Solar record-breaking China aims for 50GW installed in 2017

October 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

China , a consistent leader in solar power production and installation, is having another banner year with 25 gigawatts of solar energy being installed in June and July alone. It is estimated that China is capable of installing over 50GW of solar energy by the end of 2017. As of October 1, approximately 42GW of solar energy had been installed, though the pace of installations is expected to slow in October. Although China’s solar boom yields economic benefits, an self-interest understanding of the need to protect the environment also drives the movement. “Any harm we inflict on nature will eventually return to haunt us,” said Chinese President Xi Jinping at the National Congress of China’s Communist Party. “This is a reality we have to face.” Much of the recent growth has been concentrated in the non-utility distributed solar sector, in part because China is pushing a new program called Top Runner, which aims to install more efficient solar panels in smaller projects. By any measure, China is absolutely dominating the global solar race. In 2016, the nation of nearly 1.4 billion people installed 34GW of solar power, the most ever by any country in a single year. In contrast, the United States , in the second place position for added capacity in 2016, added only 14.6GW of solar power. Related: China announces plan to ban sales of fossil fuel cars and shift focus to EVs Although China’s solar energy domination has proven to be valuable in the export market, with many of the components for solar systems around the world being produced locally, the domestic impact of its deliberate, consistent investment in solar energy is undeniable. In transforming its energy economy, out of necessity and strategy, China may provide important global climate leadership in a time when the United States has ceded its authority in this realm. “Taking a driving seat in international cooperation to respond to climate change, China has become an important participant, contributor, and torchbearer in the global endeavor for ecological civilization,” said President Xi Jinping. “[China must] develop a new model of modernization with humans developing in harmony with nature.” Via Electrek Images via Depositphotos and Wikimedia

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Solar record-breaking China aims for 50GW installed in 2017

13 innovative, thought-provoking designs that broke new ground at the London Design Festival

October 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Design weeks around the world tend to be dominated by refined furnishings , sleek products , and glitzy lighting – but some of the most interesting works are those that challenge our assumptions about what design is – and what it can be. Independent designers and aspiring students are the masters of this realm, as they’re not afraid to push the envelope and experiment with wild ideas, new materials and novel techniques. Read on for 13 of the most innovative, though-provoking designs we spotted at this year’s London Design Festival . Flywheel by Carlo Lorenzetti Designer Carlo Lorenzetti thinks that we are losing touch with the significance of energy in our daily lives – so he’s created a massive earthenware Flywheel that makes you work for your electricity. The monolithic USB charger generates power as you spin the wheel, but it’ll takes hours and hours to fully charge a cellphone. As above, so below by Kirstie van Noot and Xandra van der Eijk Did you know that 37,000 to 78,000 tons of stardust falls on the earth’s surface every year? Dutch designers Kirstie van Noot and Xandra van der Eijk have set out to harvest this rare material – by collecting it from the rooftops of houses in the Netherlands. Their project As above, so below showcases the micrometeorites they have found, and suggests ways that these precious materials can be used. Trashpresso by Pentatonic Trashpresso is the world’s first mobile, solar-powered recycling plant. Designed by Pentatonic , the micro factory transforms plastic bottles into architectural tiles right before your eyes. 0.6 Chair by Joachim Froment What’s the absolute minimum amount of material needed to create a chair? That’s what Joachim Froment sought to find out – and his answer is the 0.6 Chair. Froment developed an innovative production process to create a sturdy, super lightweight seat made from just 0.6 cm of wood veneer and carbon fiber. Plasma Rock by Inge Sluijs Some say that the world has entered a new geological period called the Anthropocene , which is marked by human influence on the environment. This idea inspired Inge Sluijs to harvest detritus from landfills and transform it into Plasma Rock – a new material made from 100% recycled waste. Bottles Collection by Klaas Kuiken Klaas Kuiken gives fantastic new forms to common green bottles by wrapping them with wire, heating them in an oven, and blowing air into them with a compressor. The results are surprising, sculptural vases that bear little resemblance to their previous form. Living Surface Carpet by Lizan Freijsen Most people want to avoid stains and mildew in their homes – but Lizan Freijsen revels in these signs of decay. The Dutch designer has created an incredible collection of soft, woolen rugs that celebrate the rich colors found in mosses, lichens, and other living natural phenomena. Nose to Tail Table by Nanna Kiil This “Nose to Tail” table appears to have a typical terrazzo surface – but a closer look reveals that it’s actually made of by-products from the livestock industry. Designer Nanna Kiil sought to discover whether consumers can stomach a salami-esque table that incorporates pig parts that would otherwise be discarded. It’s a challenging, provocative piece that serves up the stark realities of our industrial food system. Splatware by Granby Workshop Ceramic tableware is usually turned on a wheel – but Granby Workshop has found away to make amazing plates and mugs by using a hydraulic press to squish colorful mounds of clay! Their experimental SPLATWARE combines industrial techniques with handcrafted elements for spontaneous, creative results. LOKAL by Space10 What will the farm of the future look like? Future living lab Space10 set up a vertical hydroponic farm in the middle of London and invited passersby to try tasty food grown on-site. Over the course of six days their LOKAL pop-up served 2,000 salads made with microgreens and protein-rich spirulina microalgae. On Reflection by Lee Broom Lee Broom ‘s London Design Festival installation boggles the mind. The mirror in this room is not what it seems – walk in front of it, and you won’t see your reflection. The trick? It’s actually a window to an identical room! Fish Skin Textiles by Helene Christina Pedersen Fish skin is an overlooked waste product of the fishing industry. Helene Christina Pedersen has found a way to transform this material into a durable textile that can be applied to a wide range of furnishings. Plastic Primitive by James Shaw James Shaw has developed a technique for shaping recycled plastic into fantastical forms using a custom made extruder gun. For this year’s London Design Festival shaw erected a series of colorful planters and stools at the Ace Hotel. + London Design Festival Coverage on Inhabitat

