New sparks for the electric vehicle industry

August 25, 2020 by  
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New sparks for the electric vehicle industry Zoé Bezpalko Tue, 08/25/2020 – 01:45 Thinking back to the beginning of 2020 can seem like a lifetime ago. Before the pandemic took root on a global level, the transportation industry was already in the midst of a great and exciting transition. The move to electric vehicles (EVs) was intensifying.  Take General Motors, for example. In early March, the company announced it would have 20 new EVs by 2023. It also is tackling ambitious innovations with its Ultium battery and propulsion system that could enable a GM-estimated range up to 400 miles or more on a full charge with 0 to 60 mile-per-hour acceleration as low as three seconds.  And then COVID-19 hit. Sales for all vehicles plummeted. But new consumer revelations were (and are) occurring on a daily basis — and it is good news for the EV market. People are appreciating how skies can be clearer and bluer with fewer cars on the road. We’re learning the value of our time and resources with lessons in how to shop more efficiently with fewer trips. With a growing unease in taking public transportation, the demand for electric bikes and cars is also skyrocketing.  While governmental incentives for the EV market in the United States are minimal, the private sector is jumping on board to continue the momentum and meet the new consumer demand.  In June, Lyft announced that every vehicle on its platform will be electric by 2030. Despite a setback in the construction of its factory during the shutdown, Rivian will debut its electric pickup truck and electric SUV next summer. The company is also on track to manufacture more than 100,000 electric vans for Amazon. And GM isn’t shying away from its announcement and commitment to EVs, stating in May that it is continuing at full speed. But there is still much more that needs to change and be done. The present and future opportunities for EVs What can be done to propel the EV industry even further despite the current global climate with COVID-19? Like anything in today’s landscape, it’s complicated — but it’s possible to achieve new inroads. Let’s be honest. EV design and manufacturing comes with an entirely different set of challenges, even without a global pandemic as a backdrop. From EV design to manufacturing and battery optimization and production, we must address needed changes head-on for a radical, new approach to design and manufacturing. Battery changes Of course, not every company can be GM and create its own battery system. That’s why there is a need for greater openness in battery design and production — and what is actually inside the “black box” battery pack provided by manufacturers. If we can tap into the battery itself, we can further innovate for more efficiency. Battery packs contain components such as cooling, sensors and battery management systems that, if more open, could allow engineers and designers to optimize storage and layout for energy efficiency. With the development of integrated digital design tools, the hope is that addressing both the battery and the car’s geometry in one combined design process will lead to greater efficiency for both.  Manufacturing changes Even before COVID-19, automotive manufacturers and suppliers already were looking at new ways to modernize factories for better performance and reduced energy consumption. Last fall, Porsche opened a new, innovative factory to manufacture its first fully electric sports car, the Taycan. The zero-impact facility is the largest built since the company was founded 70 years ago, and it is also one of the first in the world to begin use of driverless transport systems within the factory. It’s a great example of not only the acceleration of EV availability in the market, but a better way to approach manufacturing, too. COVID-19 and its disruptive impacts on the global supply chain have accelerated how manufacturers and OEMs are looking at their production for more resilience. When factories shut down, it was a chance to step back and think of embedding sustainability throughout operations, in the factory layout itself, or leveraging more additive and local manufacturing. That also means greater opportunity to bring EV manufacturing and production more into the fold and mainstream. EV design changes On the vehicle design side, there are still untapped opportunities to improve battery range, especially through lightweighting and friction reduction. Frictions can be reduced by employing computational fluid dynamics software for simulation. And using generative design , designers can look at an incredible array of options to reduce the overall weight of the car.  Imagine taking an EV design and inputting the parameters to optimize such as geometry, materials, mechanical properties or even the manufacturing process. With generative design, the design team can explore the generated solutions and prioritize and choose what is most important for their goals. What’s more, the power of generative design truly shines when coupled with additive manufacturing to reduce waste in production. It even can solve some supply chain challenges for parts availability. GM has been putting generative design to the test, especially for lightweighting. Its very first proof-of-concept project was for a small, yet important, component — the seat bracket where seat belts are fastened. With parameters based on required connection points, strength and mass, the software returned more than 150 valid design options. The team quickly identified the new seat bracket with a unique, unimaginable style, which is 40 percent lighter, 20 percent stronger and consolidates eight components into one 3D-printed part.  Driving forward If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we are all much more resilient than we thought possible. This global pandemic is offering us an opportunity to reflect on a future we want — one that is not only more sustainable, but also more equitable for all. We are embracing change as never before. As we all adapt to our new reality, industries also follow suit. Change and adaptability always has been endemic to the EV industry. We have made huge strides already. Now it’s time to keep driving forward. Pull Quote EV design and manufacturing comes with an entirely different set of challenges, even without a global pandemic as a backdrop. Topics Transportation & Mobility Design & Packaging COVID-19 Electric Vehicles Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Porsche’s zero-impact factory designed to manufacture electric vehicles. Image courtesy of Porsche.

