Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
Transportation systems
July 27th, 2014
10:16
 

It’s kind of expensive right now to “go green” with your vehicle. The price of the electric car is tied directly to the size of the battery used to power it. The bigger the battery, the more miles you can drive on one charge.

Tesla Motors’ chief executive, Elon Musk, announced Tesla would invest in a $4bn-$5bn “gigafactory” doubling the world’s production of lithium-ion batteries. These batteries power your mobile phone, but also Tesla‘s high-end luxury electric cars. The objective is to cut battery prices by 30% in three years, and to halve them by 2020.

Elon Musk

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors, posing with with a Tesla elecric car in Times Square. Photograph: Mark Lennihan/AP

BMW is also in the electric car arena and have developed the BMW i series from the ground up.

This new series has a whole new sustainable production process: FSC-certified eucalyptus wood has been used in the interior, the leather has been naturally tanned using olive oil rather than chemicals, and the dashboard and internal side panels are made from natural fibers rather than plastic.

Read all about the BMW of the future

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July 25th, 2014
2:13
 

Take a cue from a beloved American childhood story – - “The Little Engine That Could” used the power of positive thinking to achieve her goal and climb the seemingly insurmountable hill that stronger trains than she had failed to scale.  Like the little train, globally we should all be reciting her mantra of “I think I can, I think I can, …” – and we will!

100% Of Dutch Electric Trains Could Run On Renewable Energy BY 2018

See articles on this topic in other publications from around the world (…and maybe find a way to combine your passion for transportation and a paying position within one of the companies/consortiums they mention?)

 

And, if youLittle Engine‘ve never read this charming book, click on the pic for a quick literature lesson  (nice work Professor Plotnick, University of Illinois at Chicago!!)

 

 

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Would you like to live in a perfect city in South Korea or Abu Dhabi or Japan?  They do exist!  Commercial and private organizations are increasingly investing in these pop-up cities.  Imagine a city that recycles 80% of it’s water, replaced cars with electric pods and has street lights with motion sensors creating a security network.

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Take a look at these sustainable Pop-Up Cities!

The MIT and Masdar Institute Cooperative Program enables students to work with government to focus on alternative energy, sustainability, and advanced technology.

Gale International, of New York City, is one such private organization developing the Songdo sustainable city in South Korea.

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July 3rd, 2014
9:29
 

While I don’t envision a fish-bowl strapped onto the bumper to set your car in motion, marine plant life is taking a front seat!  The need to keep moving forward in identifying and testing alternative fuels continues, as the conflicts over fossil fuel production stay at the forefront of the news.  While corn and other farm substances seem to hold sway in the U.S., there are a variety of other bio materials that are in play world-wide.  Microalgae is one of the potential answers…

“Microalgae are unicellular photosynthetic microorganisms. They are ubiquitous in nature, found in freshwater, seawater, hypersaline lakes and even in deserts and arctic ecosystems.”

Here’s an announcement about one real-world application:  Isuzu to Run Japan’s First Micro-Algae Bus

Micro algae  If you’re interested in learning more about the process itself, take a look at this article in American ScientistMaking Biofuel from Microalgae

(BTW – U Tokyo School of Agricultural & Life Sciences takes a lead role in this research)

 

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A study released June 16, 2014 and reported by theguardian, profiles 100 leading sustainability innovations that are truly innovate solutions to age-old problems.  These are ideas that may have sounded far-fetched at the outset, but with dedication and hard work have become a reality.  What ideas do you have that can better our world?

Here are the top 10:

1.  AirCarbon by American company Newlight is a carbon-neutral plastic material made from methane and other greenhouse gases captured from the air.

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2.  Intelligent window glass by View

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3.  Now an easy way to profile from recycling that old phone and other tech products.  EcoATM by Outerwall is a network of automated recycling kiosks for tech products.

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4.  PowWow Energy detects water leaks from irrigation systems used in agriculture.

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5.  Software fighting energy losses in buildings by Retroficiency.

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6.  The Biotrans system is installed at restaurants and canteens, where it collects and grinds leftovers into a homogeneous biomass where it can be turned into renewable energy.

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7.  With transparency and social responsibility integrated into every step of the supply chain, Fairphone is offering ‘an ethical mobile phone’, and creating a fairer economy.

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8.  The AirMaster carpet by Desso captures and retains fine dust and pollutant particles, providing a healthier indoor climate which is actually better for allergy prevention than hardwood flooring.

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9.  In Sweden, a public-private collaboration has resulted in the IT system Cato, that makes use of advanced algorithms to operate railway traffic as energy efficiently as possible.

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10.  The Groasis Waterboxx helps plants grow in desert areas in countries with limited water resources, with no continuous need for energy or irrigation.

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Read more about the leading sustainability innovations

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