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Powerland Berlin: Avant-garde green

BERLIN — A crop of designers from Berlin are working on what tomorrow’s green technologies might look like.

In Germany’s funky capital city, long renowned for its creative vibe, these artists have designed devices that rethink how we interact with our environment.

Their innovations are not just playful, but also produce electricity Hans-Peter Kadel and Myriel Milicevic — aka, the “Energy Harvesters” — make a point of inventing devices that are functional but that don’t look too serious or scientific.

Powerland Tokyo: Power from the people — literally

TOKYO – Japan’s central government isn’t the only one re-examining its entire energy strategies after the Fukushima nuclear meltdown. Japanese companies and municipalities are as well.

And Kohei Hayamizu, the CEO of Tokyo-based Soundpower Corporation, says he may have part of the solution for an alternative to centralized energy production, a signature of Japan’s manufacturing might.

Powerland: Santiago's energy saving buildings

SANTIAGO, Chile — The Chilean capital of Santiago is now home to innovative new architecture projects that are helping the country solve its energy challenges.

Called Latin America¹s economic tiger for its high economic growth rates, Chile's vibrant economy has meant rising energy consumption. Chile is projected to need twice as much energy by 2025.

Powerland: Pretoria's new battery power

PRETORIA, South Africa — Scientists at the Center for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) are among the leading innovators of the lithium ion technology found in cellphones, laptops and even hybrid cars. 

The global demand for batteries is over $70 billion dollars, and growing every year.

This modest research center, which is the country’s national lab, has led the world the world in creating systems that harness clean energy and use it in the most economical ways possible.

Powerland: London's new green machines

LONDON — London’s iconic red buses are going green.

The city has introduced a fleet of eight vehicles fuelled entirely by hydrogen, some of the least-polluting buses in Europe.

The buses are powered not by a standard combustion engine, but by fuel cell in a big battery that generates enough electricity to drive the vehicle. The only emission is water vapor.

Powerland: Barcelona, Spain

BARCELONA, Spain — Barcelona is more than just a buzzing Mediterranean tourist destination. It’s a city with ambitious goals to become one of Europe’s greenest cities by 2020.

Powerland: Windhoek, Namibia

WINDHOEK, Namibia — One-hundred miles southwest of Windhoek, Namibia, in the middle of the most forbidding desert, a group of scientists at the Gobabeb Training and Research Center in Namibia are working at the forefront of technology to create a hybrid energy system that could change the way cities and countries manage their electricity.

Called a “minigrid," the system uses solar and wind power connected to a special electrical converter and battery array that supplies energy to the 40 researchers stationed here.

Powerland: Guatemala City's geothermal jackpot

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala — The steam rising from the Pacaya volcano and the hills and rivers surrounding it on the outskirts of Guatemala’s captial city hints at a power source that could give the country the energy security it craves.

Geothermal steam and water some 2,000 meters below the surface of the green hills and mountains is being tapped by the global alternative energy company Ormat, converted into electricity, and fed into the city's main power grid.

Powerland: Masdar City

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates - The UAE may be sitting on the sixth largest reserves of petroleum in the world, but the leaders in this tiny Gulf sheikdom know that their oil wells will dry up sooner than later.

Powerland Paris: Digging deep for green energy

PARIS, France — Orly is the second biggest airport in Paris, but it leads the way in green technologies in the city.

ADP, the company that runs Orly as well the Charles de Gaulle airport, Paris’s largest, has just geared up a cutting-edge heating system that relies on geothermal power. It is a rare alternative energy initiative in a country where cheap and plentiful nuclear energy has left little appetite for green technologies.

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