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New sparks for the electric vehicle industry

New sparks for the electric vehicle industry

August 25, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on New sparks for the electric vehicle industry

New sparks for the electric vehicle industry Zoé Bezpalko Tue, 08/25/2020 – 01:45 Thinking back to the beginning of 2020 can seem like a lifetime ago. Before the pandemic took root on a global level, the transportation industry was already in the midst of a great and exciting transition. The move to electric vehicles (EVs) was intensifying.  Take General Motors, for example. In early March, the company announced it would have 20 new EVs by 2023. It also is tackling ambitious innovations with its Ultium battery and propulsion system that could enable a GM-estimated range up to 400 miles or more on a full charge with 0 to 60 mile-per-hour acceleration as low as three seconds.  And then COVID-19 hit. Sales for all vehicles plummeted. But new consumer revelations were (and are) occurring on a daily basis — and it is good news for the EV market. People are appreciating how skies can be clearer and bluer with fewer cars on the road. We’re learning the value of our time and resources with lessons in how to shop more efficiently with fewer trips. With a growing unease in taking public transportation, the demand for electric bikes and cars is also skyrocketing.  While governmental incentives for the EV market in the United States are minimal, the private sector is jumping on board to continue the momentum and meet the new consumer demand.  In June, Lyft announced that every vehicle on its platform will be electric by 2030. Despite a setback in the construction of its factory during the shutdown, Rivian will debut its electric pickup truck and electric SUV next summer. The company is also on track to manufacture more than 100,000 electric vans for Amazon. And GM isn’t shying away from its announcement and commitment to EVs, stating in May that it is continuing at full speed. But there is still much more that needs to change and be done. The present and future opportunities for EVs What can be done to propel the EV industry even further despite the current global climate with COVID-19? Like anything in today’s landscape, it’s complicated — but it’s possible to achieve new inroads. Let’s be honest. EV design and manufacturing comes with an entirely different set of challenges, even without a global pandemic as a backdrop. From EV design to manufacturing and battery optimization and production, we must address needed changes head-on for a radical, new approach to design and manufacturing. Battery changes Of course, not every company can be GM and create its own battery system. That’s why there is a need for greater openness in battery design and production — and what is actually inside the “black box” battery pack provided by manufacturers. If we can tap into the battery itself, we can further innovate for more efficiency. Battery packs contain components such as cooling, sensors and battery management systems that, if more open, could allow engineers and designers to optimize storage and layout for energy efficiency. With the development of integrated digital design tools, the hope is that addressing both the battery and the car’s geometry in one combined design process will lead to greater efficiency for both.  Manufacturing changes Even before COVID-19, automotive manufacturers and suppliers already were looking at new ways to modernize factories for better performance and reduced energy consumption. Last fall, Porsche opened a new, innovative factory to manufacture its first fully electric sports car, the Taycan. The zero-impact facility is the largest built since the company was founded 70 years ago, and it is also one of the first in the world to begin use of driverless transport systems within the factory. It’s a great example of not only the acceleration of EV availability in the market, but a better way to approach manufacturing, too. COVID-19 and its disruptive impacts on the global supply chain have accelerated how manufacturers and OEMs are looking at their production for more resilience. When factories shut down, it was a chance to step back and think of embedding sustainability throughout operations, in the factory layout itself, or leveraging more additive and local manufacturing. That also means greater opportunity to bring EV manufacturing and production more into the fold and mainstream. EV design changes On the vehicle design side, there are still untapped opportunities to improve battery range, especially through lightweighting and friction reduction. Frictions can be reduced by employing computational fluid dynamics software for simulation. And using generative design , designers can look at an incredible array of options to reduce the overall weight of the car.  Imagine taking an EV design and inputting the parameters to optimize such as geometry, materials, mechanical properties or even the manufacturing process. With generative design, the design team can explore the generated solutions and prioritize and choose what is most important for their goals. What’s more, the power of generative design truly shines when coupled with additive manufacturing to reduce waste in production. It even can solve some supply chain challenges for parts availability. GM has been putting generative design to the test, especially for lightweighting. Its very first proof-of-concept project was for a small, yet important, component — the seat bracket where seat belts are fastened. With parameters based on required connection points, strength and mass, the software returned more than 150 valid design options. The team quickly identified the new seat bracket with a unique, unimaginable style, which is 40 percent lighter, 20 percent stronger and consolidates eight components into one 3D-printed part.  Driving forward If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we are all much more resilient than we thought possible. This global pandemic is offering us an opportunity to reflect on a future we want — one that is not only more sustainable, but also more equitable for all. We are embracing change as never before. As we all adapt to our new reality, industries also follow suit. Change and adaptability always has been endemic to the EV industry. We have made huge strides already. Now it’s time to keep driving forward. Pull Quote EV design and manufacturing comes with an entirely different set of challenges, even without a global pandemic as a backdrop. Topics Transportation & Mobility Design & Packaging COVID-19 Electric Vehicles Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Porsche’s zero-impact factory designed to manufacture electric vehicles. Image courtesy of Porsche.

