Tag: green

Anheuser-Busch wants to deliver beer with Tesla’s electric semi-trucks

Anheuser-Busch just joined the list of companies that have placed an order for Tesla's upcoming semi-trucks. In an announcement today, the beer-maker said it has ordered 40 of the trucks that are set to go into production in 2019. "Integrating the Tesla semi-trucks into the brewer's distribution network will help Anheuser-Busch achieve its commitment to reduce its operational carbon footprint by 30 percent by 2025 – the equivalent of removing nearly 500,000 cars from the road globally each year," said the company.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Anheuser-Busch plans to use the Tesla trucks for shipments to wholesalers lying within 150 to 200 miles of its 21 breweries and they'll become part of the approximately 750-strong truck fleet it currently uses to ship its product. As of now, the company hasn't decided whether it will buy the trucks, lease them or have one of its dedicated carriers do so.

Nearly a dozen companies have now placed orders for around 140 of the trucks and Tesla's customers include Walmart, DHL and Canadian grocery store chain Loblaws.

James Sembrot, Anheuser-Busch's senior director of logistics strategy, told the WSJ that the company spends around $120 million each year on fuel. So a move towards electric vehicles stands to have a major impact on its fuel costs, not to mention how the environment will benefit. The company is also interested in Nikola Motor Co.'s hydrogen-electric semi-trucks, which will reportedly be able to travel between 800 and 1,200 miles on one fill-up versus Tesla's 500 mile range. "We have needs for all those types of distances," said Sembrot.

Via: The Verge

Source: Anheuser-Busch


The colossal ITER fusion power facility is halfway finished

Fusion remain the ideal solution for energy woes: Limitless production with no harmful waste. Scientists haven't managed to get a functional (and productive) installation up and running, but that hasn't stopped them from trying. The biggest project is the colossal ITER tokamak fusion reactor, an international project based in France that aims to start its first experiments in 2025. Today, its handlers announced that the massive installation is halfway finished and headed toward a completion date of 2021.

ITER is the logical production of "what if we threw a bunch of money and scientists from all over the world at the fusion problem." It's funded by seven bodies: Primarily the EU, with small stakes from the US, India, China, Russia, Japan and South Korea. Construction began in 2013, but delays have led to a rough road for the massive project, leading to an inflated $22 billion price tag, ITER estimated back in March. But given that the project will attempt to replicate the energy reactions found in the sun and hydrogen bombs, complexity is expected.

Now ITER is halfway built and expected to finish construction in 2021. The installation aims to start experiments to produce fusion reactions in 2025. ITER will use a method called hydrogen fusion, The New York Times' report on the facility describes: Deuterium and tritium nuclei fuse to form helium, which will release a lot of energy that bounces around the reactor chamber and strikes its walls, which makes heat. But since the installation will only prove the concept, it won't turn it into energy.

Eventually, standard fusion power plants will use the heat to make steam, which turns a turbine to generate electricity. That's essentially how traditional facilities produce energy, but fusion plants won't have all the irradiated waste byproducts, carbon emissions, or danger of a meltdown. ITER's scientists anticipate that fusion plants will start going online in 2040 once the concept is proved by the colossal institution.

Source: ITER


An electric cargo ship is delivering coal in China

An all-electric cargo ship is now in use in China and it boasts an impressive 2.4 MWh energy storage capacity, Electrek reports. The ship is over 230 feet long, 45 feet wide and 14 feet deep and can carry a maximum of 2,000 tons. Supercapacitors and lithium batteries make up the energy storage system and the ship can go about 50 miles on one charge. It will run between two shipyards, each of which has a charging station that can recharge the ship in around two hours.

Moving towards electric power will be important for the shipping industry and this vessel is a step in that direction. Its payload however, is, wait for it, coal. And that may seem like an odd pairing but at least the ship isn't burning fossil fuels while it's carrying them. Tesla, Daimler, Cummins and Toyota are all working on shipping trucks that use alternative fuels and pushing our cargo ships in that direction will do a lot for the environment.

The ship, which took its maiden voyage last month, will transport coal along the Pearl River in China's Guangdong Province.

Via: Electrek


An electric cargo ship is delivering coal in China

An all-electric cargo ship is now in use in China and it boasts an impressive 2.4 MWh energy storage capacity, Electrek reports. The ship is over 230 feet long, 45 feet wide and 14 feet deep and can carry a maximum of 2,000 tons. Supercapacitors and lithium batteries make up the energy storage system and the ship can go about 50 miles on one charge. It will run between two shipyards, each of which has a charging station that can recharge the ship in around two hours.

Moving towards electric power will be important for the shipping industry and this vessel is a step in that direction. Its payload however, is, wait for it, coal. And that may seem like an odd pairing but at least the ship isn't burning fossil fuels while it's carrying them. Tesla, Daimler, Cummins and Toyota are all working on shipping trucks that use alternative fuels and pushing our cargo ships in that direction will do a lot for the environment.

The ship, which took its maiden voyage last month, will transport coal along the Pearl River in China's Guangdong Province.

