AUDI SAVES FUEL ... In Germany Wednesday Audi demonstrated its "travolution" technology that enables cars to communicate with traffic signals using wireless LANs and UMTS links so drivers can better time the lights and reduce fuel consumption. The technology uses an adaptive algorithm to tell the driver at what speed they need to drive in order to miss a red light, or hopefully, make a green light. Alternatively, drivers can set their car on adaptive cruise-control and the car automatically adjust speeds for them.
Reducing the time cars spend at a standstill and accelerating translates directly to reduced fuel consumption. BMW is testing similar technology and is working with the U.S. Department of Transportation to upgrade traffic signals and bring this fuel-saving measure to American drivers. Audi claims that "if this new technology were applied throughout Germany, exhaust emissions could be lowered by about two million tonnes of CO2 annually, equivalent to a reduction of approximately 15 percent in CO2 from motor vehicles in urban traffic." Insane! Check it out
SOLARDAY INTL ... What started as a single-event day of recognition last year has grown into an internationally participated-in day of solar celebration. SolarDay is the brainchild of Addison Huegel of San Francisco and this year’s event on June 19 will feature around 30 events nationwide. Additionally, solar enthusiasts and educators in Cairo, Egypt are planning a movie screening and concert to spread the word about solar energy. Independent groups from around the country can organize events for SolarDay 2010 with Huegel’s guidance. SolarDay also seeks to inform the public about rebates and grants available for installing and using alternative energy. Huegel said he hopes that his SolarDay project will increase even more in popularity next year, and he is excited about the prospects of solar energy in the future. To check out the site or get something going in your area visit www.solarday.com.
UNPLUG ONLINE ... Plug-in points for electric cars and electricity meters enabling appliances to be turned off over the internet will be installed in central Sydney and Newcastle, after New South Wales, Australia's most populous state, won a bid for $100 million in federal government climate change funding. It seems sections of the electricity grid will be transformed to save power and measure the carbon footprints of individual households. The program will run for three years. Volunteers in these areas will have second-generation ''smart meters'' fitted in their homes later this year, allowing them check the energy use of appliances in real time via an Energy Australia website and to count their carbon footprint kilogram by kilogram. Some digital appliances will be turned on or off via the website. A small fleet of electric cars, acquired by the City of Sydney, will trial the best places to locate plug-in recharge points. Climate Change Minister, Penny Wong, said estimates showed that up to 3.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gas could be cut from the nation's climate change ledger if the system was adopted around the country. Sounds promising and really techie! I'd jump at the chance to volunteer if it were in my area. Would you? More info.
NO GREEN MAGIC BULLET
... Dr. Joseph A. Stanislaw says instead, a "transition from green to clean" can power the next phase of development of the world's energy and economic sectors. His info here
. Stanislaw makes this argument in a new white paper that opens by saying "Just two years ago, when oil was levitating towards $100 a barrel and Russia was playing politics with pipelines — green energy was the holy grail of energy security. Then, when concern over climate change reached a fever pitch, it became the silver bullet to solve global warming. And, finally, when the 'Great Recession' struck, green energy was the panacea for unemployment and falling wages." He makes a lot of great points, too much to cover here. But the man is proactive and pro-clean, while trying to stay realistic in regard to human consumption, "we should reverse this trend by creating market conditions to promote investments in research, development, and market penetration in energy efficiency, in new methods of consumption, and in all forms of energy, be they traditional — oil, gas, coal, nuclear — or alternative." Download his white paper
FREE CAR CHARGERS ... And not of the cell phone variety. Ford Motor Company along with newly announced partner Coulomb Technologies, an electric vehicle infrastructure company, will be presenting approximately 5,000 in-home charging stations free of cost to some of the first electric vehicle (EV) owners in the United States. Nine markets were chosen to receive ChargePoint Networked Charging Stations, including Detroit, Orlando, New York, Washington D.C., Austin, Redmond, Los Angeles, Sacramento and the San Jose/San Francisco Bay Area. Customers located in these nine markets are able to receive the chargers with any purchase of a Ford Transit Connect EV through the Ford Blue Oval ChargePoint Program. Those who miss out on the free chargers can use a public stations by calling the toll-free, 24/7 phone number on each charging station, or by getting a ChargePass smart card through the ChargePoint monthly access plan. Available charging stations are listed on mychargepoint.net. But is a free charger worth the risk of being an early adopter? Would you go for it?
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