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New sparks for the electric vehicle industry

Old Sydney warehouse is transformed into an industrial-chic home

October 10, 2018 by  
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Rather than strip Balmain, Sydney of its post-industrial architectural heritage and history, award-winning practice Carter Williamson Architects has taken care to sustainably breathe new life into the area’s old buildings. Case in point is the local studio’s transformation of a former timber factory into a stunning, modern home with industrial-chic styling woven throughout its four levels. Dubbed 102 The Mill, the unique home boasts 403 square meters of space with soaring ceilings and plenty of natural light. The adaptive reuse design is part of a greater redevelopment project in which a sawmill, cottage and factory were repurposed into multiple residences. All of the renovated buildings retain parts of the original construction. In 102 The Mill, these deliberately exposed frameworks are complemented by industrial-inspired lighting fixtures and minimalist, streamlined furnishings. Timber floors and warm fabrics help imbue the former factory with a sense of cozy warmth. Entering from the street-facing north facade, 102 The Mill allocates the main living and bedroom areas to the west side that faces the garden, while the staircase and elevator shaft are set on the eastern side of home. The ground floor includes a spacious entrance foyer that leads to an entertainment room and a guest suite; both rooms have access to the garden . An open-plan living room, kitchen and dining area are on the first floor, and an outdoor terrace has been added to the rear side. The second floor houses the master suite in addition to two bedrooms. The roof terrace offers extra entertaining space. Related: A historic farmhouse is transformed into a modern home with a green roof “By embracing its former factory life, The Mill manages to capture the gritty feel of industrial Balmain, sympathetically redefining the traditional Sydney terrace house,” reads the project description. “The result sits with an inevitability, blending in with its inner Sydney surroundings, yet striking forward as a jewel of modern Australian architecture.” + Carter Williamson Architects Photography by Brett Boardman

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Old Sydney warehouse is transformed into an industrial-chic home

Olson Kundig solar sail proposal could power up to 200 Melbourne homes with clean energy

