This twisting tower is made out of 2,000 3D-printed terracotta bricks

September 29, 2017 by  
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A team of researchers and students from the HKU Faculty of Architecture worked with Holger Kehne of Plasma Studio to create a beautiful twisted tower out of 2,000 3D-printed terracotta bricks. Each clay brick used to create the Ceramic Constellation Pavilion was individually printed in a unique shape or size using innovative robotic technology, which prints at a faster pace than most 3D printing machines and provides incredible versatility in the building process. The 12-foot pavilion was part of the inaugural “Robotic Architecture Series” workshop hosted by international property developer, Sino Group . All of the materials used in the project were made in the Robotics Lab at HKU’s Faculty of Architecture. By building the 3D tower the team sought to test the feasibility of robotically printed terracotta bricks. The printing process means that the clay bricks can be configured into distinct shapes and densities, adding an invaluable versatility to the design process. Related: Perforated screens made from reused terracotta tiles wrap around this house in Malaysia The team began with about 1,500 pounds of raw terracotta clay . Using the university’s innovative robotic technology with a rapid print time of 2 or 3 minutes for each brick, it took about three weeks to print the materials. After firing the bricks in an oven at 1,877 degrees Fahrenheit, students from the HKU Department of Architecture assembled the beautiful pavilion during the ten day workshop. + HKU Faculty of Architecture + Sino Group + Plasma Studio

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This twisting tower is made out of 2,000 3D-printed terracotta bricks

Puerto Rico electricity crisis sparks interest in renewable energy

September 29, 2017 by  
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Hurricane Maria has left swaths of Puerto Rico without power – and millions of people could have to go without electricity for months . The storm’s devastation has stirred new interest in obtaining more energy from clean sources like solar or wind . Energy experts say increasing renewables and transitioning from centralized grids to microgrids could boost resilience as Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands weather storms. CARICOM, a Caribbean nation consortium, already hoped to hit 47 percent renewable energy by 2027. The recent hurricanes could act as a motivation to work for that goal. Caribbean countries in the past have relied mostly on imported fossil fuels , which are expensive both for the islands and for the environment . And storms can cripple power lines. Related: Puerto Rico could be without electricity for months due to Hurricane Maria There is an alternative, according to The Washington Post. Renewable sources, coupled with battery storage , powering small grids could offer more resiliency. Fossil fuels would offer backup—at least initially until battery storage becomes more affordable. The microgrids could be connected to a main grid but could also be isolated. With this new setup, the Caribbean could benefit from trade winds and solar panels. According to renewable energy expert Tom Rogers, who works at Britain’s Coventry University, solar systems in the tropics can “generate over one and a half times more than exactly the same PV system” installed in a location with a higher latitude like Europe. Rogers told The Washington Post, “You look at islands like Dominica, Anguilla, and other islands affected by the recent hurricanes, I’ve spoken to a couple of the utilities, and they say they would prefer to rebuild using distributed generation with storage, and just trying to reduce the amount of transmission lines. Because that’s where their energy systems fail. It’s having these overhead cables.” Via The Washington Post Images via Sgt. Jose Ahiram Diaz-Ramos/Puerto Rico National Guard and NOAA Satellites Twitter

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Innovative heat-dispersing clay bricks help keep homes naturally cool

December 14, 2015 by  
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Watershed Materials developed technology that turns clay into a sustainable building product

August 20, 2015 by  
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Watershed Materials, a California based building materials technology startup, has developed a solution to produce high strength masonry with a low carbon footprint using natural mineral based geopolymers. The technology allows for natural clays found readily all over the planet to be turned into reliable masonry products and offers a sustainable alternative to traditional concrete masonry. Recent test samples have achieved compressive strengths twice the strength of ordinary concrete, and have demonstrated remarkable resistance to water and chemical erosion. Concrete masonry is one of the world’s most common construction materials, but unfortunately, it has a high carbon footprint due to its reliance on Portland cement, a material responsible for 6 percent of the world’s CO2 emissions. Read the rest of Watershed Materials developed technology that turns clay into a sustainable building product

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World’s largest hydrogen station in the works for San Francisco

August 20, 2015 by  
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The world’s largest hydrogen fueling station could soon become San Francisco ‘s biggest landmark if everything goes according to plan.  The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration, MARAD is currently reviewing the plan to add a massive hydrogen station to the San Francisco Bay that could seriously help reduce carbon emissions from vehicles like cars, buses, a high-speed ferry and other maritime vessels. The station would have twice the capacity of the world’s biggest existing station, providing about 1,500 kg of hydrogen per day. Read the rest of World’s largest hydrogen station in the works for San Francisco

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