Airbus unveils worlds first zero-emission commercial aircrafts

October 20, 2020 by  
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European aerospace corporation Airbus has unveiled three designs for the world’s first zero-emission commercial aircrafts that would rely on hydrogen as a primary power source. Collectively dubbed ZEROe, the climate-neutral, zero-emission concepts are designed to carry maximum passenger loads between 100 and 200 people for flights that range from short-haul trips to transcontinental journeys. Airbus’ hydrogen-powered commercial aircrafts could enter service as early as 2035. Revealed in late September, Airbus’ three concept designs are primarily fueled by hydrogen but differ in aerodynamic configurations and technological pathways. They will be further evaluated and assessed for feasibility. The zero-emission commercial concepts include the “turbofan” design that can accommodate 120 to 200 passengers with a range of over 2,000 nautical miles to make the aircraft ideal for transcontinental trips. The plane would be powered with a modified gas-turbine engine that runs on hydrogen, rather than jet fuel, on combustion. Related: The Skai hydrogen-powered aircraft produces zero emissions The second concept is the “turboprop” design that can hold up to 100 passengers. Named after its turboprop engine, the hydrogen combustion-powered aircraft also features a modified gas-turbine engine but would only be capable of traveling around 1,000 nautical miles on shorter trips. The last design is the “blended-wing body”, the most eye-catching concept of the three, that can accommodate up to 200 passengers. This model features an exceptionally wide fuselage thanks to the connection of the wings to the main body of the aircraft. “This is a historic moment for the commercial aviation sector as a whole and we intend to play a leading role in the most important transition this industry has ever seen. The concepts we unveil today offer the world a glimpse of our ambition to drive a bold vision for the future of zero-emission flight,” said Guillaume Faury, Airbus CEO. Airbus plans to work together with government and industrial partners to provide increased funding for research and technology into sustainable fuels and the realization of the ZEROe prototypes. + Airbus Images via Airbus

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KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Flying-V concept is an important step towards sustainable aviation

July 22, 2019 by  
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The environmental impacts of air travel has become a growing global concern. The aviation industry is focused on producing faster planes that fly higher and provide more comfort for passengers, which may create the alarming potential to produce even more carbon emissions than ever before. Presented as a solution to the increasing need for more sustainable aviation options, KLM Royal Dutch Airline has revealed a design for its “Flying V” sustainable aircraft that will use 20% less fuel than the popular Airbus A350. At the 2019 IATA Annual General Meeting in Seoul, KLM President & CEO Pieter Elbers and Dean of the Netherlands Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at Delft University of Technology Professor Henri Werij signed an agreement to work together on making aviation more sustainable. Though the design is only a concept at this point, the vision of the Technical University of Berlin and researchers at Delft, the Flying V is a monumental step towards sustainable aviation. Related: Time-saving supersonic airplanes could be a disaster for the environment With a unique aerodynamic shape, the plane’s design is shorter than the Airbus A350 (the most comparable aircraft), but with the same wingspan and the same passenger capacity. Because of this, the plane will fit easily into existing gates and runways, and fit in the same hanger as an A350. Everything from the plane bathrooms to the design of the passenger seats are as lightweight as possible for the safety and comfort of passengers. The signature v-shape wings will include the passenger cabins, the cargo (which will hold the same volume as the A350) and the fuel and the combination of a lightweight design with fuel-efficient turbofan engines makes it much more sustainable than other aircrafts.  Attendees of KLM Experience Days at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to celebrate KLM’s 100th anniversary will have the chance to view a flying scale model and a full size section of the Flying V’s interior in October 2019. Via Images by Edwin Wallet at OSO Studio for TU Delft

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KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Flying-V concept is an important step towards sustainable aviation