Via: Electrek


Instagram warns you if posts show harm to animals or nature

Protecting wildlife and sensitive natural areas is hard enough as it is, and it's not helping that every brain-dead tourist wants to post a selfie with a koala bear or dolphin. Starting today, Instagram is making it harder to find such content. If you search hashtags associated with images that could harm wildlife or the environment, it will post a warning before letting you proceed.

"I think it's important for the community right now to be more aware," Instagram's Emily Cain told National Geographic. "We're trying to do our part to educate them."

At the same time, selfies taken in newly Instagram-popular spots, like Bonneville Salt Flats and Yellowstone National Park, can ravage their sensitive environments. That forces officials to either shut down the spots or make them more tourist-friendly, destroying their original character.

Now, if you search on several hundred terms, the app will throw a flag saying "Protect Wildlife on Instagram," adding that "you are searching for a hashtag that may be associated with posts that encourage harmful behavior to animals or the environment." Only then can you see posts, learn more or cancel the operation.

The decision followed an investigation by National Geographic and World Animal Protection into wildlife tourism. The investigators discovered that animals were being captured illegally from rain forests and kept in cages, then trotted out for selfies with tourists ignorant of their plight.

If someone's behavior is interrupted, hopefully they'll think, maybe there's something more here, or maybe I shouldn't just automatically like something or forward something or repost something if Instagram is saying to me there's a problem with this photo.

The warning will pop up for hundreds of hashtags, both in English and the languages of Thailand, Indonesia and other nations where selfie wildlife tourism is rampant. Instagram isn't saying which terms will trigger the flags, though, as it wants users to discover them on their own.

World Animal Protection's Cassandra Koenen points out that the animals people most want to pet or hold, like koala's and sloths, really don't like being handled. And the problem is made worse because tourists are terrible at determining which attractions treat animals poorly.

Though Instagram's gesture doesn't seem like it'll be much of a deterrent, Koenen believes that it will stop folks that don't mean harm and just don't know better. "If someone's behavior is interrupted, hopefully they'll think, maybe there's something more here, or maybe I shouldn't just automatically like something or forward something or repost something if Instagram is saying to me there's a problem with this photo," she said.

Source: Instagram


Gravity waves could help scientists detect earthquakes faster

Tracking minor changes in gravity when an earthquake hits could buy us precious life-saving minutes, according to a new study published in the journal Science. Revisiting data from the huge 2011 Japan earthquake, the researchers indicate that shifts in gravity could've told people the scale of the quake three minutes after it began. The findings come on the heels of a separate study (presented at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America) that theorized that 2018 would see a surge in earthquakes, due to a slight slowing of the rotation of the Earth.

Previous research has shown that the magnitude 9.0 Tohoku quake that struck Japan in 2011 was powerful enough to slightly alter the affected area's pull of gravity. On the ground (where the gravitational shifts are barely noticeable), it took 3 hours for the Japan Meteorological Agency to gauge its true size, after initially estimating it to be magnitude 7.9.

The new study suggests gravity signals, travelling at more than 185,000 miles per second, were most apparent at monitoring stations between 1,000 and 2,000 km from the quake's epicentre. At that speed, the signals had enough time to be recorded before the seismic waves took over.

Japan's largest recorded earthquake, the Tohoku event triggered a tsunami that resulted in over 15,000 deaths and caused the Fukushima Daiichi power plant meltdown -- the ongoing cleanup of which is estimated to take between 30 to 40 years. Although we're still no closer to predicting earthquakes, the researchers claim that (with revision) their method should work for detecting quakes of magnitude 8.5 or greater, which are large enough to generate measurable gravity signals.

Source: Science


Project Redspace imagines an office-car for megacity traffic

New York is huge. 8.5 million people live in the Big Apple according to 2016 census data. It seems impressive until you realize that there are 15 megacities in China that blow New York away with populations over 10 million. All those humans in one area means that traffic can be a challenge. One company think it has a commuter solution. A very boxy commuter solution.

Project Redspace's REDS is an EV commuter vehicle that doubles as an office. The company says that a car spends 90 percent of its time sitting idle. So why not make it your mobile workspace? It achieves this with a chair that swivels 180-degrees and a fold down desk. If it also served Starbucks coffee, it would be the perfect workspace for travelers.

That car also has a modular offset seating solution with the chairs not directly behind each other for more leg room and those seats can be moved about the cabin. The doors slide like a minivan instead swinging out like a traditional car. Helpful for tight parking spaces. Meanwhile, the roof is a giant solar panel to help keep the EV charged up. It will also support wireless charging sort of like the BMW 530e.

While the idea is intriguing, the workspace/car will be far more intriguing once cars get to level 4 autonomy. But, it's good to see new automakers thinking about how to evolve the interior of the vehicle before self-driving eventually becomes a reality.

According to the automaker, it will have these vehicles on the road in China in two years. It calls the car it's showing off at the LA Auto Show an "alpha prototype." So the final vehicle might not look as striking as the one on display in the convention center. As for US shores, there are no plans to bring it to our less-than-mega cities. Which kind of sucks if you really like boxes.

