Sunday, July 17, 2011

Charge Me Up

Thanks to a $99.8 million U.S. DoE grant, the largest electric vehicle experiment in our country’s history is underway. The company, ECOtality, will oversee the installation of the charging stations, which is a $250 million, six-state roll-out program of roughly 15,000 charging stations. Their pilot program called, "The EV Project", is a data-gathering exercise intended to document the performance of electric vehicle charging stations and monitoring of driver habits. More importantly, Portland, Oregon is leading the way as a test market for the massive batch of electric vehicles that hit the roads.

At the most basic level, ECOtality’s EV Project, funded with nearly $1 million in federal stimulus funds, will bring work to a network of regional contractors who will be accountable for installing the charging systems, 1,000 of which will be peppered around businesses, 150 at public buildings, 90 at the homes of Nissan Leaf owners, and another 45 quick-charge units. At a more practical level, public awareness is increasing at a national level. Personal "range anxiety", which is EV slang related to the fear of running out of gas, is making an EV purchase a more practical and realistic option for consumers. And even more exciting is how start-up companies are thinking of creative ways to help consumers get from Point A to Point B in their fast, buzzing, fully charged EVs.

Picture Credit to Oregon EV Association: Blink station at Columbia Center in Vancouver Wa. They are peppered along Fisher's Landing near Regal Cinema, Best Buy, Olive Garden and other retail locations.

Friday, July 15, 2011

E.Chromi Project

In 2009, seven Cambridge University undergraduates spent the summer genetically engineering bacteria to release a variety of colors visible to the naked eye. They designed standardized sequences of DNA, known as BioBricks, and inserted them into E. coli bacteria. Each BioBrick part contains genes selected from existing organisms, enabling the bacteria to produce a color such as red, yellow, green, blue, brown or violet. By combining these with other BioBricks, bacteria could be programmed to do useful things, such as indicate whether drinking water is safe by turning red if they sense a toxin. The E. chromi project won the Grand Prize at the 2009 International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition (iGEM). To read more about this project, click here.

E. chromi from Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg on Vimeo.

Tsuno SolarWay

Japan had a series of bad luck from numerous Toyota recalls, high unemployment and the horrible tsunami of March 2011. Yet, their hard work prevails with the positive news from the Miyazaki Solar Way Company. A large scale solar project finally comes to completion in Southern Japan. This is the second stage of the Tsuno Solarway which consists of 12,520 solar modules arrayed after the first stage of Tsuno SolarWay stretching out a roughly 3.6-kilometer-long near the Hyuganada Sea. The capacity of the second stage is 1,000 kilowatts (1MW) - enough to supply approximately 300 households. It is specially designed against typhoons, rust and corrosion and its lifespan is estimated about 20 years. Although there is no personnel on the site, they are remotely monitored all the time and also maintained regularly.

Source: Japan for Sustainability, July 2011