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February 18, 2013 in EV News

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Little Box Challenge Opens for Submissions, By Eric Raymond, Google Green Team

July 22, 2014 in Environment, EV News, Greentech

These days, if you’re an engineer, inventor or just a tinkerer with a garage, you don’t have to look far for a juicy opportunity: there are cash prize challenges dedicated to landing on the moon, building a self-driving car, cleaning the oceans, or inventing an extra-clever robot. Today, together with the IEEE, we’re adding one more: shrinking a big box into a little box.


Of course, there’s more to it than that. Especially when the big box is a power inverter, a picnic cooler-sized device used to convert the energy that comes from solar, electric vehicles & wind (DC power) into something you can use in your home (AC power). We want to shrink it down to the size of a small laptop, roughly 1/10th of its current size. Put a little more technically, we’re looking for someone to build a kW-scale inverter with a power density greater than 50W per cubic inch. Do it best and we’ll give you a million bucks.

Infographic courtesy of Google

Infographic courtesy of Google

There will be obstacles to overcome (like the conventional wisdom of engineering). But whoever gets it done will help change the future of electricity. A smaller inverter could help create low-cost microgrids in remote parts of the world. Or allow you to keep the lights on during a blackout via your electric car’s battery. Or enable advances we haven’t even thought of yet.

Either way, we think it’s time to shine a light on the humble inverter, and the potential that lies in making it much, much smaller. Enter at—we want to know how small you can go.

This article is a repost, credit: Google.

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Mecca Metro Transports Pilgrims to Their Destination, By Siemens

July 22, 2014 in Electric Vehicles, EV News, Light Rail

Short and concise: A quick look at the metro in Mecca in 60 seconds

Just like the pilgrims, this railway makes its way from Mina to the Plain of Arafat near Mecca. In Arafat, pilgrims can choose between three stations. Station 1 appears in the photo. Photo courtesy of Siemens

Just like the pilgrims, this railway makes its way from Mina to the Plain of Arafat near Mecca. In Arafat, pilgrims can choose between three stations. Station 1 appears in the photo.
Photo courtesy of Siemens

Pilgrimages to and within Mecca used to mean traffic chaos at least once a year. In 2012 that chaos came to an end when a metro commenced operation in Mecca. Everything here is aimed at meeting the requirements of the Hajj, the pilgrimage that takes place once a year. The metro line near Mecca runs approximately 18 kilometers along the pilgrimage route from Mina to Arafat. The Smart Grid (SG) Division worked with its partners to implement the “Al Mashaaer Al Mugaddassah” project. SG electrified the entire route for the project. Because it is necessary to transport as many people as possible within a short period of time during the Hajj, we will take the same approach in this article: We’ll provide you with a lot of information in a short period of time – so just take a minute!

50 sec.

At each station, three platforms were built in a row to enable multiple trains to stop at the same time; the metro can transport as many as 72,000 pilgrims per hour on their Hajj to Mecca. Each train consists of ten cars and can accommodate 3,000 passengers. All aboard!

40 sec.

Please step back – the doors are closing!  Mina is about five kilometers away from the Sacred Mosque in Mecca, and the trip to the end of the line in Arafat is about 18 kilometers. The line with its nine stations runs along the pilgrim route. Before the metro started operation, 50,000 buses traveled along this same stretch every year.

30 sec.

Warning – the train is arriving. And at the third station it becomes clear: The “Al Mashaaer Al Mugaddassah Metro Makkah” is not a traditional metro, because most of the time the railcars run as an elevated railway on a viaduct. There the trains can accelerate to speeds of up to 80 kilometers per hour. And they can do that without a conductor – because the Mecca metro is driverless.

20 sec.

Smart Grid implemented the entire railway electrification including the traction power substations with 110 kilovolt high-voltage facilities, extensive 13.8 kilovolt and 1.5 kilovolt facilities and cable systems, as well as the overhead lines for the catenary system. The route is operated with 1,500 volts of direct current (DC) via eleven substations.

10 sec.

A tight schedule, delays in approval procedures, and an extreme climate – nothing was able to disrupt the cooperation between DB International, the China Railway Construction Cooperation, and Siemens. And the fact that employees from different countries speaking different languages and with different mentalities worked together successfully can only be a good omen for a pilgrimage. Next and final stop: Arafat – please exit here!

This article is a repost (7-21-14), credit: Siemens.

