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Hybrid Concept Cars, The Future Is Now

So a recent article on yahoo.com's main page is all about green concept cars. It has some of the main players and a lot of pretty pictures. Here are the cars listed with a brief description as to alleviate you having to go to another site to read all about them. I am saving you time, thus saving you money as well so you can save it up to buy one of these awesome cars when the time is right. I am going to break these down into three categories: Drivable/hey that's cool, Wouldn't be caught dead in this, and Didn't we already do this? Um, Alex, I would like to start with Didn't We Already Do This for 200 please. hybridcars_130_vw.jpg Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce to you the 2010 VW Microbus, um I mean Chameleon. So, yeah, apparently the late 60's are back and we are all going to be peace loving pot smoking patchouli smelling hippies. At least we have the perfect vehicle for it, I mean this "new" vehicle is all electricity powered with 10 count them 10 30v batteries in the floor to power the vehicle. Oh, the surf boards are thrown in free of charge, they are fitted with solar panels for recharging the batteries. This is the vehicle for those fifty somethings to relive their youth in a perfectly environmentally friendly manner. Second place in the "Didn't we already do this" catagory is BMW X3: hybridcars_130_bmw.jpg

2009 BMW X3

VS:

2007 BMW x5

BMW X5, 2007 You know, they say that if you never change in business, you are insane. Well, BMW didn't listen. This car looks neither futuristic nor retro, meaning it just looks kind of now. It's not even trying very hard to be environmentally friendly. Instead of using a battery it incorporates a superconductor, which provides energy in short bursts. It gets an "A" for effort but nothing else. This concept car is only getting about 20% better millage than most of the cars that BMW currently produces (none of which are hybrids). This is a poor contending mom-mobile in the concept car to the future race. Third Place in this category is the GM Sequel. hybridcars_130_gm.jpg What is cool about this vehicle is that it runs on a hydrogen fuel cell and the fact that most of this car's engine components are located underneath the car and not under the hood.  It does make for a roomier car but the looks are just kind of standard, this car does not make me think that I am living in the 21st century at all.  I wonder what it is the sequel to?  Most movie sequels are not good, they are almost never as good as the original.  Just saying, it doesn't look good for this sequel, at least in my book. Check back later for the other two categories, it is sure to get interesting.

Why You Shouldn’t Buy a Hummer H2

Apparently, sales of the Hummer H2 are falling so fast that GM might even stop making them. Environmentalists will probably cheer this news, but there's another reason I would never buy a Hummer H2 or H3 for that matter. It's complicated, so I've put it into a diagram: Hummer H2 equals Humvee plus Little Tykes plastic parts

The Electro-Kinetic Road Ramp, Environmentally Friendly Engineering

Lately we have been uber-enviro-nerds with the talk of wind turbines, deep lake cooling and environmentally friendly roller coasters. I just felt the need to put up another nifty energy saving device that was invented by a Bloke from the UK named Peter Hughes. He has created a ramp that absorbs kinetic energy from breaking or slowing down while driving your car over regular roadways. The idea is simple, use the cars wasted kinetic energy to power the streetlights and stoplights. There are a series of plates installed under the road which the cars will drive over, more than likely around stop lights or other areas where the traffic will be slowed. The weight of the car slightly shifts the plates, causing kinetic energy to be created. The energy is stored and then used to power whatever. It is better described on the official site, so I will just do you a favor and quote it here.
The ramp is unobtrusive, silent in operation, causes no discomfort to the vehicles occupants and is entirely safe in operation. The Ramp is designed to require the minimum of maintenance and may be used for generating electricity to power street lighting, traffic lights, road signs, with the surplus being fed into the national grid. It also has the capability to store electricity within a storage battery facility.
I also found a video that you can watch that shows this in action. [youtube]uA0aiKFMSac[/youtube] I have high hopes for this technology; it is a very smart design and easily implemented for almost any roadway. The amount of energy spent operating the lights for roadways may not be much in comparison to other utilities we expect in our daily lives but this simple innovation will hopefully lead the way in other inventions to lessen our dependence on fossil fuels and ultimately reduce the amount of pollution because of this. I think this technology is only currently being implemented in the UK but hopefully American cities will become aware of this power creating device and take advantage of it's obvious benefits. Also, since America is the largest contributor to pollution world wide, it couldn't hurt to try to change the image for the better by fully embracing any new technology that could possibly make a worthwhile difference.

