Germany is electrifying part of the autobahn to cut freight emissions

August 18, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

We rely on trucks to get the goods we need from one place to another, but all of those semi trucks spew a lot of pollution. So Siemens and the German state of Hesse teamed up to create a 6-mile stretch of electric highway on the autobahn . Hybrid trucks can connect to overhead charging cables to drive on pure electricity, and then switch back to diesel power once they leave the eHighway. The Siemens eHighway initiative could double the energy efficiency of big rigs, compared to running on gas. Even better, the highway design enables any truck to be retrofitted, and it is constructed over existing road, integrating easily with existing infrastructure. Combined with the autonomous and electric trucks in the works, it could make a significant dent in semi truck emissions. Related: Sweden opens one of the world’s first electric roads Global freight is expected to increase 200 percent in the next 30 years, so it is essential that we tackle freight emissions if we want to slow down global warming. According to Siemens, the eHighway is a smart way to do this, because it still allows other drivers to use the road. The first eHighway system opened in Stockholm last year and Siemens is currently testing another in California. Via Treehugger Images via Siemens

Go here to read the rest: 
Germany is electrifying part of the autobahn to cut freight emissions

South Australia to build world’s biggest single-tower solar thermal plant

August 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

South Australia is going big again — as in world-beating big. Last month the state government signed a deal with Tesla to build the world’s largest lithium-ion battery storage facility. Now State Premier Jay Weatherill has announced plans to construct the world’s biggest single-tower solar thermal plant outside the city of Port Augusta — the 150 megawatt  Aurora Solar Energy Project . The AUD $650 million (US $512 million) plant will start construction in 2018 and be fully operational in 2020 — supplying 100 percent of the government’s energy needs. The project will deliver more than 700 jobs with local worker requirements. Related: Australia announces massive $1B solar farm with the world’s largest battery The 20-year contract to build and manage the Aurora plant was awarded to California-based  SolarReserve . The company’s $1 billion Crescent Dunes facility in Nevada was shut down for eight months due to structural fault. The Nevada facility was the first to use molten salt technology to store energy as heat — allowing for day and night operation. The South Australia facility will also use molten salt technology. “This will make a difference in the South Australia energy market,” said South Australian senator Nick Xenophon. “It will secure the grid and mean more baseload power than intermittent power.” + Aurora Solar Energy Project Via New Atlas Image via SolarReserve

Read the original here: 
South Australia to build world’s biggest single-tower solar thermal plant

Kenyan activists are using human poop to make affordable cooking fuel

August 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Resources are scarce in Kenya, and nearly half of the population lives below the poverty line , but they do have poop. Activists with Nakuru Water and Sanitation Services Company are providing clean fuel for local residents in the form of small balls of human feces. The group takes in truckloads of sewage from septic systems and pit latrines and transforms the waste into safe, economical briquettes that burn cleaner and longer than coal. And don’t worry: they are odor-free. Ordinarily, human feces can pose various health problems if left untreated or if disposed of improperly. Sometimes, it can even lead to cholera outbreaks or other sanitation -related diseases. However, because it is the most abundant and widely available human resource, Nakuru Water and Sanitation Services Company developed a method to turn it into an affordable, clean-burning fuel. To create the briquettes, the company slowly sun-dries the feces. Then, it treats it at a high temperature of 300 Celsius (572 Fahrenheit) in a kiln via a carbonizing process where sawdust is added to it. TreeHugger reports that the resulting product is then mixed with a small amount of molasses to act as a binder. It is then rolled into balls and dried. One kilo of the briquettes is said to cost just 50 cents USD — a very reasonable price for Kenyan citizens. John Irungu, the site manager at Nakuru Water and Sanitation Services Company, describes carbonization as “a process whereby we increase the carbon content of your materials.” He added, “In this case we are using the drum kiln whereby the sludge is fed, the drum has some holes at the bottom, these holes allow the oxygen to come in, in a controlled manner, that oxygen will only support combustion but to a certain level so that it doesn’t burn completely into ash. In this way, you are able to eliminate all the volatile matters, all the harmful gasses, and it is at this point that you ensure that your sludge doesn’t smell it is safe for handling when you are carrying out the other processes which is milling and briquette production.” Related: First-ever dog poop composting program in NYC comes to Brooklyn park It took some time to overcome the stigma that surrounds the use of human feces, but the company succeeded by informing residents that they could obtain a cleaner-burning cooking fuel for a fraction of the cost. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.10”; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); Turning poop into fuel These Kenyan entrepreneurs built thousands of special toilets to turn poop into sustainable fuel. Posted by Al Jazeera English on Saturday, July 15, 2017 Every month, Nakuru Water and Sanitation Services Company produces about two tons of the human waste briquettes. By the end of the year, the goal is to produce 10 tons per month. This will occur once additional de-watering and carbonization equipment is procured, as it will scale up and optimize the present production methods. The company is also invested in the construction of more than 6,000 toilets that can collect waste. Someday, the company will expand its offerings elsewhere in Kenya, Africa. + Nakuru Water and Sanitation Services Company Via TreeHugger Images via  Nakuru Water and Sanitation Services Company