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Bombardier Celebrates the Opening of Queensland’s Light Rail System on the Gold Coast in Australia

July 21, 2014 in Electric Vehicles, EV News, Light Rail

FLEXITY 2 tram in passenger service in the Gold Coast  Image courtesy of Bombardier

FLEXITY 2 tram in passenger service in the Gold Coast
Image courtesy of Bombardier

Rail technology leader Bombardier Transportation is celebrating the start of passenger services on the Gold Coast light rail system in Queensland, Australia. The GoldLinQ consortium has successfully delivered the 13 km light rail line with 16 stations and 14 distinctive, modern BOMBARDIER FLEXITY 2 trams in just three years, as part of an 18-year Public Private Partnership with the Government of Queensland and the Gold Coast City Council.

Phil Mumford, Chief Executive Officer, GoldLinQ said: “Stage one of the Gold Coast light rail is all about connecting the city’s key precincts and providing sound transport infrastructure around which the city can grow. Now that light rail is here, citizens can choose to live, work and travel in new and different ways in and around the Gold Coast.”

Pierre Attendu, President, Systems Division, Bombardier Transportation, added: “Bombardier and our partners in the GoldLinQ consortium have delivered to the Gold Coast a first-class light rail system from which a truly integrated and sustainable transport network will flourish.”

The new light rail corridor connects the new Gold Coast University Hospital and Griffith University with the key activity centres of Southport, Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach. It promises to improve the liveability of the Gold Coast significantly by improving accessibility while reducing the effects of congestion that come with a rapidly growing city. Each of the new trams has capacity for 308 passengers with seating for 84, and the overall system has been designed to accommodate up to 75,000 passengers per day.

Bombardier has delivered the electrical and mechanical (E&M) scope including the new electrically powered, low-floor FLEXITY 2 trams. The trams’ outstanding visual design has already been recognised with a Good Design® Award in the automotive and transport category. The Australian Good Design Awards are Australia’s longest standing national design award and promotion program.

Each tram is 43.5 m long, 2.65 m wide and 3.6 m high. The trams are bi-directional with a cab at each end and have a top speed of 70 km/h. Inside features include comfortable seating, air conditioning, wheelchair spaces and multipurpose areas for luggage and prams, as well as surf board racks.

As part of its turnkey system package, Bombardier also delivered signalling and control systems, communications systems, electrification including traction power supply substations and overhead line equipment (OHLE). In addition, it provided project management, systems engineering and integration, testing and commissioning for the new LRVs and signalling system. At the depot, Bombardier supplied depot and plant equipment and will now provide the vehicle maintenance for a period of 15 years.

Trams and light rail vehicles are the most energy efficient mode of transportation, consuming up to five times less energy per passenger than cars travelling with an average of between one and two people. Bombardier’s fully customisable trams and LRVs have a recyclability rate of approximately 92 per cent and a recoverability rate of about 98 per cent (recycling + energy recovery). They are designed for sustainable mobility throughout their life cycle. To date, 3,500 trams and light rail vehicles from Bombardier have either been ordered or are already operating in about 100 cities in more than 20 countries around the globe.

GoldLinQ is a group of companies consisting of GoldLinQ Pty Ltd, McConnell Dowell Constructors Pty Ltd and KDR Gold Coast Pty Ltd. Bombardier Transportation Australia Pty Ltd is part of the D&C Joint Venture, GoldLinq’s sub-contractor responsible for the design and construction of the system.

About Bombardier

Bombardier is the world’s only manufacturer of both planes and trains. Looking far ahead while delivering today, Bombardier is evolving mobility worldwide by answering the call for more efficient, sustainable and enjoyable transportation everywhere. Our vehicles, services and, most of all, our employees are what make us a global leader in transportation.

Bombardier is headquartered in Montréal, Canada. Our shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (BBD) and we are listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability World and North America Indices. In the fiscal year ended December 31, 2013, we posted revenues of $18.2 billion. News and information are available at or follow us on Twitter @Bombardier.

This article is a repost, credit: Bombardier.

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Steam from the Sun, New Spongelike Structure Converts Solar Energy into Steam.

July 21, 2014 in EV News, Greentech, Solar

On the left, a representative structure for localization of heat; the cross section of structure and temperature distribution. On the right, a picture of enhanced steam generation by the DLS structure under solar illumination. Courtesy of the researchers (MIT)

On the left, a representative structure for localization of heat; the cross section of structure and temperature distribution. On the right, a picture of enhanced steam generation by the DLS structure under solar illumination.
Courtesy of the researchers (MIT)

By Jennifer Chu, MIT

A new material structure developed at MIT generates steam by soaking up the sun.

