New North African solar farms could send 4.5 gigawatts of energy to Europe

September 7, 2017 by  
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The age-old plan to power Europe with solar farms in North Africa and the Middle East may finally become a reality. This past June, Tunisia-based TuNur filed a request to export 4.5 gigawatts (GW) of solar energy to Europe. That’s enough to power 5 million homes or 7 million electric cars! If the joint venture between UK-based solar specialist Nur Energie and Tunisian and Maltese investors proves successful, the energy landscape in Europe will be forever changed. Said Daniel Rich, the chief operating officer at TuNur: “Today you have a market in need of low carbon dispatchable power, which has the mechanisms to import power from other countries. Next door is a region with extreme solar resource and in need for investment and development. Finally, there are technologies that can satisfy the demand at very competitive pricing and have a very high local impact.” The National reports that project is making fast progress. By 2020, the TuNur solar plant in Tunisia will be linked with Malta, a feat which will cost approximately €1.6 billion. (The island is already linked to the European mainland via an undersea power line that connects to Sicily.) A second cable link will connect Tunisia to central Italy at a point north of Rome. A third cable, which would link Tunisia to the south of France, is presently under review. Related: European firms eye artificial island for North Sea wind and solar farm The project will do more than provide Europe with clean energy – it will stimulate over $5 billion of investment in Tunisia . Approximately 20,000 direct and indirect jobs — specifically in the interior regions which are least developed — will also be generated. + TuNur Via The National Images via TuNur , Pixabay

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New North African solar farms could send 4.5 gigawatts of energy to Europe

Plastic fibers found in over 80% of tap water samples from five continents

September 7, 2017 by  
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If you had a glass of water from the tap today, you likely ingested plastic. Orb Media conducted an investigation of plastic in our tap water over 10 months, and their results were shocking: over 80 percent of samples they collected – in places like the United States Capitol building or the shores of Uganda’s Lake Victoria – contained plastic fibers. The authors of the study say we’re living in the Plastic Age – and the contamination probably is not limited to our water. Orb Media and a researcher from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health scrutinized plastic fibers in our tap water for the report, titled Invisibles, for what Orb Media described as the “first public scientific study of its kind.” Microplastics contaminating our water come from a variety of sources, from synthetic clothes to tire dust to microbeads to plastic utensils. According to Orb Media, “We have produced more plastic in the last 10 years than in the entirety of the last century.” They said experts said plastics are probably in your food too – like baby formula, sauces, or craft beer. Related: Plankton Pundit video shows exact moment plastic enters the food chain The research authors tested tap water in the United States, Europe, Indonesia, India, Lebanon, Uganda, and Ecuador. The United States had the greatest amount of plastics in their water at 94 percent of samples; the researchers detected the fibers at the Environmental Protection Agency’s headquarters, Congress buildings, and Trump Tower in New York. Lebanon and India had the next greatest amounts of contamination. Europe had the least – but plastics were still found in 72 percent of samples there. It’s easy to blame waste management or sewage treatment systems. But one marine biology professor said designers have a role to play too. Associate Dean of Research at Plymouth University Richard Thompson told Orb Media, “Plastics are inherently recyclable . What’s preventing us from recycling I’d argue, is inadequate, inappropriate, or…lack of proper consideration on the design stage for what’s going to happen at the end of life.” Senior Research Associate at the University of New South Wales Mark Browne said, “It’s all of our fault.” + Invisibles Via Orb Media and The Guardian Lead image via Depositphotos , others via Pixabay and Wikimedia Commons

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Plastic fibers found in over 80% of tap water samples from five continents

Star Wars-inspired NASA observatory will offer galactic views in Cyprus

September 7, 2017 by  
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A spaceship-like observatory is set to land atop a Cyprus mountain. Kyriakos Tsolakis Architects got the green light for a space science center that will give NASA greater research coverage over the Middle East. Located in the Troodos Mountains, this Sci Fi-inspired building commands an impressive and distinctive silhouette to “inspire and excite anyone who sees it from afar or from up close.” Named Star Observatory, the spaceship-like building will be the first purpose-built observatory in Cyprus . Renderings show the structure perched atop a tree-covered mountain 1,200 meters above sea level in Troodos Geopark, a 115-hectare UNESCO-listed park in central Cyprus. The observatory will give NASA researchers the opportunity to track celestial phenomena in the Middle East, a region where there is insufficient data. “Elena and I drew inspiration from sci-fi when drawing up plans for this observatory – I was a Star Wars fan growing up,” said architects Nicodemos K Tsolakis and Elena K Tsolakis of his and his wife’s design process to Dezeen. “Of course the client didn’t know this when they hired us. They were pretty surprised with where we took it but they love the ideas.” Related: Roden Crater is a magic space for observing cycles of geologic and celestial time The spaceship-like research center features a wedge shape with a dome on one end and a cantilevered terrace on the other. The Star Observatory will include two telescopes for daytime and nighttime viewing and visitors will also be allowed bring their own telescopes. The robust observatory will be able to withstand the region’s extreme temperatures, from blistering hot summers to below freezing temperatures in winter. + Kyriakos Tsolakis Architects Via Dezeen Images via Kyriakos Tsolakis Architects , by MIR

