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How do you convert your car to run on mushed-up seaweed? It's not something your average man in the street is wondering, but fortunately some intrepid American fuel-pioneers are, writes ShinyShiny's Anna Leach.

Fed up with the oil industry and pollutant effects of burning petrol, Josh Tickell had been experimenting with biofuels and successfully converted a car to run on waste cooking oil. After concerns that using plant oil created food shortages, they turned their attention to algae. And they reckon that biodiesel created by algae is the answer to the fuel crisis. Well that'd be nice.

In a mini documentary on ViceTV, America's alternative fuel guy shows how you can convert your car to run on alternative fuel. Adding a battery-pack in the boot seems to be the first step, though getting hold of algae gasoline seems to be trickier. Though a group called Solazyme are growing giant vats of algae in the Midwestern desert with an eye to creating biofuel, it's not exactly widely available. Apparently you can condense the oil-making process from 150million years to 3 days. Excellent.

Until some of that seaweedy power liquid ends up in your local fill-up station, it's going to be hard to embrace the algae lifestyle, but it's really interesting. Check out the ViceTV doc below:


The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) might sound like a fairly dull organisation. But the group, which pumps around £800 million a year into research and development in the physical sciences, certainly boasts a few people with a sense of adventure.

Take one of its flagship projects for this year - a racing car made of vegetables which runs on chocolate. Created by boffins and students at the University of Warwick, the car is designed to highlight how even the most carbon guzzling things can be greenified.

The Formula 3 racing car is capable of reaching top speeds of around 125MPH despite being composed of a medley of vegetables. The steering wheel is created from a polymer derived from carrots and the bodywork is a mixture of starch and flax fibre. Even the steering wheel lubricants are plant based.

Best of all is the fact that it runs using a biodiesel engine which runs on fuel extracted from chocolate and vegetable oil.

There's more information on the project and the organisation here.

Sainsburys.jpgThanks to £30 million of Government funding, the UK is about to witness thousands more charging points for electric and plug-in hybrid cars. The money is being invested as part of a new 'Plugged-In Places' initiative with British companies being encouraged to get behind the scheme.

Says Business Minister Pat McFadden: "The move to lower carbon forms of transport is a turning point for the automotive industry, opening up new opportunities for existing UK automotive companies and with the potential to create new jobs and new industries. I urge British companies to get involved and seize these new opportunities for growth and jobs."

Sainsbury's plans to be at the forefront of the electric car revolution. The supermarket chain recently announced that nine stores (in Beckton, Camden, Chiswick, Cromwell Road, East Dulwich, Greenwich Peninsula, Islington, North Cheam and Sydenham) now have charging points for electric vehicles with a further two (in Wandsworth and Whitechapel) opening very soon. This will ensure that London's electric drivers will only ever be a few short miles from the nearest charging point.

The Cheeky girls were there, and so was our sister site ShinyShiny's Anna Leach. We managed to push celebs aside and get a look at Peugeot's new electric car the BB1: branded as half scooter, half car, it fits four people, has handlebars instead of a steering wheel, and the cutest squished windscreen you ever saw.

nissan landglider.jpg It's all about zero-emission cars at this week's Tokyo Motor Show. With no US and European car manufacturers present, all eyes will be on Japanese car manufacturers, many of which be displaying their electric concept cars.

Toyota - the world's biggest car maker by volume - has said it aims to launch an electric vehicle by 2012 and will display a new version of its electric concept car, the FT-EV II, at the show. And from Honda there's the EV-N, a cute electric concept car that can store a one-wheel personal mobility device inside its door.

At the Tokyo Motor Show Nissan will also put its electric car, the Leaf on display to the public for the first time. The medium sized hatchback, which will go on sale in late 2010 in Japan, is billed as"the world's first affordable, zero-emission car." It can travel more than 160 kilometres (100 miles) on a single charge, at a top speed of 140 kilometres per hour.

Nissan will also show off a futuristic electric concept car that leans to the side when going around bends. Just 1.1 metres (3 feet 7 inches) wide, the Landglider (pictured) seats two people, one in the front and one in the back. Inspired by motorbikes and glider aircraft, it has tilting wheels that enable it to lean by up to 17 degrees.

According to estimates from JP Morgan, hybrid vehicles are estimated to account for about 13% of global sales by 2020 but electric cars will represent just 1% or 2% in that year. "What electric cars have a problem with is lack of a network of charging facilities like the current gasoline stations," Toyota President Akio Toyoda said at a luncheon meeting at the Japan National Press Club earlier this month.

Meanwhile back in the UK, transport secretary Lord Adonis has announced that the North-East is to benefit from the installation of up to a thousand electric charging points over the next two years, writes Paul Ridden.

Locations in Gateshead and Newcastle have been earmarked for the roll-out which is due to kick off in the coming months. Some of the forty points that will initially appear next to public buildings and shops, on kerbsides and in car parks as part of the pilot scheme will be free, with others requiring users to pay an annual subscription for unlimited use.

A2B Metro now available across London

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A2B electric bike.pngOfficially launched earlier this year the A2B Metro electric bike is now available from several retailers including Harrods (via Cycle UK concession), Selfridges (via Bike Republic Concession) and EV Stores Electric Vehicle retailer on London's Park Lane.

Also new to the A2B range, is the A2B Hybrid. Designed to complement the energy you put into your ride, its torque sensor detects your pedal power directly boosting your effort with Ultra Motor's direct drive electric motor power.

