Posts tagged innovation

Solar Plastic: Film of the Future

National Geographic article on Solar plastics

Sargent Group – Inventors of Solar Plastic

Ted Sargent’s Home Page (the inventor, a globally recognized young innovator)

So this article is from 2005, not exactly hot-off-the-presses.   But it’s an interesting look at a new technology: solar cells that absorb both the visible and infrared spectrums of light and process them into usable energy.  Not only that, they’re based in a spray solution for ease of application across a variety of surfaces.  A spray-on plastic coating that could charge your car while driving or your cell-phone while walking are great ideas, with a billion more applications to be dreamed up along the way.  I’m now going to search for more information on this technology, and will report whatever I find to you as it comes in. 

Even now, I’m envisioning spray-painting a backyard deck/patio with a plastic coating that weather proofs it, and makes it more attractive, all while powering solar evening lamps or CMOS security sensors around a property’s perimeter, perhaps also powering a sensor-activated automatic watering system for garden plantings.  Or, on a less serious tack, maybe creating a line of ultra-mod swimwear that uses solar plastics and a closed system of lighting to create light-up fashions?  How cool would that look underwater?  What do you see in your solar dreams?

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Big Belly: an Appetite for Trash

Now that’s a good idea! Anyone tried one?

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zeroHouse – Making Your Home Work for You

Nice. No, really, everything about this concept is nice, from the idea, to the execution and the website. So nice that you’d better go check out the website for yourself, so I’m only going to provide one chart here as a teaser.

zeroHouse by Scott Specht

This house does it all. Collects water, uses high-capacity solar, makes its own compost, and looks amazing while doing it through your laptop. And you can construct one in under a weekend. How’s that for simple? It’s certainly inspiring.

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Solar-Powered Robot Lawn Mower

I so need one of these!  Oh, wait, no grass to mow.  But you probably have some, and just look at this beauty!  At $4,000, it’s no yard-sale find, but with built-in sensors that detect yard obstacles, it reduces the amount of work you have to do down to simply setting the thing out and turning it on.  Swimming devotees will recognize this approach as like that of the pool Simon, and it also falls close to the Roomba technology.   And of course, like many products featured here, it’s totally powered by the sun.  With one of these and a few free hours to watch it wander, you might actually be HAPPY when your spouse tells you to mow the lawn!

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First Mixed-Use Energy Positive Building in the World

Wow! That’s all I can think when viewing pictures of the first building planned to grace zero waste, zero carbon emission Masdar City, in the United Arab Emirates. It’s beautiful! And, most importantly, its enormous solar roof will generate more energy than the building uses… enough to power the construction of the rest of the building! The building is designed by Chicago architecture firm Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill (AS + GG). Click the link above for more details.

Large-scale projects like this are what it’s going to take to get solar design into the mainstream of architecture.

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Plasma LED lights for 12V systems

So here’s a great idea for all you solar panel owners out there:
These plasma lights use next-to-no energy, and are wired for 12V (aka your solar panel/battery). As you can see, they emit a lot of light for the power used, so you could light up a room with a bulb or two. Nice!

Click on the banner ad below to buy one today! (yeah, I don’t usually advertise like this, but your purchases will help me support this blog.)

Plasma LED

clipped from www.plasmaled.com

5mm & 8mm wired LEDs

  • ALL LEDs Each come with wire & resistor attached for 12V use
  • Wire is at least 1 Feet in length
  • Will also work for 6V-13V DC applications
  • Assembled in the USA! Best Quality!
  • Water Proof! We don’t tell you! We show you!

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2 cents a mile? Now that’s a car.

Trev Two-Seat Lithium ion Electric Travel for 2¢ a Mile (story here)

“Staff and students at the University of South Australia have designed and built an amazing vehicle called the Trev. Its features include:

* two comfortable seats, since more than 90% of urban trips have only one or two people in the car;
* enough luggage space for at least two overnight bags;
* 300 kg mass—because using a 2.5 tonne vehicle for commuting is ridiculous;
* energy-efficient tyres, brakes and suspension;
* a clean, quiet and efficient electric drive system;
* compliance with road safety and worthiness regulations;
* good performance, with a top speed of 120 km/h; and
* 150 km of city driving before the car must be recharged.

Most importantly, it uses less than 1/5 of the energy required by a conventional car, and can be recharged using electricity from clean, renewable sources such as solar and wind.”

I’d love to see this car next to a standard commuter vehicle. It’s like a tofu dog on wheels in a world of burgers. Nice though.

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