Eco Living & Technology
Bloomberg reports that an Australian lab succeeded in generating 700C heat from hydrogen using patented catalyst technology. If the technology can scale up, it could be retrofited to power plants currently burning coal.
have developed a new, PET-like bioplastic that is easily made from the non-edible parts of plants, or "lignocellulosic biomass". The plastic is tough, heat-resistant, and a good barrier to oxygen, making it suitable for food packaging. Due to its structure, the new plastic can also be recycled and degraded back to harmless sugars.Scientists at the Swiss Federal Polytechnic of Lausanne (EPFL)
Called H2arvester, a prototype has been installed on sugar beet land in Oude-Tonge, South Holland. Four solar "cars", measuring 12x6 m each, hosting a total of 168 solar panels and an irrigation system, are able to move 10 meters per hour. Combined with an electrolyzer, the system can also produce (green) hydrogen!
The Borgen Project presents a collection of inexpensive eco inventions that make life a bit easier for people in the global south, including a personal water filter, a manual irrigation pump, hotpot solar ovens, a solar water purification kit, and the maya pedal, a range of pedal powered machines in Guatemala.
A green district heating scheme using a giant heat pump in Gateshead, UK provides heat for 5,000 homes, replacing the need for gas boilers. New research at the University of Leeds outlines the benefits and challenges of shared ground heat exchange. Energy to heat buildings contributes around a quarter of UK greenhouse gas emissions.
A team at the University of York, UK discovered that antimony selenide, a semi-conductor used in solar panels, can auto-repair its broken bonds and are how looking at how longer-lasting panels could be created. Another team at Technion - Israel Institute of Technology are experimenting with lead-free perovskites, that are also self-healing.
After four years, Stefano Boeri Architetti has completed the Easyhome Huanggang Vertical Forest City Complex. It covers an area of 4.54 hectares, and has been designed to create a new green complex capable of integrating buildings for residences, hotels and large commercial spaces. The complex was intended to meet the daily needs of residents, temporary guests, inhabitants and tourists. It comprises five towers, two of which are residential and designed as vertical forests capable of providing a new life experience for the surrounding urban and natural area. The two residential towers, 80 metres high, are a form of 'vertical forest' with over 400 trees, 4,620 shrubs, and 2,408 sq. metres of perrenials, flowers and climbing plants that will absorb 22 tons of CO2 and produce 11 tons of oxygen per year. The floors have cantilevered elements, with open and closed balconies, that interrupt the regularity of the building and create a continuous ever-changing movement. Local species of trees have been selected, mostly Ginkgo biloba.
If you are wondering what to do with your old denims, buttons, bottle caps, plastic bags, wires, cables, pc components, and other items, well, why not just give them to a true artist, for example Deniz Sagdic of Mersin, Turkey. The video is from her "Ready ReMade" exhibition at Istanbul airport and no commentary is needed: Upcycling at its best!
Ironically, organic fruits and vegetables sold in supermarkets tend to use more plastic foil in order to distinguish them from non-organic produce. A high definition laser available since 2016, but not yet widely used, could help change this. The laser beam removes part of the pigment from the outer layer of the peel of fruits and vegetables leaving a permanent mark. It is marketed as Natural Branding©, and it is developed by JBT and LaserFood.
MeaTech, an Israeli food technology company has successfully 3D bioprinted a 104 gram steak, composed entirely of cultured real meat (fat and muscle cells). If scalable, the development could prove a major step towards the elimination of animal slaughter for meat and the fight against meat industry-related greenhouse gases.
Avoiding waste in both an art and a science: inspired by Escher's famous tesselations and aiming to make a mathematically perfect holiday cookie, a Norwegian chemist and amateur cook, has created an extremely efficient holiday cookie cutter that does not waste any dough:
The biotechnology company, founded by artists, after three decades of pioneering research, has patented a process to grow 'Fine Mycelium' from fungi in special trays. The material is said to exceed the quality, durability of natural leather, and is already used by luxury bag makers such as Hermes.