UK supermarket tests packaging-free initiative

July 22, 2019 by  
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Bringing reusable bags to stores is now second nature to many shoppers, but will they bring their own containers, too? British supermarket chain Waitrose will find out during an 11-week trial in its Oxford store called Waitrose Unpacked. Customers are encouraged to take refillable containers to restock on options such as a choice of four types of beer and wines, detergent, coffee and 28 dry products including cereals, lentils and pastas. Other unpacked concepts simply eliminate plastic — such as 160 loose vegetable and fruit products, and flowers and plants wrapped in 100% recyclable craft paper rather than plastic. Waitrose also offers a frozen pick and mix station, where customers can choose their own blends of cherries, pineapple, blueberries and other chilly fruits. Related: Sustainable toiletries packaged in soap aim to eliminate single-use plastics Waitrose launched its Unpacked initiative in response to customers requesting more sustainable ways to shop. “This test has huge potential to shape how people might shop with us in the future so it will be fascinating to see which concepts our customers have an appetite for. We know we’re not perfect and have more to do, but we believe this is an innovative way to achieve something different,” Waitrose declared in a press release. Unpacked customers will also benefit from lower prices, since shoppers often pay for excess packaging they don’t even want. The BBC reported that produce in the supermarket’s refill stations would be up to 15 percent cheaper and frozen fruit would also be less expensive. For a £5 deposit, shoppers can load their groceries into a borrowed box from Waitrose to take home. When they return the box, the supermarket refunds their money. Waitrose will continue to offer food in its regular packaging, which will provide a useful control group for the unpacked experiment. The trial ends August 18. We hope the verdict is a win for sustainability. +Waitrose Image via Waitrose

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How to easily make your own reusable produce bags

July 22, 2019 by  
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If you’re focused on sustainability and/or zero waste , you probably cringe every time you return home from the grocery store and pull out bag after bag of fruits and vegetables, each tucked inside plastic bags conveniently located in the produce section where you shopped. The good news is that it’s easy to end the cringe with reusable cloth produce bags. Fortunately, it’s easy to make your own cloth produce bags at very little cost. There are even no-sew options if a sewing machine isn’t your thing. The best part is that you likely already have everything you need to whip up a pile of reusable cloth bags this weekend. Related: RÆBURN upcycles North Face tents into one-of-a-kind bags Material An old, but freshly washed, bed sheet makes the perfect upcycle material for your cloth produce bags. Alternately, grab some lightly-used pillow cases. These work great since they already have seams on some of the sides. Ideally, you will want cotton or linen and organic is always best, but remember that turning one product into something else is already an eco-friendly action so give yourself a break if your sheets aren’t organic.  The linen closet is an easy place to start, but it’s certainly not the only place to find material in your home. Old clothing is an accessible option, especially when you look for shapes that make produce bags easier to make. For example, a child’s shirt will only need small adaptations to turn into a bag. Same goes for wide sleeves or a tight skirt.  No sew Sewing just might not be your thing. Perhaps you don’t have a sewing machine, or you don’t enjoy the whole needle and thread experience. That’s fine with us. To use no-sew reusable produce bags, simply use Velcro instead. Lay your fabric pieces out inside out. Glue Velcro to the length of each side and allow the strips to dry. Then press the Velcro pieces together completely. Use high-quality Velcro for a firm hold.  Sew Making your own produce bags doesn’t require extensive sewing experience. Simply cut and lay out two rectangles of fabric, back to back (or inside out). You can make bags in a variety of sizes. Sew the edges of three sides, leaving the top open. If you are using a material with existing seams, finish the additional edges. For example, cut a pillowcase in four quarters, turn each quarter inside out, finish the seams and turn it back right side out to see your completed bag. The top Now you have your upcycled produce bag ready to go, but you may be wondering how to keep it closed once you stuff your favorite produce inside. The answer is that you don’t really need to if your bag is deep enough. However, if you prefer to have a top that closes, there are several ways you can go about it. For those that enjoyed the sewing portion, go ahead and add a drawstring to the top. To do this, fold over the material at the top leaving about 1/2 inch before making a seam. The 1/2 inch gap allows room for a piece of rope or that non-partnered shoelace in the junk drawer. You can lay it into the space before stitching it up, but be sure not to stitch over it, which locks it into a stationary position and will inhibit the bag from pulling closed. For a no-sew option attach the two sides with Velcro. An even easier solution is to close the top while you’re at the grocery store or farmer’s market using a hair tie band. The elasticity allows the cashier to peak inside the bag hassle free. Plus, if you use your produce bag in the bulk section, you can attach the product number tag directly to the tie band.  Other Uses Produce bags are never just for produce. You can use them to store any number of foods . Beans are an excellent example. Rice, pasta and other pantry items also store well in fabric bags. Shopping bulk is a sustainable action that removes much of the packaging waste from the typical shopping venture. While glass jars are best for some things, fabric bags can handle the “bulk” of your dried foods. Outside the food realm you can use them to store art supplies such as markers, paint brushes and rocks. When it comes time to do laundry, throw small items such as kid’s socks inside and wash the entire bag. Care Fabric produce bags are easy to care for because they are machine washable alongside the rest of your laundry. It’s best to wash bags after each use considering the amount of germs they encounter in the shopping cart, at checkout and in your car. Bags can be hung to dry or tossed into the dryer if necessary. Remember to put your bags somewhere you will remember to take them with you for your next shopping trip, or take them directly to the car for storage. Congratulations on your step towards reducing plastic waste ! Images via Sean and Lauren , Pixabay , Laura Mitulla

