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Tech Culture: Wind farms are bigger in Texas

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Tech Culture: Wind farms are bigger in Texas

4:21 /

On the Green Show this week, we look at a new type of rechargeable battery; there's an ATM that will recycle your old gadgets; and even wind farms are bigger in Texas.

^M00:00:01 >> Mr. LaSaya: Hey. I'm Mark LaSaya. And this week we get a look at a new kind of rechargeable battery. There's an ATM that can recyclable your old phone. And more proof that everything is bigger in Texas. The Green Show starts now. ^M00:00:14 [ Music ] ^M00:00:22 Powergenics is a new kind of rechargeable battery. It's not only environmentally friendly it's also more powerful. We sat down with the company to learn more. >> Mr. LaSaya LaSaya: So first of all let's just get a quick rundown on the different types or rechargeable batteries that are out there on the market. >> There's really three types. Nickel cadmium is about a 30-year-old chemistry used predominantly in power tools. Then there's nickel-metal hydride. And nickel-metal hydride is used for double A rechargeables. And then there's is new guy on the street and that's called nickel-zinc. At Powergenics what we do is nickel-zinc rechargeable batteries. In the nickel-zinc battery the constituent materials are zinc and nickel, highly recyclable. The electrolyte is water-based. So well over 90 percent of what's in a nickel-zinc battery can be recycled. >> Mr. LaSaya LaSaya: So how does the lifespan of a nickel-zinc battery compare to other types of rechargeable batteries? >> What's in the marketplace now can be charged and discharged about 200 times or so. Same thing with the nickel-zinc battery. For here today I brought a couple simple things: Electric toothbrushes. And so one electric toothbrush has a nickel-metal hydride battery in it and one has a nickel-zinc battery. On one -- ^M00:01:37 [ Sound of electric toothbrush ] ^M00:01:41 >> Mr. LaSaya LaSaya: Okay. >> And nickel-zinc. ^M00:01:43 [ Sound of electric toothbrush ] ^M00:01:47 >> Mr. LaSaya LaSaya: Definitely sounds stronger. >> Right. The nickel-zinc is stronger. >> Mr. LaSaya LaSaya: What are some of the other applications that Powergenics is using for their batteries in other products? I saw on your website the iRobot and some other power tools. >>: Yeah. Anything that uses a lot of power. So anything that has a motor in it or a high-intensity light is a perfect application for these batteries. >> Mr. LaSaya LaSaya: Belkin came out with a new surge protector but it does more than just protect your plug-ins from power surges. It actually conserves energy by turning off your idle electronics. It's called the Powerbar and it shuts off of six of the eight outlets automatically after 11 hours. The idea is for the Powerbar to be used in office so you can leave work and not have to worry about shutting off your computer or other electronics. The Powerbar will warn you before it shuts off so you can override it if you are working into the late hours which is pretty much everyone I know that has a job in New York City. But if the auto-off feature has value to you or someone you know, it's yours for $34.99. France is gearing up for a surge in electric vehicles. The country is planning to spend the equivalent of $2.2 billion U.S. dollars on charging stations. The French government says office parking lots will be required to install charging sockets by 2015, and new apartment buildings will have to get onboard by 2012. I guess the saying that every thing is bigger in Texas is true even in green tech. The European energy company E.ON began powering the largest wind farm in the world this week. And because everything is bigger in Texas the farm is situated near Roscoe, Texas. The farm stretches 627 wind turbines across 100,000 acres of land. The turbines were built by Mitsubishi, GE, and Siemens and in total could power 230,000 homes. Here's an ideal scenario: You walk into a local Big Box retail store and up to an ATM-like device. You pop in your old or unwanted cell phone and the machine exchanges it for an in-store coupon or a gift card. Well that idea is a reality if you live Omaha, Nebraska. The eco-ATM is the first of a test case installed by a San Diego start-up. The company says to expect more kiosks like this in Washington state, San Diego, Texas, and Vermont by the end of the year. They're also planning a massive rollout next spring. The machine determines the value of your phone by scanning for scratches, scuff marks, and missing parts. Now this may not be the most accurate method of determining a gadget's value but I don't think there's a convenient option out there. That's it for this week. Send your feedback to greenshow@cnet.com. I'm Mark LaSaya. Thanks for watching. ^M00:04:16. [ Music ] ^M00:04:21

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