Nov 6 2012

Will Texas be a climate/podcar leader?

Kal @ 17:54

From The Alcalde

13. Create a futuristic transit system.

Texas’ capital city ranks among the country’s most gridlocked, 2012 could be the costliest year ever at the pump, and our carbon footprint grows ever larger.

The chairman of UT’s Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering Department, Tad Patzek, proposes a solution: podcars.

Podcars are driverless vehicles that run on electricity-powered guideways suspended over existing highways. The concept may seem futuristic, but such cars have already been launched in countries like Sweden and England.

“Podcars cost 10 times less to operate and are 11 times more energy-efficient than today’s vehicles,” Patzek points out. “Also, photovoltaic panels can be installed on the guideways to augment power supply.”

Patzek is moving the concept forward in the U.S. by collaborating with Ron Swenson, one of the scientists leading the charge on podcar development. They both serve on the board of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil, which examines the issues around fossil fuel production.

Podcars are already transporting people at one of the world’s busiest airports, Heathrow in London. Given that, Patzek says, “there is no reason why they couldn’t move people between the main UT campus in Austin and the Pickle campus 10 miles north. This would be a convincing demonstration project for the city.” Katharine Grieve

Tags:

Category: Climate Change | PRT | Peak Oil | Sustainability

Feb 26 2009

A Zero-Emissions City in the Desert - With PRT No Less

Kal @ 09:22

Technology Review has an article about the massive solar project in Abu Dhabi. The renderings are pretty spectacular, I wonder if it will all work?  They have cut out cars entirely and replaced them with a Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) System.

The first hints of the project are visible. A white wall stretches through the desert, like a chalk line on a dusty playing field. A bus with darkened windows stirs a low cloud, ferrying workers past a cluster of steel cranes, two portable drilling rigs, and a stand of concrete columns sprouting rust-colored rebar. A tall wire fence guards rows of solar panels mounted on concrete pads.

The construction is the start of a vast experiment, an attempt to create the world's first car-free, zero-carbon-dioxide-emissions, zero-waste city. Due to be completed in 2016, the city is the centerpiece of the Masdar Initiative, a $15 billion investment by the government of Abu Dhabi, which is part of the United Arab Emirates. The new development, being built on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi city, will run almost entirely on energy from the sun and will use just 20 percent as much power as a conventional city of similar size. Garbage will be sorted and recycled or used for compost; sewage will be processed into fuel. Concrete columns will lift the city seven meters off the ground, creating space underneath for a network of automated electric transports that will replace cars. Planners predict that the development will attract 1,500 clean-tech businesses, ranging from large international corporations to startups, and--eventually--some 50,000 residents.

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Tags:

Category: Climate Change | Economics | PRT | Recession | Solar | Sustainability