More:
Kenyan activists are using human poop to make affordable cooking fuel

Mexico’s gorgeous Sunset Chapel looks like a gigantic boulder

August 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Through several contrasting features, this striking chapel in Acapulco, Mexico embodies feelings of both hope and sadness. Mexico City-based Bunker Arquitectura constructed the Sunset Chapel on top of a hill and gave it an appearance of a huge boulder that blends into the natural environment. Bunker Arquitectura combined contrasting materials – glass and concrete – to embody elements of transparency and solidity, merging opposing ideas and religious contexts. The chapel mimics the large granite rocks piled up on the hill to blend into the surrounding landscape. Related: BNKR Arquitectura Reveals Plans for an Incredible Underground Skyscraper in Mexico City A triangular aperture functions as the main entrance into the small interior, while smaller slits in the walls provide views of the surroundings and allow natural light inside. A fully glazed wall on the upper floor features a crucifix which dominates the space. + Bunker Arquitectura Via Ignant Photos by Esteban Suárez

See the original post here:
Mexico’s gorgeous Sunset Chapel looks like a gigantic boulder

Chinese researchers develop flexible salt-powered batteries

August 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

As the world rushes to transition to a new energy economy, researchers are uncovering novel methods to harvest energy from mundane, everyday sources. A research team in China has created a new battery that could be safely used in wearable or implantable devices, thanks to its use of salt-based electrolytes. This breakthrough could drastically improve the quality and safety of battery-dependent medical technology and may even pave the way for sweat-powered devices. In order to be effective, implantable or wearable batteries need to be flexible to allow functional bending on organic surfaces. In prior iterations, these batteries usually included a mix of toxic chemicals that serve as the electrolytes through which electrical charge can flow. This new battery uses non-harmful electrolytes such as sodium sulfate and saline. Because there is less of a concern regarding leakage of these chemicals, the battery’s design does not require extra material to protect humans from exposure and is significantly less bulky. Related: Inexpensive new battery generates power with just a drop of saliva One particularly interesting implication of a salt-based battery is the idea that the batteries could prove effective at harvesting sweat and other salty bodily fluids to power a workout assistant device. The researchers also noted that the batteries have a marked ability to convert dissolved oxygen into hydroxide ions, which could prove useful in medical applications.  “We can implant these fiber-shaped electrodes into the human body to consume essential oxygen, especially for areas that are difficult for injectable drugs to reach,” said researcher Yonggang Wang. “Deoxygenation might even wipe out cancerous cells or pathogenic bacteria since they are very sensitive to changes in living environment pH. Of course, this is hypothetical right now, but we hope to investigate further with biologists and medical scientists.” Via Engadget Images via Deposit Photos , Tim Simpson/Flickr  and Andy Armstrong/Flickr

