5 more new cleantech consumer product stories:
1. Volvo recently released a series of videos on Volvo’s new C30 Electric, which is now on the roads of Europe. The first video, “A Milestone in the Automotive Industry,” is above, and the next 9 are on the C30 Electric’s: “Battery System,” “Electrical Architecture and Electrical Safety,” “Electric Motor and Power Electronics,” “Software Development,” “Climate Systems,” “Safety,” “Testing,” “Fleet Management System,” and “Research Program.”
2. Of course, GE is in the news again. It has now teamed up with REC Solar — a provider of home, commercial and government solar electric systems in the United States — to distribute the GE WattStation electric vehicle (EV) charger. “GE’s WattStation is an easy-to-use Level 2 electric vehicle (EV) charger designed to help accelerate the adoption of plug-in electric vehicles by significantly decreasing time needed for charging – delivering a full charge in just four to eight hours compared with standard overnight charging that can take as much as 12 to 14 hours. Its smart grid-enabled technology could also help utility companies manage the impact of EVs on the local and regional grids. As a distributor of the GE WattStation, REC Solar will make it easier for its thousands of commercial, government and residential customers to incorporate EV charging capabilities. The WattStation is the ideal complement to the growing trend towards solar carports, but its simple installation makes it suitable for any type of solar installation.” That’s the word, at least.
3. This is one of those stories I was saving for awhile in order to write a full post on it but never got around to. It’s “pay-as-you-go solar” from IndiGo. Here are two videos on IndiGo and then more from New Scientist, via Climate Denial Crock of the Week:
Pay as you go is a common way of paying for calls on your cellphone. Now the idea could help make solar power a more realistic option for families in Kenya and other African countries.
The system, called IndiGo, consists of a low-cost flexible plastic 2.5W solar panel that charges a battery. This is connected to a USB mobile phone charger and an LED lamp that provides around 5 hours of light from one day’s charge.
Developed by solar energy firm Eight19, based in Cambridge, UK, IndiGo costs $1 a week to run, though the unit itself must be leased for an initial $10 fee. Users add credit by buying a scratchcard that they validate by sending a text message from their phone.
IndiGo is being trialled in Kenya and will be tested in other countries in the next few months. Eight19 hopes the device will go on sale early next year. The company also plans to offer higher-power systems as demand for solar energy increases, such as a 50W system that could power a small TV.
4. Tests of a low-cost, solar-powered tablet I wrote about last year, the I-Slate, have gone well, and it is now moving on to full-scale production. The I-Slate “is being developed by researchers at the Institute for Sustainable and Applied Infodynamics (ISAID), a joint program of Rice University in Houston and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore,” Rice University reports. “When mass-produced, the solar-powered I-slate is expected to cost less than $50 (64 Singapore dollars).”
5. Neo, a toilet-powered motor cycle from Japanese toilet maker Toto, may not be for sale this Christmas, but perhaps some day. Neo “runs on eco-friendly biogas produced from sewage — and recently completed a journey of more than 1,000 km (600 miles) across Japan,” Reuters reports. “The biogas used as fuel for the Neo is produced from a combination of household sewage and livestock waste, broken down and fermented, company spokesman Kenji Fujita said.” OK, that may never be for sale, but who knows?
Toilet bike image via Toto