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What if you could tape solar panels to your roof?

My co-working space in Luton is in a lovely old industrial building next to the station. It has a roof that ought to be suitable for solar panels, and the owners of the building made some enquiries. Unfortunately it wasn’t strong enough to support the extra weight. Nothing to be done. Here’s a possible solution: […]

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This weekend I built a solar panel

Demand Energy Equality is an organisation that encourages energy literacy and teaches practical skills. They’ve developed a very straightforward way of helping people to understand the opportunities of renewable energy: build it yourself. You can book in for a day long workshop and learn how to make a solar panel, and that’s what I was […]

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Why have I never heard of the Ene-Farm?

While reading up on architecture in Japan recently, I came across a technology that I hadn’t heard of before: the Ene-Farm. It’s a domestic energy system that is being used in Japan and so far doesn’t seem to be available elsewhere, and it makes me curious. What is it, and why doesn’t anyone know about […]

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The ‘big green bang’ in renewable energy

“The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function” said the late professor Albert Bartlett. We’re just not very good at projecting growth into the future. We tend to underestimate it and then be surprised by how large things have become. Often that’s bad things, ending in shortage or […]

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Is today Britain’s first day without coal?

Coal use has been declining in Britain over the last couple of years, but today could mark another major landmark. Right now there is no electricity from coal going into the national grid. There hasn’t been any all day, and if it continues this way, it’ll be Britain’s first day without coal power since the […]

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Transport innovation of the week: seaweed biofuels

Despite the threat of climate change, the world still consumes almost 100 million barrels of oil a day. Most of that goes on transport, burned in cars and trucks and planes. There’s no source of renewable liquid fuels that comes anywhere near that scale, and so the most obvious solution for transport has been electrification […]

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Transport innovation of the week: solar trains

Solar power is used on the world’s rail networks in a variety of ways. In Britain we have the solar bridge at Blackfriars, and Belgium has a solar tunnel that feeds into the network. Indian railways are pioneering solar power to run train interiors. So far I’m not aware of anyone directly powering the trains […]

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The US states taking action on climate change

Climate change action is firmly off the agenda for America’s new Republican administration. Actually that’s not true. It is on the agenda, but only to water down or remove any current commitments. Though they may change their minds at some point, for now it looks like the US government is only going to make things […]

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Iran’s renewable energy peace dividend

The idea of a ‘peace dividend’ comes from the Cold War. As the decades of tension eased and the threat of conflict receded, world leaders saw a chance to collectively reduce their military budgets. Armed forces could be demobilized, nuclear weapons destroyed, and expensive programmes drawn to a close. There were potentially huge savings, and […]

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Indian Railways is putting solar panels on trains

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the possibilities of self-charging solar vehicles, and just how many solar panels you can stick on a car. Here’s a related concept for this edition of ‘transport innovation of the week‘. Indian Railways has been exploring a variety of ways of saving energy and reducing emissions, and […]

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