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Powerland Port-au-Prince: Waste not, want not

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Port-au-Prince is a city with problems. The devastating January 2010 earthquake caused many of them.

But while houses wait to be rebuilt and people rehoused, the city might be closer to solving another problem: finding viable sources of clean, renewable energy.

The problem here is that city residents use charcoal to cook, heat, and fuel their lives.

Powerland Shanghai: A green tower for Red China

SHANGHAI, China — The skyline of Pudong in Shanghai has been a symbol of China’s development the last three decades.

The city went from a barren mudland at the beginning of the eighties to a wannabe financial center dotted by the highest skyscrapers in the country and, for brief periods, even in the world.

In the early 2000s, the city added two supertall towers: the 88-floor Jinmao and the newest Shanghai World Financial Center, with its empty quadrangle in the top that locals started referring to as a bottle-opener.

Powerland Cape Town: Meet the Joule

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — The Joule. It’s not just a word used to describe a certain amount of electrical or mechanical energy. It’s also the name of a bold new electric vehicle, which is part of an African-driven project to create a cleaner, more energy efficient fleet of cars that could have a positive impact on climate change.

The sporty-looking five passenger vehicle can travel about 150 miles on one charge and recharges from a simple wall outlet. The excess energy it generates can even be sold back to the electricity grid.

Powerland Rio: Rethinking Latin America's largest landfill

RIO DE JANEIRO — Latin America’s largest garbage dump has a case of gas.

As an estimated 90 million tons of trash decompose in Rio de Janeiro’s Jardim Gramacho landfill, it emits thousands of cubic feet of methane and other gasses. Dump manager Lucio Vianna believes the flammable byproducts will soon be a formidable source of energy.

“The energy potential is really significant,” said Vianna, who has managed the city-owned dump for two decades.

Powerland Mexico City: A bold community built on trash

MEXICO CITY — Energy can be harnessed from the most unexpected places. In Mexico, it now even comes from trash.

Recently, an enormous landfill in the east of Mexico City was sealed over and converted into a retail park, and underneath it, a unique system turns mountains of trash into megawatts of electricity.

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