The structure — a layer of graphite flakes and an underlying carbon foam — is a porous, insulating material structure that floats on water. When sunlight hits the structure’s surface, it creates a hotspot in the graphite, drawing water up through the material’s pores, where it evaporates as steam. The brighter the light, the more steam is generated.

The new material is able to convert 85 percent of incoming solar energy into steam — a significant improvement over recent approaches to solar-powered steam generation. What’s more, the setup loses very little heat in the process, and can produce steam at relatively low solar intensity. This would mean that, if scaled up, the setup would likely not require complex, costly systems to highly concentrate sunlight.

Hadi Ghasemi, a postdoc in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, says the spongelike structure can be made from relatively inexpensive materials — a particular advantage for a variety of compact, steam-powered applications.

“Steam is important for desalination, hygiene systems, and sterilization,” says Ghasemi, who led the development of the structure. “Especially in remote areas where the sun is the only source of energy, if you can generate steam with solar energy, it would be very useful.”

Ghasemi and mechanical engineering department head Gang Chen, along with five others at MIT, report on the details of the new steam-generating structure in the journal Nature Communications.

Cutting the optical concentration

Today, solar-powered steam generation involves vast fields of mirrors or lenses that concentrate incoming sunlight, heating large volumes of liquid to high enough temperatures to produce steam. However, these complex systems can experience significant heat loss, leading to inefficient steam generation.

Recently, scientists have explored ways to improve the efficiency of solar-thermal harvesting by developing new solar receivers and by working with nanofluids. The latter approach involves mixing water with nanoparticles that heat up quickly when exposed to sunlight, vaporizing the surrounding water molecules as steam. But initiating this reaction requires very intense solar energy — about 1,000 times that of an average sunny day.

By contrast, the MIT approach generates steam at a solar intensity about 10 times that of a sunny day — the lowest optical concentration reported thus far. The implication, the researchers say, is that steam-generating applications can function with lower sunlight concentration and less-expensive tracking systems.

“This is a huge advantage in cost-reduction,” Ghasemi says. “That’s exciting for us because we’ve come up with a new approach to solar steam generation.”

From sun to steam

The approach itself is relatively simple: Since steam is generated at the surface of a liquid, Ghasemi looked for a material that could both efficiently absorb sunlight and generate steam at a liquid’s surface.

After trials with multiple materials, he settled on a thin, double-layered, disc-shaped structure. Its top layer is made from graphite that the researchers exfoliated by placing the material in a microwave. The effect, Chen says, is “just like popcorn”: The graphite bubbles up, forming a nest of flakes. The result is a highly porous material that can better absorb and retain solar energy.

The structure’s bottom layer is a carbon foam that contains pockets of air to keep the foam afloat and act as an insulator, preventing heat from escaping to the underlying liquid. The foam also contains very small pores that allow water to creep up through the structure via capillary action.

As sunlight hits the structure, it creates a hotspot in the graphite layer, generating a pressure gradient that draws water up through the carbon foam. As water seeps into the graphite layer, the heat concentrated in the graphite turns the water into steam. The structure works much like a sponge that, when placed in water on a hot, sunny day, can continuously absorb and evaporate liquid.

The researchers tested the structure by placing it in a chamber of water and exposing it to a solar simulator — a light source that simulates various intensities of solar radiation. They found they were able to convert 85 percent of solar energy into steam at a solar intensity 10 times that of a typical sunny day.

Ghasemi says the structure may be designed to be even more efficient, depending on the type of materials used.

“There can be different combinations of materials that can be used in these two layers that can lead to higher efficiencies at lower concentrations,” Ghasemi says. “There is still a lot of research that can be done on implementing this in larger systems.”

This article is a repost, credit: MIT.

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San Francisco Sustainable Race 11K (August 2nd), Join The Race

July 20, 2014 in EV News, San Francisco, Sustainable San Francisco

Online registration for Sustainable Race 11K 2014 will close at 7 pm on August 1st. Please pick up your race bib at Presidio Sports Basement on July 31st or August 1st between 4 pm and 8 pm. If you cannot sign up online and/or cannot make it to Sports Basement, we will have a registration and preregistration table open from 5:30 am to 6:30 am on race day, August 2nd. Race day registration is $30 cash. The race starts at 7 am.

Sustainable Race 11K Update

In addition to a Sustainable Race trophy and t-shirt, the winning male, female and team members will each receive a $100 gift card to Greens Restaurant. Greens is situated at historic Fort Mason and overlooks the stunning San Francisco Bay. Enjoy and say hello to Chef Annie Somerville.

