Labor Day

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Texas Innovator Winter 2008

A WORLD OF INNOVATION


Japan

Toyota, the world's largest automaker, plans to test a plug-in hybrid car — called Plug-in HV — on public roads in Europe and the United States. Different from Toyota’s popular Prius hybrid, the Plug-in HV will charge from a standard electrical outlet and run on its electric motor for short trips.

For more information, contact Andy Hull, www.toyota.com.

United States

A new technique called bronchial thermoplasty uses radio waves that emit heat to burn off some smooth muscle in the airways. This will help asthma sufferers breathe more easily, have fewer symptoms and use less medication. It will be the first non-drug treatment for asthma developed recently.

For more information, contact Dr. John Miller, miller@mcmaster.ca, (905) 521-6515.

Russia

Millions of trees have been cut down by illegal logging in Siberian forests — known to ecologists as the "green lungs of the planet" — since the Soviet Union’s 1991 collapse. Starting in January 2008, satellites will help Russia’s forest agency monitor and, perhaps, catch illegal logging operations.

For more information, visit www.forestrycenter.org

Germany

Solar panels dot the skyline of Freiburg, a German city of about 200,000 residents, topping houses, the city’s soccer stadium and various other homes and buildings. Renewable energy makes up more than 5 percent of Germany’s energy supply. The city’s commitment to renewable energy helped make it an ideal home to the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, which employs more than 500 people in the area.

For more information, contact the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, info@ise.fraunhofer.de

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