Wave Power Boat to sail from Hawaii to Japan

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From Pop Sci:

This month, 69-year-old Japanese sailor Ken-ichi Horie will attempt to captain the world’s most advanced wave-powered boat 4,350 miles from Hawaii to Japan. If all goes as planned, he’ll set the first Guinness world record for the longest distance traveled by a wave-powered boat and, along the way, show off the greenest nautical propulsion system since the sail.

At the heart of the record-setting bid is the Suntory Mermaid II, a three-ton catamaran made of recycled aluminum alloy that turns wave energy into thrust. Two fins mounted side by side beneath the bow move up and down with the incoming waves and generate dolphin-like kicks that propel the boat forward. “Waves are a negative factor for a ship—they slow it down,” says Yutaka Terao, an engineering professor at Tokai University in Japan who designed the boat’s propulsion system. “But the Suntory can transform wave energy into propulsive power regardless of where the wave comes from.”

Fuel from Algae

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In Sundance one movie I really want to watch but don’t got a chance to see is Josh Tickell’s film “Fields of Fuel,” a documentary about renewable fuel. I do a research and find out this company is one of the sponsors:

From Technology Review:

Solazyme, a startup based in South San Francisco, CA, has developed a new way to convert biomass into fuel using algae, and the method could lead to less expensive biofuels.

The new process combines genetically modified strains of algae with an uncommon approach to growing algae to reduce the cost of making fuel. Rather than growing algae in ponds or enclosed in plastic tubes that are exposed to the sun, as other companies are trying to do, Solazyme grows the organisms in the dark, inside huge stainless-steel containers. The company’s researchers feed algae sugar, which the organisms then convert into various types of oil. The oil can be extracted and further processed to make a range of fuels, including diesel and jet fuel, as well as other products.

The company uses different strains of algae to produce different types of oil. Some algae produce triglycerides such as those produced by soybeans and other oil-rich crops. Others produce a mix of hydrocarbons similar to light crude petroleum.

Solazyme’s method has advantages over other approaches that use microorganisms to convert sugars into fuel. The most common approaches use microorganisms such as yeast to ferment sugars, forming ethanol.

Save energy by using asphalt road

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This awesome Dutch company plants this energy efficient water pipes system under the asphalt concrete:

Developed by Ooms Nederland Holding in collaboration with WTH and TipSpit, Road Energy Systems® extracts energy from asphalt concrete. The system exploits the heat-absorbing capacity of asphalt concrete, which is enhanced by its black color. The thermal energy produced is used to cool buildings, houses and roads in summer and heat them in winter.

Road Energy Systems® consists of a layer of asphalt concrete that has a closed system of pipes running through it. The pipes are connected to underground aquifers (water-bearing sand). In summer the sun heats the asphalt concrete pavement, which in turn raises the temperature of the water in the pipes. The water is then transported to the heat source area, where it is stored for several months. As soon as autumn arrives, the system brings the warm water to the surface, where a heat pump raises its temperature to a level suitable for low temperature heating systems. The surplus thermal energy is used to keep the temperature of the asphalt concrete above freezing point. The asphalt concrete cools the water to the point where it can eventually flow to the cold source. In summer the process is reversed. Water is pumped up from the cold source and used to cool buildings. This warms the water, which then moves through the asphalt collector again, is heated further by the sun and then injected into the heat source in the ground

You can download their English brochure here.

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