Greens Restaurant

Greens Restaurant

San Francisco woodworking artist, Gerry Sierra, is finishing up the Sustainable Race kilometer marker signs, which will accurately mark the course, kilometer by kilometer. These signs will also have sustainability bullet points on them measuring San Francisco’s green credentials, which we will update, year by year.

Wearing a Sustainable Race 11K sweatband, Woodworking Artist Gerry Sierra displays his work.

Wearing a Sustainable Race 11K sweatband, Woodworking Artist Gerry Sierra displays his work.

AccuWeather is predicting a partly sunny and warm race day (August 2nd), with a high of 82 degrees, so we will add a tub of sunscreen to our checklist for runners.

We could use a few more volunteers out on the course, so please contact Jack Collins,, if you would like to volunteer.

About Sustainable Race 11K

Sustainable Race is a running race to foster sustainability awareness, focusing on San Francisco’s drive to 100% renewable energy. This is the first annual Sustainable Race.

11k-Flyer (1)

About EV News Report

EV News Report is a community blogging website for electric vehicle and greentech enthusiasts, as well as peak oil activists. We are sharing information and opinions to best facilitate the change from the fossil fuel age to a green sustainable future.

Two major world emergencies are driving this change:

1. There are over 7 billion people on the planet according to the United Nations. Today’s worldwide economic growth is placing tremendous demands on the energy sector. Unfortunately, according to the International Energy Agency, approximately 80% of the world’s energy is derived from fossil fuels. Absent an energy revolution, climate research tells us that the planet will be significantly warmer and altered for future generations.

2. The oil market is expensive and fragile. The door is open to green alternatives; however, high oil prices may destroy the currencies of oil dependent nations before the EV and greentech revolutions have a chance to reach mass adoption.

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Presidents Xi Jinping & Dilma Rousseff Witness BYD History

July 20, 2014 in Battery Energy Storage, BYD, Electric Vehicles, EV News

Brasilia, Brazil – BYD Company Ltd.’s Wang Chuanfu made history this week signing a contract to be the first Chinese manufacturer to open a battery factory in Brazil. The magnificence of the event was only elevated by the presence of both Xi Jinping, the President of China, and Dilma Rousseff, the President of Brazil, whom were already together for the BRIC Summit that week in Brasilia.

Pictured above: Presidents Xi and Rousseff congratulate BYD’s Wang Chuanfu Photo courtesy of BYD

Pictured above: Presidents Xi and Rousseff congratulate BYD’s Wang Chuanfu
Photo courtesy of BYD

The deal to build a factory in which BYD will produce their revolutionary fire safe, and completely recyclable Iron-Phosphate Batteries will bring BYD’s investment in Brazil up to $400,000,000.00. The batteries will be manufactured in an area of 1,500,000 square meters, and support BYD’s growing new energy business throughout Latin and South America. After signing, BYD’s Founder and Chairman, Wang Chuanfu said he was completely honored to be a part of such a historic moment, and in the company of two great public leaders. The deal was structured through Apex-Brasil, the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency. Their President, Mr. Mauricio Borges, spoke to the importance of renewable energy technologies, and how Brazil is at a critical point in history where they must begin adopting these alternative solutions.

This news comes on the back of another project BYD had just announced in the city of Campinas, Brazil. The Campinas factory is being opened to manufacture BYD’s long range pure electric transit bus, as well as serve as a research and development facility for a number of BYD’s other renewable energy technologies.

About BYD

BYD Company Ltd. is one of China’s largest companies and has successfully expanded globally. Specializing in battery technologies, their green mission to “solve the whole problem” has made them industry pioneers and leaders in several High-tech sectors including High-efficiency Automobiles, Electrified Public Transportation, Environmentally-Friendly Energy Storage, Affordable Solar Power and Information Technology and Original Design Manufacturing (ODM) services.

As the world’s largest manufacturer of rechargeable batteries, their mission to create safer and more environmentally friendly battery technologies has led to the development of the BYD Iron Phosphate (or “Fe”) Battery. This fire-safe, completely recyclable and incredibly long-cycle technology has become the core of their clean energy platform that has expanded into automobiles, buses, trucks, utility vehicles and energy storage facilities. BYD and all of their shareholders, including the great American Investor Warren Buffett, see these environmentally and economically forward products as the way of the future.

BYD has made a strong entrance to the North, Central and South American markets with their battery electric buses, and lineup of automobiles. Their mission lies not just in sales growth, but also in sociological integration and local job creation as they have poured incredible investments into developing offices, dealerships and manufacturing facilities in the local communities they now call home, truly a first for Chinese companies. For more information, please visit

This article is a repost, credit: BYD.