The A2B Metro recommended retail price is £1999.00 and the A2B Hybrid recommended retail price is £1799.00. Dealer details can be found on the Ultra Motor website www.ultramotor.com/uk

The A2B Range from Ultra Motor will also be showing at the London Cycle Show, Earls Court which is open to the public from 9th-11th October. The London Cycle Show's commuter test track will provide visitors the opportunity to trial the A2B Metro.

Click here to see to see the A2B Metro in action on Channel 5's The Gadget Show.

Electric car Reva-lution or false dawn

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Reva NXG.jpg I love the idea of electric cars. While Tomorrow's World predictions of all us driving around in one by the beginning of the 21st century have obviously come to naught, it does seem there is real momentum in this market right now. And not before time especially with oil reserves drying up....

Which is why I was excited to hear that that the makers of the wonderfully quirky G-Whizz, Indian firm Reva, unveiled two new electric car models at the Frankfurt Car Show earlier this week. Thankfully both the 4-seat NXR and sporty 2-door NXG look much more substantial than the G-Whizz (that's not saying much - it really is the modern day equivalent of the Citroen 2CV).

Offering a top speed of around 60 miles per hour and 125 miles of driving on a single charge, the NXR and NXG sound great. They look OK too. The only fly in the ointment is that they are likely to cost around 10,000 Euros when they go into production next year.

travel to work.jpgPaul Ridden writes: I travel a lot. Modern working life probably means that everyone travels much more than they would like. Whether it's by trains, planes or automobiles, travel is for many of us part of our daily existence.

There are many websites that offer travel information and very useful they are too. You can find out how long a journey will take, you can find out which method of transport would be the cheapest and on some sites you can even book your tickets via an interface on the site itself. But Routerank offers all that and more, even telling you how much CO2 is produced during your journey.

trenhotel.jpgA year ago, I embarked on a special train journey I'll never forget. Travelling to Madrid from London, my partner and I opted to forego the quicker flying option and take the Trenhotel instead: a luxurious sleeper train from that goes Paris to various Spanish cities.

To me, this is quite simply the most exciting way to travel, but it's also undeniably greener than air travel: a trip from London to Barcelona, for example, racks up 277 Kg of CO2 by plane but just 40 kg by train, including the Eurostar transfer. Many travellers who would once have baulked at the idea of taking the train anywhere beyond Brighton are now opting for long-distance rail travel as part of their holidays. And the best way to book if you're coming from the UK is via The Man In Seat 61, a site that was created with the belief that 'getting there is half the fun' in mind.

Related: Poll: Train vs. Plane: which is greener? | How to get cheaper train travel across the UK

smileysun.jpgIf you're off on your travels shortly, packing is often half the fun. Check out our list of eco-friendly items you want want to leave behind to make this your greenest summer break ever (that is, assuming you're not intending to travel by private jet).

Click on the image below to start the gallery

Related: How to reduce your carbon footprint on holiday | Perfect pack of facial care travel miniatures


Does it get any better than this? Not only could you enjoy being pampered in stunning surroundings with the assurance that you're not destroying the planet in the process -- you could update your facebook status to brag about it at the same time.

The teepee, from Perfect Earth Tours is more or less the physical embodiment of what we all want out of life these days: utter luxury without all that pesky guilt business getting in the way. With its solar powered DVD player, queen beds and spa, these 'tents' are just about the least natural way to get close to nature imaginable...and sound like absolute heaven for it.

[Via Born Rich]

Follow the jump to find out just how much better it gets inside...

green travel guide.jpgHowever 'green' you think you are, you've got to admit that 'the travel thing' is where most of us fail miserably. On the one hand, we're told that our flights and cruises are responsible for as much as a quarter of the world's pollution; on the other, we know only too well that the mad pace of modern life leaves us all in need of a break every so often, and who wants to deny themself the pleasure of discovering new and exciting places?

The Green Travel Guide was written with the dilemmas faced by eco-conscious travellers, and offers helpful suggestions on how to reduce your holiday footprint as much as possible, focusing in particular on the issues many people simply aren't clued-up on, such as "is it better to cross the Channel by train or ferry?"

Related: How to reduce your carbon footprint on holiday

eco friendly camping green holidays vacationsHolidays are a time for fun and carelessness, not worrying about your carbon sandal-print. The best way to ensure you have a guilt-free break is to plan ahead, taking note of the steps you can take to ensure your behaviour on holiday is kind to the environment, such as remembering to turn off your hot water before you leave.

Follow the jump for some top tips on how to make this year's summer holiday the greenest yet.

three acres.jpgIf you're chosing to spend your holiday in the UK you're already off to a good start in the green stakes, and if you choose accommodation with sound eco credentials, you'll lesser the impact of your trip even further.

The Green Tourism site is a great first port of call if you're looking for an eco friendly B&B or hotel in the UK, and has a handy online list of establishments that have been approved by the scheme. And this weekend, I had the chance to visit one hotel that's doing its bit for the environment, Three Acres Country House, which is set in the beautiful, remote surroundings of Exmoor National Park.

Related: Eco-tourism: Organic places to stay

feather down farms.jpg
If experiencing the great outdoors is high on your agenda for holiday success, you'll definitely want to check out the Feather Down Farms. A network of working farms, all run by 'passionate guardians of the countryside', this is the perfect opportunity to get away from it all.

While you'll be able to dine under the stars, cook by candlelight and make friends with the local livestock, you certainly won't be roughing it on one of these trips: Feather Down Farms' tents are equipped with traditional cooking stoves, flush toilets, a large dining table and are incredibly spacious; you can see the interior of one of the tents after the jump (and if that doesn't make you want to go camping, I don't know what will!)

Related: Organic places to stay | Eco holidays in eco lodges | Ecotourism in Ireland with Greenbox.com

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