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13 innovative, thought-provoking designs that broke new ground at the London Design Festival

VW is building an electric race car to set a new speed record

October 20, 2017 by  
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Buckle your seat belt!  Volkswagen , on a mission to become a top producer of electric vehicles, is proving itself by developing an electric race car which will be entered in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb  in 2018. If the company is successful, the race will mark the first time in 31 years VW has competed in the hill climb. The race will take place in Colorado Spring, Colorado , and will be held on June 24, 2018. According to The Verge , the hill climb has been held annually since 1916 in the Rocky Mountains . Though the track is just 12.4 miles long, ascending it is no easy feat. In under 13 miles, vehicles will climb 4,700 feet to the summit 14,000 feet above sea level. Dr. Frank Welsch, the VW board member responsible for the development, said, “The Pikes Peak hill climb is one of the world’s most renowned car races. It poses an enormous challenge and is therefore perfectly suited to proving the capabilities of upcoming technologies.” Related: The Netherlands’ sun-powered Nuna9 race car wins the World Solar Challenge Last year,  e0 PP100 , which was driven by Rhys Millen, set the record for the fastest modified electric vehicle. The electric race car completed the run in eight minutes and 57.118 seconds. At the same time, a Tesla Model S set another record for a production car, with a time of 11 minutes and 48.264 seconds. Reportedly, electric cars have become quite popular at Pikes Peak over the past few years, as the thin air at a higher altitude makes it hard for internal-combustion engines to develop power. The new race car is presently being developed by Volkswagen Motorsport in Germany . According to Welsch, data obtained from the Pikes Peak race will be incorporated into electric vehicles that are sold by all VW brands. The infamous Microbus (which is coming back as an EV in 2022 ) will be but one vehicle improved upon using the lessons learned from the race. + Volkswagen Via The Verge Images via Volkswagen

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VW is building an electric race car to set a new speed record

