Friday, July 6, 2012

Friday Digest: July 6, 2012

This week, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) announced a new energy project that captures brake energy and converts it into power for an electric grid. This optimizes and recycles energy which not only benefits the environment but minimizes the operating costs of SEPTA.. When the trains brake, that energy is converted into electricity that can be stored and used at a later time. When the cars perform this regenerative braking, the voltage increases on the trains. SEPTA will run a 3 month demonstration phase to gradually increase the voltage on the trains, making sure they can handle high voltages when they are subjected to it. This is the first energy saving technology to be used in the U.S. Read "SEPTA captures regenerative braking energy from trains" from Metro Magazine to learn more.

Utah is taking the green initiative and has ordered an electric bus from BYD Company Ltd, the largest all-electric bus manufacturer world-wide. This all-electric bus, purchased by the University of Utah, will make them the frontrunner of this technology that emits zero fossil fuels and greatly reduces pollution. Installed in the road will be a charger and it will be embedded in a way that no wires or parts protrude from the asphalt. (This way cars and snow plows will be able to drive over it) The bus will have a charging pad installed underneath it, so the bus will merely need to pull up to the charger for a few minutes and it will be recharged. This technology was developed by the Utah State University Energy Dynamics Lab and testing for this technology was made possible by a Federal Transit Administration grant. Read "U of U to Roll Out All Electric Transit Bus" from Salt Lake City Weekly.

Irish Rail took on a new meaning when it assisted in returning a lost dog to its owner. In Kildare, Ireland, a dog went missing because it boarded a commuter rail train. Arriving solo in Dublin, the Irish Rail tweeted a lost dog message along with a picture. Thanks to the powers of Twitter, within half an hour the owner of the lost Jack Russell terrier was identified. After Patch was returned to his owner he became a mini celebrity, and now has his own Twitter account. This was not the first time the Irish Rail has used social media to recover lost animals; a few years ago they helped out a lost cat too. Learn more about the rescue: "Patch Come Home" from Independent News.

Would you want your secrets announced for everyone to hear? Some people in Toronto don’t mind spilling their guts. As part of a new art project called Confessions Underground people volunteered to tell their secrets on camera, which will be made into a video that plays in every subway station throughout Toronto. This new campaign is aimed to make the morning commute more interesting and connect with riders on a more emotional level. The video will be shown daily between July 2-15. Read more: "Secrets spilled on Toronto subway screens" from CBC News.