Amazon patents network-based ‘gardening service’

December 6, 2017 by  
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As if Whole Foods  isn’t enough, Amazon is looking beyond your shopping list, and right into your backyard. As first spotted by The Modern Farmer , the tech giant has just received a patent for a network-based “gardening service” that would provide users with the ability to get personalized recommendations for everything from ideal plantings based on location to recipes, required tools, and much more, by simply snapping a photo of their yard. The service, which is essentially a smartphone app for the gardening-challenged, uses algorithms and image recognition software to evaluate conditions and make recommendations. While the tool at first seems a bit perfunctory, it is a lot more specific and personal than a simple Google search. Related: You can now buy tiny shipping container homes on Amazon For example, the patent tells a hypothetical story of a woman named Evelyn who just moved to Seattle and would like to cook a meal with the “unfamiliar” veggies growing in her garden. To get started, she snaps a photo of her yard and the gardening service determines she has mint, tomatoes, and cucumbers growing in one corner. As such, it recommends she makes a Greek salad. At the same time, the service may also see that she has a “large brick pizza oven structure [that] may shade the south-end of the backyard.” Knowing that, it might suggest Evelyn plant some wild ginger—”available at the electronic marketplace” for purchase (of course), as it is a low-shade plant that would do well in those conditions. More broadly, the service is also able to provide recommendations on based on specific geo-location. So as long as one inputs their garden’s coordinates correctly, it can develop a personalized plotting plan, or “virtual garden,” detailing what plants would thrive. The feature would also allow one to see how their garden would look as it transitions through the seasons, and to be sure, what exactly you’d need to buy on Amazon to make it happen. Via Modern Farmer Images via Amazon’s U.S. patent and Pixbay

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Amazon patents network-based ‘gardening service’

Hyundai to build battery 50% larger than Tesla’s South Australia system

December 6, 2017 by  
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Tesla’s South Australia battery system likely won’t hold the title of world’s largest for long. Hyundai Electric and Energy Systems is building a 150-megawatt lithium-ion battery storage system – 50 percent larger than Tesla’s – in South Korea . And they say it should go live in around three months. Hyundai’s South Korea battery could go live in February. They contracted with metal smelting company Korea Zinc for the system costing 50 billion won, or around $45 million. Korea Zinc will use the battery storage system at their Ulsan refinery. Related: Tesla’s South Australia battery starts delivering power a day early Bloomberg New Energy Finance senior associate Ali Asghar said, “ Musk has set a benchmark on how quickly you can install and commission a battery of this size,” and that plummeting costs are “making them a compelling mainstream option for energy storage applications in many areas around the world.” Hyundai Electric was created earlier in 2017 in a spinoff-move by shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries, according to Green Car Reports . The company has since expanded into the power storage market – they said in a statement the global market is anticipated to grow from $2.6 billion last year to $29.2 billion by 2025. “The energy market is rapidly changing globally due to the expansion of new and renewable energy sources and the trend of declining power sources,” said Hyundai Electric president Jung Young-jul. “We are targeting the market through technology -competitive systems and data analysis based on various experiences.” Bloomberg said battery prices have plunged by nearly half since 2014, and that each time the global supply of batteries doubles, prices fall by 19 percent. Hyundai Electric recently constructed a 51.5 megawatt-hour energy storage system (ESS) at Hyundai Heavy Industries’ Ulsan headquarters. They said the system will boost the efficiency of power use. Via Bloomberg , Green Car Reports , and Hyundai Electric Images via Hyundai Electric

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Hyundai to build battery 50% larger than Tesla’s South Australia system

Beginner’s Guide to Growing Your Own Vegetable Garden

October 23, 2017 by  
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Growing your own organic vegetable garden has had a resurgence … The post Beginner’s Guide to Growing Your Own Vegetable Garden appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Beginner’s Guide to Growing Your Own Vegetable Garden

Urban Farming: 10 Crops You Can Grow at Home

September 26, 2017 by  
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If you think you can’t grow your own food because … The post Urban Farming: 10 Crops You Can Grow at Home appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Urban Farming: 10 Crops You Can Grow at Home

Create a Zen Garden for Your Home: Here’s How

September 14, 2017 by  
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Between a busy office, bumper-to-bumper traffic and endless errands, you … The post Create a Zen Garden for Your Home: Here’s How appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Create a Zen Garden for Your Home: Here’s How

Make Your Own Kokedama String Garden

August 22, 2017 by  
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Kokedama string gardens are a centuries-old art form where a plant’s roots are wrapped in moss and suspended. This gardening method is the perfect way to add a natural decor element to any space — not to mention, it’s a fun do-it-yourself…

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Take Your Roots to New Heights: 9 Vertical Gardening Inspirations

