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Simple street lamp post plug-in charges EV’s in Germany

by John Brian Shannon | November 28, 2014

One major impediment to the adoption of electric vehicles is the high cost of public charging stations for EV’s, as the charging units are very expensive.

Ubitricity.de has come up with a novel solution whereby the ordinary street lamp post can be fitted with an electric vehicle charging point for the reasonable cost of 500 to 800 euros per streetlight, which is certainly more doable than the 10,000 euros of your typical EV charge point in Europe!

Ubitricity.de - Reuters screenshot

No more petrol stations for you — ever! Image courtesy of Ubitricity.de (screenshot, no video)

>> See the Reuters Ubitricity video here. <<

Street lamp post locations in selected cities within Germany are now being fitted with a Ubitricity Charge Point, allowing electric vehicle drivers to charge their car battery.

Drivers prepay the cost of the electricity via Ubitricity to charge at these locations. Ostensibly at least, every street lamp post and parking meter in Europe could be fitted with one of these charge points.

Not only do German drivers have the option of charging their EV’s at home, now they can now pick up a charge while they shop, have coffee with friends, or while they spend the day at their workplace.

“We are convinced there is room for this technology to be applied everywhere it’s needed, but we think that in most places there is a pressing need for investment in a charging infrastructure to allow the installation of charging points, not only here on lamp posts, but also in the workplace, at home and in underground carparks.

Governments are keen to cut the number of gas guzzling cars on the roads to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Many are offering cash incentives to drivers to buy electric. But take-up has been slow partly due to the lack of charging stations.

There are lots of lamp posts which are already very well connected to the electricity network. Equipping a lamp post costs between 300 and 500 euros, depending on the circumstances at that location. When you consider the production price of our charging sockets, it is a long way from the 10,000 euros which must typically be invested in a charging station.” Founder of Ubitricity, Frank Pawlitsche

All you need is an Electric Vehicle and Mobile Phone (app), your prepaid Ubitricity account and Ubitricity connector cable, and you’re set

Ubitricity portable, streetlight-attachable EV charging unit

Ubitricity’s portable, street lamp post EV Charge Point.

The great thing about the Ubitricity parking spots with their electric vehicle charge point is that they’re normal parking spots with a plug-in added. Your mobile phone app displays the Ubitricity ‘Charge Point’ locations.

You can park there all day and return to a car that is fully energized and ready to go. No more gas stations for you!

It’s a wonderful idea. Street lamp post and parking meters are everywhere it seems and combining a parking spot with an EV charge point is a stroke of genius.

Boy those Germans are smart. Gut gemacht! (Well done!)

Driving electric is a cornerstone of Germany’s Energiewende energy policy

Only when driving on renewables will EV users avoid greenhouse gas emissions — not just locally but on a global scale. Renewable energies and EVs are natural partners of a sustainable energy and transportation sector. — From the Ubitricity website

Not only Ubitricity — but BMW is getting into the act too!

BMW i3

BMW i3 charging at a Ubitricity location in Berlin, Germany.

Drivers of the much-loved BMW i3 electric vehicle will soon have their own BMW charging network and software to guide you to nearby charge points.

Eventually, BMW will build their network across Europe to facilitate EV travel across the continent.

BMW has a vision to offer buyers their choice of gasoline powered — or as an option electric powered, or hybrid/electric powered cars across all model lines.

BMW is also famous for installing wind turbines, solar panels, and biomass power plants at it’s German factories, and taking their factories completely off-grid!

It also has plans to get into the consumer electricity business throughout Europe.

You’ll soon be able to buy a BMW car and a BMW motorcycle for your driveway and BMW electricity for your home and office. All produced by renewable energy and only renewable energy.

A note about TESLA Model S drivers and their unique charging situation/opportunities

TESLA Model S at a SuperCharger location.

TESLA Model S at a SuperCharger location. Image courtesy of Edmonds.

All TESLA vehicles can access the Ubitricity lamp post charge points, but don’t forget to bring your Ubitricity charging cable — unlike the TESLA SuperCharger stations where the cable is permanently attached to the SuperCharger unit.

A benefit of TESLA SuperCharger top-ups is that they usually take 10-15 minutes. Look, there’s a Starbucks!

Another benefit is that (TESLA Model S drivers only) enjoy free charging at TESLA SuperCharger stations (for the life of the car) because that’s what you get for 70,000+ euros.

But once your TESLA is charged, you must return to move your car in order to let other TESLA drivers access the SuperCharger, much like gas-engined drivers can’t leave their car in front of the gas pump while they go shopping.

Only the Ubitricity solution gives all EV drivers a convenient parking spot — and a charge. The ability to simply ‘Park and Plug’ in one location in today’s crowded cities is a very big plus indeed.

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Vertical Farming with Stackable Shipping Containers

by John Brian Shannon | September 16, 2014

There are hundreds of thousands of used, high-quality metal shipping containers taking up acres of storage land in port cities all over the world. Just sitting there.