World’s first 3D-printed bridge opens in the Netherlands

October 18, 2017 by  
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The Netherlands just made history by officially opening the world’s first 3D-printed bridge. On Tuesday, Dutch officials celebrated the opening of the innovative bridge, which is 8 meters (26 ft) long and located near the town of Gemert. Thanks to reinforced, pre-stressed concrete and 3D-printing techniques, the bridge (which is primarily intended for cyclists) can safely bear the weight of 40 trucks. In total, the structure took just three months to build. Said Theo Salet, from the Eindhoven University of Technology, “The bridge is not very big, but it was rolled out by a printer which makes it unique.” Using 3D-printing techniques, less concrete is used than would be required to fill a conventional mold. Says the official website, “a printer deposits the concrete only where it is needed.” The bridge, which is 8 meters (26 feet) long, spans a water-filled ditch to connect two roads. Though the bridge is intended to be used by cyclists , the BAM Infra construction company determined that it can safely bear loads of up to two tonnes — or 40 trucks — through testing. It took the company just 3 months to build the bridge, which has approximately 800 layers. Related: This twisting tower is made out of 2,000 3D-printed terracotta bricks Said the head of BAM, Marinus Schimmel, in a statement , “We are looking to the future. Schimmel added that BAM is ”searching for a newer, smarter approach to addressing infrastructure issues and making a significant contribution to improving the mobility and sustainability of our society.” This project also established the eco-friendly benefits of 3D printing. “Fewer scarce resources were needed, and there was significantly less waste,” said Schimmel. The Netherlands is but one country experimenting with 3D-printed infrastructure. The United States and China, for instance, are using the cutting-edge technology to create structures from scratch without relying on traditional manpower. Elsewhere in The Netherlands, a Dutch start-up called MX3D has started printing a stainless-steel bridge . Reportedly, up to one-third is already completed, and they aim to complete it by March of 2018. Time will reveal what other fascinating, environmentally-friendly structures will be constructed using 3D printing . + Eindhoven University of Technology Via Phys Images via Eindhoven University of Technology

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This terrifying glass walkway in China cracks as you step on it

October 16, 2017 by  
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Would you trek across this “cracking” glass walkway? In China ‘s Taihang Mountains there’s a frosty glass walkway that gives visitors a heart-stopping experience. The skywalk is approximately 873-feet-long and it’s located 3871 feet off the ground. Somewhere in the middle, however, there is a high-tech panel that simulates the effect of breaking glass. It’s so realistic that it has caused more than one person to nearly lose themselves in fright. The floor of the skywalk is all glass, but it alternates between clear and frosted panels. Because of this, it is impossible to know which panel will simulate the near-death experience — and possibly spawn a heart attack in the process. As the video above reveals, even the bravest of the brave will likely find themselves crawling the remaining portion of the glass walkway . The “fake” cracking glass panel is actually a high-tech display with pressure sensors. The moment an unsuspecting tourist steps on it, it begins to crack — giving them the sense they are about to drop to their death. There are even matching sound effects to complete the experience. Related: Spiraling treetop walkway gives visitors a bird’s eye view of a Danish forest There has been quite an uproar about the cracking glass skywalk. As a result, the local government issued an apology. A promotion video was also created to inform trekkers about the “fake” danger. Because the skywalk is checked daily for actual cracking glass, the likelihood of a panel breaking is said to be small. Via SlashGear Images via YouTube

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This terrifying glass walkway in China cracks as you step on it