Ictyos, a French startup calling itself an 'eco-responsible tannery', is collecting salmon, trout and sturgeon skins from restaurants and turning them into luxury leather goods such, bags, wallets and watch straps. True to the circular economy philosophy, skins destined for destruction are recovered, thus the process does not increase fishing. In addition Ictyos use vegetable tannins (for colouring) composed of leaves, roots or fruits to minimise deforestation.
New research by Luke Dunning of the University of Sheffield shows that some of our most widely grown crops supplement their genetic information with stolen genetic secrets. Apart from grasses, bacteria are also masters in this regard and this leads, among other thing, to antibiotic resistance. New evidence however documents evidence in a broad range of animals and plants, including aphids, whiteflies and psychoactive mushrooms!
Across Sweden, parking spaces are being replaced by pre-built wooden tables, benches and plants, part of a government plan to improve urban environment. Consultations with local communities determine the use and configuration of each unit. Trial installations are taking place in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Helsingborg, and Malmö.
An international team led by Professor Joondong Kim of Incheon National University, Korea has developed the first transparent solar cell. The scientists hope that this next generation solar cells can be integrated as windows into all types of buildings, appliances with glass screens such as laptops, TVs and smart phones and even vehicles and crafts of all types. The transparent quality is thanks to a combination of titanium dioxide and nickel oxide semiconductors.
The study can be found in the Journal of Power Sources:
“Transparent photovoltaic cells and self-powered photodetectors by TiO2/NiO heterojunction” by Thanh Tai Nguyen, Malkeshkumar Patel, Sangho Kim, Rameez Ahmad Mir, Junsin Yi, Vinh-Ai Dao and Joondong Kim, 12 September 2020, Journal of Power Sources.
Why spend good money to buy chemicals if you can easily DIY a product that can freshen up your clothes, your bed or couch?
There are thousands of relevant recipes online. One we tried and tested is the following:
- 350 ml of distilled water.
- 85 ml of vodka or 35 ml of pure alcohol.
- 30 drops of essential oil of your choice. (e.g. lemon, orange, eucalyptus, lavender). It is quite easy to prepare the essential oil from the raw materials, otherwise you may purchase from a chemist.
1. Mix the distilled water and the vodka
2. Add the essential oil.
3. Fill up a dispenser with the mix.
Imagine a world where we all produce our own green energy in our homes and offices and share it with each other in a world wide energy web. This was the vision of Jerôme Michaud-Larivière who invented the Wind Tree, an innovative, esthetically pleasing, and bird-friendly wind turbine. Each Wind Tree helps save the equivalent of 864 kg of Coal every year!
The original model of the Wind Tree is composed of 3 steel trunks that stem into tinier branches on which the 36 leaf-shaped wind turbines are attached. It can exploit all types of wind, from gentle breezes to powerful gusts of wind in both urban and rural environments. The Wind Tree can be installed close to buildings, which is a plus in urban spaces. A further innovation was the "aeroleaf hybrid", which added a high performing photovoltaic petal to the bottom of each leaf.
There are actually three types of Wind Trees - the original Wind Tree, the highly customisable Modular Tree, and the smaller and cheaper Wind Bush which starts from Euros 19,500. They can be customised by leaf colours, trunk colours, led lights, charging ports, air-purifying leaves, and usb benches.
Commercially launched in 2018, the innovative Wind Tree has already won several awards, however it is not yet a common sight in cities. One possible explanation may be the price and the lack of a full installation service.
For more details, visit https://newworldwind.com/en/
The products are harvested at 8 am on the 360-square-metre roof and at 9 am they are in the store. The roof also generates its energy sustainably with solar panels and by recuperating heat from the store building. The farm in this Brussels store will serve as a test to expand the program to more Delhaize units.
New York, 09 July 2018 – UN Environment and Yale University in collaboration with UN Habitat today unveiled a new eco-housing module, to spark public discussion and new ideas on how sustainable design can provide decent, affordable housing while limiting the overuse of natural resources and climate change. The 22-square-meter “tiny house” is fully powered by renewable energy and designed to test the potential for minimizing the use of natural resources such as water.
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