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Airbus is putting spacious sleeping pods in airplane cargo holds

April 11, 2018 by  
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Finally, airlines have found a way to give you more space to stretch out on flights, but there’s one catch: you have to travel in the cargo hold. Airbus and Zodiac Aerospace are teaming up to create modular sleeping compartments with all the luxuries of old-time train travel. By 2020, planes will be able to swap out the cargo area for luxury sleeper pods during long-haul flights, giving passengers a chance to arrive at their destination without feeling like they’ve been crowbarred into a sardine can. The idea isn’t as far-fetched as it may seem. Right now, some planes have accommodations for the crew tucked down in the cargo hold. This idea just builds on that. We don’t have a ton of detail yet on what the pods will look like, but Airbus says that airlines will be able to swap them in and out without disrupting operations. The pods won’t be limited to sleeping areas, either. They can also be modified to be used as boardrooms, children’s areas, a medical bay or a lounge. Related: Airbus’ flying electric taxi is on track to soar next year Airlines operating the Airbus A330 will be able to swap cargo space for sleeping pods by 2020, and the system will be expanded to the Airbus A350 XWB in the future. “We have already received very positive feedback from several airlines on our first mock-ups. We are pleased to partner with Zodiac Aerospace on this project which will introduce a new passenger experience and add value for airlines,” said Airbus. + Airbus + Zodiac Aerospace Via New Atlas Images via Airbus

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Piuarch kicks off Milan Design Week with a beautiful urban light installation

April 11, 2018 by  
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Milan-based architecture firm Piuarch has created an amazing light installation for this year’s Milan Design Week . Named AgrAir, the project takes the form of an open-air pavilion with transparent, prism-shaped inflatables that sway in the air. Underneath these lights, the public can enjoy pedestrian walkways lined with herbs and flowers. Piuarch developed the installation to transform unused urban spaces into vibrant social areas. For cities that want to breathe new life into decaying areas, AgrAir provides a pleasant outdoor space. The project includes various light-filled “lanterns” that illuminate the mini-botanical gardens lining the walkways. The landscaping, designed by Cornelius Gavril , will include flowers, bushes and herbs. Related: Piuarch’s FlyingGarden Installation for Milan Features Mossy Japanese Kokedamas The prism-shaped lanterns, which are made out of ultra-soft recyclable film , emit a soft light to create a soothing atmosphere. The lights are supported by acrylic glass rods installed at various heights, evoking the image of trees in a forest. According to the designers, “This ethereal composition is a metaphor of a forest, but also of the city itself, an expression of its identity, versatility, luminosity and lightness.” After its time at the Milan Design Festival, which runs from April 17-22, the installation will move to the architects’ rooftop garden in their Milan office. + Piuarch Via v2com

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Piuarch kicks off Milan Design Week with a beautiful urban light installation

Airbus, Siemens, Rolls-Royce partner to build a hybrid-electric plane

December 5, 2017 by  
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Hybrid-electric commercial planes could be a reality if Airbus , Rolls-Royce , and Siemens are successful. The three companies recently teamed up to work on the E-Fan X technology demonstrator that could hit the skies in around three years. Siemens, Airbus, and Rolls-Royce announced their collaboration recently at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London. They’ll come together to create what they call a near-term flight demonstrator that could fly in 2020. Out of four gas turbine engines on the aircraft, one will be replaced with a two-megawatt electric motor , and they’ll work towards switching out a second. Related: Airbus’ flying electric taxi is on track to soar next year Each company has a role to play: Airbus is in charge of overall integration and control architecture for the batteries and hybrid-electric propulsion system. Rolls-Royce is in charge of the two-megawatt generator, power electronics, and turbo-shaft engine. And Siemens will provide the two-megawatt electric motors and a power control unit – and an inverter, power distribution system, and DC/DC converter. According to an Airbus press release on the project, “The E-Fan X demonstrator will explore the challenges of high-power propulsion systems, such as thermal effects, electric thrust management, altitude and dynamic effects on electric systems and electromagnetic compatibility issues. The objective is to push and mature the technology, performance, safety, and reliability enabling quick progress on the hybrid-electric technology.” The companies said some of the major challenges facing the aviation sector are lowering dependence on fossil fuels and boosting efficiency. They’re working to meet the European Commission’s Flightpath 2050 Vision for Aviation, which entails a 75 percent and 90 percent reduction of carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide , respectively, as well as slashing noise by 65 percent. Airbus said existing technologies cannot achieve these targets, so the companies are pursuing alternatives like electrification. The statement said, “Electric and hybrid-electric propulsion are seen today as among the most promising technologies for addressing these challenges.” Via Airbus Images via Airbus