October 10, 2018 by  
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Acclaimed architecture practice Olson Kundig is best known for its spectacular residential works in the Pacific Northwest, yet the Seattle-based firm has embarked on somewhat new ground in its recent submission to the 2018 Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) competition . Held this year in Melbourne, the international contest has invited designers to create a large-scale and site-specific public artwork that could generate clean energy for the city. In response, Olson Kundig developed Night and Day, a massive solar sail concept designed to produce 1,000 MWh of clean energy through a combination of solar energy and a hydro battery. Launched as part of Victoria State’s Renewable Energy Action Plan and Melbourne’s 2020 net-zero energy goals, the 2018 Land Art Generator Initiative competition promotes a “clean energy landscape for a post-carbon world.” Olson Kundig’s Night and Day submission taps into that vision with a sculptural hydro-solar generator that uses eye-catching design to bring clean energy to the forefront of the public’s eye. Proposed for St. Kilda Triangle on Port Phillip Bay, the renewable energy power plant could power up to 200 homes with emissions-free energy, 24 hours a day. During the day, the curved solar sail — topped with 5,400 square meters of photovoltaic panels — collects energy and powers a pump that directs water into a suspended hydro battery vessel. At night, that water would be discharged through two Pelton turbines and transformed by a generator into electricity — a design solution that addresses the common problem of energy storage. Modular and scalable, the Night and Day proposal could also be installed at various sites. Related: This massive Sun Ray could sustainably power 220 homes in Melbourne “This was different because it wasn’t just about creating architecture, something for the pleasure of its inhabitants,” said principal and owner Kevin Kudo-King of the submission, which also doubles as a pedestrian bridge. “It also needed to function as a machine, and it needed to generate power.” The winners of the 2018 LAGI Melbourne competition will be announced at an awards ceremony on October 11, 2018 at Fed Square, Melbourne . + Olson Kundig Images via LAGI

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Olson Kundig solar sail proposal could power up to 200 Melbourne homes with clean energy

A giant tree grows inside CRAs renovated farmhouse proposal

October 9, 2018 by  
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Italian design office Carlo Ratti Associati has unveiled designs for the Greenary, a renovated farmhouse that will be designed around a large, leafy, 50-year-old Ficus tree. Rising to a height of nearly 33 feet tall, the perennial tropical plant will anchor the main living area while the various living quarters will be arranged around the upper canopy. The adaptive reuse project is the first step in CRA’s competition-winning master plan and factory for Mutti, one of the leading tomato brands in the world. Located in a bucolic region in Italy’s “Food Valley” close to the city of Parma in northern Italy, the new Mutti master plan “strives to integrate nature and the built environment,” according to the architects. The Greenary will serve as a private residence located a few hundred meters from the new Mutti factory, a massive building that will process up to 5,500 tons of tomatoes a day. Both buildings will be designed around the concept of biophilia and connection with nature. “The Greenary is not a treehouse or a house on a tree, but a house designed around a tree,” explained Carlo Ratti Associati in its project statement. “Life unfolds in sync with that of a 50-year old Ficus, a perennial tropical plant housed in the middle of the farmhouse south hall. All around the tree, a sequence of interconnected rooms creates six domestic spaces — three above the entrance, three below it — each of them dedicated to a specific activity: from practicing yoga to listening to music, to reading and eating together.” Related: Thousands of tomato-sauce jars to turn into “tomato architecture” at Mutti In addition to the Ficus tree, which thrives in indoor environments, the house will feature a mainly timber palette, from the structural beams and stairs to the various furnishings. Large windows will flood the interior with natural light while framing views of the rural surroundings. Completion for the master plan is slated for 2023. + Carlo Ratti Associati Images via Carlo Ratti Associati

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A giant tree grows inside CRAs renovated farmhouse proposal

Architect turns old cement factory into incredible fairytale home – and the interior will blow you away