View original here: 
Chinese researchers develop flexible salt-powered batteries

Solar-powered Tesla Tiny House hits the road in Australia

August 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Tesla’s taking to the streets to demonstrate their clean technology . A Model X is pulling around a tiny house showcasing a solar power system and Powerwall , giving the curious a way to check out their renewable technology in action. Electrek shared some stunning images of Tesla’s Tiny House , which is serving as a mobile design studio in major Australian cities. The Tesla Tiny House is incredibly eye-catching: clad in sustainable, locally-sourced chemical-free timber , the rolling design studio gives locals an up-close look at Tesla’s renewable wares. The Tiny House measuring 20x7x13 feet is outfitted with a 2 kW photovoltaic system with six panels. There’s also a Tesla Powerwall on the home’s exterior. Related: Tesla’s new Solar Roof is actually cheaper than a normal roof Naturally, the Tiny House is entirely powered by renewable energy , and people can step inside to use a configurator to design a solar system with storage for their own homes. A tour with staff provides detailed information; Electrek quoted the company as saying: “The tour is designed to provide a one-on-one educational experience on how to integrate Powerwall and solar to seamlessly power an entire home 24/7, allowing Australian consumers to gain control and understanding of their power use.” According to Electrek, Australia is a key market for Tesla’s products: 1.5 million households in the country have solar for the highest per capita penetration of rooftop solar power in the world. Tesla plans to take their tiny house to Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane throughout August, September, and early October. But, the company says on their site that anyone in Australia can request a stop. They “want to bring the Tesla Tiny House to you, so you can fully experience what it means to be self-powered.” + Tesla Tiny House Via Electrek Images via Electrek/Tesla

Here is the original: 
Solar-powered Tesla Tiny House hits the road in Australia

How the upcoming solar eclipse will affect 7 million homes and businesses

August 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

A total solar eclipse will block sunlight from reaching parts of the Earth for an estimated three hours on August 21. As a result, at least 7 million U.S. homes and businesses that rely on solar power will be directly affected. But there’s no reason to be nervous: electric grid and skilled operators are well-prepared. A total solar eclipse is a rare phenomenon which occurs when the moon passes directly between the Earth and the sun . Though it will disrupt solar generation during times of peak generation, the event is not one to fear. According to Julia Prochnik , the Director of Western Renewable Grid Planning, people will not notice any change in their electrical service as electric grid operators across the country have made appropriate preparations. The last time citizens in the U.S. glimpsed a solar eclipse was in 1979, when solar energy was in its infancy. In the time that has passed, the energy system has changed significantly. Wind and solar energy are now the fastest-growing sources of renewable electricity in the U.S. Prochnik says that some states will see a larger drop in solar power than others; it all depends on how much the sun is blocked by the moon in their specific location. Fortunately, there are plenty of energy resources available to “fill the gap,” and they include geothermal , wind and hydropower. Related: Coming Total Solar Eclipse to be an ‘event of the century’, scientists say NASA reports that the solar eclipse will block a 70-mile-wide path stretching from Oregon to South Carolina. The longest period of total darkening will be about two minutes and 40 seconds. Nationwide, the moon will still block at least a portion of the sun. At any one spot, the longest period of partial darkness may last three hours. Arizona can expect to experience a brief interruption in 70 percent of its rooftop solar generation. New York follows with 68 percent, Utah can expect a 39 percent, and Nevada a 24 percent interruption. California and North Carolina may experience the biggest impacts from the eclipse, as they are both major solar producers. The difference can be compensated by reducing energy use and/or by temporarily drawing electricity from the grid. A few things environmentally-conscious individuals can do to prepare for the eclipse is replace all light bulbs with LEDs , turn off lights, unplug chargers and appliances, and turn down their thermostats. All of these steps will help save energy and reduce load grid pressure. All in all, the celestial event is one to celebrate, as it is one few will likely witness again. Via NRDC Images via Pixabay

See the rest here:
How the upcoming solar eclipse will affect 7 million homes and businesses

