Gore, Gates funds lead $80M round for protein startup born in Yellowstone hot springs

March 24, 2020 by  
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Nature’s Fynd, formerly Sustainable Bioproducts, started as a NASA research project. It begins production this month at a facility in Chicago’s old stockyard district.

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Gore, Gates funds lead $80M round for protein startup born in Yellowstone hot springs

Goodyear reCharge tire concept targets sustainability

March 20, 2020 by  
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Goodyear tire company has a history of innovation with products like the  living moss tire that cleans the air as you drive  and  crazy spherical tires . Their newest concept could see a self-regenerating tire with customized capsules that renew your tire and allow it to adapt to varying mobility needs. “Goodyear wants the tire to be an even more powerful contributor to answering consumers’ specific mobility needs,” said Mike Rytokoski, Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer of Goodyear Europe. “It was with that ambition that we set out to create a concept tire primed for the future of personalized and convenient electric mobility.” Related: These stylish, work-appropriate loafers are made with recycled tires The concept incorporates three main goals: provide a personalized experience,  manufacture the tires sustainably  and make the tires hassle-free for the consumer. To reach these goals, the concept tire offers a reloadable and biodegradable tread compound. This means each tire tread can be recharged with individual capsules. With the ability to regrow tire tread, the Goodyear reCharge can adapt to changing road conditions and your driving style. That might include extra cornering strength, protection on gravel, or variances in surface moisture such as rain and snow. The concept personalizes even further with the use of artificial intelligence that creates a driver profile and a customized liquid compound tailored to each individual’s driving style. For the sustainability portion, the tire will be made from biological material and reinforced by one of the strongest naturally-occurring fibers in  nature — spider silk. Not only is spider silk durable, but since it is a natural fiber, it is also 100% biodegradable. The liquid-capsule concept was created to provide hassle-free tire replacements. The frame has a “tall-and-narrow” shape and is lightweight so pressure maintenance or downtime related to punctures is less of a concern. “The Goodyear reCharge is a concept tire without compromise, supporting personalized, sustainable and hassle-free electric mobility,” said Sebastien Fontaine, Lead Designer at the Goodyear Innovation Centre in Luxembourg. + Goodyear  Images via Goodyear 

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Goodyear reCharge tire concept targets sustainability

This recycled plastic beehive is designed for happy bees

March 11, 2020 by  
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As backyard beekeeping continues to rise in popularity, there’s no reason the traditional beehive can’t take on a more modern and functional design. With this idea in mind, Duluth-based Jon Otis of Lake Superior Honey Company approached Loll Designs to create an improved version of the beehive. Aptly named the Bee Hive, this apiary combines the functionality of classic human-made hives with a sleek and durable product sourced from post-consumer recycled milk jugs . The partnership between Lake Superior Honey Company and Loll Designs means the final products must meet the standards of both companies: mainly functionality, quality and aesthetics. Lake Superior Honey Company maintains a high standard for its honey , insisting on 100% natural, 100% raw and 100% free-foraged, meaning the bees are unstressed and honey is produced in limited quantities for quality. The horizontal top-bar beehive had to live up to the company’s expectations. Equally, the essence of Loll Designs’ product lineup is based on function and durability, so the duo spent two years developing a beehive to be proud of. Related: Urban Beehive Project creates a buzz around honeybee education The end result offers a lockable flat roof for weather resistance and bear deterrence, longer legs for a more ergonomic design and a reinforced box for long-lasting use. The Bee Hive is made from recycled HDPE. Because this material was new to the traditional beehive design, it went through many variations before the final product emerged. Loll Designs reported that while propolis will stick to the plastic , it comes off easily during cleaning. After two seasons with the Lake Superior Honey Company, the process ensured the bees respond to the material well. The Bee Hive is available in five color options: white, sky blue, sunset orange, leaf green and driftwood gray. The housing includes an internal separator that can be moved as the colony expands. The current production timeline is eight weeks, and products are available on the Loll Designs website . + Loll Designs + Lake Superior Honey Company Images via Loll Designs

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This recycled plastic beehive is designed for happy bees

Episode 210: Ford’s systemic sustainability, Project Drawdown’s climate solutions update

March 6, 2020 by  
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Plus, what do consumers think of the circular economy? ING executive Anne van Riel offers some perspective.

