Wood waste strengthens recycled concrete, new study finds

February 27, 2020 by  
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Research from the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Industrial Science has revealed that discarded concrete can be strengthened with the addition of wood waste. This pioneering technique promises to be an environmentally friendly way to enhance concrete structures while simultaneously reducing construction costs and curtailing carbon emissions . It is hoped that this groundbreaking new method will help make better use of old concrete and any waste plant or wood materials. With traditional methods, reusing old concrete is unfeasible. The research team’s first author, Li Liang, explained, “Just reusing the aggregate from old concrete is unsustainable, because it is the production of new cement that is driving climate change emissions.” The team, therefore, sought to find a better approach, particularly one that would “help promote the circular economy of concrete,” according to the University of Tokyo. Related: 11 green building materials that are way better than concrete The innovative process involves taking discarded concrete and grinding it into a powder. Wood waste is also sourced from sawdust, scrap wood and other agricultural waste. Rather than sending this wood off to landfills, it is instead leveraged in the concrete recycling process for the key ingredient, lignin. Lignin is an organic polymer that comprises wood’s vascularized tissue and accounts for wood’s rigidity. The concrete, now in powder form, is then combined with water and the lignin to form a mixture. This mixture is both heated and pressurized, allowing for the lignin to become an adhesive that fills the gaps between the concrete particles. What results is a newly formed concrete with stronger malleability than the original concrete. Additionally, the lignin makes this new, recycled concrete more biodegradable . “Most of the recycled products we made exhibited better bending strength than that of ordinary concrete,” said Yuya Sakai, team lead and senior author of the study. “These findings can promote a move toward a greener, more economical construction industry that not only reduces the stores of waste concrete and wood , but also helps address the issue of climate change .” + The University of Tokyo’s Institute of Industrial Science Via New Atlas Image via Philipp Dümcke

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Wood waste strengthens recycled concrete, new study finds

Hydroelectric art gallery will generate enough wave power to be 100% self-sustaining

February 27, 2020 by  
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London-based architect Margot Krasojevic has just unveiled a futuristic art gallery that runs on hydroelectric power. Slated for the coastal Russian region of Sochi, the Hydroelectric Sculpture Gallery will harness enough wave energy to not only be 100% self-sufficient, but it will also be able to channel surplus energy back into the grid, powering around 200 nearby houses and businesses as a result. The art gallery will be located on Sochi’s coastline, where it will use the exceptionally strong coastal swells from the Black Sea to power a water turbine system . Krasojevic’s vision depicts a sculptural volume that rises out of an existing wooden promenade. The building, which will be partly submerged into the sea, will be strategically angled at 45 degrees to the coastline for maximum wave exposure. Related: Oil rig off South Korea’s coast to become a floating hotel that operates on tidal energy According to the design plans, the building will “use the environment’s characteristics to generate clean, sustainable energy, without affecting the quality and nature of the landscape.” State-of-the-art engineering will allow the structure to harvest wave energy through oscillating water columns as the waves crash against it. Generating up to 300kW, the system will enable the gallery to operate completely off the grid and channel surplus energy back into the grid. It could supply clean energy to approximately 200 households and businesses in the same area. Visitors to the futuristic gallery will enter through a long walkway stretching out from the shore. The robust exterior of the building will comprise various walkways and ramps that wind around the steel structure. Sinuous volumes will conceal the building’s many turbines, which will also be partially submerged underwater. Inside, the spaces will reflect the building’s functions. The various galleries will be laid out into a power plant format, with steel clad ceilings that mimic the rolling waves that crash into the exterior. Irregularly shaped skylights will also create a vibrant, kaleidoscope show of shadow and light throughout the day. + Margot Krasojevic Images via Margot Krasojevic

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Hydroelectric art gallery will generate enough wave power to be 100% self-sustaining

