Massive eco-resort with a theme park to rise on Vietnams beaches

February 12, 2018 by  
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The Vietnamese government has given the green light to Mui Dinh Ecopark, a massive eco-resort expected to become one of Asia’s largest hospitality and leisure developments. Designed by architecture firm Chapman Taylor’s Bangkok studio, the mega-project will span 1,800 acres and comprise seven hotels for a total of 7,000 rooms in addition to a theme park, 500 villas, casino, beach club, and mountain clubhouse. The project is envisioned as a “sustainable destination.” Set on southern Vietnam’s beautiful white sandy shores in Mui Dinh, the enormous eco-resort will take inspiration from the local area’s rich history while paying careful attention to the environment. Little has been revealed on how the massive development plans to reduce its environmental footprint, but the renderings provide some clues: the buildings appear to take cues from the local vernacular with thatched roofs and natural materials rather that concrete construction. The visuals also show an idyllic verdant setting thick with trees while the larger buildings take the form of rounded mountains. Related: Outstanding eco-friendly resort in China is made with recycled and locally-sourced materials “Set on a beautiful site on the east coast of Vietnam, Mui Dinh Ecopark is designed to reflect the key elements of the surrounding environment – sand, sea, salt and sun,” wrote the architects. “Intended as an unrivalled hospitality-led mixed-use development in Asia , the development is inspired by the rich local history of Mui Dinh, particularly that of the Cham tribal culture and architecture as well as the lost world of the last dynasty.” + Chapman Taylor Via ArchDaily Images via Chapman Taylor

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Massive eco-resort with a theme park to rise on Vietnams beaches

New 1 km solar road opens in Jinan, China

December 28, 2017 by  
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China is getting in on the solar road -building action. A one-kilometer stretch of solar highway developed by Qilu Transportation Development Group just opened for testing near Jinan, the capital city of China’s Shandong Province. According to Quartz the expressway has three layers: the solar panels rest in the middle, with insulation below and transparent concrete on top. Solar panels sprawl across 5,875 square meters, or around 63,238 square feet, covering two lanes and one emergency lane in China’s new solar road now open for traffic. These panels can generate one million kilowatt-hours of clean power every year – that’s enough to meet the daily needs of roughly 800 households, according to Xinhua . Project designer Zhang Hongchao, in an interview with CCTV cited by Quartz, said the road can handle 10 times more pressure than normal asphalt roads. Related: France officially opens world’s first solar panel road Qilu Transportation Development Group chairman Xu Chunfu told Xinhua, “The project will save the space for building solar farms and shorten the transmission distance.” The electricity generated by the solar road could go towards powering street lights, a snow-melting system, surveillance cameras, signboards, and toll gate facilities, with excess energy sent to the state grid. The plan is for the clean power to one day also charge electric vehicles . Xu did not disclose the project’s cost to Xinhua, but did claim it was half of similar projects in other countries, saying, “With the development of solar power in China, the cost can be further reduced.” Zhang said the road cost about 3,000 yuan, or $458, per square meter, and as that is more than regular streets, it may take some time for the project to expand. The Qilu Transportation Development Group described the road as the “world’s first freeway photovoltaic pavement experiment section.” There are other solar roadways throughout the world – around a year ago France opened a one kilometer-long solar panel road in Tourouvre-au-Perche. Via Xinhua , Quartz , and Qilu Transportation Development Group Images via Qilu Transportation Development Group

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New 1 km solar road opens in Jinan, China

All of Toyota’s cars will be either hybrid or fully electric by 2025

December 19, 2017 by  
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Toyota has concentrated mainly on hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and hybrid cars over electric ones. But the company made a big announcement in Tokyo this week: every Toyota and Lexus model will be available as fully electric or with an electric option in just around eight years. They’re shooting for sales of over 5.5 million electrified vehicles by around 2030. At a Tokyo press briefing, the company announced its plans for popularizing electric cars between 2020 and 2030. The company said in their press release they aim to accelerate development and launch of hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid electric, battery electric, and fuel cell electric cars. This goal includes offering a hybrid or completely electric option for every single Toyota and Lexus model by around 2025. Related: Toyota and Mazda establish a new company for electric cars They’re aiming for sales of over one million zero-emissions vehicles (what they described as battery electric or fuel cell electric vehicles) by around 2030. Toyota plans to offer over 10 battery electric models worldwide in the early 2020s, launching in China before possibly entering markets in the United States, Japan, India, and the United Kingdom. They plan to continue growing their hybrid electric line-up due to the development of the hybrid system found in their current generation Prius . The company said they’ve been working on solid-state batteries , with the goal to commercialize their technology in the early 2020’s. They’ll also begin a feasibility study with Panasonic on a prismatic battery business. And Toyota will also work towards more EV infrastructure. In their statement, the company said, “This includes the creation of a system to help streamline battery reuse and recycling, as well as support of the promotion of plug-in vehicle charging stations and hydrogen refueling stations through active cooperation and collaboration with government authorities and partner companies.” Via Toyota and TechCrunch Images via Depositphotos ( 1 , 2 )

