Highways Have Potential for Wind Energy Generation

highway Over at Inhabitat, there are two posts on using wind created by traffic on highways to generate electricity. A student proposes horizontally placed wind generators over highways, much like road signs are placed now (pictured).

A proposal coming from New Jersey has the generators built into the highway that powers a light rail system. Awesome!

The design, a runner-up in the 2006 Metropolis Mag Next Generation Design Competition proposed the integration of wind-turbines into the highway barriers that divide the traffic. These turbines would generate power from the wind created by the vehicles that drive past them in opposite directions. Originally conceived as a single row of vertical-axis rotary turbines, it has now been redesigned to include two rows, one stacked on top of each other, with the end power being used to power a light rail system.

Europe’s First Plastic Bag Free Town

Modbury is a very small town in England that is quiet and quaint, until today. At 8am today Modbury became the first plastic bag free town in Europe. This is great news which comes after San Francisco gave up plastic bags last month.

Modbury may spark a Europe-wide rejection of the dreaded plastic bag.

Spurred by environmental fervour and growing concern about the 100bn or more plastic bags thought to be littering the world and clogging the seas, the town’s 43 traders have unilaterally declared their independence from the plastic bag and have pledged to no longer sell, give away or otherwise provide them to anyone in Modbury for a minimum of six months.

Ontario Goes Solar

After recently banning old light bulbs, the province of Ontario has permitted a Californian company permission to build a rather large solar power facility.

The Ontario government has approved a California company’s plan to build North America’s largest photovoltaic solar farm, the provincial energy ministry announced Thursday.

OptiSolar Farms Canada Inc. of Arthur, Ont. — a subsidiary of California-based OptiSolar Inc. — will install more than one million solar panels at four farms outside Sarnia, Ont., providing the province with 40 megawatts of power by 2010. Ontario Energy Minister Dwight Duncan said that’s enough to power 6,000 homes.

Bricks a la Sewage

Yesterday some work was being done on the piping where I live and I couldn’t work from home like I normally do because of the stench. Good news may come from this because that stink, combined with a few other materials, may end up in future buildings.

Imagine if you could turn old rubbish into new houses. That’s exactly what civil engineer Dr John Forth from University of Leeds wants to achieve with the invention of a building block made almost entirely of recycled glass, metal slag, sewage sludge, incinerator ash, and pulverised fuel ash from power stations.

Dirt Fights Cancer

treeThe fight against cancer has found some support from something that we stomp over: dirt. I love ‘discoveries’ like this because I hope it’ll make people aware of how important biodiversity is.

The bark of certain yew trees can yield a medicine that fights cancer. Now scientists find the dirt that yew trees grow in can supply the drug as well, suggesting a new way to commercially harvest the medicine.

Scientists originally isolated the drug paclitaxel—now commonly known as Taxol—in 1967 from the bark of Pacific yew trees (Taxus brevifolia) in a forest near the Mount St. Helens in Washington. This yew also yields related compounds known as taxanes that can be converted to paclitaxel. Research since then has revealed other yew species generate paclitaxel and taxanes as well, as do some fungi and certain hazelnut varieties

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