Deep Lake Water Cooling: Saving the Earth, one Skyscraper at a Time

In the past we've talked about some things that you can do to make your house more energy efficient. Some things are easy, like putting in Compact Florescent light bulbs, while others are on their way in the near future, like your own personal wind turbine. There's only so much you can do at home, though, and many of us live in large, air-conditioned office buildings. How could a glass-covered skyscraper possibly use less power for cooling in the summer? If you live in Toronto, it's easy - just tie into the Deep Lake Water Cooling System. Deep lake water cooling system in Toronto The system, by Enwave, draws water from Lake Ontario, deep below the surface where it's always a chilly 4 degrees Celsius. The water runs through huge heat exchangers before making its way into the city's normal water supply. A separate cooling loop transports water chilled by the incoming lake water to various buildings in the financial district where it is used in the air conditioning system. Here's a diagram of the system at work. The city is seeing substantial benefits since it tied into the cooling system:
Metro Hall went online with Enwave's Deep Lake Water Cooling system in June 2006. With the addition of this building, energy consumption will be reduced by 1.7 million kilowatt-hours per year and reduce CO2 emissions by 1,915 tonnes annually - equivalent to taking 383 cars off the road.
According to Enwave, the system uses 90% less energy than a traditional air conditioning system and is price-competitive. This is one of those cases where you don't even have to pay a premium to reduce CO2 production. Here's a picture of the gigantic heat exchangers: Deep water cooling heat exchanger Other large Great Lakes cities like Chicago, Cleveland, and Buffalo could take advantage of a system like this as well. Add in a few off-shore wind farms and the Rust Belt could take a real lead in green technology that makes use of the local geography. So what do you say, Cleveland?

Possibly the Only Environmentally Friendly Roller Coaster

cynori11.jpgSo, as you may or may not know, here at unsought we are really kind of environerds, some more than others. Either way, while stumbling on the internet I came across a page about an environmentally friendly roller coaster. Needless to say, my love for the environment, for the zany, for all things Japanese and for roller coasters overtook me and I read the entire article. Since it was in Japanese, the English translation is a little lacking but you get the general idea if you go to read the site. If not, you can just read my interpretation of it, and I will even put up some of the pictures of this "green amusement ride". Not to dissuade you from ever wanting to actually ride this roller coaster, the general gist of the article is "fear". To be honest, they use the word "fear" 18 times in the article. Though they felt the fear, they do recommend the ride after all is said and done. cycride1.jpgBasically the premise of this roller coaster is that you are pedaling instead of having it run off of gasoline or electricity. As you may or may not know, it takes a tremendous amount of energy to power a single roller coaster all day, thus wearing down our natural resources worse than leaving all the lights on in the house as your mother often yelled at you for doing. So, here you are doing the environment a favor, and you are doing a favor for your health as well. Think of it as killing two birds with one stone, but don't actually kill any birds, thank you. I realize that that may seem like a lot of work and not really worth it when you want to ride an amusement ride, but how cool is this? I mean, look at those seat belts. Those are not going to hold you in if you were to fall out. I am serious. The thrills are a mile a minute, or at least as fast as you and your partner can pedal. And the roller coaster even has a little basket, just like that bike your cousin handed you down when you were a kid, the one with the basket and bell and the little tassels on the handlebars. As the Japanese would say, it's very nastukashi or sentimental. curve02.jpgThis ride is apparently located in a Japanese amusement park on the island of Seto, but I am not sure of the name. From what I can gather, though, it might called Eagle Feather Mountain Highland. The coaster is much more of a monorail type than an actual roller coaster but the fear comes from the possibilities of falling out of the car to your death; some of the turns on the course are more than forty feet from the ground. The actual enviro-coaster is the one with the arrows pointing to it, there is another energy powered roller coaster in this park as well. Look how high up some of the track is from the ground. I can see how these people feared for their lives, but that's part of the thrill of riding a roller coaster. cycenkei1.jpgThe Japanese writing on the picture says chiyupikosataa, the second part of that if you sound it out is coaster. From what I gathered from the site, the mascot of this amusement park is a mouse called Chiyupi, so this probably a coaster named after it. I don't really think this will catch on with American audiences, but I know that if I go back to Japan, hopefully in October, that I will make it a point to try and find this park just to ride this ride. If I do, I will definitely write another article on this coaster with a first hand account of if it was really worth all the effort and fear. Until then, please enjoy the fantastic amusements that are located in your general vicinity.