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Old March 4th, 2008, 05:36 AM   #661
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I always put Shanghai on the list
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Old March 4th, 2008, 06:20 AM   #662
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Fuel cells make power for homes in Japan
By YURI KAGEYAMA, AP Business Writer
March 4, 2008

Masanori Naruse jogs every day, collects miniature cars and feeds birds in his backyard, but he's proudest of the way his home and 2,200 others in Japan get electricity and heat water — with power generated by a hydrogen fuel cell.

The technology — which draws energy from the chemical reaction when hydrogen combines with oxygen to form water — is more commonly seen in futuristic cars with tanks of hydrogen instead of gasoline, whose combustion is a key culprit in pollution and global warming.

Developers say fuel cells for homes produce one-third less of the pollution that causes global warming than conventional electricity generation does.

"I was a bit worried in the beginning whether it was going to inconvenience my family or I wouldn't be able to take a bath," said the 45-year-old Japanese businessman, who lives with his wife, Tomoko, and two children, 12 and 9. But, as head of a construction company, he was naturally interested in new technology for homes.

Tomoko Naruse, 40, initially worried the thing would explode, given all she had heard about the dangers of hydrogen.

"Actually, you forget it's even there," her husband said.

Their plain gray fuel cell is about the size of a suitcase and sits just outside their door next to a tank that turns out to be a water heater. In the process of producing electricity, the fuel cell gives off enough warmth to heat water for the home.

The oxygen that the fuel cell uses comes from the air. The hydrogen is extracted from natural gas by a device called a reformer in the same box as the fuel cell. But a byproduct of that process is poisonous carbon monoxide. So another machine in the gray box adds oxygen to the carbon monoxide to create carbon dioxide, which — though it contributes to global warming — is not poisonous.

The entire process produces less greenhouse gas per watt than traditional generation. And no energy is wasted transporting the electricity where it's actually going to be used.

Nearly every home in Japanese cities is supplied with natural gas for cooking or heating, which could make it relatively easy to spread fuel cell technology there. The potential for widespread use of fuel cells in bigger or more sparsely settled countries is less certain. Many American homes don't have gas service, for example.

"There are not any real show-stoppers for this technology being used in the U.S.," said electrical engineering professor Roger Dougal at the University of South Carolina at Columbia, S.C.

Dougal said fuel cells are no more hazardous than any stove or water heater. Their major drawback is cost.

"Ultimately, I expect that some fraction of homes will use this technology, but it will be a very long time before a sizable fraction does," he said in an e-mail.

Naruse is paying $9,500 for a 10-year lease on a test fuel cell for his home southwest of Tokyo from Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Matsushita, which sells Panasonic brand products, plans to offer fuel cells commercially in 2009.

Other Japanese companies working on fuel cells for homes include Toyota Motor Corp., which is developing fuel-cell vehicles, and electronics maker Toshiba Corp. Automaker Honda Motor Co. is working with Plug Power Inc., a fuel cell company in the U.S., to test a home fuel cell generator that also provides hydrogen as fuel for fuel cell vehicles.

Honda hopes domestic use of fuel cell generators will help make fuel cell vehicles become more widespread because owners can refuel at home. It plans to start marketing the FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle this year in California; it will lease for about $600 a month.

Fuel cells are expensive in part because they don't last very long. The latest model from Matsushita, for example, lasts about three years.

But the technology is improving. Matsushita says the savings from using fuel cell-generated power will vary by household and climate, but it promises a cost drop of about $50 a month.

Naruse's family — with three TV sets, a dishwasher, clothes washer, dryer, personal computer and air conditioner — saves about $95 a month. At the same time, conventionally generated electricity remains available to them, should the power generated by their fuel cell run low.

The Japanese government is so bullish on the technology it has earmarked $309 million a year for fuel cell development and plans for 10 million homes — about one-fourth of Japanese households — to be powered by fuel cells by 2020.

Professor Bruce Rittman, director for the Center for Environmental Biotechnology at Arizona State University, says the biggest benefit of fuel cell technology is that it emits only water — when there's a clean source of hydrogen.

"Fuel cells are wonderful devices because they provide combustionless, pollution-free electricity," he said.

Tomoko Naruse said she might never have chosen a fuel cell if her husband hadn't insisted.

But she is happy her children are proud of it because they are learning about the threat of global warming in school.

"I think my children are thinking are about the future," she said.
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Old March 16th, 2008, 10:50 AM   #663
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None of those cities, but DUBAI is the most futuristic city now. No rivals for DUBAI
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Old March 17th, 2008, 11:53 AM   #664
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None of those cities, but DUBAI is the most futuristic city now. No rivals for DUBAI
Ever been to Tokyo?
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Old March 18th, 2008, 12:09 PM   #665
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Emirates starts work on world's first zero-carbon city, though environmentalists skeptical
11 February 2008

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - This Gulf desert nation, one of the world's most environmentally unfriendly with its ubiquitous air conditioning, swimming pools and SUVs, may be looking to redeem itself. It has begun building what it calls the world's first zero-carbon city.

Environmentalists say the new city -- powered mainly by solar energy and recycling waste and water -- is a nice idea, but that the Emirates shouldn't stop there.

"Every little bit helps," said Jonathan Loh, a British biologist who co-authored a 2006 World Wildlife Fund report that measured consumption by nations around the world. "It would be best if the UAE reduced energy consumption throughout the country not just in one location."

The United Arab Emirates has the world's largest ecological footprint per capita, according to the WWF report. That means its each of its residents uses up more of the world's resources than any other person in the world.