March 1, 2017 by  
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When Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill stumbled upon an abandoned cement factory in 1973, he saw opportunity in the ruins. Bofill bought the early twentieth-century compound and, together with local Catalan craftsmen, transformed the sprawling structure of silos and compounds into an incredible fairytale home that blends surrealism, brutalism, and modernism. Located in Catalonia, Spain, the renovation is remarkable – not only for its stunning appearance, but also for the architect’s ongoing ambition to make the concrete fortress into a surprisingly livable home and studio. A true labor of love, the Cement Factory home is over forty years in the making and is constantly evolving with no foreseeable end in sight. The basic overhaul , which included partial destruction with dynamite and jack hammers, took a little over a year to make the complex livable. To soften the harsh concrete facade, the grounds were generously replanted and climbing vines were introduced on the walls. The renovated complex is more than just Bofill’s dream home—it also contains a workspace for his architecture firm, a conference and exhibition room, a model workshop, gardens, and archive rooms. The existing structures largely influenced the design of the interior and the industrial feel was retained wherever possible. The rooms are flooded with natural light from the tall ceilings and large windows, while the silos serve as giant works of sculpture. “The factory is a magic place which strange atmosphere is difficult to be perceived by a profane eye. “I like the life to be perfectly programmed here, ritualised, in total contrast with my turbulent nomad life,” said Bofill. His firm says the project “will always remain an unfinished work.” Related: Abandoned Industrial Silo Becomes Beautiful Residences in Denmark While the raw concrete walls and slightly oxidized surfaces were preserved, the complex of silos and industrial structures have come a long way from its cement factory past. In addition to its unexpectedly lush exterior, the interior features surprising and skillful combinations of warm tones, textures, and contemporary elements against the industrial backdrop. Every room is treated like a work of art, with carefully selected furnishings that allude to the site’s history. “I have the impression of living in a precinct, in a closed universe which protects me from the outside and everyday life,” said Bofill. “The Cement Factory is a place of work par excellence. Life goes on here in a continuous sequence, with very little difference between work and leisure.” + Ricardo Bofill

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Architect turns old cement factory into incredible fairytale home – and the interior will blow you away

Tesla to power Gigafactory with world’s largest solar rooftop installation

January 11, 2017 by  
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Just last week Tesla announced battery production had started at their Nevada Gigafactory , but didn’t mention one thrilling detail in their January 4 announcement : the Gigafactory could be powered by the world’s largest solar rooftop installation. An investor handout revealed a 70-megawatt (MW) solar array along with ground solar panels could enable the massive factory to operate entirely on clean energy . The 70 MW solar array would be around seven times larger than any rooftop arrays currently installed, according to Tesla’s exciting handout released by Electrek and confirmed as genuine by The Verge. The rooftop array currently boasting the title of world’s largest is a 11.5 MW installation in India. The United States’ biggest rooftop array is a 10 MW array atop a California Whirlpool distribution center. Related: Tesla just kicked off battery production at its massive Nevada Gigafactory SolarCity will likely manufacture the solar panels, according to The Verge, as Tesla acquired the solar energy company in November. Powerpacks will store any excess energy generated by the vast solar installation. Tesla said in the handout the “all-electric” factory will be able to run with greater efficiency and will produce zero carbon emissions. Heating and water use at the Gigafactory will also be sustainable. In the handout, Tesla said a large part of heating for the building would come from waste heat obtained from production processes. Also, “Gigafactory’s closed-loop water supply system uses six different treatment systems to efficiently re-circulate about 1.5 million liters (that’s around 400,000 gallons) of water, representing an 80 percent reduction in fresh water usage compared with standard processes.” Tesla even said they’re building a recycling facility at the Gigafactory that will be able to “safely reprocess” battery cells, packs, and modules to obtain metal usable in new cells. It appears Elon Musk’s revolutionary company is once again raising the bar for corporate sustainability. Via The Verge and Electrek Images via h080 on Flickr and Tesla

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Tesla to power Gigafactory with world’s largest solar rooftop installation

