I’m willing to sacrifice a clean shave for the good of the planet. I have to if I want to be zero waste. All the options on the market involve disposable razors, the kind you throw-out after a week. It’s a minor thing but every bit counts when you’re trying to be zero waste. At a certain point all you have left to cut-out are the little things.
I’ve considered investing in a straight blade, barbershop style. One that I could sharpen myself and get the closest shave of my life. It sounds manly and tough, like teaching myself about knives will earn a boy scout badge. But I grew up in a peace-loving, near-hippy family and so I’m not used to any sort of weapon.
And my first alternative was already lying around in the bathroom – an electric shaver. I cut my hair with it and decided to try a shave with it. It’s not exactly the closest shave but it does the job. And I collect all the shavings for the compost. They disappear immediately in there, not like an ear of corn which take forever to disintegrate.
The only problem with this method is that it uses electricity, but I’m okay with that. I see the world moving towards all-electricity devices running on renewable energy. And since the power company allows me to pay more for renewable energy, it feels ok.
But I still look forward to earning that man badge and become the first person I know to shave with a real blade.
Men, have you ever shaved with a real blade?
Ladies, do you have a way to avoid using a disposable razor?
The city of Milton Keynes will replace the diesel buses on one route with eight electric buses that will use wireless charging. The route currently transports more than 775,000 passengers a year over a total of 450,000 miles. Electrification is expected to remove about 500 tons of tailpipe CO2 emissions per year, and cut running costs by between £12,000 and £15,000 per year.
The busses will charge when parked over a primary coil in the ground. In 10-minutes the coil can send enough energy to the secondary coil in the bus that it can complete its route. The plan is to place the primary coils at the beginning and ending locations for the bus route and coordinate charging with bus driver breaks.
If all goes well this technology could be “real contender in the future of public transport.”
Chip Yates does not like sitting still. Just a day after piloting his electric-powered Long EZ airplane to over 200 miles per hour – making him the fastest electric-airplane pilot in the world – he had to disassemble the airplane, pack it up and drive 2,000 miles east to Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Here at Airventure, Yates continues to be busy answering questions about his record-setting run. And perhaps one of the more surprising answers is that Yates is a not a veteran test pilot. He just got his license in June and has about 58 hours of experience, including the record-setting run last week.
When the electric vehicle pioneer bought the used airplane it had a 118 horsepower, four-cylinder gasoline-powered engine that is fairly standard for a Long EZ. Over the course of several months Yates and his team pulled the four-cylinder engine out of the Long EZ. They then pulled the 193 kW (258 hp), liquid cooled electric motor out of his record setting battery powered motorcycle and mounted it to the back of the Long EZ.
With the very well used (Yates calls it “abused”) lithium polymer battery back from the motorcycle in the back seat, the Long EZ was being prepared as a test bed for some of the technologies Yates needs to develop for his transatlantic flight. But after setting speed records for an electric motorcycle, first up for the Long EZ was a speed run.
NASA has awarded the largest prize in aviation history, created to inspire the development of more fuel-efficient aircraft and spark the start of a new electric airplane industry. The technologies demonstrated by the CAFE Green Flight Challenge, sponsored by Google, competitors may end up in general aviation aircraft, spawning new jobs and new industries for the 21st century.
The first place prize of $1.35 million was awarded to team Pipistrel-USA.com of State College, Pa. The second place prize of $120,000 went to team eGenius, of Ramona, Calif.
“NASA congratulates Pipistrel-USA.com for proving that ultra-efficient aviation is within our grasp,” said Joe Parrish, NASA’s acting chief technologist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Today we’ve shown that electric aircraft have moved beyond science fiction and are now in the realm of practice.”
The winning aircraft had to fly 200 miles in less than two hours and use less than one gallon of fuel per occupant, or the equivalent in electricity. The first and second place teams, which were both electric-powered, achieved twice the fuel efficiency requirement of the competition, meaning they flew 200 miles using just over a half-gallon of fuel equivalent per passenger.
“Two years ago the thought of flying 200 miles at 100 mph in an electric aircraft was pure science fiction,” said Jack W. Langelaan, team leader of Team Pipistrel-USA.com. “Now, we are all looking forward to the future of electric aviation.”
