Redesigned Ocean Cleanup arrays to start scooping up Pacific garbage patch within a year

May 11, 2017 by  
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The Ocean Cleanup  just made a huge announcement from Werkspoorkathedraal , an exhibition in the Netherlands. CEO Boyan Slat  revealed exciting new  design changes to The Ocean Cleanup Array , which will enable the system to be more durable and collect more plastic . They once estimated their array could clean up 42 percent of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 10 years – now with their groundbreaking new arrays, they will be able to scoop up 50 percent of the patch’s plastic just five years. Even more exciting, deployment will start within the next 12 months – two years earlier than expected. In a presentation titled “The Next Phase,” Slat detailed their progress from the time he began The Ocean Cleanup around four years ago to today, and unveiled their plans for the future. He said one of their main design challenges was how to tether the array to the seabed. But then they realized a tether might not be their best option. Following their core principle of working with nature , they took the idea one step further. Slat put it this way: “To catch the plastic, act like the plastic.” Related: The Ocean Cleanup raises $21.7 million to begin ridding the Pacific Ocean of plastic What does that mean? Well, an anchor attaches to the cleanup array, and effectively tethers the array not to the seabed but to a deep water layer. The system still moves slower than plastic, but can now drift with the ocean currents. The array is then free to rotate and orient itself in the direction from which the plastic is coming to scoop up even more. The vast breakthrough in design also enables the array to be more survivable; drifting with the currents means it doesn’t have to withstand the full force of the ocean. So the array acts like plastic – floating through the oceans – to catch the polluting material. The Ocean Cleanup will now deploy a fleet of smaller arrays instead of one massive system. Slat pointed out this will be easier to fund; it will still cost several hundred million dollars, by his estimate, but they can gradually scale up the cleanup process array by array. Slat said in his talk, “Four years ago when I founded The Ocean Cleanup, everyone told me that there was no way to clean up what’s already out there, and the only thing you could do is avoid making it worse. But to me, that was just such an uninspiring message. Don’t we all want a future that is better than the present? And now, we are able to show, with data, that we can actually make things better again. We can do this. We must do this. We will do this.” Parts of the system are already in production, according to Slat, who unveiled some of the newly-designed anchors at the event. Slat said they’d made a promise to start cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch by 2020. He said they wouldn’t be able to keep that promise. Instead, they’ll now be deploying the first cleanup system in the Pacific Ocean in the next 12 months. + The Ocean Cleanup Images via screenshot

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Redesigned Ocean Cleanup arrays to start scooping up Pacific garbage patch within a year

The Ocean Cleanup raises $21.7 million to begin ridding the Pacific Ocean of plastic

May 3, 2017 by  
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Last fall The Ocean Cleanup found 1,000 large pieces of plastic in two hours in the Pacific Ocean during their first aerial reconnaissance mission. Today the Dutch foundation announced they’ve raised $21.7 million, and can now begin large-scale trials of their passive plastic capturing technology – in the Pacific – as soon as this year. The Pacific Ocean, plagued by the Texas-sized Great Pacific Garbage Patch , desperately needs to be cleaned up. The Ocean Cleanup is ready to tackle the problem with their plastic gathering technology tested in the North Sea thanks to new funding amounting to $21.7 million. Investors include Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne Benioff and entrepreneur Peter Thiel . Related: World’s first ocean trash recon mission is complete – and the results are way worse than we thought Founder and CEO Boyan Slat said in a statement, “Our mission is to rid the world’s oceans of plastic, and this support is a major leap forward towards achieving this goal. Thanks to the generous support of these funders, the day we’ll be returning that first batch of plastic to shore is now in sight.” The Ocean Cleanup’s technology draws on ocean currents to collect trash and could reduce the theoretical cleanup time of plastic in the Pacific Ocean from millennia down to years – their Ocean Cleanup Array could scoop up almost half of the patch’s garbage in 10 years . When they launch their technology in the Pacific later this year, it will be the first experimental cleanup system in that ocean, according to the foundation. The Ocean Cleanup will share more details at the Werkspoorkathedraal , an exhibition in the Netherlands, on May 11 at 2:00 PM EST. According to their website the talk will unveil The Next Phase and share “what we’ve been working on for the past two years, and what will be happening next.” They’ll be live streaming the event on their website . + The Ocean Cleanup Images courtesy of The Ocean Cleanup