Source: Project Redspace


Toyota’s FT-AC concept is an Instagram-ready offroader

If you've ever thought, "I'd really like to be able to record all my drives both on-road and off," the Toyota FT-AC (Future Toyota Adventure Concept)crossover is the vehicle for you. With detachable infrared cameras on the side mirrors that record your jaunts, it's the Instagram-ready car of your active-lifestyle dreams.

While the current Toyota C-HR crossover is clearly more of an urban vehicle, the concept FT-AC is directed towards folks that spend their weekends in the great outdoors. For those adventures, the footage shot via those detachable cameras is uploaded to Toyota's cloud via the car's Wi-Fi hotspot. There it can be edited and shared with a companion app. The footage can also be live streamed directly from the road for those moments when you really need the world to know exactly what you're doing at that moment.

If your a cyclist, the FT-AC features a retractable bike rack and detachable fog lights you can attach to your bike. Considering how much brighter vehicles lamps are than bike lamps, this will alleviate any issues you've had on night rides of not being able to see the terrain. The lights can also be used as a camping lamp.

This joins the company's FT-AX concept crossover as the automaker's way of making sure it keeps up with the growing SUV market. Toyota might have the best selling car in the United States (Camry), but it knows that larger cars are what most customers want. "We have to admit that the exterior is aggressive. But you like it right?" Said Toyota Jack Hollis group vice president.

In addition to an all-wheel-drive pure gas engine, Toyota expects the FT-AC to also have a hybrid version. So you can be greener while you head outside.

Like all concept cars, if this does come to market some of the more outlandish features will probably never make it to the showroom. But considering how much our lives revolve around documenting our events, it's not too much of a stretch to think that at least some elements of the video capturing system will end up in our garages.


Porsche’s powerful hybrid is a sports car disguised as a station wagon

The Porsche Panamera is rather divisive. People either love or hate the way it looks. Regardless of your thoughts on its design, it's hard to ignore the sports car that doubles as a station wagon. That's especially true thanks to the new $188,400 Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo introduced at the LA Auto Show. Yeah, the name is a mouthful.

But there's no way you'll ever be able to spit that name out before you get the car from a standstill to 62 miles per-hour, something this Panamera can accomplish in 3.4 seconds. Additionally, the all-wheel-drive vehicle has a top speed of 192 miles per-hour in case you're running late getting the kids to school. It accomplishes these impressive feats as a hybrid thanks to a four-liter V8 engine with an electric motor that produces a whopping 680 horsepower.

Once you get past the brute strength and Porsche styling, the Panamera is still an actual hybrid. It has an impressive pure-electric range of 30 miles powered by a 14.1kWh battery pack. More than enough for local errands or short commutes without tapping into the gas engine. The battery can be charged from 2.4 to six hours based on the type of charger you've hooked the car too.

So if you're looking for a sports car that's shaped like a station wagon and you can afford to drop almost $200,000 on a car, Porsche has got you covered.

Source: Porsche


Samsung’s ‘graphene ball’ battery could lead to fast-charging EVs

When it comes to lithium-ion batteries, you can have fast charging speeds or high capacities -- take your pick. Now, Samsung researchers, working with Seoul National University, have figured out how to give batteries both qualities thanks to our old friend, graphene. By coating the electrodes with a thin, popcorn-shaped layer known as a "graphene ball," they were able to produce a battery that could fully charge in just 12 minutes with up to 45 percent more capacity. The research, if it pans out, could lead to lighter and faster-charging electric vehicles.

The problem with current lithium-ion tech is the dreaded "side reactions" that can wear away the electrodes, especially if the battery is charged too quickly. Researchers have found that nanomaterials like graphene can reduce the wear and tear on them, while simultaneously increasing their conductivity. The problem is that coating electrodes uniformly has proven to be a challenge, and many efforts have resulted in an undesirable tradeoff by increasing charging speeds but decreasing capacity.

Samsung's approach is to use a material assembly called a graphene ball to coat nickel-rich cathodes and lithium-based anode materials. The thin, popcorn-like substance can be coated onto the cathode evenly, making it more effective, while also giving the anode a capacity boost.

That technique increased both the stability of the battery and its conductivity, "improving the cyclability and fast charging capability of the cathode substantially," the researchers note. What's more, they hit energy densities of nearly 800 Wh/L, around the same as Li-ion batteries today used by Tesla (below) and others.

This isn't just a laboratory effort, as Samsung knows a thing or two about production. Its researchers figured out how to coat the electrodes using "Nobilta" milling in a way that's reasonably fast and accurate. The process, they say "would not require a substantial change" to current manufacturing techniques for advanced lithium-ion batteries like the ones used in EVs.

Batteries that can fully charge in 12 minutes would make EVs a hell of a lot more practical, even if capacities remain unchanged. It's hard not to believe that our hopes won't be dashed again, but maybe, just maybe, Samsung's manufacturing expertise could actually turn the research into something useful.

Via: Samsung

Source: Nature