A Solar-Powered Greenhouse in a Waterless Desert, and a 100% Autonomous Bus

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Video screen capture. Fully Charged

When we talk about climate change, two of the most pressing challenges that humanity faces are how will we feed ourselves when the weather gets crazy and where will we get reliable, low carbon energy. A project in Port Augusta, South Australia appears to offer a partial answer to both of these problems:

Producing 15,000 tons of pesticide-free tomatoes (that's 15% of Australia's tomato market, apparently!) and they are doing it with virtually no fresh water. The trick? A giant concentrated solar plant with 23,000 mirrors turns a million liters of sea water a day into steam. This process produces both renewable electricity for the greenhouse operation as fresh water for irrigating the tomatoes. It's pretty neat stuff, and the latest episode of Fully Charged gives a quick overview of the project.

Sundry Farm solar photo

Fully Charged show / Video screen capture

That's not the only dispatch from the future though. Robert Llewellyn also takes a ride on the RAC Intellibus in Perth, which is billed as Australia's first automated vehicle trial. It's a low speed, fixed route vehicle for now—but it's a sign of what our transport future may look like in the not too distant future.

intellibus photo

Fully Charged show / Video screen capture

Lloyd was just recently asking why autonomous cars need to look like cars at all. And the Intellibus kind of makes the case for him. Yes, for now, it doesn't look that different to your average airport shuttle but the ease with which it moves around with no-one at the wheel—or no wheel at all to be precise—is a powerful argument for rethinking these spaces.