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NRG Energy Innovations Help Make Levi’s® Stadium the First Venue of its Kind in the U.S. Eligible for LEED Gold Certification as New Construction

July 18, 2014 in Electric Vehicles, Environment, EV charging, EV News, Greentech, Solar, Sustainable San Francisco

Sustainable energy generation goal is to meet power demands for all 49ers regular season home games

Photo courtesy of NRG

Photo courtesy of NRG

SANTA CLARA, Calif.–Jul. 17, 2014– Today, NRG Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NRG), the Santa Clara Stadium Authority and the San Francisco 49ers celebrated the completion of the NRG Solar Terrace as well as the photovoltaic (PV) solar systems for the three NRG Energy Bridges at Levi’s® Stadium, making it the first stadium in the United States that is home to a professional football team with LEED certification standards incorporated into the original design and architecture. Among the installations are solar panels expected to generate enough energy annually to offset the power consumed at the stadium during 49ers regular season home games, with the goal to achieve a “net zero” energy use.

“It is reassuring to know that when leading franchises like the 49ers with a rich tradition of innovation and success decide to embrace clean energy, they turn to NRG,” said David Crane, President and CEO of NRG. “We are pleased to help the 49ers turn their new state-of-the-art stadium into a model for others as we reach for the clean energy future.”

A beacon of innovation in every respect, Levi’s Stadium will be powered with assistance from a 375 kW solar installation, comprised of more than 1,150 solar panels along the NRG Solar Terrace and three NRG Energy Bridges. SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR), the exclusive solar technology partner to the new stadium, supplied its high efficiency, E20/327-watt solar panels for the NRG Energy Bridges and the NRG Solar Terrace. Serving as the main entry and exit avenues to the stadium, the bridges showcase the customizable design of NRG renewable solutions and will provide shade on warm game days. The bridges also serve as inspiration for anyone seeking sustainable energy solutions for themselves on a smaller-scale.

“The vision for an energy-efficient and visually-stunning stadium has been realized,” said San Francisco 49ers President Paraag Marathe. “We’ve never strayed from what we wanted Levi’s® Stadium to represent and that is a place to comfortably enjoy exciting sports and entertainment events and a venue that sparks a new view of what sustainability and being environmentally conscious can look like.”

NRG has also installed six eVgo electric vehicle charging stations in the Great America parking lot which have the ability to charge up to 12 vehicles. These chargers will become part of the NRG eVgo® network that supports charging needs for electric vehicle drivers at home, at work, on the road, at their apartment community or even at the airport.

Levi’s® Stadium is one of seven stadiums used for college or professional football where NRG has installed its smart energy solutions. Other venues, including NRG Stadium, FedExField, Lincoln Financial Field, MetLife Stadium, Patriot Place and Arizona State’s Sun Devil Stadium have partnered with NRG to push the clean energy movement forward and create structures that generate and thrive from their own on-site energy generation. As the sustainable energy partner of the 49ers, NRG will continue to explore other opportunities to help enhance the stadium’s sustainability efforts.

About NRG

NRG is leading a customer-driven change in the U.S. energy industry by delivering cleaner and smarter energy choices, while building on the strength of the nation’s largest and most diverse competitive power portfolio. A Fortune 250 company, we create value through reliable and efficient conventional generation while driving innovation in solar and renewable power, electric vehicle ecosystems, carbon capture technology and customer-centric energy solutions. Our retail electricity providers serve almost 3 million residential and commercial customers throughout the country. More information is available at Connect with NRG Energy on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @nrgenergy.

About Levi’s® Stadium

Levi’s® Stadium will be the new home to the San Francisco 49ers, and will also serve as one of the world’s best outdoor sports and entertainment venues. It was designed by HNTB and is being built by Turner/Devcon for the Santa Clara Stadium Authority. The $1.2 billion venue will have 1.85 million square feet, seat approximately 68,500 and feature 170 luxury suites and 9,000 club seats. It was designed to be a multi-purpose facility with the flexibility to host a wide range of events, including domestic and international soccer, college football, motocross, concerts and various civic events, and will be expandable for major events such as the Super Bowl. Levi’s® Stadium is owned by the Santa Clara Stadium Authority, a public joint powers authority that was established to provide for development and operation of Levi’s® Stadium to ensure that the stadium serves the goals of the City of Santa Clara. For more information, go to

This article is a repost (7-17-14), credit: NRG.