Stunning home in India blends into the earth with segmented green roofs

August 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Jodhpur-based firm Misa Architects has created a contemporary concrete home that – despite its brutalist structure – manages to blend in to its bucolic surroundings. Tucked into rural farmland, the concrete and glass house is sandwiched between the rolling green landscape and a series of verdant green roofs . The home is located on agricultural farmland just outside of Vansajada, India, and it was designed to create a harmonic balance with the natural horizon. Although the building is made from concrete, its elongated shape, segmented green roofs, and verdant landscaping help camouflage it amidst the land. Related: Massive stone walls rotate to bring natural light inside this extraordinary Indian home The home’s structure is broken up into various segments, courtyards and open-air spaces that create a dynamic living environment. The abundant greenery embeds the home within its sites while providing natural insulation to keep the interior cool during India’s sweltering summer months. The roof features a water collection system that reuses rainwater to irrigate the on-site greenery. The home features open-air courtyards and well-lit nooks that create a seamless connection between the interior and exterior. Large glass windows and doors also bring in an optimal amount of natural light . + Misa Architects Via Archdaily Photography by Zurich Shah

Read more here:
Stunning home in India blends into the earth with segmented green roofs

Drones are planting an entire forest from the sky

August 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

When we think of drones , most of us picture the selfie-taking, novelty video-making robots buzzing around tourist spots. But for one group of villagers in Myanmar, drones are providing a much more important service: an Irish startup is using them to help residents replant an entire forest from the sky. Restoring a damaged ecosystem is time-consuming and difficult work that can take years to complete. Villagers in the Irrawaddy River delta have been hand-planting 2.7 million mangrove trees in order to restore the local forests, but they started looking for an easier way to get the job done. They found the solution with BioCarbon Engineering , which uses drones to plant as many as 100,000 trees in a single day. Related: Can drones plant one billion trees? In order to plant that many trees, the drones take a systematic approach, flying over the land to map the topography and choose the best location for planting. A second wave of drones then fly over the area and “fire”  seed pods into the ground in accordance with calculations made by previous drones. The drone-planting project will start this September, covering about 250 hectares with 1 million new trees, in addition to the 750 hectares that the villagers have already planted. If all goes according to plan, eventually BioCarbon Engineering will help plant up to 1 billion trees in the area. The startup is working along with Worldview International Foundation , a nonprofit that manages tree-planting projects. In Myanmar, mangrove trees are particularly important because they help provide an ecosystem for fish to live in, and they protect coastlines from storms. Restoring the trees will go a long way toward protecting vulnerable people living in the coastal areas. Via Fast Company

See more here: 
Drones are planting an entire forest from the sky

Researchers turn recycled aluminum foil into cheaper, eco-friendlier biofuels

August 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on Researchers turn recycled aluminum foil into cheaper, eco-friendlier biofuels

Don’t toss your bagel wrapper in the trash just yet; scientists at Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland say they have discovered a way to turn used aluminum foil into a catalyst to create cheaper, eco-friendlier biofuels . Working with engineers from the university, Ahmed Osman, an early career researcher at the school of chemistry and chemical engineering, has developed a technique that extracts 100 percent pure single crystals of aluminum salts from contaminated foil, without creating harmful emissions or waste. The salts can be used to kickstart the preparation of alumina catalyst, which can then be used to produce dimethyl ether, a nontoxic, clean-burning fuel that is typically manufactured from plant-based biomass. This process has a couple of distinct advantages, Osman said. Current methods of creating this type of alumina involves bauxite ore, the mining of which causes appreciable environmental damage in countries such as West Africa, the West Indies, and Australia. Related: Breakthrough algae strain produces twice as much biofuel There’s also the abundance of aluminum foil packaging waste. Because grease in used foil can muck up recycling equipment, nearly 20,000 tons of the stuff—enough to reach the moon and back—is either landfilled or incinerated in the United Kingdom alone. Osman plans to fine-tune his research so he can explore opportunities for commercialization, whether for biofuel production or the use of the modified alumina catalyst in the catalytic converters of natural-gas vehicles. “This breakthrough is significant as not only is the alumina more pure than its commercial counterpart, it could also reduce the amount of aluminum foil going to landfill while also sidestepping the environmental damage associated with mining bauxite,” Osman said in a statement . + Queen’s University Belfast Via New Atlas Photo by blikss/Flickr

More here:
Researchers turn recycled aluminum foil into cheaper, eco-friendlier biofuels

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 2819 access attempts in the last 7 days.