A glance at Dubai makes it clear why. Nearly every indoor space -- including sprawling malls and giant villas -- is air conditioned, seen as a necessity in a country where the winters are hot and the summers blazing. Extravagances like swimming pools with chilled water, an indoor ski slope that produces snow when its 49 degrees Celsius (120 Fahrenheit) outside and an all-ice restaurant push up the electricity bill. The unusal mode of transport is SUV or Hummer -- there is no public transportation, or even sidewalks in most parts of the city.

According to the WWF, the Emirates' ecological footprint measured 11.9 global hectares per person. A global hectare is a unit of the amount of productive land and water a person requires to produce all the resources he consumes and absorb all the waste he generates in a year. In contrast, the U.S.'s per capita footprint is 9.6 hectares per person, and the global average is 2.2 hectares a person.

The Emirates -- which has a population of 5 million, the large majority of them foreign expatriates -- has a heavy per capital carbon footprint as well -- it takes 9.06 global hectares of land to absorb each person's carbon dioxide emissions in a year. The United States' carbon footprint is 5.66, and the world average is 1.7.

But the plan is for Masdar City, where the groundbreaking on construction took place last weekend, to be completely carbon-zero.

Cars will be banned, with a light rail serving residents inside Masdar City as well as taking them to the nearby city of Abu Dhabi. Organic food will be grown in the area and encouraged, garbage will be recycled and waste water will be reused in Masdar, Arabic for "Source."

Most of the city's energy is to be generated by solar power -- though developers have not given an exact percentage -- and water will be provided through a solar-powered desalination plant.

Masdar City, which is being developed by an Abu Dhabi state-owned company, is expected to be completed by 2015 at an estimated cost of US$22 billion (euro15 billion). It is intended to become home to about 50,000 people and host 1,500 companies, developers said.

Khaled Awad, development director for Masdar, insisted the city is an honest attempt "to curb the trend of being environmentally irresponsible." He said the companies in it will make it a "Silicon Valley for renewable energy sector," researching clean energy technology.

Under a deal with the Emirates government, the WWF is monitoring the city closely to ensure it meets up with its claims.

"It's a rigorous process...that at the end will prove if Masdar is sustainable or just claims to be such," Eduardo Goncalves, a London-based spokesman of WWF International's One Planet Living Program, said.

Habib al-Shuwaikhat, a professor of urban planning and sustained development at Saudi Arabia's King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, said Abu Dhabi's eco city "looks like a good initiative," but one that can not remain "isolated" from the rest of the country.

"You hear a lot about sustainable development, but to be honest, I don't see it on the ground," Shuwaikhat said. Serious efforts to safeguarding the environment in the time of an unprecedented construction boom in the Gulf has yet to "get into the minds of decision makers" in the Gulf, he said.

Last year the Emirates became the first government to sign an agreement with WWF to study the country's ecological footprint and reduce it to a sustainable level through expert assessment of economy over the next three years, Goncalves said.

"Masdar is critical to our strategy," Goncalves said. People in the Emirates are leading lives that are "absolutely unsustainable," he said. "There is no better place to set an example and show that an ecologically friendly lifestyle is not only better, but also commercially successful."
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Old March 19th, 2008, 01:40 AM   #666
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Ever been to Tokyo?
No, but have seen lots of pics and videos of Tokyo.
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Old March 20th, 2008, 12:43 AM   #667
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I'll say Dubai, unless there is no war going to be up there (which I doubt it)
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Old April 24th, 2008, 03:25 PM   #668
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Tokyo!


It's all those little details that make it futuristic. To me, high speed trains, huge facade mounted LED screens, sleek building interiors, all those robots and the latest gadgets do more to make a city futuristic than tall buildings alone.
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Old April 26th, 2008, 05:06 PM   #669
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You've got the point, Dubai looks pretty futuristic with its skyline (not the most futuristic, imo), but if you're talking about the living day-to-day sort of futurism, then there's no beating Japan.
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Old April 26th, 2008, 06:23 PM   #670
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Old April 27th, 2008, 08:53 PM   #671
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Quote:
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Tokyo!


It's all those little details that make it futuristic. To me, high speed trains, huge facade mounted LED screens, sleek building interiors, all those robots and the latest gadgets do more to make a city futuristic than tall buildings alone.
That is unmatchable....
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Old April 28th, 2008, 05:19 PM   #672
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still tokyo.
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Old April 28th, 2008, 08:06 PM   #673
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Oil is made from the cover of the PET bottle & Plastic & Firing styrene.
A battery car will look forward to spreading out next year.

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Old May 4th, 2008, 11:28 AM   #674
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Dubai, Tokyo.
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Old May 4th, 2008, 08:29 PM   #675
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Dubai is built around an outdated concept. It is a city which is dependant on the car and on imports of almost everything this is not sustainable so therefore not futuristic.
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Old May 10th, 2008, 12:04 AM   #676
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Tokyo is so cool. The fact that their land is so little and precious and they got no natural resources makes them to be more innovative.
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Old May 10th, 2008, 05:23 PM   #677
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image hosted on flickr

This shot makes me think Shanghai is futuristic
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Old May 11th, 2008, 07:58 PM   #678
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Melbourne, Tokyo, Dubai
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Old May 11th, 2008, 09:08 PM   #679
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shanghai or tokyo has always impressed me

i dont see how dubai or many of the other cities here are "futuristic"
especially dubai

Last edited by philvia; May 11th, 2008 at 09:21 PM.
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Old May 12th, 2008, 01:48 AM   #680
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Quote:
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shanghai or tokyo has always impressed me

i dont see how dubai or many of the other cities here are "futuristic"
especially dubai
In that most of Dubai's architecture is now 21st century, it could be considered futuristic along those lines. The same can be said for Miami in that most of its skyscrapers are now 21st century.
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