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Episode 210: Ford’s systemic sustainability, Project Drawdown’s climate solutions update

Episode 210: Ford’s systemic sustainability, Project Drawdown’s climate solutions update

March 6, 2020 by  
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Plus, what do consumers think of the circular economy? ING executive Anne van Riel offers some perspective.

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Episode 210: Ford’s systemic sustainability, Project Drawdown’s climate solutions update

25 badass women shaking up the climate movement in 2020

March 6, 2020 by  
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In honor of International Women’s Day, we recognize courageous executives, investor advocates and policy visionaries who are role models for any gender.

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25 badass women shaking up the climate movement in 2020

Microgrids, indoor agriculture go together like peas and carrots

March 6, 2020 by  
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Vertical farms can help produce food close to urban areas, but plant factories require a staggering amount of energy.

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Microgrids, indoor agriculture go together like peas and carrots

Episode 209: Find your ‘ClimateVoice’, reefer madness

February 28, 2020 by  
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We debate progress on Loop’s reusable packaging initiative and geek out over five hot technologies for cold trucking.

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Episode 209: Find your ‘ClimateVoice’, reefer madness

First CLT Passive House project in Boston breaks ground

February 24, 2020 by  
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Move over steel and concrete — a pioneering cross-laminated timber (CLT) project that’s set to break ground in Boston could spearhead a greater adoption of mass timber across the country. Local startup  Generate Architecture + Technologies  has teamed up with progressive developer Placetailor to lead the project — the city’s first-ever CLT Cellular Passive House Demonstration Project — and provide live/work spaces in Lower Roxbury. Developed with the startup’s Model-C system for prefabricated kit-of-parts construction, the building will forgo conventional concrete and steel materials in favor of carbon-sequestering engineered wood products. Expected to break ground in June of 2020, the CLT Passive House demonstration project will comprise five floors with 14 residential units as well as innovative and affordable co-working spaces for the local community on the ground floor. In addition to introducing low-carbon, mixed-use  programming to the neighborhood, the project will be a working prototype for Generate’s Model-C, “a replicable system for housing delivery methods designed to address climate and community.”  The Model-C system is not only designed to function at net-zero carbon levels, but is also Passive House certified and built to the new Boston Department of Neighborhood Development “Zero Emissions Standards,” which were developed with Placetailor. As a result, the demonstration project is expected to have a significantly reduced carbon footprint as compared to traditional construction. The  CLT  rooftop canopy is also engineered to make it easy to mount solar panels. Modular units, like the bathrooms, can be prefabricated offsite and then plugged into the building to reduce construction time and waste.  Related: This student housing is the largest Passive House-certified building in the Southern Hemisphere Thanks to  prefabrication  methods and the reduction of interior framing, the Model-C prototype is expected to completed by the end of 2020 and will be available for tours at the Industrial Wood-Based Construction (IWBC) conference in Boston on November 4. Generate is also exploring the possibility of applying the Model-C system to projects that range from six to 18 stories across the U.S. + Generate Images by Forbes Massie Studio

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First CLT Passive House project in Boston breaks ground