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The Ocean Cleanup raises $21.7 million to begin ridding the Pacific Ocean of plastic

NASA snaps worrying images of new crack in large Greenland glacier

April 17, 2017 by  
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One of Greenland’s biggest glaciers could be in trouble. A Netherlands university professor pointed out a new chasm in the Petermann Glacier, as seen in satellite images . NASA’s Operation IceBridge recently went over to check it out and captured photographs that don’t look too good. Scientists say the crack is in an unusual place, and aren’t sure what caused it. Delft University of Technology professor Stef Lhermitte provided coordinates for Operation IceBridge, which flew over the rift to snap pictures. The significant crack is close to the center of Petermann Glacier’s floating ice shelf, which is a strange place for it to be according to scientists. The new chasm is not too far away from another longer and wider rift snaking towards the center of the ice shelf from the eastern side wall, and if the two intersect, a chunk could break off. Related: Iceberg Twice the Size of Manhattan Breaks Off Greenland Glacier There may be some hope – a feature NASA called a medial flowline could “exert a stagnating effect on the propagation of the new rift toward the older one.” Petermann Glacier has seen ice islands break off in the past, in 2010 and 2012. The 2010 chunk was over four times the size of Manhattan, and according to Massachusetts representative Edward J. Markey was the “largest piece of Arctic ice to break free in nearly half a century.” Since those two events the glacier has grown back a bit, but should another ice island break off, the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland’s Jason Box told The Washington Post it could be over two times as big as Manhattan, or 50 to 70 square miles big. Lhermitte, after looking at NASA’s recent images, told The Washington Post, “From these images alone, it is difficult to already say anything about what exactly caused the crack on this unusual spot.” Via The Washington Post and Mashable Images via NASA/DMS/Gary Hoffmann and NASA/Kelly Brunt

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NASA snaps worrying images of new crack in large Greenland glacier

Circular home boasts 360-degree views so owners can watch their dogs

March 27, 2017 by  
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The biggest motivation behind this circular home’s 360-degree views isn’t the beautiful landscape—it’s the homeowners’ dogs. Dutch architecture firm 123DV designed 360 Villa, a contemporary dwelling in the Netherlands that shows how architecture can be inclusive of humans and animals. Commissioned by a couple who own a pair of beautiful Alaskan Malamutes, the custom home is wrapped in glazing to allow the couple to stay in constant contact with their dogs both in and outside the home. Surrounded by a sloped lawn, the 85-square-meter 360 Villa offers ample space for the homeowners’ two Alaskan Malamutes to play and release their high energy. To give the dogs space and the constant contact they need with their owners, 123DV designed the home with a circular plan and wrapped it in a “continuous window” to provide visual contact between the dogs and couple. The roof extends over the edge of the home to create a wraparound canopy that provides shelter from the rain and sun. Related: This house has a special staircase designed just for dogs To preserve privacy, the architects built up the land into a hill on the street-facing side of the villa so that the owners can see their dogs without needing a full-height window . Despite the small footprint, the 360 Villa feels spacious thanks to the large windows and the open floor plan. The open-plan kitchen, dining room, and living area take up around two-thirds of the interior and open to an outdoor deck. The bedroom and bathroom can be closed off from the living room by sliding doors. A large circular skylight in the middle of the home lets in additional natural light. + 123DV Via ArchDaily Images © Hannah Anthonysz

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Circular home boasts 360-degree views so owners can watch their dogs