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Aviation’s evolution: Fuel cells, 3D-printed planes and beyond

March 28, 2017 by  
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Companies such as Airbus, Boeing and easyJet rethink air travel’s environmental impacts.

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Airbus to build flying autonomous taxis that soar over traffic

August 19, 2016 by  
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If you’ve ever found yourself stuck in traffic, wishing you could just fly above the chaos, you might soon get your wish. Aeronautics giant Airbus has announced a new plan, dubbed “ Project Vahana ,” that would create a fleet of on-demand autonomous drones to carry passengers through the skies. And if that doesn’t sound crazy enough, the company says it could begin testing as soon as 2017. Much like Uber , passengers would use an app to book passage on the craft, and then travel to a local helipad. There they would board a CityAirbus drone along with other travelers, and be “whisked away to their destination.” Not only would this service be faster than a regular taxi due to its ability to avoid traffic, Airbus is planning to keep the price in the same range as a taxi ride, too. Any luggage would be carried by a separate service. While Airbus doesn’t anticipate problems with taking to the skies with current technology, training these taxis to be autonomous is going to be a challenge . We still haven’t perfected self-driving cars – how likely is it that we’ll have what are essentially self-driving helicopters available anytime soon? Related: AeroMobil unveils futuristic flying car, plans to launch by 2017 Don’t expect to see any large passenger drones in your city’s sky in the near future. Right now, Airbus has set its sights on a drove delivery system , which will be tested in Singapore next year. If the delivery drones work well, the company hopes they could help ease potential customers into the idea of traveling by drone in the future. + Project Vahana Via Autoblog

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World’s leading sea ice expert warns the "Arctic death spiral" will make global warming even worse

August 19, 2016 by  
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The terrifyingly ominous phrase “Arctic death spiral” refers to a chart that measures the continual melt laying waste to the ice in the Arctic Circle over the last 30 years. Climate scientists have issued repeated warnings that the Arctic death spiral is the Earth’s “canary in a coalmine,” and that greenhouse gas emissions must be curbed in order to fend off certain destruction. As time passes and global temperatures continue to rise, many conservationists are arguing that the point of no return is just ahead. In an op-ed for the Guardian , environment editor John Vidal discusses the new book by Peter Wadhams, the Cambridge professor who has devoted his life to the study of icy environs, and why it’s time to start listening to the warnings. Wadhams, former director of the Scott Polar Research Institute, wrote that the North Pole could be free from ice in just a few decades, rather than the popular prediction of the end of the century. For the Guardian, Vidal points to Wadhams’ new book “A Farewell to Ice,” to be released Sept. 1, as a daring but worthwhile position on the topic of climate change. While most estimates suggest Arctic ice is being lost at a rate of 13 percent each year, Wadhams says, soon the summer ice will melt as well, causing a dangerous trickle-down effect. Related: New NASA data confirms July 2016 was the hottest month on record Many scientists have drawn clear connections between Arctic conditions and the effects of climate change elsewhere on the planet, further illustrating why we should pay attention to Arctic ice melt. Wadhams’ book explains that ice-free Septembers in the Arctic will enable more methane to be released into the atmosphere, and when the ice-free period of the year lengthens to four or five months, the additional greenhouse gas emissions will force the planet over its tipping point. For those who haven’t been studying Arctic ice, a book by the world’s foremost sea ice expert may help. After the concept of the Arctic death spiral emerged, scientists from many agencies have been working to better understand the relationships between Arctic events and the health of the rest of the world. The 2013 documentary “Arctic Death Spiral and the Methane Time Bomb,” which is available for streaming here , offers a startling look at where unchecked global warming will lead. Via The Guardian Images via Andy Lee Robinson/Haveland and NOAA

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