Google will be powered by 100% renewable energy by 2018

October 13, 2017 by  
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After 10 years as a carbon-neutral company, Google has announced that all of its data centers and offices will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy , mostly from solar and wind sources. The corporate giant made quick progress towards meeting their goal, which was set in 2016 and will be fulfilled by 2018. In its 2017 Environmental Report, Google, self-described as the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy, declared that in making its big shift to clean energy, it had pioneered “new energy purchasing models that others can follow” and “helped drive wide-scale global adoption of clean energy.” “We believe Google can build tools to improve people’s lives while reducing our dependence on natural resources and fossil fuels,” said Google executive Urs Hölzle. Google’s rapid shift to clean energy is welcome not only for the influence it may have on other companies but also for its impact on Google’s energy consumption, which was estimated in 2015 to be as large as the city of San Francisco . In line with its sustainability focus, Google has also launched an initiative to add air quality sensors to Google Street View vehicles and plans to change its waste disposal systems to ensure that the company adds nothing to landfills. Half of Google’s 14 data centers have already reached that particular milestone. Related: Alphabet X to beam wireless service to Puerto Rico with a fleet of balloons Most of Google’s renewable energy is purchased from an outside provider. However, they are making important moves to provide some of their own in-house energy, including the company’s recent acquisition of the Tellenes wind farm in Norway. The 12-year deal to provide 100 percent of the energy produced will power Google’s data centers in Finland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Ireland . Google expects to purchase power as soon as it is available, which is expected in fall 2017. Via Inverse Images via Wikimedia Commons   (1)  and Robbie Shade/Flickr

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Google will be powered by 100% renewable energy by 2018

World’s first ocean pollution-eating Seabin launches in the UK

October 11, 2017 by  
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UK waterways are about to get a lot cleaner with the launch of the world’s first production Seabin in Portsmouth harbor. The device, which was developed by a pair of Australian surfers, works by sucking in various kinds of pollution (including oil) and spitting out clean water. The Seabin can collect approximately 1.5 kg of waste each day and has a capacity of 12 kg — and in a given year, a single bin can collect 20,000 plastic bottles or 83,000 plastic bags. The Seabin was first unveiled in December 2015. To fund the invention , founders Andrew Turton and Pete Ceglinski created an IndieGoGo campaign. With little time to spare, the campaign exceeded its goal. Equipped with $250,000, Turton and Ceglinski are now prepared to follow through with their plan, which entails cleaning up marinas with the natural fiber garbage bin and an automated, above-the-water pump. The device was designed with marine safety in mind – only debris and chemical pollution on the surface of the water is collected; fish and other aquatic creatures are left alone. The Times reports that the Seabin was installed near the base of the Land Rover Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) team in the Portsmouth harbor. The group is passionate about environmental efforts – not only have members pledged to give up meat every Monday, they only consume sustainable seafood. Now, they’ve agreed to oversee the Seabin, which will improve the quality of water while protecting the cage of over 1,000 oysters near the pontoon. Related: New study reveals plastic pollution in the Antarctic is 5x worse than expected The Seabin team are also conducting trials at Spain’s Port Adriano and the Port of Helsinki (Finland). In early November, the innovative device will go on sale for £3,000 ($3,957). + Seabin Project Via The Times , Engadget Images via Seabin

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World’s first ocean pollution-eating Seabin launches in the UK

GM’s plans for "all-electric-future" spell doom for fossil fuel industry

October 3, 2017 by  
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General Motors , a symbol of 20th century automotive domination, has decided to embrace the “all-electric future” of the 21st century and beyond, declaring that someday in the near future, it will produce and sell only electric cars . “General Motors believes in an all-electric future,” said Mark Reuss, GM’s chief of global product development. “Although that future won’t happen overnight, GM is committed to driving increased usage and acceptance of electric vehicles.” To accelerate into this future, GM announced two new electric car models, scheduled to be released next year, followed by an additional 18 all-electric models by 2023. General Motors is riding high as it shifts gear into electric; the car company was the third-largest in the world in 2016. Because of its immense size, the company would not yet commit to a specific year in which it would make the transition away from combustion engine cars. However, its recent actions speak as loud as its words. At a press event on Monday, GM revealed several concept designs for upcoming electric vehicles, including an SUV, a crossover, a non-traditional model which resembled a small, boxy bus, and Surus, a heavy-duty truck with two electric motors, powered by fuel cells. Related: Renault’s Trezor is the electric car of the future Though renowned already as a pioneer in the field, thanks in part to its Chevy Bolt, GM will face heavy traffic on the road ahead. Tesla , Volvo, Nissan, Aston Martin and Jaguar Land Rover have all made various moves into the electric car industry, with more expected in the future. Ford, a fellow Big Three American automaker, announced on Monday, the same day as GM’s press event, that it will form an “Edison Group,” focused on the development of electric cars. “We see an inflection point in the major markets toward battery electric vehicles,” said Sherif Marakby, head of electrification and autonomous vehicles at Ford. “We feel it’s important to have a cross-functional team all the way from defining the strategy plans and implementation to advanced marketing.” Via Washington Post Images via Car and Driver  and Wikipedia

