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World's First Off-Grid EcoCapsule Runs Entirely on Renewable Energy

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World's First Off-Grid EcoCapsule Runs Entirely on Renewable Energy

After much anticipation, the egg-shaped EcoCapsule is finally available for pre-order earlier this month. The oblong home, which costs €79,000 (about $85,688) per unit, runs entirely on renewables.

The 88-square feet of interior space may seem pretty small, but it packs in all the necessities—plenty of storage, a shower, composting toilet, stove, sink, table and couch that converts into a double bed.

The home comes with a 600-watt rooftop solar system and a low-noise wind turbine that can deliver up to 750 watts. It's 10-kilowatt-hour battery capacity is expected to last at least four days.

With four wheels and hooks on top for ease of transport, the EcoCapsule can be taken almost anywhere. Its curved roof maximizes energy efficiency and rainwater capture, which can be filtered for human consumption.

The home is designed by Slovakian group Nice Architects. The group, which unveiled a prototype in May, told CNN they were blown away by the demand for their product. By July, they already had thousands of pre-orders.

Currently, it's available for sale in the European Union, U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. And it meets all of the safety regulations for each of those countries. The estimated delivery date for the first generation of EcoCapsules is late 2016 to early 2017. For those with sticker shock, the designers say the price will drop in the coming years as production is scaled and costs decrease.

Check out these fascinating visuals from the company:

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A plume of smoke from wildfires burning in the Angeles National Forest is seen from downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 29, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

California is bracing for rare January wildfires this week amid damaging Santa Ana winds coupled with unusually hot and dry winter weather.

High winds, gusting up to 80- to 90 miles per hour in some parts of the state, are expected to last through Wednesday evening. Nearly the entire state has been in a drought for months, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which, alongside summerlike temperatures, has left vegetation dry and flammable.

Utilities Southern California Edison and PG&E, which serves the central and northern portions of the state, warned it may preemptively shut off power to hundreds of thousands of customers to reduce the risk of electrical fires sparked by trees and branches falling on live power lines. The rare January fire conditions come on the heels of the worst wildfire season ever recorded in California, as climate change exacerbates the factors causing fires to be more frequent and severe.

California is also experiencing the most severe surge of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with hospitals and ICUs over capacity and a stay-at-home order in place. Wildfire smoke can increase the risk of adverse health effects due to COVID, and evacuations forcing people to crowd into shelters could further spread the virus.

As reported by AccuWeather:

In the atmosphere, air flows from high to low pressure. The setup into Wednesday is like having two giant atmospheric fans working as a team with one pulling and the other pushing the air in the same direction.
Normally, mountains to the north and east of Los Angeles would protect the downtown which sits in a basin. However, with the assistance of the offshore storm, there will be areas of gusty winds even in the L.A. Basin. The winds may get strong enough in parts of the basin to break tree limbs and lead to sporadic power outages and sparks that could ignite fires.
"Typically, Santa Ana winds stay out of downtown Los Angeles and the L.A. Basin, but this time, conditions may set up just right to bring 30- to 40-mph wind gusts even in those typically calm condition areas," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll.

For a deeper dive:

AP, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Weather Channel, AccuWeather, New York Times, Slideshow: New York Times; Climate Signals Background: Wildfires, 2020 Western wildfire season

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

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