to capture wind.  Otegui envisions nano-manufacturing with bioengineered organisms as the production method for NVS, and because it’s organic, the wall provides the additional benefit of capturing CO2 from the air. 

Obviously, the concept building above would be a new design built to reap the benefits of NVS, but Otegui also thinks the skin would be perfect for making existing buildings greener. 

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New "Green Machine" Waste Heat Generator Launches with Fast Payback, Cheap Electricity

50kw Green Machine 50kw Green Machine

At this very moment, ElectraTherm is releasing details of the successful installation of its new product, a commercial waste heat generator called the Green Machine.  ElectraTherm tested their first Green Machine at none other than my alma mater, Southern Methodist University, and the results exceeded initial expectations.  Stated simply, the Green Machine makes electricity from residual industrial heat that usually just goes to waste.  ElectraTherm’s new product employs minimal heat (200 degrees F liquid) to generate fuel-free, emissions-free electricity at $0.03 – $0.04 per kWh during a three-year payback period and at under $0.01 per kWh after that.  SMU’s test of the 50 kW Green Machine reached output well beyond the 50 kW rating. 

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Leaf-like Solar Shade Both Functional, Educational

Veil Solar Shade

Buro North, a design firm located in Melbourne, Australia, has partnered with Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab (VEIL) to develop this interesting solar-collecting sun shade called the "Solar Shade" for Australian elementary schools.  The Solar Shade concept is part educational and part functional.  Of course, when used in clusters, Solar Shades provide a shaded gathering place that generates energy for the school.  But in addition, the device demonstrates and educates students on the dynamics of harvesting solar energy.  The foundation of the Solar Shade includes LED lights that provide feedback as to whether the orientation is/is not optimal.  When the LEDs turn red, students can grab the handle and rotate the device to absorb more of the sun’s rays.   Although still a concept, it’s kind of a cool idea — maybe enthusiasm for the project will push it into production?

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Kuwait's First LEED Tower To Be Crowned with Wind

Sabahalahmendifc KEO International Consultants has received word from the USGBC that its design for Sabah Al Ahmed International Finance Center (ICF) has been precertified at the Gold level under the LEED-CS green building rating system.  The 1.2 million sf, 40-story tower is the first building in Kuwait to be registered or precertified by the USGBC.  As you can partially tell from the renderings, the design includes four stacked courtyard atriums ranging from 8-13 floors each.  Three of the atriums serve the office portion of the building, while the fourth atrium serves the 200 key, 4-star business class hotel.  The tower generates part of its energy from a PV system, as well as from roof-mounted wind turbines.  You may be able to see the lattice-work of wind turbines at the crown of the building; I think they’re the vertical axis, helical-type, but it’s hard to tell with this one image.  We’ll make sure to keep you posted …

The use of wind turbines at the building’s apex is similar to what’s planned for Discovery Tower in Houston.  It’ll be interesting to see these designs meet reality — the media world will definitely have fun running video and stories of building integrated wind turbines.

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