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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Google says "Don't be Evil - be Green!"

The news of Google.org's RechargeIT initiative is very exciting. With companies as powerful as Google putting their money where their mouth is I feel a sense of hope that we still have a change to turn things around because let's face it - our politicians and the majority of the "traditional" corporations have had enough time to do something about climate change and energy independence. Both have failed miserably.

Now it is the Google guys' turn. The RechargeIT initiative is similar to the one proposed by the Mayor of Austin, Texas. Here is how it works - Google will utilize its 1.6 MW solar installation (largest of all corporate campuses) to recharge its fleet of plug-in hybrid vehicles while they are parked during the day, and, they will also utilize vehicle-to-grid technology to feed excess power back to the grid which would then be distributed by the utility.

Talk about a breakthrough. If this is indeed a viable technology - it has been around for a number of years now - our vehicles will no longer be gas guzzling pollution emitting people transporters, rather, they would become zero or low emission portable power stations. It could be ten years or longer before I see this technology here in my area, but I think that thanks to Google's lead this could be a common practice within the next few years in more progressive regions like California and Austin.

Google's Great Barrier Reef

Toyota Prius Plug-in

79.6 MPG

142.5 Wh/mile

This car is a gasoline-powered Toyota Prius that has been modified by adding a second, larger battery. The additional battery can be charged using a normal 120-volt outlet, ideally at night when electricity demand (and cost) is at its lowest.

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