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All of Toyota’s cars will be either hybrid or fully electric by 2025

Airless tires could help Toyota make lighter electric cars

October 30, 2017 by  
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Airless tires could boost performance and cut down the weight of electric cars – and Toyota is interested. The automaker recently unveiled the hydrogen-powered Fine-Comfort Ride concept car fitted with the tires at the Tokyo Motor Show . The Fine-Comfort Ride is about as big as a crossover SUV, but chief engineer Takao Sato said the airless wheels could be used on any electric car. The airless tires on the Fine-Comfort Ride are comprised of a band of rubber around a plastic-aluminum hub, reports Bloomberg . Sumitomo Rubber Industries supplied the tires for Toyota . Sumitomo unveiled their Smart Tyre Concept, which includes the airless component, at the Tokyo Motor Show and said in a press release , “Airless tires contribute to greater safety and peace of mind in transportation by freeing the driver from worries about punctures and the trouble of having to manage tire pressure.” Sumitomo said there’s interest from other Japanese carmakers as well. Related: Michelin unveils airless 3D-printed tires that last virtually forever Sato said, “For automakers, the attraction of airless tires is for electrified vehicles.” At the moment the concept tires still weigh about as much as pneumatic tires, but the technology could develop to trim five kilograms – around 11 pounds – from each tire. That’s around 30 percent of each tire’s weight, and the development could come as early as 2025. Sumitomo airless tire project head Wako Iwamura said he aims to have a commercial product by 2020, according to Bloomberg, and that his tires are already comparable in price with those requiring air. The company has already been testing the tires on golf carts and minicars. Sumitomo also pioneered what they called the world’s first 100 percent fossil resource-free tires using all-natural materials back in 2013, and said since then they’ve been working to create “proprietary biomass materials based on raw materials derived from plants .” Via Bloomberg Images via Toyota

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Leading Stanford climate scientist builds incredible net zero home, complete with Tesla Powerwall

October 30, 2017 by  
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A leading climate scientist — who has dedicated his career to proving the feasibility of transitioning the world off fossil fuels — walks the walk with his personal home. Professor of civil & environmental engineering and director of the Atmosphere/Energy Program at Stanford University, Mark Z. Jacobson has built an incredible Net Zero home using energy-efficient features that enable the house to generate all of its own energy from renewable sources . Jacobson is one of the founders of The Solutions Project , an initiative backed by scientific research that aims to show how every state in the USA can transition to 100 percent renewable energy . Using the organization’s ethos and his own research as a guide, Jacobson worked with luxury custom homebuilders, BONE Structure to design and build his ultra-efficient home . Related: This new energy concept from Sweden can make any building net zero Located in Stanford, California, the structure is the epitome of future efficient home design that doesn’t sacrifice on style or comfort. The project’s planning began by creating an ultra-low energy thermal shell that would insulate the home and reduce energy requirements. Next, to generate and conserve energy, the home was equipped with solar panels along with a couple of Tesla Powerwall battery packs for storage. This system meets all of the home’s energy needs, including heating, cooling, plug loads and even transportation charging. Jacobson moved into his Net Zero home last summer and has been monitoring its performance ever since. Not only does his energy system generate enough clean energy to meet his family’s needs, but Jacobson has also been able to sell 67 percent of the clean electricity back to the utility grid. + BONE Structure

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Leading Stanford climate scientist builds incredible net zero home, complete with Tesla Powerwall

Toshiba lithium-ion battery could offer EVs 200-mile range after 6-minute recharge