Passive solar community in Brazil combines social justice and sustainability

January 15, 2020 by  
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To empower a marginalized community in Brazil’s Maranhão state, São Paulo-based architecture firm  Estudio Flume  has completed Castanha de Caju, a new headquarters for a women’s agricultural cooperative that doubles as a welcoming community hub. Constructed on a limited budget and a tight timeline, the inspiring project included the refurbishment and extension of a small house as well as the inclusion of traditional construction techniques and materials to reduce costs. Low-cost passive thermal control strategies and considerable community input helped shape the project, which also includes permaculture principles, a biodigester, and rainwater harvesting. Located in Nova Vida, a small impoverished community in Bom Jesus das Selvas, the new agricultural co-op headquarters was primarily built to serve a group of women who make their living by collecting and processing a type of oil-rich Brazilian nut. As a result, the layout of the building was informed by the co-op’s workflows and includes nut cooking and breaking areas as well as an internal courtyard for drying foods. In light of the lack of  public spaces in the town, the architects also added facilities to the project, such as the sun-room and concrete bunch, to encourage community cohesion and knowledge sharing. In addition to  reusing  as much of the original building as possible, the new headquarters is constructed with perforated bricks and ‘brise-soleil’ pivot doors made with traditional techniques to allow for cross ventilation, natural light, and views. Since the area lacks a sewage system and a constant supply of potable water, the architects added a rainwater harvesting system and a septic tank biodigester for sewage treatment as well as a banana circle to filter gray water. The architects hope that through continued use and maintenance, the community will gradually begin to adapt these systems into other buildings in the town. Related: This beekeepers workshop uses sustainable design to minimize its footprint “This project is part of a wider plan for renovation works for small cooperatives and associations in the interior Maranhão and Pará states, in the north and northeast of Brazil ,” the architects said. “In a country with enormous continental diversity and cultural richness, it represents the opportunity to defend some sense of social justice, to ensure job security, comfort in the routine of a group of women. This was an opportunity to work with those who produce food on a small scale and with respect for the environment and, in the end, these products are eaten in the big cities.” + Estudio Flume Images via Estudio Flume

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Passive solar community in Brazil combines social justice and sustainability

Can big data hold the key to unlocking sustainable smallholder farms?

October 3, 2018 by  
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A cooperative network of data sets could spur innovation and drive resilience in the agricultural sector.

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Can big data hold the key to unlocking sustainable smallholder farms?

Trade and food security are linked — and both are in danger

September 27, 2018 by  
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Climate change is disrupting our agricultural production, and we’ll need international agreements to solve the global challenge.

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Trade and food security are linked — and both are in danger

How this economist-entrepreneur is cultivating a new market for organic products

August 15, 2018 by  
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Disrupting and diversifying the agricultural commodity industry.

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How this economist-entrepreneur is cultivating a new market for organic products

Cultivating a regenerative food system

January 28, 2017 by  
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Four agricultural strategies that could help save Europe’s agriculture and generate 320 billion Euro.

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Cultivating a regenerative food system

Are sustainable farming certifications making a difference?

April 28, 2016 by  
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The Rainforest Alliance and SAN look back at the accomplishments and limitations of their agricultural certifications.

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Are sustainable farming certifications making a difference?

Citrus greening is killing off America’s oranges

January 18, 2016 by  
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If there were an endangered species list for fruit, America’s oranges would be on a fast track to dangerously low numbers. Since 2012, one third of the US’ oranges have died out – one half of the crops in Florida, alone. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service , America’s favorite fruit is facing swift devastation not so much due to widely suspected drought effects, but due to a fatal and incurable disease wiping out groves of our beloved citrus. Read the rest of Citrus greening is killing off America’s oranges

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Citrus greening is killing off America’s oranges

This Agricultural “Noah’s Ark” has Two of Every Fruit and Nut Crop Ever Grown in California

September 23, 2014 by  
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Imagine a comprehensive sampling of every fruit, nut and other crop that is or has ever been grown in California packed into a concentrated and carefully protected site. This seemingly fictional prospect is actually a reality at the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Clonal Germplasm Repository for Tree Fruit, Nut Crops and Grapes – a 70-acre facility in Davis, California that contains two each of hundreds of these species grown in California’s past or present agriculture industry . Read the rest of This Agricultural “Noah’s Ark” has Two of Every Fruit and Nut Crop Ever Grown in California Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: agriculture , California , change , climate , cloning , food , fruit , germplasm , global , grape , nut , repositry , security , warming

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This Agricultural “Noah’s Ark” has Two of Every Fruit and Nut Crop Ever Grown in California

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