Self-inflating HEXA raft automatically deploys upon contact with water

January 2, 2017 by  
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At sea, situations often emerge where crew and passengers have to quickly evacuate the vessel, causing panic, and jeopardizing safety and organization. To help simplify such scenarios, designers Yoo JiIn and Lee Ji Sang created HEXA, a six-sided life raft that automatically activates upon contact with water. In order to be deployed, HEXA requires only that it be dropped in the water where it automatically self-inflates into a life-saving device. Six inflatable sections allow people to climb onto the raft. In addition to the efficiency of its design, the device also sends a RFID signal that can help rescue teams pin point its location. Related: The SeaKettle is a Raft + Water Purifier That Could Save Your Life Various survival supplies like food, drinkable water, flares and lifejackets are available inside the center of the pod, providing survivors with all the essential things which will allow them to survive while waiting to be rescued. Via Yanko Design

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Self-inflating HEXA raft automatically deploys upon contact with water

Africa’s newest sustainable biofuel grows on trees

January 2, 2017 by  
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Until recently, the indigenous Croton megalocarpus tree common to central and east Africa was used mainly for firewood. But now Eco Fuels Kenya (EFK) is pioneering sustainable biofuel from croton nuts – without planting a single tree. As opposed to jatropha biofuel, once thought to hold immense promise as an alternative fuel but which required expensive plantations, croton nuts can be sourced from farmers. Managing Director Myles Katz described EFK’s approach as “completely local.” Research revealed croton nut oil could be a “direct replacement for diesel fuel” in some engines, according to EFK, who describe themselves as the first and only croton nut processing company. As the tree is so common, EFK hasn’t yet needed to plant new ones. Instead, as more people found out the nuts once considered useless could bring in extra income, EFK’s harvester network grew to over 3,000 farmers. This year EFK handled 1,000 tons of nuts. Related: Manta moves forward with revolutionary solar-powered algae harvester that makes crude oil Katz told CNN, “We can buy nuts from farmers so they get an income and we have a business model that does not require $10 million of funding and a big plantation to get off the ground…Everything we source, process, and sell should be within 100 kilometers of the factory.” On their website, EFK describes croton nut oil as “entirely environmentally friendly.” The tree flourishes without extra fertilizer or irrigation, and the nut oil production process requires little energy compared with traditional fuel production. Farmers don’t have to switch away from other crops to focus solely on croton nuts, and can even store the nuts for a year. The group says, “Croton trees’ newfound economic value promotes reforestation all over East Africa, which improves soil conditions as well as combats climate change . [Croton nut oil] replaces harmful natural fuels and since it’s produced locally and not imported, it saves carbon emissions as well.” The group also produces organic fertilizer from croton nut shells, and makes seedcake from pressed nuts to feed poultry. Croton nut oil is largely sold to local businesses to power generators. EFK ultimately aims to plant 300,000 trees between 2016 and 2022. + Eco Fuels Kenya Via CNN Images via Eco Fuels Kenya Facebook and Wikimedia Commons

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Africa’s newest sustainable biofuel grows on trees

Spectacular Congress Hall curves upwards like a sail to bridge a Russian river

January 2, 2017 by  
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Government meeting halls don’t often inspire awe and wonder—but the Russian city of Chelyabinsk’s planned Congress Hall will be an exception. Russian architecture firm PIARENA recently revealed their competition-winning designs for the Congress Hall of the upcoming Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and BRICS (an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) summits. The sculptural building will span the Miass River like a bridge and curve upwards like a sail on two ends, rising to heights of 61 and 150 meters. The new Congress Hall will primarily cater to the BRICS and SCO events, however, its placement across two riverbanks also opens the site up to public use opportunities along the bridge . The bridge, located at one of the river’s narrowest points and arched to allow small boats to pass under, divides the complex into two sail-like parts to create a dramatic urban landmark. Both curved structures are clad in glass and topped with observation decks . Related: Spectacular Lucky Knot bridge in China twists and turns like a Möbius Strip The larger, 150-meter-tall swooping structure will house the congress hall, mixed-use concert hall, hotel, office complex, conference hall , and VIP offices. The 61-meter-tall structure opposite contains the recreational area and exhibition hall. The landscape design, including the plantings, paving, and street furniture, will be based on a parametric grid pattern of parallelograms. + PIARENA Via ArchDaily Images via PIARENA

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Spectacular Congress Hall curves upwards like a sail to bridge a Russian river

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