August 3, 2017 by  
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It used to be that if you lived in a small space like an apartment or a condo, you could simply wash your hands of eco-friendly shenanigans like “composting” and “keeping plants alive.” But then some genius came along and…

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Take Your Roots to New Heights: 9 Vertical Gardening Inspirations

Make Your Own Natural Bee Repellent

June 20, 2017 by  
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Note: This post contains affiliate links, which helps fund our Recycling Directory, the most comprehensive in North America. Now that the season of picnics and barbecues is officially here, your thoughts may also go to typical summer pests. The…

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Make Your Own Natural Bee Repellent

World’s Smallest Garden lets you recycle old bottles into adorable hydroponic gardens

June 7, 2017 by  
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You can always recycle an old wine bottle , but what if you could transform it into a tiny garden instead? Urban Leaf empowers people to grow food at home through the World’s Smallest Garden, and upcycle used bottles into planters. It takes minutes to put together one of the mini gardens, which can grow greens and herbs year-round – and you can snag one on the cheap right now on Kickstarter . The World’s Smallest Garden is comprised of a 3D-printed cylindrical device, or plug, that fits right into the neck of an old bottle. The plastic used in the product is biodegradable . Users fill the bottle with water, insert the device filled with soil and seeds, and sit back and let the plants grow. Plants can draw on that initial water source for a month, and then users can add water as needed. Related: Build your own indoor garden with modular LEGO-like blocks Dill, lettuce, bok choy, and basil are just a few of the plants that can be grown with the World’s Smallest Garden. Users will be able to start harvesting the plants after around four to six weeks. The team designed the garden with the idea that plants would grow just in the bottle, although co-founder Robert Elliott told Inhabitat it should work to move a plant into a planter since hydroponically grown plants typically transplant well. They’ve been able to grow herbs like mint and parsley for five months in bottles, and even grew dwarf tomatoes to fruit in a World’s Smallest Garden. Elliott and Nathan Littlewood started Urban Leaf to work towards a better food system. On their website they say they believe growing food in urban areas solves many of the issues with the modern food industry , allowing for less waste, less packaging, and shorter supply chains. But many people living in cities don’t have a lot of space to grow gardens, an obstacle Urban Leaf overcomes with the World’s Smallest Garden. Elliott told Inhabitat, “The design process for the World’s Smallest Garden was an effort to create the most minimal product that still effectively grew plants. We started with a ‘bells and whistles’ prototype and removed lights, pumps, multiple substrates, nutrient packets, and even the reservoir. Brown or green glass bottles are a natural fit for a reservoir (they block harmful red/blue light while allowing you to see in) and most people just throw them away! By selling just the essential component to turn existing waste into a hydroponic reservoir we save customers money and reduce our manufacturing and shipping environmental impact.” Urban Leaf is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter . You can get a single pack that comes with three plugs and seeds for $15. Check out the Kickstarter here . + Urban Leaf Images courtesy of Urban Leaf

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‘Instantly rechargeable’ battery spells bad news for gas-guzzling cars

June 7, 2017 by  
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Charging an electric car remains an obstacle for some people, especially in areas lacking charging infrastructure. But new battery technology developed by researchers at Purdue University could change that completely. They’ve designed an instantly rechargeable battery that could allow electric vehicles to be charged in roughly the same amount of time it takes to fill up a car with gasoline today. The researchers designed a flow battery system, which in itself isn’t unique, but the Purdue scientists removed battery membranes, something they say no one else has done. Membranes in batteries break down over time, so the new battery technology allows for a longer lifespan and cuts costs. This rechargeable battery could be a game changer for electric cars. Related: New battery concept could give electric vehicles a 621-mile range Drawing on the Purdue energy storage technology, electric car owners would pull up to a station and fill up their cars with not gas, but fluid electrolytes. The spent battery fluids could be gathered and recharged at a solar or wind farm . Earth, atmospheric, and planetary science professor John Cushman said in a statement, “Instead of refining petroleum, the refiners would reprocess spent electrolytes and instead of dispensing gas, the fueling stations would dispense a water and ethanol or methanol solution as fluid electrolytes to power vehicles…It is believed that our technology could be nearly ‘drop-in’ ready for most of the underground piping system, rail and truck delivery system, gas stations and refineries.” They say their instantly rechargeable method is affordable, safe, and environmentally friendly. Cushman recently presented their findings at the International Society for Porous Media 9th International Conference in the Netherlands. With two other Purdue researchers, he started a company, IFBattery, to commercialize their technology. Cushman said they are seeking financing to develop large-scale prototypes, and from there they’ll look for manufacturing partners. Via Purdue University Images via Purdue University and Håkan Dahlström on Flickr

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‘Instantly rechargeable’ battery spells bad news for gas-guzzling cars

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