Ecosia is like any other search engine, with one major difference: they use their profits to plant trees.
DECEMBER 2009: Ecosia is born. Christian founded Ecosia.org after a trip around the world helped him understand the problems of deforestation.
2009 – 2011: People’s choice. Ecosia won several awards for its clever concept and speedy growth in Europe and beyond.
APRIL 2014: First German B Corp. Ecosia was the first German company to become a B Corporation thanks to its social business model.
APRIL 2018: 25 million trees. A planting milestone! That same year, Ecosia also builds its own solar energy plant to power every search.
They plant trees where they’re needed most, their trees benefit people, the environment and local economies. They also publish their monthly financial reports so that we see exactly where the income from our search goes.
Visit ecosia.org and add the extension to your web browser to start making an impact!
Millions of marine floating islands, each as large as a football field and powered by sunlight, could harvest carbon dioxide and produce enough fuel to power the world’s planes, ships, trains and lorries. These solar methanol farms, proposed by scientists from Switzerland and Norway, could even eliminate all global fossil fuel emissions.
Solar panels covering the 100m-diameter islands would provide energy for combining carbon dioxide and hydrogen into methanol – a compound that can either be used directly as a fuel or serve as a feedstock for petrochemical products. A chemical plant housed in a moored ship would provide the ingredients for this reaction: hydrogen from water splitting and carbon dioxide harvested from seawater. The area underneath the islands could even be used for fish farming.
A cluster of 70 islands could produce 1.75 tonnes of methanol per hour, the team calculates. To compensate for emissions from the long-haul transport, 170,000 such clusters would be needed. They could be placed along shorelines near the equator, in particular Indonesia, northern Australia and Brazil – areas that have lots of sunlight, small waves and few hurricanes. If 1.5% of the world’s oceans was used for solar methanol farms, they could offset global fossil fuel emissions altogether.
This vision, however, is not without its challenges. Electrolysing seawater creates unwanted chlorine, so the researchers suggest desalinating the water before use. Carbon dioxide can be harvested from seawater – its concentration here is 125 times higher than in air – but it requires heating or acidification. Electrodialysis, which effectively acidifies one part of a solution, could be a practical extraction method. Moreover, to be economically viable, each island cluster can’t cost more than $90 million (£70 million). At that rate it would be projected to cost $990,000,000,000,000 (nearly 1 quadrillion dollars).
The most challenging part, however, might be the catalytic methanol production. Current copper–zinc–aluminium catalysts require high pressures and temperatures. But if temperatures get too high, hydrogen and carbon dioxide can react to form unwanted carbon monoxide. Microstructured reactors and more selective nickel–gallium catalysts might alleviate these problems, but they still need to be tried and tested.
A lot of questions remain, such as whether these technologies could be combined in the way the scientists suggest, and what the best practical design for these facilities might be.
The Climate Crisis is a Health Crisis (Graphic from The Climate Reality Project)
The world’s leading scientists agree we must slash emissions by 2030 and keep global warming below 1.5 degrees C to avert a truly dangerous future. Carbon pollution poisons our air, water, and soil, threatening our health.
When we protect our planet, we protect ourselves. The Climate Reality Project is calling on the world’s leaders to ACT NOW.
Tesla’s solar roof is gradually rolling out to more homes. A new set of photos shared this week show a new installation at twilight, complete with cutouts for chimneys and other features. The design looks impressive, and it’s one of the few sightings seen on social media since the first installations appeared early last year.
The roof was shared by a now-deleted Twitter account, which was subsequently posted to Reddit by a user called “Potatochak,” where it received over 3,000 upvotes on the Tesla subreddit. The depicted tiles appear to be the textured variety, but the company also offers a smooth style depending on cosmetic appearance. Tesla recommends a normal house uses a mix of 35 percent solar tiles at $42 per square foot to 65 percent “dummy” tiles at $11 per square foot, resulting in an average price of $21.85 per square foot, but it’s unclear how many times are operational in these images.
The Chilean government recently gave the go-ahead on a massive solar thermal plant that is expected to produce electricity 24 hours a day, seven days a week—a considerable feat for a plant that depends solely on solar energy. The plant, proposed for a site in Chile’s Tamarugal province, would consist of three 150 megawatt solar thermal towers, which become heated as mirrors placed around each tower reflect sunlight onto it.
That heat is transferred to molten salt, which circulates through the plant during the day and is stored in tanks at night. The salt, a mixture of sodium nitrate and potassium nitrate that’s kept at a balmy 1,050 degrees Fahrenheit (566 degrees Celsius), is used as a “heat transfer fluid.” As energy is needed, the salt can be dispatched to a heat exchanger, where it will lend its heat to water to create a super-heated steam. That steam is used to move a traditional steam turbine to create electricity.