October 25, 2017 by  
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The electric vehicle (EV) movement could receive a major boost from a new lithium-ion battery . Toshiba recently announced the battery charges up in a snappy six minutes, providing compact EVs with a 200-mile range. Toshiba said their next-generation SCiB lithium-ion battery comes with an anode comprised of a new material unlike any other on the market. Toshiba’s new 32 kilowatt-hour SCiB battery could triple the travel distance possible for EVs when compared to existing lithium ion batteries thanks to a titanium niobium oxide anode that replaces conventional lithium titanium oxide anodes. Related: ‘Instantly rechargeable’ battery spells bad news for gas-guzzling cars The energy density by volume of this new battery is twice that of Toshiba’s current SCiB, according to the company, but prototype testing shows it is as safe, with a similarly long life cycle. They also say after 5,000 charge and discharge cycles, the battery maintains more than 90 percent of the capacity it had at the start, so it could go through one recharge cycle per day for 14 years, according to Electronics Weekly . The battery can also undergo ultra-rapid recharging when it’s chilly outside – charging up in 10 minutes when the temperature is as low as minus 10 degrees Celsius. The titanium niobium oxide anode is less likely to suffer from lithium metal deposition while recharging quickly or in the cold, which can degrade batteries. Toshiba Corporate Research and Development Center director Osamu Hori said in a statement, “We are very excited by the potential of the new titanium niobium oxide anode and the next-generation SCiB. Rather than an incremental improvement, this is a game-changing advance that will make a significant difference to the range and performance of EV. We will continue to improve the battery’s performance and aim to put the next-generation SCiB into practical application in fiscal year 2019.” Toshiba didn’t give a price for the battery in their release. Via Toshiba and Electronics Weekly Images via Depositphotos and Wikimedia Commons

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Toshiba lithium-ion battery could offer EVs 200-mile range after 6-minute recharge

Groundbreaking Passivhaus development features ultra-green homes that you can actually afford

October 24, 2017 by  
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UK-based architectural firm Hamson Barron Smith have built a ground-breaking Passivhaus development in Greater Norwich, UK. The Carrowbreck Meadow project includes 14 ultra-sustainable homes, which have been designed to pay homage to the local rural barn vernacular found in the area. The Passivhaus development is the largest of its kind in the area, but will also serve as a benchmark for sustainable building everywhere because 43% of the development is comprised of affordable housing. Built in the traditional barn style, the Carrowbreck Meadow homes are clad in a mix of white render and black-stained timber. The A-frame roofs are covered in either slate or red roof tiles. Wood used in the construction was 100% locally sourced from sustainable northern forests. Additional sustainable features include using low-carbon materials where possible such as the insulation in the roofs, which is made out of recycled newspaper. Local contractors and subcontractors were also hired for the job to reduce the project’s carbon footprint. All of the homes are installed with electric car charging points, rainwater butts and PV connection points. The master plan also includes a unique waste management system that facilitates reusing and recycling processes for the homeowners. Related: Passivehaus Container Complex Proposed for Leeds Waterfront Located in a heavily wooded lot, the positioning and orientation of the homes was strategic in order to take advantage of solar gain in the wintertime and avoid extreme heat in the summer. The homes are installed with an abundance of windows that let in natural light , but are equipped with venetian blinds and brise soleils to provide shade. A heat recovery system provides fresh filtered air throughout the structures. The green building materials and low energy features used in the development, as well as the homes’ integrated thermal bridges and draft-free building envelopes – which is five time over the strict passivehaus regulations for airtightness – have earned the project a full Passivehaus certification . However, the fact that the development includes a high number of affordable homes really makes the Carrowbreck Meadow project unique. By offering 43% percent of the property as affordable housing, the architects hope to not only provide locals with sustainable and energy efficient options, but one that fosters a strong inclusive atmosphere as well. The Carrowbreck Meadow development design was recognized with a RIBA Eastern Region Design Award in May 2017. + Hamson Barron Smith Images via Hamson Barron Smith

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Groundbreaking Passivhaus development features ultra-green homes that you can actually afford

