Dec 11, 2017 - 2min read
It’s that time of the week again where Tonik’s Managing Director, Chris Russell, picks his top five green tech news stories from the past seven days.
The underground urban farm that doubles as a heat source
Plantagon CityFarm, set to begin production in early 2018, will grow plants in vertical towers under LED lights. Underneath a Swedish office tower block, an underground space once used as an archive for a newspaper will soon be used for the purpose of growing greens. The heat created by the lights will be saved in a heat storage system for the office building, and the heat can be used to help keep the offices warm through the winter.
UK’s trains could partially run on solar power by 2020
New research by Imperial College and green energy charity 10:10, has found that solar energy could supply 10% of the power needed to fuel the UK’s DC-powered rail routes. “The good news is that this is technically feasible and economically attractive”, says the project’s overseer, Nathaniel Bottrell. This potential energy switch could save railway companies a huge £4.5 million a year, as solar would bypass the national grid and avoid subsidiary costs.
London’s new electric taxicabs pick up their first fares
The rollout of the capital’s TX eCity London Taxi from the London Electric Vehicle Company will be a gradual one, but numbers are expected to rise in the new year. The difference between the TX and London’s traditional black cabs (which are known for their loudness) is stark. In contrast, the zero-emissions TX taxi is quiet, smooth and spacious with six seats and wheelchair accessibility.
The sustainable petrol produced from pints
Scientists from the University of Bristol have succeeded in producing sustainable fuels using beer by converting ethanol into butanol. Butanol is a far superior fuel alternative, but is difficult to make from sustainable sources, which is where the beer comes in. These findings have demonstrated the potential to create butanol-based sustainable fuel alternatives on a much larger scale in the future.
The honeycombs housing New York City’s homeless
Creative agency Framlab has proposed a honeycomb-like cluster of pods to house the city’s growing homeless population. The Oslo/NY based company designed the scheme to combat the housing crisis which has seen the number of people sleeping rough in New York City rise by 40% since 2012. To get around the scarcity of available and affordable land, Framlab’s proposal makes use of the “vertical lots” formed by building walls to create temporary shelters.