Electric vehicle pioneer Chip Yates is upping the ante in the world of electric airplanes. Today, the world-record holder for electric motorcycles announced plans for an all-electric recreation of Charles Lindbergh’s famous trans-Atlantic flight in 1927. And Yates isn’t content with just retracing the path across the Atlantic. He’s betting that like Lindbergh’s, his airplane will fly non-stop to Paris. Yates plans on flying at least as fast as Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, and for added challenge and recreation authenticity, he’ll fly relatively low to avoid getting an extra push from the jet stream.
Yates is currently preparing an existing airplane to serve as a test bed for his electrical propulsion system. The airplane is a modified Long-EZ, an efficient design from the desk of Burt Rutan. The first flight of the electric test bed is expected in July. And because it’s a Chip Yates project, he plans to set speed and altitude records with the airplane while testing.
“You could fly this route today in an unmanned solar craft at 80,000 feet being blown over there by the Jetstream, or in something incredibly slow, or in a balloon,” Yates said in a press release, “but that doesn’t get our society any closer to realizing long-range, legitimate payload, electric flight capabilities that everybody can actually benefit from.”
A new BMW prototype is looking to split the difference between speed and range in electric scooters. BMW’s C Evolution, which the company recently presented as a “near-production prototype” in London, is a stylish but pretty ordinary-looking scooter that charges through sockets or a dedicated station.
Its three-hour charge time gives users up to 100 kilometers (62 miles) of range, BMW says, and it can reach speeds of 120 kilometers per hour (75 miles per hour).
“BMW has read the signs of the times and is expanding its business activities to include the facet of urban mobility. Electromobility has a key role to play in this new segment.”
From the Fresh Energy blog and a good reminder that most experts have trouble thinking exponentially.
In 2000, the International Energy Agency (IEA) published its World Energy Outlook, predicting that non-hydro renewable energy would comprise 3 percent of global energy by 2020. That benchmark was reached in 2008.
In 2000, IEA projected that there would be 30 gigawatts of wind power worldwide by 2010, but the estimate was off by a factor of 7. Wind power produced 200 gigawatts in 2010, an investment of approximately $400 billion.
In 1999, the U.S. Department of Energy estimated that total U.S. wind power capacity could reach 10 gigawatts by 2010. The country reached that amount in 2006 and quadrupled between 2006 and 2010.
In 2000, the European Wind Energy Association predicted Europe would have 50 gigawatts of wind by 2010 and boosted that estimate to 75 two years later. Actually, 84 gigawatts of wind power were feeding into the European electric grid by 2012.
In 2000, IEA estimated that China would have 2 gigwatts of wind power installed by 2010. China reached 45 gigawatts by the end of 2010. The IEA projected that China wind power in 2020 would be 3.7 gigawatts, but most projections now exceed 150 gigawatts, or 40 times more.
In 2000, total installed global photovoltaic solar capacity was 1.5 gigawatts, and most of it was off-the-grid, like solar on NASA satellites or on cabins in the mountains or woods.
In 2002, a top industry analyst predicted an additional 1 gigawatt annual market by 2010. The annual market in 2010 was 17 times that at 17 gigawatts.
In 1996, the World Bank estimated 0.5 gigwatts of solar photovoltaic in China by 2020, but China reached almost double that mark—900 megawatts by 2010.
Hauling trash-bags full of coffee grounds and kitchen scraps, two three-wheeled rickshaw bicycles raced past campus foot traffic.
The fleet had just finished their first compost pickup.
The owner of the cafe, Devon Jackson-Kali, met the students near the cafe to give them leftover coffee grounds…he also gave them pounds of cabbage heads, carrot peelings, celery and other scraps leftover from his kitchen operations.
Leaders of an undergraduate environmental research team known as Waste Watchers drove the custom-built, electric and pedal-operated bikes – or rickshaws – on an extended campus route for the first time. Using the rickshaws for transport, the team collects and recycles leftover scraps at their own compost site located in Sunset Canyon Recreation Center.
Chloe Green, the Weyburn project coordinator and a graduate student in urban planning, excitedly greeted the team on the street outside her apartment Wednesday.
Green said it felt “unnatural” not to compost at her Weyburn apartment. She grew up composting and said she has since learned the technique through trial and error.