Ford Motor is playing a major role in promoting environmentally friendly auto parts, and one way they’re doing that is by using recycled plastic bottles for underbody shields on all cars and SUVs, and wheel liners on F-Series trucks – up to 250 bottles per vehicle. Recycled bottles are used to manufacture parts that can help improve vehicle aerodynamics and reduce cabin noise. In the past decade, aerodynamics has driven the need for underbody shields, and the use of plastics in vehicle parts is used globally, and has grown exponentially – Ford uses about 1.2 billion recycled plastic bottles per year – about 250 bottles per vehicle on average.
When plastic bottles are thrown into a recycling bin, they are collected with thousands of others, and shredded into small pieces. That’s typically sold to suppliers who turn it into a fiber, by melting the bottle and extruding it. Those fibers are mixed together with other various types of fiber in a textile process and used to make a sheet of material – which is formed into the automotive parts. Due to its light weight, recycled plastic is ideal for the manufacture of underbody shields, engine under shield and front and rear wheel arch liners that can help improve vehicle aerodynamics. These shields also help create a significantly quieter environment on the all-new 2020 Ford Escape.
Environmentally, using recycled plastics on vehicle parts helps reduce the amount of plastic that can end up in dangerous situations, such as the Pacific gyre, for example – a floating mass of plastic bigger than the size of Mexico in the Pacific Ocean.
Spain will be one of the first countries in the world to have public streetlights that are powered by wind and the sun. It took four years for the Spanish researcher Ramon Bargalló to design this independent street light system for the company Eolgreen. The street light will be 10 metre in height and will be fitted with wind turbine and a solar panel. A wind velocity as low as 2.5 m/s will be required for the wind turbine to work. The turbine will do 10 and 200 rotations per minute; its maximum output will be 400 watts. The streetlights also have batteries and a smart electronic control system which can manage the flow of energy between the solar panel, the battery, the wind turbine and the light. Researchers are designing a second prototype which will have a better turbine speed, wattage output and lesser energy wastage.
Tired of that conventional digital camera that you’ve been using all along? Well, you can now satisfy your shutterbug-needs in a greener and more energy efficient way! Termed as the world’s first camera with a retro-shooting ability, the Sun and Cloud Self-Generating Digital Camera sports a solar panel and a hand crank, both of which can be used to power up this cheerful little device.
We’ve been following the journey of the awe-inspiring Solar Impulse HB-SIA plane since quite a while now. Termed as the world’s cleanest and greenest aircraft, this one is powered up by solar energy and does no harm to the environment as it flies through the skies above. The Solar Impulse uses batteries to store the electricity collected by the solar panels on its wings. The energy stored is then used to power up the plane’s engines.
Planning to get around in a green way and lug around a load of stuff with you? Well, give the gas-gulping cars a skip and hope aboard the TruckIt! Now this vehicle is bound to draw a lot of stares, particularly if you wind up on a busy urban street in it. Resembling a rickshaw, the TruckIt is in essence a recumbent-bicycle with an electric motor and is amazingly inexpensive!
Smart has just pulled the veil off its new eco-friendly and environmentally sound ForTwo electric. Sticking to the compact-car design Smart usually incorporates in its ForTwo range; this electric version of the much-acclaimed car comes with a 55kW electric motor and is capable of touching 60km/h in 4.8 seconds, seemingly slow though appreciable for city driving. With a maximum speed of 125 km/h, the car comes with a 17.6 kWh battery and sports a range of 145 kilometers in city traffic. With emissions kept at bay, the Smart ForTwo Electric will hit more than 30 countries around the globe and is expected to catch on with like-minded environment-loving folk who look for greener ways to drive.
The bestselling Volkswagen Golf will soon show up in an all-electric avatar, with VW confirming the same. The compact electric hatchback will show up in the United States towards the end of next year and will be tagged as a 2014 model. This will be the first plug-in vehicle sold in the US by Volkswagen and will be based on the 2013 VW Golf that will show up at this year’s Paris Motor Show. Also, the car might show up rechristened with the name Volkswagen Golf Blue E-motion.
Living on a boat now gets better with the Bauhaus, a one-of-a-kind exceptionally green vessel with its insides scooped out to make way for a full-fledged home! Dutch by birth, this barge now rests at London and is completely solar-powered, using a 1.7kw PV system and an electric motor. The energy generated off the sun alone is capable of powering up this entire floating home, if you know your living-green basics that is. Also, when unused for sailing purposes, the energy generated can be used to power up electric gadgets or to cook. Also, the Bauhaus steers clear away from gas onboard, simply meaning that you need to rely on the bountiful sun to cook up a decent meal. Living in one of these in a particularly rainy country however wouldn’t do you, or the Bauhaus for that matter, too much good!
Windows have always been those sheets of glass that act as transparent walls, letting in light, keeping out the heat, and recently, producing energy! New Energy Technologies, Inc. has its SolarWindow technology ready, after researches have worked their necks off with its development. This will be the world’s first-ever glass window capable of generating electricity, making that good old sheet of glass more usable. Solar panels as we know them today are opaque, and usually bulky. A see-thru solar panel allows its installation as a window, satisfying the natural lighting needs as well as generating power.