HOW TO: Turn your food waste into clean energy

February 21, 2018 by  
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Each year, 1.3 billion tons of food ends up lost or wasted — 46 percent of the world’s garbage. While the global food waste situation is what you’d call a “doozy,” consumers and companies like HomeBiogas are determined to turn food waste into clean, usable energy. Read on to find out how. What Is HomeBiogas? HomeBiogas is one of several successful projects to come about from Kickstarter. The Israeli company, which began its crowdfunding efforts in 2015, focuses on turning everyday food waste into energy for your home. How do they do it? With compact, household-sized biogas digesters that support anaerobic digestion, a process with zero oxygen and hungry bacteria that are ready to dive into last week’s moldy bread. Since the company’s launch in 2015, consumers have responded enthusiastically to their efforts. In fact, they blew past their crowdfunding goal for both biogas products. The second version, HomeBiogas 2.0 , exceeded its initial goal by more than 400 percent. In dollars and cents, that translates to more than $490,000. How Does HomeBiogas Work? OK, so consumers love it, but how does HomeBiogas work? Like the 27 million biogas plants in China, but on a smaller, less commercial scale. The process is alike, however, because every biogas system operates on the same premise — anaerobic digestion. Here’s a breakdown — pun intended — of the HomeBiogas process: 1. A user pours food waste into a funnel, where it enters the oxygen-free tank. 2. Water and bacteria begin digestion. Bacteria can come from a starter kit or from nitrogen-rich substances like chicken manure and shellfish shells. 3. Fermentation produces methane, carbon dioxide, and other gases. 4. Gas enters a storage tank for use via a pipe to your kitchen. 5. Liquid fertilizer becomes accessible via a spout for use in landscaping. In addition to bacteria, sunlight also contributes to biogas. Why? Bacteria love and thrive in heat, which means a well-placed HomeBiogas in a climate with temperatures around 68 degrees Fahrenheit digests food waste at a more efficient rate, which translates to more clean energy for you. What Does HomeBiogas 2.0 Do Better? With the basics of anaerobic digestion established, as well as the processes behind the original HomeBiogas, it’s time to explore how HomeBiogas 2.0 offers an edge over its predecessor: Upgraded efficiency: The new model promises a 50 percent boost to its processes. Increased capacity: HomeBiogas 2.0 doubles its storage with space to hold up to 185 gallons. Improved construction: The latest biogas digestor offers a lighter weight, plus more durable build. Enhanced installation: HomeBiogas 2.0 requires only an hour of your time to install. And if you’re worried about HomeBiogas filling your home with the nose-assaulting smell of decomposing food, forget about it. The team equipped its products with an airtight seal and filter, while using water to submerge food waste in the tank eliminates odor. How Can You Use This Clean Energy? Back in the 2000s, The Black Eyed Peas asked, “What you gon’ do with all that junk?” While they weren’t referencing food waste, there are plenty of ways to use the clean energy from your converted organic junk. Applications for the clean energy and liquid fertilizer produced by a HomeBiogas include: Powering your stove or grill: Cook up to three hours each day. Just place your HomeBiogas less than 65 feet from your kitchen or patio and connect the two with an included pipe. The biogas can connect to a countertop stove or double-burner setup. Fertilizing your gardens: Nurture your gardens with the liquid fertilizer produced by anaerobic digestion. HomeBiogas 2.0 features a user-friendly pouring sleeve, which makes it easy to dispense fertilizer into a water pail. Helping your neighbor: Support families in underserved communities. When you purchase a HomeBiogas 2.0, the company directs some of those funds to install their products in countries like Jordan and Uganda to combat indoor air pollution from cooking fuels. Like solar, wind and geothermal, biogas is a renewable energy source — and one that’s financially viable for consumers. As long as you have access to organic materials, like plants, you can count on the energy from biogas. As an additional benefit, biogas powers itself with pre-existing waste. What Does HomeBiogas Mean for the Future? Our planet wastes an enormous amount of food, yet the efforts of HomeBiogas and consumers around the globe demonstrate there is a motivation to do better and to reduce the waste that’s dominating the world’s landfills. What does that mean for the future? Hopefully that more people will adopt a lifestyle that thrives on clean, green energy. + HomeBiogas Images via HomeBiogas