Beautiful P+R building can house hundreds of bicycles in the Netherlands

March 20, 2017 by  
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Park and ride buildings aren’t often beautiful, but this recently completed facility in Zutphen is a stunning exception. MoederscheimMoonen Architects created the stylish P+R facility near a railway station in the Netherlands’ Noorderhaven district. Built to reference the town’s industrial past, the contemporary building accommodates 375 parking spaces and has spots for over 600 bicycles . Located next to the town’s train station, the unique park and ride structure pays homage to the town’s historic warehouses and traditional industries through its design and choice of materials. One side of the building features a large gabled facade with wooden shutters to mimic the appearance of a factory warehouse. On the other side of the building are two helix-shaped ramps that hide the car’s vertical transport with a sculptural design. In a nod to the nearby steel bridge over the River IJssel, the structure is mounted on a series of “playfully positioned” galvanized columns. Related: Corridor-free high school in the Netherlands bathes students in natural light Ample natural light and ventilation passes through the building due to the slatted facade. The wooden slats were installed at different angles and combined with strips of red steel to create a playful and dynamic appearance. Vertical LED strips illuminate the building at night. + MoederscheimMoonen Architects Images by Harry Noback (HN) and Bart van Hoek (BvH)

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Beautiful P+R building can house hundreds of bicycles in the Netherlands

The Netherlands’ highest wooden apartment building can change its function like a chameleon

January 30, 2017 by  
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The tenants of Patch22, the highest wooden apartment building in the Netherlands, can design and create their own floor plans thanks to the project’s impressive level of flexibility. Architecture firm FRANTZEN et al architecten designed Patch22 with multifunctionality in mind– the team anticipated different future uses so that the building can accommodate housing units or office spaces, depending on circumstances. The building, located in Amsterdam, features a 98-feet high wooden load-bearing structure with wooden columns , beams and walls left exposed in the interior. It meets all the fire regulations and allows occupants to easily reach and reinstall their own installations and pipes depending on the chosen layout. Thanks to a high level of flexibility, Patch22 can be easily transformed from a residential project into an office building. The building generates its own energy thanks to solar panels  installed on its roof. A carbon-neutral heating system uses pellets as fuel to keep the entire building warm. Related: PLP Architecture unveils the design for London’s first timber tower Patch22 is the brainchild of FRANTZEN et al architects and H20 installation consultancy who jointly established Lemniskade Projects to realize the project which won the Sustainability Tender Amsterdam Buiksloterham in 2009. The team has recently acquired a neighboring plot to develop a new project named Top-Up, which will also include an extensive use of wood . While waiting for the new project to break ground next summer, the designers of Patch22 are receiving recognition from the professional community. Patch22 was awarded both the WAN 2016 Residential Award and Green Award. + FRANTZEN et al architecten Via v2com Photos by Luuk Kramer

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The Netherlands’ highest wooden apartment building can change its function like a chameleon

Calming views of the garden alleviate patient anxiety at this modern dental clinic

January 13, 2017 by  
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Imagine staring out at a bucolic scene with birds bouncing around in a field of waving grasses while sitting in the dentist’s chair. It might make the whole experience a little less awful, right? This dental clinic in the Netherlands was designed to make patients feel more relaxed by providing calming views of the garden outside. The light-filled building with a neutral material palette and open-plan layout, designed by Studio Prototype , is part of a cluster of healthcare facilities in the new Huurlingse Dam urban plan in Wichen, in The Netherlands. The building’s sculptural form promises to become a keystone for the neighborhood and provide vistas of the surrounding landscapes. Its clutter-free interior is lit via large openings and a skylights intalled in the central area of the building, above a hallway. Light-stained birch wood furniture and glass dominate both the exterior and interior of the project. Related: Light-filled dentist clinic shows how good design can calm patient fears “The distinctiveness of the sculpture in combination with its freestanding position and sight lines, enhances the open and accessible character of the practice,” said architect Steven Otten. “The open setup of the plan and the large panoramic view towards the garden create a light and spacious place in which the patient feels comfortable,” he added. + Studio Prototype Via Dezeen Photos by Jeroen Musch

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Calming views of the garden alleviate patient anxiety at this modern dental clinic