Chinese company LeEco begins building $3 billion electric car factory

December 30, 2016 by  
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Chinese technology company LeEco just commenced construction of a $3 billion electric car factory. The facility could start churning out the company’s LeSee sedan in a few years, producing a staggering 400,000 vehicles by 2018. Roughly 90 percent of the futuristic factory’s work may be completed by robots . LeEco, which currently makes products like televisions, was in trouble. In a November letter to staff, founder Jia Yueting said the company expanded too fast and was struggling, and then cut his own income down to 15 cents. But about two weeks after the letter, the company reported they’d raised $600 million from unidentified investors but proceeded to lay off around 60 Hong Kong employees anyway. Then LeEco received another $1.44 billion investment this past Wednesday, again from an unidentified investor, and broke ground on the factory the same day. It is unclear whether those employees will be re-instated, or of their jobs will be replaced by robots. Related: Elon Musk just confirmed plans for a new Tesla Roadster According to Car News China , LeEco hasn’t yet obtained a government license to produce their LeSee cars at the factory. The outlet even said there’s a “real possibility” the government will refuse LeEco a license, as the CEO isn’t currently popular in Beijing. However, according to the South China Morning Post, a mayor of a city close to the factory said the local government will support the project. Should LeEco obtain permission, the factory is slated to produce the company’s first concept car, the LeSee. Zhang Hailiang, chief executive of LeEco’s car unit LeSupercar, said the factory will be automated completely, as robots do the bulk of the work. The electric vehicle would be equipped to operate autonomously . Fancy features include five in-car screens, smart seating, and the ability to recharge via magnetic charging stations. LeEco said Earth’s topography inspired the LeSee’s design, with the interior influenced by geological and biological patterns. Vegan materials and neutral colors add to the vehicle’s natural feel. According to the company , the form and function of the car “address future needs of our society and showcase a symbiosis between human, machine, and nature.” Via Carscoops and South China Morning Post Images via LeEco

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Chinese company LeEco begins building $3 billion electric car factory

NASA envisions ice dome home for future Mars dwellers

December 30, 2016 by  
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Future Mars dwellers face a tricky architectural challenge: how will structures protect them from radiation in an extreme environment? Experts from NASA’s Langley Research Center , Clouds Architecture Office , and Space Exploration Architecture (SEArch) found a creative answer in ice . They designed Mars Ice Home , an inflatable shelter enveloped in a water ice shell that provides protections and views of the scenery on Mars, and it could be partly repurposed for rocket fuel. The lightweight torus-shaped Mars Ice Home could offer a sustainable, safe home for astronauts on the red planet. With its ubiquitous hydrogen presence, water is especially well-suited to protect humans from galactic cosmic rays – one of the largest risks astronauts face by staying on Mars for an extended time period, according to NASA . The high-energy radiation can damage human DNA and cells, putting astronauts at risk for cancer or acute radiation sickness. Related: Foster + Partners unveils 3D-printed Mars settlement built by robots for NASA competition Water is even easily obtainable on the red planet, giving new meaning to the idea of locally-sourced. Recent NASA research revealed a Mars water ice deposit holds a similar amount of water as Lake Superior . The dwelling could be set up via robotics before astronauts arrive, which is helpful because with the current design, it would take around 400 days to fill the home with water. When it’s time to leave, water from Mars Ice Home could possibly be converted into rocket fuel usable by the Mars Ascent Vehicle. NASA says the home could double as a refillable storage tank as different astronaut groups travel to and off Mars. In the past many researchers pointed to underground dwellings as a solution to architectural challenges on Mars, but the new NASA design eschews that idea in favor of a light-filled residence. Researcher Kevin Kempton said in a statement, “All of the materials we’ve selected are translucent, so some outside daylight can pass through and make it feel like you’re in a home and not a cave…After months of travel in space , when you first arrive at Mars and your new home is ready for you to move in, it will be a great day.” Via NASA Images via NASA/Clouds AO/SEArch and courtesy of Kevin Kempton

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NASA envisions ice dome home for future Mars dwellers

Did you know that 60 percent of the world’s Christmas decorations are made in one single Chinese village?

December 23, 2014 by  
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Ever wondered where plastic  Christmas decorations come from? Unfortunately they are not made by an army of elves at Santa’s workshop (I wonder their wages are?), but instead, according to an expose by The Guardian , most are produced inside the Chinese village of Yiwu, where 600 factories produce 60 percent of all of the world’s festive decorations. The factory workers in Yiwu put in long hours in less-than-ethical working conditions, often dealing with toxic chemicals that have the potential to cause lasting damage to their health. Read the rest of Did you know that 60 percent of the world’s Christmas decorations are made in one single Chinese village? Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: china , chinese , Chinese Christmas factory , chinese factory workers , Chinese xmas ornaments , Christmas decorations , Christmas decorations China , Christmas Ornaments , decorations , factory , factory workers , festive decurations , ornaments , The Guardian , unethical factory , xmas decorations , xmas ornaments , yimu decorations , yiwu

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