New Technology

Car-sharing greens the city: one shared car can replace as many as 13 privately owned vehicles

Sharing your neighbour’s car may be the most climate-friendly way of getting to work. (© Zipcar)

In the green, smart city of the future, we will probably travel quite differently from today. Maybe we'll live right by the train station and cycle to the office on a shared city bike. Or we may check an app on our mobile to see if anyone else is heading in the same direction, so that we can drive together. Read more »

Leading European research institutes launch unique Freshwater Information Platform

Four European research institutes have launched an online platform to make information from a large set of freshwater ecosystem research activities accessible to all. The Freshwater Information Platform offers a forum for information exchange and open-access publishing of maps and data, and aims to stimulate cutting-edge research and collaborations in the field. The Platform provides a unique and comprehensive knowledge base for sustainable and evidence-based management of our threatened freshwater ecosystems and the resources they provide. Read more »

Space technology “could reduce cost of renewable energy”

Space-based radar technology could be harnessed by the renewable energy sector to drive down costs, according to academics at the University of Strathclyde. The SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) technology is currently used to help protect and manage marine environments, to detect illegal logging in tropical forests, and to aid disaster relief efforts. However, its use in aiding the take-up of renewable energy is now also being explored. Read more »

New glass technology could save energy with smart façades

The façade element operates using integrated shape-memory alloys and so doesn’t require an external power source. © Bára Finnsdóttir | Weißensee School of Art Berlin

Glass-fronted office buildings are some of the biggest energy consumers, and regulating their temperature is a big job. Now a façade element developed by Fraunhofer researchers and designers for glass fronts is to reduce energy consumption by harnessing solar thermal energy. A demonstrator version will be on display at Hannover Messe. Read more »

Taking nature's best ideas to solve human problems

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The IBERS living walls on Gogerddan campus

A newly established Plants & Architecture Network has been set up between Aberystwyth, Bangor and Cardiff Universities with funding via Welsh Government’s Sêr Cymru National Research Network for Low Carbon, Energy and the Environment (NRN-LCEE). Read more »

Solar power from energy-harvesting trees

Scientists at VTT have developed a prototype of a tree that harvests solar energy from its surroundings - whether indoors or outdoors - stores it and turns it into electricity to power small devices such as mobile phones, humidifiers, thermometers and LED light bulbs. The technology can also be used to harvest kinetic energy from the environment. Read more »

Using solar energy to improve desalination process

A new process to decompose waste desalination brine using solar energy, which neutralises ocean acidity and reduces environmental impact, has been proposed by an Aston University (UK) academic. Although turning salty ocean water into fresh water is important to benefit poverty-stricken populations, desalination has a very damaging ecological footprint. Many environmental advocates see it as a last resort for retrieving fresh water, but fast growing populations mean it is becoming the only viable option. Read more »

New PaperTies offer a plastic-free, sustainable option for M&S packaging

M&S, working with Design Futures at Sheffield Hallam University, has launched a new packaging innovation that will make it much easier to remove toys from their box and could see the end of the fiddly plastic ties and wire clips widely used in toy packaging. Read more »

US tour gives Europe’s brightest cleantech start-ups a crash course in entrepreneurship

Climate-KIC, the European Union’s main climate innovation initiative, has kicked off its 2014 US Start-up Tour where 13 of Europe’s most promising start-ups will get a crash course in cleantech entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley and the Boston area. The US Start-up Tour is a vital part of Climate-KIC’s mission to create opportunities for innovators to address climate change and shape the world’s next economy. This year’s tour will provide participants with vital international experience, mentoring, networking and potential investment opportunities. Read more »

BMW presses ahead with development of systems for inductive charging of electric and plug-in hybrid cars

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Driving pleasure and sustainability are fused together in unprecedented fashion in the all-electric BMW i3 and the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports car. Their high-voltage batteries can be recharged quickly and easily by means of the BMW i Wallbox that forms part of the 360° ELECTRIC portfolio.

This sophisticated charging station with fast-charge facility for feeding cars with power either at home or at work underlines the all-embracing approach adopted by the BMW i brand when it comes to developing products and services for sustainable mobility of premium calibre. Read more »

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