Category Archives: Science & Tech

Voyo Is Turning Older Cars Into Fuel-Efficient Smart Cars

Voyo Ecostart plug and play Start Stop technology

You’ve got a FitBit for your body. Soon, you can have something similar for your car. San Francisco startup Voyomotive has developed Voyo, a telematics system that can tap into your car’s diagnostics system and allow you do a whole host of things previously only available on tricked-out connected cars. We’re most excited about Voyo’s fuel-saving features, like a plug-and-play start/stop system, that can help drivers dramatically cut idling time and drive more efficiently.

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A New Fix for the Nitrogen Problem

Cornfield

Photo: Carol Von Canon via Flickr

Even though farmers don’t blindly follow outmoded aphorisms of the trade, like measuring corn “knee-high by the Fourth of July”, many do still abide by old habits. Some apply manure annually in November regardless of weather or land conditions. Many do their best to adapt to the season’s rainfall, yet treat all their farmland the same way, regardless of how that land varies across acreage. And that hurts their bottom lines—and the environment. A new technology, however, has the potential to push farming forward by helping farmers grow more with less impact on the environment.

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7 Technologies That Can Slash Idling

tailpipe exhaust fumes

Photo: theenvironmentalblog.org via Flickr

We’ve been known to get more than a little irked when we notice people idling their vehicles unnecessarily, like at drive-thrus or school pick-ups. It wastes gas, it pollutes the air, it stinks and it’s just, well, unnecessary. But some drivers get a free idling pass, right? Don’t refrigerated trucks, utility vehicles, safety and emergency vehicles and long-haul trucks often need to keep their engines running to power auxiliary functions? Yes, and no. Here, we explain.

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6 Ways the Coffee Industry Is Turning Waste Into a Resource

Espresso

Photo: Mark via Flickr

Consider this over your morning coffee: Almost half the biomass of the coffee cherry — the fruit that contains coffee beans — ends up as processing waste. With worldwide coffee production reaching 9 to 11 billion pounds on an annual basis, that’s a lot of byproduct to handle. Thankfully, industry players keep striving to solve this problem. Here are six ways they are turning coffee waste into a resource.

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Our Latest Investment: XL Hybrids

Sustainable America's XL Hybrid cargo van gets 20% better gas mileage than a regular cargo van.

Our XL Hybrid cargo van gets 20% better gas mileage than a regular cargo van.

XL Hybrids converts existing gas-fueled commercial vehicles like cargo vans, shuttle buses and delivery trucks into hybrids. It’s a solution that can increase an entire vehicle fleet’s fuel efficiency by 20 percent, and that’s gotten the attention of companies like FedEx and Coca-Cola. The Boston-based company has gotten our attention, too. We’re excited to announce that XL Hybrids is the latest business that Sustainable America is investing in as part of our overall goal to reduce our nation’s oil consumption by 50 percent over the next two decades.

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Our Latest Investment: eNow

eNow solar panels for trucks

eNow's solar panels help trucks power auxiliary functions without wasting fuel.

A large segment of the driving population in the United States has to idle to do their jobs properly: truckers. How can we reduce the fuel that gets wasted to refrigerate their trucks and keep their cabs warm in winter? Fortunately, there are smart and dedicated entrepreneurs out there trying to solve this problem through technology. We’re proud to announce that we’ve just made an investment in one of these companies: eNow, Inc., a Rhode Island-based clean technology company that integrates thin-film solar panels and auxiliary power management systems into long-haul and delivery trucks, reducing the need for those trucks to idle their engines to power auxiliary functions.

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Rising Stars: High Schoolers Win National Contest on Sustainability

Will Hart and Shikha Jaaswal

Will Hart and Shikha Jaaswal, winners of the 2014 National Future Business Leaders of America Competition

A few months ago, a couple of local high school students came to us for help with a project. They were looking for information about sustainability and green practices for a video they were producing. We were happy to help, but little did we know how far that video would take them.

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XL Hybrids: Making Fleets More Fuel Efficient

Sustainable America's XL Hybrid cargo van gets 20% better gas mileage than a regular cargo van.

Our XL Hybrid cargo van gets 20% better gas mileage than a regular cargo van.

Imagine that you run a company with a fleet of delivery vehicles that make lots of short trips all day long through crowded city streets. Along with the costs of labor to pay for all those drivers, fuel costs are one of the biggest expenses you face. If you could shave 20 percent off your fuel bill, you would probably say, “Where do I sign?”

We’ve found a company that can do just that: XL Hybrids.

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Waste-to-Value: The Next Big Thing?

food waste to value

Photo Credit: szczel via Compfight cc

“Waste-to-value” is a great buzzword and even better concept. It cuts right to the core of what we really need in society today – practical means of taking the waste we generate and repurposing it, profitably if possible, into things we need.

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A Better Way to Check Tire Pressure

RightPSI Tire Pressure Gauge

RightPSI lets you know if your tire pressure is low at a glance.

How often do you check your car’s tire pressure? Do you even know how often you should check your tire pressure? It’s not a difficult task, but it’s not convenient, either. You have to find your gauge, keep track of four tiny caps, get your hands dirty, wrestle with an air hose. Is it all worth it? Well, yes. And a new product called RightPSI will make the task much easier.

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By the Numbers

Currently 50 million households suffer from food insecurity, meaning that family members cannot always meet their basic food needs.

10 million people a year could be fed through the recovery of just one-fifth of food waste.

Only 2% of food waste is composted or otherwise recycled—62% of paper is recycled.

Consumers throw out about 40% of the fresh and frozen fish they buy.

The U.S. produced 208 pounds of meat per person in 2009—60% more than Europe.

Low income commuters spend a much higher proportion of their wages on gas—8.6% versus 2.1% at $4 per gallon.

Food prices rose 35-40 percentage points between 2002–2008.

Americans consume 25% of the world’s produced oil, but our nation holds less than 3% of the world’s proven oil reserves.

The International Energy Agency says greenhouse gas emissions rose 3.2% last year, with a 9.3% increase in China offsetting declines in the US and EU.


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