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Great Green Entrepreneurial ideas

Here are some Great Green Entrepreneurial ideas and initiatives from around the world.  Hope it inspires you to build upon their ingenuity and perhaps create your own!  These articles are also posted on the Green Entrepreneurialism Forum page.

From Mexico, the PhotoFlow harnesses energy from the sun in good weather and collects and filters rainwater in bad weather.

In developing nations near the equator, the weather comes in extremes — the sun is at its strongest, while rainfall levels are also the highest in the world. At the same time, the same areas are blighted by a lack of electricity and clean drinking water. In order to tackle both of these issues, designers in Mexico have developed the PhotoFlow, a device that harnesses energy from the sun in good weather and collects and filters rainwater in bad weather.

In 2012, the solar energy industry grew by 76 percent in the US and it is becoming the leading light of renewable energy. However, the panels work best in sunny climates and become less effective when bad weather rolls up. Created by design studio NOS, the rooftop-mounted PhotoFlow turns the panels to use when it’s raining by placing them in a ring with a tilt of three degrees. In the sunshine, the tilt enables the panels to absorb solar energy from all angles, regardless of the location of the sun. The collected energy — up to 340 kWh — can then be used to power the home. During rainfall, the tilt catches rain and directs through a filter, before collecting it in the reservoir below, capable of holding up to 400 liters.

Much like France’s Eole Water wind turbines — which condensate and filter the air’s water vapor — the PhotoFlow provides both energy and drinkable water in one, enabling those in need to take advantage of natural resources. NOS is currently hoping to secure funding for the modules before the PhotoFlow is a viable option for the developing world and beyond. Are there other ways to double the practicality of energy harnessing equipment?

Website: www.nos.mx
Contact: www.nos.mx/contact.html

Spotted by Murtaza Patel, written by Springwise

City residents may not have degrees in urban planning, but their everyday use of high streets, parks and main roads means they have some valuable input into what’s best for their local environment. A new website called Streetmix is helping to empower citizens, enabling them to become architects with an easy-to-use street-building platform.

Developed by Code for America, the site greets users with a colorful cartoon representation of a typical street, split into segments of varying widths. Designers can then swap and change each piece into road, cycle paths, pedestrian areas, bus stops, bike racks and other amenities, as well as alter their dimensions. Users can create their own perfect high street or use the exact measurements of their own neighborhood to come up with new propositions for planned construction work. Indeed, Streetmix has already found use among residents and organizations to demonstrate how to better use the local space available. Kansas City’sBike Walk KC has utilized the platform to show how new bike lanes could figure in an upcoming study of traffic flow in the region, while New Zealand’s Transport Blog has presented several alternatives to current street layouts in Auckland.

Streetmix is an easy-to-use visualization tool that can help amateurs present their ideas to local authorities in a more coherent way, potentially increasing the chances of politicians hearing calls for change. Are there other ways to help laymen express complex ideas more eloquently?

Website: www.streetmix.net
Contact: [email protected]

Spotted by Murtaza Patel, written by Springwise

The Obama administration aims to have 1 million electric vehicles on the streets of the US by 2015, and this push appears to be driving innovation in the field. While many of those devices will be plugged into mains electricity, the EV ARC is a platform the size of a parking space that can charge vehicles using energy from the sun.

Standing for the Electric Vehicle Autonomous Renewable Charger, the station consists of a 9 x 18-foot base that is sheltered by a roof embedded with solar panels. The device was developed by Envision Solar and uses the company’s EnvisionTrak technology to track the movement of the sun in the sky and move the panels accordingly. This enables the EV ARC to generate around 16kWhrs a day, enough to fully charge one car or partly charge several. Since the station is self-contained and not connected to the mains, it can be installed in any location and can be transported easily on the fly.

As more consumers start to choose electric over non-renewable transport, a device such as the EV ARC could help drivers to top up their battery away from home without relying on the grid. How else can cities and towns prepare for electric transport?

Website: www.envisionsolar.com
Contact: www.envisionsolar.com/contact

Spotted by Dietfried Globocnik, written by Springwise

Carbon sequestration – whereby carbon dioxide is stored underground in order to reduce its presence in the atmosphere and its effect on global warming – has become much more widely known in the last few years as governments scramble for solutions to climate change. Researchers in Australia have now formed Mineral Carbonation, a startup that hopes to put sequestered carbon to use by turning it into materials for building.

The project is a joint venture between the University of Newcastle, chemicals firm Orica and the GreenMag Group. Hsving received funding of AUD 9 million from the Australian government, the group will now begin to develop its process of small scale mineral carbonation, which traps the gas inside units small enough to be used in the construction industry. The technique mimics the earth’s natural carbon sink phenomenon that creates inert carbonates from minerals such as magnesium and calcium silicate. As Professor Bodgan Dlugogorski from the university explains: “The key difference between geosequestration and ocean storage and our mineral carbonation model is we permanently transform CO2 into a usable product, not simply store it underground.”

The Mineral Carbonation project joins Lignacite’s Carbon Buster building block in the race to develop construction materials that can help the environment, rather than damage it. Could other eco-friendly products be created using CO2 as a component?

Website: www.mineralcarbonation.com
Contact: [email protected]

Spotted by Murray Orange, written by Springwise

While solar energy can be transformed into electricity to power home lighting, it doesn’t necessarily need to be converted at all in some cases. Proving this point, the Smart LED from Solatube is a device that uses photonics to draw natural sunlight into dark rooms in the daytime, while providing LED illumination at night.

Rather than simply fitting into the ceiling, the Smart LED features an optical dome that maximizes the capture of sunlight and sits on the building’s roof. Using highly-reflective tubing, the rays are then delivered into rooms that suffer from a lack of light in the day. The device also includes an LED bulb and a sensor that monitors the levels of daylight that are being drawn in. As the daylight fades, the LED lighting is slowly activated until it’s at 100 percent power after sunset.

As well as taking advantage of environmentally-friendly LED lighting, the system could also help reduce energy costs in homes and commercial buildings where lighting is on during the day. Are there other ways to take advantage of natural sunlight?

Website: www.solatube.com
Contact: www.solatube.com/about/contact-us

Spotted by Michael Sather, written by Springwise

 new

We’ve already seen platforms such as Tweetminster use social media to keep citizens up-to-date with the latest goings on in the British Parliament. Now FiscalNote is providing businesses in the US with the tools to track the bills and legislature that affects their industry, as well offering insights into their potential results.

For small businesses, it can be difficult to keep on top of all the goings-on in Congress, never mind individual state and county rulings that may affect their operations. In what it calls the Political Genome Project, FiscalNote aims to keep tabs on any changes to the law across the 50 states. After users have selected their chosen industries, the site delivers only the news relevant to them, presented in an easy-to-understand way on the user dashboard. Mobile notifications also keep businesses informed of changes as they’re fought on the floor. Infographic-style analytics show the progress of each piece of legislation, and the probability of each outcome is worked out with complex algorithms that take in previous results and historical data.

FiscalNote helps small businesses to make smarter decisions by gaining greater insight into the workings of national and local politics related to their industry, keeping them informed of changes they might have otherwise missed. How else can companies stay on top of the latest news from their particular sector?

Website: www.fiscalnote.com
Contact: www.fiscalnote.com/contact

Spotted by Murray Orange, written by Springwise

 
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