With a rising number of electric buses and taxis headed for the streets, roads are having to undergo adjustments, too. Los Angeles is home to an excess of both trucks and smog. To revamp the deadly duo into something more eco-friendly, Siemens has installed its first electric highway where trucks can charge on-the-go.
“To have the road electrified and have these heavy trucks electrified is just far more efficient from the perspective that you don’t waste fuel, you save energy because the electric motor is far more efficient than the gas motor, and you have no emissions at all,” says Andreas Thon, the head of turnkey projects and electrification in North America.
The trucks are rigged onto overhead wires that run the entire length of the highway. The trucks themselves are cost-efficient, requiring significantly less maintenance than diesel motors. The highway also alleviates battery problems, as they don’t generate enough energy for heavy loads.
Thon says, “With this technology, you permanently feed energy into the truck.”
Siemens also hopes to install charging technology beneath road surfaces — but that will have to wait. After all, it does require a lot more science and a lot more money.
It’s been a year of firsts for the railway system — from going solar to launching its fastest model. Pushing its limits even further, China is test-driving its Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit system, which is fully electric and trackless.
ART bears the physical appearance of a train but it doesn’t rely on following a track. Instead, it follows a virtual route using an electric powertrain and tires. It’s expected to function much like an urban train or a tram, but since there’s no investment cost in laying down rails, it should be much cheaper to implement.
The train can only travel 15 kilometers at a time, but can fully recharge in just 10 minutes. Environmentalists will likely tip their hats off to the new system — it’s entirely emissions free! Smoggy China could surely use more sustainable public transport alternatives. Thankfully, its government has been taking other measures to ensure that its locals don’t further experience pollution-caused health issues.
40 percent of China’s factories have been shut down, and authorities are reportedly working on a timetable to end the sale of gas- and diesel-powered cars.
A round of applause for China — sounds fresh!
As we all know, the joys of tree-planting exist beyond activist groups. Anyone can join in on the fun — from entire villages to drones. Even your not-so-usual suspects can be pretty eager to give back. Such is the case with 60,000 Chinese troops, all of whom are reforesting 84,000 square kilometers of land.
The armed police force has a specially designated forestry branch to patrol and exercise jurisdiction in forested areas such as the northeastern Greater Khingan mountain range – dubbed ‘China’s green lungs’ – in Heilongjiang and Inner Mongolia provinces.
China’s current forest coverage lies at a measly 21%, which the People’s Liberation Army hopes to bump up to 23 by 2020. In this year alone, the Chinese government aims to overlay an ambitious 6.66 million hectares of land.
Heavily polluted Hebei province, which encircles Beijing, has pledged to raise its total forest coverage to 35% by the end of 2020, and the bulk of the troops pulled back from the frontlines will be dispatched there.
China is notorious for its dense amounts of smog and futile efforts to combat them with jars of air. Perhaps this route, along with other air purification methods, may be the best one to take.
Every country has its own version of pollution patrol. Bogota has vertical gardens. China has a purification tower. Debuting its most exciting decontamination technology yet, Poland is ahead of the game with a “smog vacuum” that turns dirty air into jewelry.
The tower-like device essentially sucks up smog from the top and then releases the filtered air through its six-sided vents. It can clean more than 30,000 cubic meters of air per hour and uses no more electricity than a water boiler, according to [designer Daan] Roosegaarde.
After three years of research and development, the tower made initial headway in Rotterdam. To encourage other countries to adopt the device, Roosegaarde started pressing collected dust particles into rings and cufflinks. A single gem stone is equivalent to 1,000 cubic meters of air, which sounds like a whole lot, but deceptively so.
“The fine dust that would normally harm us, is collected together with the ions and stored inside of the tower. This technology manages to capture ultra-fine smog particles which regular filter systems fail to do.”
Never did I believe anything remotely attractive could come of city smog. But I like it, and I’m putting a ring on it.
In its last-ditch effort to combat smog with air-purifying bicycles, China has moved onto greater endeavors. Ensuing a promise to plant an Ireland-sized forest, Shaanxi province is tackling air pollution head-on with a giant air purifier.
The system works through greenhouses covering about half the size of a soccer field around the base of the tower.
Polluted air is sucked into the glasshouses and heated up by solar energy. The hot air then rises through the tower and passes through multiple layers of cleaning filters.
Since its recent launch, the 100-meter edifice has produced over 10 million cubic meters of clean air. As one of the most heavily-polluted regions in China, Xian is the perfect guinea pig for purifying technology. The gargantuan spire is still experimental, but may soon swarm the nation.
“It barely requires any power input throughout daylight hours. The idea has worked very well in the test run,” [said head of research Cao Junji.]
Cao’s full-size tower will span 500 meters. If its dwarfed prototype remains as promising as it seems, sunset-gazing in China may just become a popular weekend activity.
To salvage deteriorating resources, nations worldwide are setting ambitious eco-goals in a short span of time. By 2012, Costa Rica hopes to phase out single-use plastic products. For the first time in 70 years, Kazakhstan is reintroducing wild tigers into its cat-barren jungles. Not to be left out of the loop, St. Louis is swearing off fossil fuels in an attempt to go fully renewable by 2035.
“It can be a win-win for everyone. We can protect health. We can improve air, we can improve water. We can address climate change. We can save people money on their bills. Why wouldn’t we be moving in that direction?” said [Sara Edgar of Sierra Club.]
St. Louis is among just over 40 cities that have pledged to rely solely on wind and solar energy. For decades, the city has remained a top contributor to health issues caused by smog. It’s now clear that its local government is hoping to make a more positive name for the tourist spot.
“Some of the things that Donald Trump has done since he became commander in chief just goes against everything that I stand [for], that the people of St. Louis stand for,” [said St. Louis President Lewis Reed.]
Yikes. Trump better watch his back — it’s obvious St. Louis isn’t rolling back on its own environmental safeguards!