MVRDV unveils futuristic hotel whose rooms can be configured in countless ways

October 24, 2017 by  
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Could flexible architecture be the future of urban design ? Prolific Dutch architects MVRDV just unveiled one very colorful hotel whose nine rooms can be transformed into a variety of configurations. The funky hotel – called (W)ego – is an example of how flexible architecture can help urban areas adapt to diverse needs quickly and effectively — whether it’s making room for growing families, providing student housing, or creating shelters for refugees. The 30-foot-tall hotel is the center of the firm’s Dutch Design Week installation called The Future City is Flexible. In it the firm proposes a new urban design model that is suited to the “users’ most elaborate fantasies.” The hotel has a total of nine rooms, each of which is designated by ultra-vibrant colors and quirky features geared to a variety of tastes. Related: Fully-furnished shipping containers form unique prefab hotel in Manchester The life-sized installation allows visitors to negotiate with each other in order to find the perfect living space of their dreams. The interactive method is based on the idea of creating a participatory process in order to achieve true happiness, “Through gaming and other tools, (W)ego explores participatory design processes to model the competing desires and egos of each resident in the fairest possible way,” explains MVRDV co-founder Winy Maas. The hotel, which is currently on display in Eindhoven, was created in collaboration with The Why Factory , the firm’s own research lab that studies how cities across the world will deal with issues such as climate change and population growth in the future. + MVRDV + The Why Factory Via Dezeen Photography by Ossip van Duivenbode

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MVRDV unveils futuristic hotel whose rooms can be configured in countless ways

Toyota and Mazda establish a new company for electric cars

October 18, 2017 by  
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Toyota , Mazda and Denso have signed a new partnership through which they will jointly establish a new company for the development of electric cars. Neither Toyota nor Mazda offer any fully electric vehicles in their lineup yet, so the new partnership will give both automakers the basic structural components for EVs. For automakers to survive the changing automotive industry, they need to be able to produce several types of powertrains, including electric and fuel cell vehicles . Toyota, Mazda and Denso have decided to team up for better capability of developing electric technology that can be applied to a variety of vehicles, improving their response time to the changing market trends. Related: New Toyota concept takes the wheel when drivers get sleepy The new company, called EV Common Architecture Spirit Co Ltd. will leverage Mazda’s product planning and computer modeling-based development, Denso’s electronics technologies, and the Toyota New Global Architecture platform. The TNGA platform is already used by models like the 2018 Toyota Camry and the latest-generation Prius . Toyota will own 90 percent of the company, while Mazda and Denso will each have a 5 percent share. The new agreement covers a diverse range of models, from mini vehicles to passenger vehicles, SUVs, and light trucks. Toyota and Mazda are both behind most other automakers, since neither of them have focused on fully-electric vehicles. Toyota has focused its energies on hybrid powertrains, while Mazda continues to focus on improving the internal combustion engine . With countries now mandating zero-emissions vehicles, the partnership will not only help both automakers catch up to their competitors, but also bring new electric cars to market sooner. Mazda has already announced that it will introduce electrified powertrains as early as 2019. + Toyota All images ©Toyota

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Greening the Earth could fight climate change as efficiently as cutting fossil fuels

October 18, 2017 by  
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Planting trees, revitalizing soil, and other natural environmental actions could prove as effective in fighting climate change as ceasing all oil use across the planet, according to new study published by an international team of scientists in the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “Better stewardship of the land could have a bigger role in fighting climate change than previously thought,” said the team in a statement. Protection of carbon-storing peatlands , sustainable land management, reforestation, and other natural solutions could account for 37 percent of all emissions reductions required under the Paris Agreement by 2030. Perhaps most astoundingly, a complete re-greening of the planet would have as much of a positive impact on climate change mitigation as completely stopping the global burning of oil for fuel. The estimates of the potential benefits from natural climate change solutions are about 30 percent higher than that predicted by a 2014 UN panel of climate scientists. In the recently released study, scientists conclude that more sustainable management of natural resources and the environment could result in 11.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions, the equivalent of China’s yearly emissions, by 2030. Trees are particularly important to this system, as they act as carbon banks while they are alive. After they die, trees decompose and this carbon is slowly released back into the atmosphere. More trees and more resilient forests means more potential carbon storage, among other health benefits. Related: Megacities could save $505 million a year thanks to trees Although the current plans from governments across the globe are insufficient to avert a 2 degree Celsius global temperature rise, the new study offers hope for alternative solutions. “Fortunately, this research shows we have a huge opportunity to reshape our food and land use systems ,” said Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever. Unfortunately, the planet is rapidly running out of time before catastrophic climate change upends the world as we know it. “If we are serious about climate change, then we are going to have to get serious about investing in nature ,” said Mark Tercek, CEO of The Nature Conservancy. You heard it here: get out there and start planting trees. Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos

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