The Netherlands will spend 150 million Euros to turn cow poop into biogas

November 4, 2016 by  
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Dutch farmers now have the opportunity to turn cow manure into energy . Turning cow poop into power isn’t a new idea , but the Netherlands government is banking on poo being a potent source of power for their country. The country’s Ministry of Economic Affairs will spend 150 million Euros, around $166.5 million, on a cow poo to power project. In the Netherlands, the agriculture industry is responsible for 10 percent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions . Methane emanating from dairy farms comprises a majority of the offending emissions. Through the economic ministry’s program, Dutch dairy farmers might be able to curb those emissions through leasing anaerobic digesters , which break manure down into biogas with the help of bacteria. A machine inside the farm takes the cow poop to the digester dome outside, and other machines extract phosphates and nitrates farmers can use for fertilizer from the cow dung. Farmers can sell the biogas at a 12-year fixed price which the government will subsidize. Related: Villagers in carbon-hungry Thailand tap the sun and dung for clean energy Dairy farmer Pieter Heeg, who works on his family’s 75-hectare farm, is among the farmers who will turn poo into power with anaerobic digesters. He told The Guardian he anticipates making 10,000 Euros, or over $11,000, every year selling the biogas. His farm used to simply spread manure across their land, but now they’ll be able to obtain energy for their own use and extra income. In 20 days, the Heeg farm generated 9,342 kilowatt hours of electricity using an anaerobic digester, enough to provide a year’s worth of power for three homes. Huge dairy collective FrieslandCampina, which purchases milk from 13,500 of 17,000 Dutch dairy farmers, is also behind the project. Their goal is for 1,000 big farms in the Netherlands to turn poo to power through the program in the next four years. Via The Guardian Images via U.S. Department of Agriculture on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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The Netherlands will spend 150 million Euros to turn cow poop into biogas

This electricity-free LED lamp is powered by living bacteria

November 3, 2016 by  
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Dutch designer Teresa van Dongen has unveiled a fascinating LED pendant lamp that is powered by living, electrochemically-active bacteria. Called “Spark of Light,” this lamp builds on van Dongen’s previous work harnessing bioluminescent bacteria. The lamp is completely self-contained, and can operate without a plug or batteries. However, the organisms within do need to be fed to continue producing light. The spherical lamp is made of four separate compartments containing the bacteria . As long as they’re happy and healthy, these microorganisms constantly give off small electrical currents. An electrode within each section captures these currents and powers the LEDs in the center of the light. Van Dongen explained in an interview with Dezeen that as long as a teaspoon of acetate is added to the fluid within the lamp every two weeks, the light will continue to glow without any additional electricity, 24 hours a day. Every few months, the vessels within the lamp must be cleaned and refilled with tap water, salt, and vitamins. Related: The Electricity-Free Biobulb Uses Bacteria to Glow in the Dark The Spark of Life is just the latest zero-electricity lighting product van Dongen has developed. It should come as no surprise that she studied biology before deciding to pursue a design education in Eindhoven. With any luck, this innovative lamp will soon be available as a consumer product and not just a prototype. The pendant was showcased last month during 2016 Dutch Design Week. + Teresa van Dongen Via Dezeen

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This electricity-free LED lamp is powered by living bacteria

Solar-powered Vreugdenhil office earns BREEAM-NL Outstanding for its low energy footprint

November 3, 2016 by  
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Triangular in plan, Vreugdenhil’s new head office is built like a work of art that eschews hard corners for rounded edges for a sculptural appearance. Curved glazing wraps around the building to let in copious amounts of natural light that reflect off the mostly white interior surfaces. The office’s most eye-catching feature is the grand spiraling staircase that wraps around a live tree in the center and ascends a light-filled triangular atrium . The office spaces that branch off of the staircase are flexible and designed to encourage employees to socialize and collaborate. Related: Zaha Hadid Architects renovate a derelict fire station into Antwerp’s new BREEAM-rated port headquarters In addition to incorporating natural light to minimize dependence on electricity, the energy-efficient building also includes an intelligent climate control system, a 170-panel solar array system, rainwater collection reused to flush the toilets, and a thermal energy storage system that heats and cools the building. The new office’s comfortable and attractive environment is also aimed to help the company reach its 2020 target to reduce the absenteeism rate to below 4%. + Maas Architecten Via ArchDaily Images via Maas Architecten

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Solar-powered Vreugdenhil office earns BREEAM-NL Outstanding for its low energy footprint

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