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GM’s plans for "all-electric-future" spell doom for fossil fuel industry

GM’s plans for "all-electric-future" spell doom for fossil fuel industry

October 3, 2017 by  
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General Motors , a symbol of 20th century automotive domination, has decided to embrace the “all-electric future” of the 21st century and beyond, declaring that someday in the near future, it will produce and sell only electric cars . “General Motors believes in an all-electric future,” said Mark Reuss, GM’s chief of global product development. “Although that future won’t happen overnight, GM is committed to driving increased usage and acceptance of electric vehicles.” To accelerate into this future, GM announced two new electric car models, scheduled to be released next year, followed by an additional 18 all-electric models by 2023. General Motors is riding high as it shifts gear into electric; the car company was the third-largest in the world in 2016. Because of its immense size, the company would not yet commit to a specific year in which it would make the transition away from combustion engine cars. However, its recent actions speak as loud as its words. At a press event on Monday, GM revealed several concept designs for upcoming electric vehicles, including an SUV, a crossover, a non-traditional model which resembled a small, boxy bus, and Surus, a heavy-duty truck with two electric motors, powered by fuel cells. Related: Renault’s Trezor is the electric car of the future Though renowned already as a pioneer in the field, thanks in part to its Chevy Bolt, GM will face heavy traffic on the road ahead. Tesla , Volvo, Nissan, Aston Martin and Jaguar Land Rover have all made various moves into the electric car industry, with more expected in the future. Ford, a fellow Big Three American automaker, announced on Monday, the same day as GM’s press event, that it will form an “Edison Group,” focused on the development of electric cars. “We see an inflection point in the major markets toward battery electric vehicles,” said Sherif Marakby, head of electrification and autonomous vehicles at Ford. “We feel it’s important to have a cross-functional team all the way from defining the strategy plans and implementation to advanced marketing.” Via Washington Post Images via Car and Driver  and Wikipedia

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GM’s plans for "all-electric-future" spell doom for fossil fuel industry

This twisting tower is made out of 2,000 3D-printed terracotta bricks

September 29, 2017 by  
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A team of researchers and students from the HKU Faculty of Architecture worked with Holger Kehne of Plasma Studio to create a beautiful twisted tower out of 2,000 3D-printed terracotta bricks. Each clay brick used to create the Ceramic Constellation Pavilion was individually printed in a unique shape or size using innovative robotic technology, which prints at a faster pace than most 3D printing machines and provides incredible versatility in the building process. The 12-foot pavilion was part of the inaugural “Robotic Architecture Series” workshop hosted by international property developer, Sino Group . All of the materials used in the project were made in the Robotics Lab at HKU’s Faculty of Architecture. By building the 3D tower the team sought to test the feasibility of robotically printed terracotta bricks. The printing process means that the clay bricks can be configured into distinct shapes and densities, adding an invaluable versatility to the design process. Related: Perforated screens made from reused terracotta tiles wrap around this house in Malaysia The team began with about 1,500 pounds of raw terracotta clay . Using the university’s innovative robotic technology with a rapid print time of 2 or 3 minutes for each brick, it took about three weeks to print the materials. After firing the bricks in an oven at 1,877 degrees Fahrenheit, students from the HKU Department of Architecture assembled the beautiful pavilion during the ten day workshop. + HKU Faculty of Architecture + Sino Group + Plasma Studio

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This twisting tower is made out of 2,000 3D-printed terracotta bricks

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