Platoon, Kunsthalle - Berlin, Germany - 40 Shipping Container Cargotecture Building

Home in a Box constructed an indoor playground and rentable meeting space in Berlin from used shipping containers.

Some enterprising companies have taken to creating domestic living spaces, commercial buildings or storage lots out of the huge surplus of the used containers which tend to accumulate in the developed world as it is too expensive to ship them back to China, empty. (We buy their stuff, they don’t buy ours)

Anyway, there are hundreds of thousands of them scattered around the world and can be had for as little as $1500-$3600. apiece (in ‘as is’ condition)

Shipping containers are the perfect containment architecture for vertical gardens

Shipping containers are engineered to be very strong and can be stacked up to 9-high without any additional supports. Windows can even be cut into the metal panels without weakening the structural integrity (most of the strength is in the corners where they lock together) so that daylight may enter the structure.

“Reusable shipping containers provide a cost effective and sustainable approach to building design.” — Public Sector and Local Government Magazine

OBS Tower project. Container City

Standing at nine storeys high, the OBS Tower is an impressive addition to the Stratford Olympic Park.
Located on a tree lined public plaza within the park, the OBS Tower has created space for ground floor food outlets with their own kitchen, technical rooms and 10 broadcasting studios over two further floors — each one offering the visiting media studios with unobstructed views over the main stadium through the large glass frontage.

Might as well get the roof working for you

Dramatically lower cost solar panels are available on the market today. A couple of decades ago it cost over $100 per watt (installed price) to get your power from solar panels during the daytime and without battery backup. As of 2014, it costs less than $4.00 per watt (installed price in the U.S.A.) and if you live in Europe it costs about $2.00 per watt (installed price in Europe)

If you’re wondering about the difference in price between the U.S.A. and Europe, it’s only the profit margin that makes the difference. All the solar panels are comparably priced, as are the inverter units, wiring, etc. and often come from the same manufacturer in China.

So far, we have super cheap and stackable containment for vertical gardens and we have low-cost daytime electricity

Now what about night-time electricity? We have some choices. We can tap the grid and pay the regular commercial electricity rate to run the grow lights and the heat, we can purchase building scale battery systems from a company like SolarCity or you can run a diesel powered generator (a gen-set) for electrical power.

The good news is that commercial battery systems to complement solar panel installations have fallen in price and are approaching price parity with other grid-alternative power sources

Also, diesel fuel prices have risen dramatically since the invention of the gen-set, but these units (although they do emit copious amounts of pollution and you can’t run them indoors) are very reliable and it is almost impossible that a crop failure could result from a gen-set failure as another unit could quickly be transported to the location and hooked up before much crop damage could occur.

Grid power is fine, but to prevent crop failure in the case of winter-time power outages, a gen-set or battery backup is a necessity.

keetwonen

Shipping container college dorms being assembled in Amsterdam.

shipping-container-student-apartments-keetwonen-1

The massive Keetwonen complex houses 1,000 students.

College dorms in the Netherlands.

College dorms in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Demand for these units is high, as they are soundproof and secure.

College dorms in the Netherlands.

College dorms in the Netherlands house many thousands of students and not just at this location in Amsterdam.

So, it appears that college dorms and BBC broadcasting facilities (for two good examples) can be easily assembled using these massive Lego-like building blocks.

What would we need in order to build vertical gardens?

  1. Land area equal to one city block
  2. A number of stackable, used shipping containers
  3. Solar panel array installed on top of the shipping containers, equal in size to one city block
  4. Backup power via battery or gen-set
  5. Grid connection
  6. Located near any major city
  7. A number of grow lights per unit
  8. Hydroponic or low-soil agriculture
  9. Compost container
  10. A number of staff to perform seeding, care and harvesting of plants
  11. One maintenance person per location
Crou shipping container housing from France.

Cité a Docks is a four-story building assembled out of 100 shipping containers to make student apartments. Cattani Architects equipped each 258 square-foot room with bathrooms, kitchens, free Wi-Fi, and heat and sound insulation.

The great thing about these super-strong building blocks, is that they can be arranged in any number of ways to suit individual site requirements. Standard container lengths start at 10 feet, 20, 40, 48 and 53 feet — but individual units can be welded or bolted together to arrive at any number of lengths.

HIVE-INN CITY FARM NYC

HIVE-INN CITY FARM New York City (proposed)

Interior-wise, any number of efficient-space designs are possible. Growing indoors where there are no drought, flooding, pests, human theft, or other concerns can be hundreds of times more efficient than conventional farming — and growing indoors means year-round crops. Thanks to solar-powered grow lights.

Hive-Inn City Farm design concept

The Hive-Inn City Farm design is only a concept at this point (see the OVA Facebook page)

None of it is rocket science and it makes so much sense to do this, that if this project isn’t taken on within 12 months — somewhere in the world — I will be the most surprised man on the planet.

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