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Scottish self-build home on a tight budget oozes cool utilitarian vibes

February 6, 2018 by  
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When Rural Design Architects was approached by clients looking for a self-build on a very tight budget, the local firm knew they’d have to get creative. Armed with experience from previous self-build projects, the architects designed the Black House, a three-bedroom home with an artists’ studio and study on the Isle of Skye. The rugged and simple-to-build home sits lightly on the land and, in contrast to its mostly black facade, bursts with textures, colors, and art inside. Though breathtakingly beautiful, the landscape on the Isle of Skye can be quite hostile, a challenge that shaped the Black House design. Rural Design Architects nestled the triangular building between two small mounds and brought the south side of the home, where the strongest winds hit, closer to the ground while raising the northwest side to take in views of the Loch and summer sunsets. Black corrugated metal clads the home and was chosen for durability and as a nod to the local agricultural vernacular. The envelope is well insulated to weather temperature extremes. The light-filled interior has a raw and utilitarian feel thanks to the oriented strand board wall panels, low concrete wall, cement floor finish, unfinished concrete stair, and exposed metal ductwork of the whole-house ventilation system. These elements are playfully tempered with the addition of color and modern art that punctuates the space—bright pops of color can also be seen on the outside of the home as well. The bedroom, studio, and bathroom are placed at a lower elevation than the main living area. Related: Green-Roofed Turf House Uses Natural Materials to Disappear into the Scottish Landscape “The house is truly a “Black House”, not only by its colour but by its very spirit. It draws parallels to the can-do attitude of the original occupants of “blackhouses”, heroically self-built using basic materials and skills to create a shelter for the family,” said the architects. + Rural Design Architects Via ArchDaily Images via Rural Design Architects by Nigel Rigden

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Scottish self-build home on a tight budget oozes cool utilitarian vibes

Test-Drive Tiny Living in This Tiny Home Village

December 27, 2017 by  
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In case you haven’t heard, downsizing is the new black … The post Test-Drive Tiny Living in This Tiny Home Village appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Scientists use banana skins to create new cancer detection technique

December 13, 2017 by  
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Bananas are quite a magical fruit and they’ve been used for everything from  “vegan leather” for wallets to durable  bioplastics and feedstock . Now, scientists have found yet another purpose for this versatile edible: cancer detection. As first reported by the  Huffington Post , researchers at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) have been using banana skins in a  new study to develop a technique for locating, mapping, and killing cancer in the body. Their work focused on the black spots of an overripe banana, which they discovered to contain the same biomarkers as skin melanoma. In mainstream practice, when a biopsy is conducted, dyes and fluorescent markers (or contrast agents) are used to color any suspicious areas. By comparison, the new electrochemical microscopy instrument uses eight soft micro-electrodes, lined side by side, that are brushed across potentially-cancerous tissue samples to trigger an electrochemical response in the body. The resulting electric currents from the action are then used by researchers to construct an image that will reveal any areas producing abnormal chemicals. As the Huffington Post writes, “It gives an idea of both the physical structure of the tissue and composition.” Related: Research shows the UK tosses out 1.4 million edible bananas – a day According to Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, the researchers found that the typical biomarkers of melanoma in humans can also be found in the black spots of overripe bananas. In a press statement, they note, “Taking advantage of this similarity, they [the researchers] were able to work on the fruit to develop an imaging technique capable of measuring tyrosinase in human skin and mapping out its distribution. An important step forward has also now been made in applying the imaging technique to thick tissues – like a biopsy of human skin – in addition to thin cross-sections of cells.” In the future, the hope is the technique can be used to kill cancer cells during surgery. As Hubert Girault, head of the Laboratory of Physical and Analytical Electrochemistry at EPFLnotes in the study, they are “perfectly capable of using electrochemistry to kill cancer cells on microscope slides and in petri dishes, but doing so in thick tissue is another story.” He sees a device with interconnected microelectrodes capable of generating an image that will reveal any tumors and then electrochemically destroy the cancerous cells found with a burst of voltage.“Around two volts, that’s not much, but it’s enough to generate oxygen radicals and eliminate cancer cells,” says Girault. Via Huffington Post

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Opt Outside Virtually with Sounds from Around the World

November 24, 2017 by  
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Instead of indulging in consumerism on Black Friday, follow the … The post Opt Outside Virtually with Sounds from Around the World appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Opt Outside Virtually with Sounds from Around the World

Investors, companies demand consistent climate risk data

June 1, 2017 by  
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Two of the world’s largest asset management firms, State Street Advisors and BlackRock, publicly support improved disclosure.

