The future of smartphone charging ought to be more conducive to be more than dependence on an electrical outlet. The idea that there could well be a scenario where we do not have people at a house party crowding around the nearest electrical outlet is exciting. Swedish startup MyFC has come up with JAQ that was shown off at the CES. Basically a fuel cell charger, the contraption uses saltwater and oxygen to convert chemical energy into electricity. This power is then used to charge your phone’s battery. A card-like container holds the saltwater while the port is present on the hollowed outer shell. The JAQ presently manages to conjure power as high as 118 mAh worth of electricity. This can completely charge an iPhone 6S. These are great for a single use, post which, the stop producing chemical energy.
They may be the overlords of junk food but when it comes to saving the environment from unnecessary pollutants, McDonald’s seems to fit snuggly in with the good guys. The brand will be rolling out eco-friendly carry-out bags, fountain drink cups and sandwich boxes in over 36,000 worldwide outlets, this year. The campaign will begin with the US outlets of the brand and will gradually branch out. The company has already committed to sourcing all its fiber-based packaging from recycled sources by 2020. This is the company’s first redesign since 2013 and clearly indicates that McDonald’s isn’t giving fashion and style a blind eye. Matt Biespiel, Senior Director, Global Marketing, said, “We’re proud of the progress we’ve made and initiatives like this are important to our customers who care about the planet.” As if the packaging wasn’t enough, the brand has also partnered with The Cabrera/Bentancourt organization to create fashion accessories that are themed around the packaging.
It doesn’t get more beautiful than this. The Volkswagen BUDD-e has just given the Microbus and its fans a whole new perspective. With a driving range of 373 miles on a single charge, the van manages to charge its battery up to 80 percent in just 15 minutes! It may still be a concept but the practicality of the solutions it offers are phenomenal. The company has based the car on the Modular Electric Platform that accommodates larger batteries and electric drive components. The interiors of the BUDD-e will be studded with digital screens in place of mirrors, buttons and switches. Entertainment and navigation will operate with gesture controls.
The Netherlands are leading by example when it comes to eco-friendly transport. However, the idea of abominable motorists sliding right into your cycling path is annoying and then again, there are times when it pours, making everything difficult. This is when you can resort to the magic of theses specially programmed traffic lights. The city council of Rotterdam has installed sensors that sync with the traffic lights and detect when it is raining. As soon as this is detected, all cycling lanes are released in 40 seconds while the motorists on the road have to wait longer. This facilitates the cyclists, letting them reach their destinations sooner, safer and with much calmer minds.
Water is precious. Just because we have access to water aplenty, we consider it to be a commodity that can be used freely. Unfortunately, this leads to wastage of water to no end. The biggest contributor to water wastage is the activity of bathing. While you wait for the water to get just as warm as you seem fit for a shower, the water flowing into the drain is an absolute waste. That’s where the WaterDrop tote bag comes into play. The bag collects water during the heating process and then allows you to use it for other purposes, thanks to a handy spout. The water that is saved can be used for gardening purposes, to water pets or for any other purpose. The makers estimate that if the water is saved by individuals from Europe and America alone, we will see over 1 trillion liters of water saved.
It’s been the dream of every cyclist and Germany is sure to make it come true with the approval of a bicycle highway. The country is all set to unleash the 100 kilometer highway only for cyclists and has already made the first five kilometers functional. The idea of riding through a highway without worrying about trucks, other vehicles and obstacles such as signals makes it clear as glass that the future is green and much, much fitter. Imagine everyone taking the bicycle highway to work. The route falls in the home-office path of millions and could inspire them to take this fascinating route. One study predicts that the all new highway will get up to 50,000 cars off the road every day! That’s a significant reduction in pollution, noise and costs for the citizens and the government.
Iceland already is as green as a country can get, given the fact that this Nordic island nation runs on 100 percent renewable energy. This however hasn’t stopped these jolly folks for looking for new ways to generate renewable energy. Icelandic inventor Saethor Asgeirsson recently came up with a one-of-a-kind wind turbine that can withstand higher wind speeds, unlike the conventional wind turbines that fair terribly in such situations. Called the IceWind CW1000, this bulky wind turbine is capable of handling Iceland’s high wind speeds that can touch 40 miles per hour on an average day and 112 miles per hour on a stormy day!
Italy has given the planet a Christmas gift by pulling off a rather extreme stunt in two major cities. Both Rome and Milan have banned private cars in daytime in an attempt to reduce pollution levels. Special public transport fares will be announced and users will face a limit on when they can use roads. The ban will be in effect in Milan from December 28th to 30th. From 10 am to 4 pm, citizens will not be allowed to drive their private cars, scooters or motorcycles. This will surely pull down the smog levels in the city. In fact, Milan has gone on to ban fireworks displays so as to reduce the amount of pollution caused, especially during the festive periods. The authorities are making it easier for citizens as they have introduced anti-smog transport tickets that makes tickets available for just $1.65.
There’s a buzz in the air about Volkswagen’s next big move and its coming right at CES 2016 next month. The company will be showing off a cool Microbus Concept at the Consumer Electronics Show 2016 next month. The little van-like contraption will be powered by a lithium-ion battery and will promise no emissions, giving the brand the much deserved break it needed after the dieselgate scandal. While some may debate the practicality of an electric bus, we can be rest assured that the Microbus Concept can easily cover any distance between 250 and 300 miles on a single charge.
We earlier heard about Nissan and Renault partnering to create eco-charging zones across Paris. Now, Nissan has tied hands with BMW to deploy 120 dual-port 50 kW DC fast-charging stations across 19 states in the US. This is in promotion of green and clean driving as well as the Nissan Leaf and the BMW i3. The charging stations are equipped with CHAdeMO and CCS Cambo connectors that are compatible with all DC fast-charging capable electric vehicles. Speaking on the initiative, Cliff Fietzek, Manager Connected eMobility, BMW of North America, said, “BMW continues to pursue new ways to support the development of a robust public charging infrastructure that will benefit current and future BMW i3 owners across the country. This BMW-Nissan project builds on BMW’s ongoing commitment to participate in joint partnerships designed to expand DC Fast charging options nationwide for all EV drivers. Together with Nissan, we are focused on facilitating longer distance travel so that even more drivers will choose to experience the convenience of e-mobility for themselves.”