Taylor Guitars and the sustainable approach to instrument-making

February 11, 2020 by  
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Since 1974, Taylor Guitars has been a champion guitar brand, renowned for its signature sound and instrument-manufacturing innovations. In this feature, Inhabitat goes behind-the-scenes at the company’s headquarters and factory in El Cajon, California, where tour guide Ryan Merrill shares the Taylor Guitars approach to  sustainability , sourcing  wood  and making guitars.   Inhabitat:  What can you share about the process of making a Taylor Guitar? Merrill:  The very first step of building our guitars is housing them in this outdoor tent when the wood arrives. What we’re seeing here is mostly mahogany. When we bring in wood from around the world, they’re accustomed to other types of climates, places that are generally a lot more humid – Cameroon, India, Hawaii. When it gets here, we therefore need to make sure that wood acclimates to our  weather , temperature and  humidity . If we don’t, then as that wood is drying out in the factory, and we’re working on the guitar, it’s going to start bending and warping in different ways. We want all that bending and warping to happen here outside rather than during the process when we are building guitars because we have some tools in there that have high accuracy. And with that level of accuracy in cutting, if the wood is warping, it’s going to cause some problems. So we leave this wood outside here to acclimate. Water that’s sitting inside the grain of the wood, you want to bring down to about 10%. Sometimes that takes two weeks, sometimes that takes a month. Related: YouTube stars partner up in #TeamTrees campaign to plant 20 million trees Inhabitat:  What does Taylor Guitars do with any leftover wood cuttings? Merrill:  The first measure of our sustainability endeavors is that after we’ve cut wood for our guitars, the scrap wood — instead of us throwing them into the trash bin — we actually utilize it by giving them to other companies that need them, like toymakers, people who make birdhouses, even companies that turn the wood into  mulch . Inhabitat:  Forest management,  reforestation  and the sourcing of ethically harvested tonewoods — the wood used to build acoustic guitars — are important values to Taylor Guitars. Tell us more about that. Merrill: We understand that in order to make our products, we have to cut down trees. But we make sure to plant more trees  than we are taking out of forests every year, and we’ve continued to be dedicated to that goal. A pipe dream Taylor Guitars has is to plant all of the trees we use for all of our guitars on the land we own. That way, we won’t have to source our wood anywhere else in the world, but just focus on effectively using that one piece of land that is ours with all our trees on it. Of course, that’s still what we are working toward. For now, the two places we are focused on are in Cameroon, where we have our ebony, and in Hawaii, where we have our koa. Out in Hawaii, for instance, we own over 570 acres on the Big Island, where we are planting koa trees. Now, koa trees take about 40 to 60 years to grow — that’s a long wait for us to be able to use those trees for guitars. Ebony is even longer, taking 100 to 200 years to fully mature. Inhabitat:  Now, on display here in the corporate headquarters gallery are an array of signature Taylor Guitars, made from various types of wood. What’s the importance of wood type, or tonewood? And, why are certain ones chosen over others for guitar-making? Merrill:  The type of wood affects the instrument sound. First, it’s important to know that woods flavor the sounds. And, historically, there’s hundreds of years’ worth of experimentation on what types of woods are best for what is now the modern guitar . And the main ones that have been settled on are rosewood and mahogany, which are the hardest woods.  So, in a mahogany guitar, you’re going to hear a lot of mid-range sounds, not a lot of bass, not a lot of treble. In rosewood, you’re going to get a lot of bass, you’re going to get a lot of treble, but not as much of the mid-range. You’ll probably notice we’ll get more deep tones and more sparkle with rosewood. Inhabitat:  These are some exotic-sounding names of tonewoods lining this guitar gallery wall. Tell us more about them. Merrill:  Cocobolo is a South American rosewood, so it has a very similar tone to a rosewood guitar. Ovangkol is an African relative of the rosewood. Sapele is an African relative of mahogany. Most tonewoods are going to fall within those two very broad categories. There are some exceptions — we have  maple , which is a very bright wood. It’s the only wood that’s distinct from mahogany and rosewood. We have something like koa as well, which has the mid-range of mahogany and the sparkle of rosewood, but it doesn’t have the bass of rosewood.  Koa guitars have become increasingly popular amongst guitarists. And that’s because as koa wood ages, it gets more dense, which means it will start to produce a better low-end sound. So, if you buy a koa, it might sound one way, but then five years down the line, someone might pick up that same guitar and go, “Wow! This has way more bass than I ever heard out of this instrument!” And that’s one of the very unique things about koa — just the amount that it opens up over time. Inhabitat:  Taylor Guitars has been recognized as a leading guitar-making pioneer. What are some things you can share about what makes you stand out from other guitar manufacturers ? Merrill:  We’re the only company making sapele guitars. We’re the only company making ebony bodies. And we’re the pioneers of the V-bracing, whereas all other guitars elsewhere are still employing the X-bracing. Inhabitat:  What’s the difference between your V-bracing and the conventional X-bracing in guitars out there? Merrill:  One of the beautiful things about the V-brace is that it’s very forgiving of notes that aren’t quite in tune. With an X-brace, the notes start to warble — you can hear the notes bouncing back and forth. You can kind of hear the decay there — decay is just the note fading out. When you compare that with something like a V-brace, the notes just keep ringing — we call it bloom, where it almost grows into a larger chord after you first strum it. You can hear the difference, it sounds fuller, and a lot of that comes down to the sustaining, and that’s the V-bracing being a little more forgiving with those notes. It was fitting for Merrill to say the word “sustaining” to describe the V-brace and what it does to guitar notes, because it circularly tied into Taylor Guitars’ sustainability initiatives. As the tour winded down, a large plaque — entitled “Taylor’s Commitment to Sustainability” — was visible on the way out, reminding everyone of the quality the company stands for in the soundness of its products and  supply chain . Images via Mariecor Agravante

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