The molten salt generates high quality super-heated steam to drive a standard steam turbine at maximum efficiency and generate reliable non-intermittent electricity during peak demand hours.
SolarReserve, the US-based company that proposed this project, has also proposed two others—a 260 MW, 24-hour plant near the city of Copiapó in the Atacama Region of Chile, as well as a 390 MW, 24-hour plant in the Antofagasta Region. Mary Grikas, a SolarReserve spokesperson, told Ars via e-mail that Copiapó is shovel-ready, and now Tamarugal is, too, with the Chilean government’s recent approval, which assessed the site for environmental impact. The plant in Antofagasta is still waiting on permitting approval.
We can now fold up solar panels that are nearly unbreakable and take them with us anywhere.
Instead of one solid sheet, these highly portable panels are made from a pliable network of glitter-sized solar cells.
A typical solar panel—more than five feet long and encased in glass—isn’t exactly portable. But a new type of solar technology, miniaturized so that each cell is the size of a piece of glitter, could be used anywhere. Solar panels are becoming increasingly popular in today’s society and they have some fantastic benefits. If you want to get some solar panels installed or just want to find out a little more about them, visit www.gienergy.com.au!
The tiny cells are made from high-efficiency silicon, like standard solar panels. But the new form means that they’re not only small but flexible, and can be folded up for transportation, incorporated into clothing, or easily used in electronics making them the best portable solar panels for camping.
Conventional solar panels “are brittle because they’re crystalline,” Murat Okandan, CEO of mPower Technology, the startup making the new technology, tells Co.Exist. “If you bend or flex them, at some point they’ll just break and shatter. By making our cells small and then interconnecting them we’re able to make them almost unbreakable.”
Solar panels, even of the highest quality, are no good without a Solar Power Inverter functioning to transform the solar panel voltage or DC battery into mains type AC power, which in turn can be used by regular appliances. Solar Man Australia can supply you with such a product.
In a small northern town in France a road has opened which is paved with solar cells. The goal is to see if the highway can power the town, which has 3,400 residents. On the other hand, it still wasn’t cheap for them to build it. In order to fashion a single 1 kilometer lane it cost around 5 million euro. It is also not the most energy efficient way to harness solar energy because the panels are flat on the ground and not optimally oriented towards the sun throughout the day. Nevertheless, it is a way to generate clean energy from existing infrastructure. Its been said that the government hopes to expand the project to other roadways as well.
With advent of more effective solar cells we may see the price drop per kilometer of pavement bit by bit!
A team of students and faculty from the University of Virginia School of Engineering created a prototype design of a solar powered wheelchair with retractable panels inspired by the idea from a man with cerebral palsy from Turkey. Their goal was to create a prototype of a solar powered wheelchair with retractable panels for individuals with lower extremity or mobility disabilities, spinal cord injury, or cerebral palsy. The Solar Powered Team (SPT) created the prototype using a Shoprider 6Runner wheelchair. They built a structured frame around the base of the wheelchair to hold the solar panels. Three solar panels were attached to a convertible-like structure which rotates back behind the wheelchair. If you’re thinking of experimenting with solar power, take a look at this trojan battery distributor.
Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed solar cells that are lighter than ever before, modeled after “kirigami,” the ancient Japanese art of paper cutting.
A team of engineers and an artist developed an array of small solar cells that can tilt within a larger panel, keeping their surfaces more perpendicular to the sun’s rays.
“The beauty of our design is, from the standpoint of the person who’s putting this panel up, nothing would really change,” said Max Shtein, associate professor of materials science and engineering. “But inside, it would be doing something remarkable on a tiny scale: the solar cell would split into tiny segments that would follow the position of the sun in unison.”
German Architect Andre Broessel believes he has a solution that can “squeeze more juice out of the sun”, even during the night hours and in low-light regions. His company Rawlemon has created a spherical sun power generator prototype called the beta.ray. His technology will combine spherical geometry principles with a dual axis tracking system, allowing twice the yield of a conventional solar panel in a much smaller surface area. The futuristic design is fully rotational and is suitable for inclined surfaces, walls of buildings, and anywhere with access to the sky. It can even be used as an electric car charging station.
“The beta.ray comes with a hybrid collector to convert daily electricity and thermal energy at the same time. While reducing the silicon cell area to 25% with the equivalent power output by using an ultra transmission Ball Lens point focusing concentrator, it operates at efficiency levels of nearly 57% in hybrid mode. At nighttime the Ball Lens can transform into a high-power lamp to illuminate your location, simply by using a few LED’s. The station is designed for off grid conditions as well as to supplement buildings’ consumption of electricity and thermal circuits like hot water.”