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How climate laws can catalyze more equitable cities

June 1, 2017 by  
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Environmental justice advocates are working to ensure California’s efforts to combat climate change benefit everyone — and then applied nationwide.

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Lego, Tesco face risks with public renewables goals

June 1, 2017 by  
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Renewables are now firmly in the mainstream, but corporates must overcome the barriers to deliver the scale that is needed.

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Lego, Tesco face risks with public renewables goals

Spherical timber teahouse hides in the treetops of Austria

May 19, 2017 by  
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Teatime is served with a side of enviable treetop views at the pod-shaped Teahouse Riedenthaln nestled in an Austrian garden. Architecture firm a-lp architektur designed the curious igloo-shaped timber hideaway as a modern interpretation of the traditional Japanese teahouse . The 10-square-meter elevated space was largely built from recycled oak wood offcuts. Located in a private garden, the spherical room serves as a place to drink tea, for hosting regression therapy clients, and as a possible sleeping area. A ramp leads up to the low and narrow entrance that opens to a light-filled and surprisingly spacious interior. Natural light fills the cave-like space through a large painted skylight and two rectangular windows. Related: Cocoon Tree: A lightweight, spherical treehouse for sustainable living The tiny teahouse retreat is raised on four black-painted pillars, made of tree trunks. Locally chopped oak timber was used as the main material for the teahouse. The wood cladding was recycled from the small timber offcuts of a local wine barrel-maker and assembled in stacks of over forty layers. The furniture, which includes a counter with a sink, window seat, and sleeping area, is also made from oak timber. + a-lp architektur Via ArchDaily Images by Christine Leuthner

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Spherical timber teahouse hides in the treetops of Austria

President Obama says Army is exploring rerouting the Dakota Access Pipeline

November 3, 2016 by  
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Will President Barack Obama take action on the Dakota Access Pipeline ? In an interview with NowThis posted this week he said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is exploring “ways to reroute” the oil pipeline protested by Standing Rock Sioux Tribe members and their supporters in North Dakota . President Obama’s statement sounded hopeful but may not result in action soon; the president said he would let the confrontation “play out for several more weeks.” When asked if his administration would intervene in the conflict over the Dakota Access Pipeline, President Obama said, “We’re monitoring this closely and I think as a general rule, my view is that there is a way for us to accommodate sacred lands of Native Americans . I think right now the Army Corps is examining whether there are ways to reroute this pipeline in a way.” Related: In surprise announcement, US government blocks the Dakota Access Pipeline Some people didn’t seem pleased with the president’s comments. In a statement, Morton County Chairman Cody Schulz said, “Rather than creating further uncertainty, the President should be sending us the support and resources necessary to enforce the law and protect people’s right to peacefully protest.” Energy Transfer Partners spokesperson Vicki Granado said they didn’t know of any reroute considerations and they still expected to obtain an easement to start building the pipeline portion that would pass beneath the Missouri River. When asked about treatment of the protesters, President Obama said, “I mean, it’s a challenging situation. I think that my general rule when I talk to governors and state and local officials whenever they’re dealing with protests – including, for example, during the Black Lives Matters protests – is there’s an obligation for protesters to be peaceful and there’s an obligation for authorities to show restraint.” He said he hoped everyone could have the opportunity to be heard with both sides avoiding situations where people could be hurt. Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Dave Archambault II said in a statement, “We believe President Obama and his administration will do the right thing.” You can watch NowThis’s interview with the president here . Via NowThis Twitter and NPR Images via Nick Knupffer on Flickr and Sacred Stone Camp on Facebook

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President Obama says Army is exploring rerouting the Dakota Access Pipeline

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