The Solar Voyager is an autonomous, solar-powered boat making its way across the Atlantic Ocean. After four years in the making and one aborted attempt in 2015, engineers Isaac Penny and Christopher Sam Soon launched the Solar Voyager on June 1, 2016. They're expecting it to take about four months to reach Portugal, where it will circle its destination waypoint until the team can arrange for it to be picked up. So why solar? "We always think about solar as this alternative energy thing, but you just couldn't do this with fossil fuels," Penny explains, "you couldn't build something that will run forever." Track the progress at the Solar Voyager website, and read more at TechCrunch.
A Canadian couple is towing a solar-powered trailer across Canada with a Tesla Model X. Silke Sommerfeld and Rolf Oetter are driving 6,000 miles from Vancouver to Newfoundland over the course of three months. "We originally thought we would do it in a motor home, but then we switched to a model X, an electric car," says Silke. "All of a sudden, driving a motor home across Canada with all the gas involved didn't feel right anymore. So we thought of alternatives." The trailer is powered by 800 watts of photovoltaic panels and five kilowatt-hours of lithium-ion batteries, freeing up any plugs for charging the Tesla. Along the way, the couple hopes to bring awareness to electric vehicles. Read more at Teslarati.
A company called White Dog Labs says it has developed a means of producing ethanol that eliminates CO2 emissions. Instead, the process uses the carbon to boost ethanol yields by 50 percent. The only byproducts are distillers grains, corn oil, and water. White Dog uses an organism called clostridia that consumes CO2 in the fermentation process, unlike CO2-producing yeast fermentation. Using hydrogen in the process, White Dog can also break down other sugars (including cellulosic), or produce higher yields of other biochemicals, such as acetone. Read more at Biofuels Digest.