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Giant bamboo planters protect a Ho Chi Minh City home from the sun and rain

September 7, 2017 by  
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Vo Trong Nghia Architects worked their bamboo magic on a slender residence in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City . In a bid to add green space in the city’s increasingly dense concrete jungle, the architects installed giant bamboo-filled planters to the building’s street-facing facade. Located in the city’s colorful and bustling central urban district, the House in District 1 uses the green screens for privacy, air purification, shading, and visual appeal. From the street, the House in District 1 looks like a series of stacked and staggered planters bursting with bushy bamboo . The overgrown effect contrasts sharply with the home’s minimalist and modern design. Concrete is predominately used and is texturized to lessen its monolithic appearance. “In addition to growing bamboo on the front facade, the concrete formwork is also made by using bamboo to allow a consistent design language,” said Vo Trong Nghia Architect, according to Dezeen . “The bamboo texture also helps to reduce the intense and heavy appearance of conventional concrete wall and thus, improves the overall aesthetic quality of the house.” Related: Lush green rooftop terrace invites homeowners outdoors in the foothills of Vietnam The four-story Ho Chi Minh residence features a guest room and entry hall on the first floor with an open-plan living room, dining area, and kitchen on the floor above. The kids’ bedroom and the master bedroom with ensuite bathroom are located on the second and third floors, respectively. The top floor houses the home office that opens up to an outdoor rooftop swimming pool. The bamboo planters are on every floor and provide privacy, shade, and protection from the tropical rains. + Vo Trong Nghia Architects Via Dezeen Images via Hiroyuki Oki

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Giant bamboo planters protect a Ho Chi Minh City home from the sun and rain

Soaring skyscrapers transform barren desert into a life-giving oasis

March 31, 2016 by  
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Desertec Solar Power Project Abandoned by Shareholders

October 16, 2014 by  
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The ambitious, multibillion dollar solar power project Desertec has been abandoned by all but three of its shareholders and will now continue in an “adapted format” as a consultancy. The project was expected to provide up to 20 percent of Europe’s energy needs by 2050, importing power from farms in North Africa and the Middle East. Despite estimates that more energy could be harvested from the desert sun in six hours than humanity could use in a year, the project’s backers have steadily withdrawn, citing high costs, a reluctance to invest in the region, and the fact that Europe seems to be doing a very good job of producing renewably sourced energy at home, thank you very much. Read the rest of Desertec Solar Power Project Abandoned by Shareholders Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Desertec , Desertec abandoned by shareholders , Europe , global development , Middle East , North Africa , renewable energy schemes , shareholders , Solar Power

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RECIPE: Sweet, Spicy and Super Tasty Moroccan-Style Eggplant

September 14, 2014 by  
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Eggplants are bountiful at this time of year, but after a couple of batches of babaganough and a big dish of ratatouille, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut just roasting them. This recipe for sweet and spicy Moroccan-style eggplant mixes it up with some smoked paprika, red peppercorns, and some simple sugar syrup or honey, all topped off with a generous handful of iron-packed parsley. Add a side of herbed couscous or quinoa and you’re good to go. Like many eggplant dishes, this one is also even better the next day after the flavors have had a chance to really infuse. Read on for the details: READ MORE > Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: grilling , how-to , Inhabitots , North Africa , recipes , sweet and spicy Moroccan style eggplants , vegan , vegetarian

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RECIPE: Sweet, Spicy and Super Tasty Moroccan-Style Eggplant

Study Projects Over Half of World’s Population Could Rely on Food Imports by 2050

May 8, 2013 by  
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Photo via Shutterstock With tomatoes from Chile, salmon from Norway, chocolate from Africa, and coffee from Indonesia, a trip to the local grocery store can seem like a journey around the world. But food security is a serious issue in the 21st century, as countries around the world struggle to produce enough food to feed their growing populations. A new study from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany that was published in the journal  Environmental Research Letters suggests that over half of the world’s population could depend on imported foods by 2050. Read the rest of Study Projects Over Half of World’s Population Could Rely on Food Imports by 2050 Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: central america , Climate Change , diet , food security , germany , imported food , marianela fader , Middle East , North Africa , Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research , self sufficiency        

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Study Projects Over Half of World’s Population Could Rely on Food Imports by 2050

Study Projects Over Half of World’s Population Could Rely on Food Imports by 2050

May 8, 2013 by  
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Photo via Shutterstock With tomatoes from Chile, salmon from Norway, chocolate from Africa, and coffee from Indonesia, a trip to the local grocery store can seem like a journey around the world. But food security is a serious issue in the 21st century, as countries around the world struggle to produce enough food to feed their growing populations. A new study from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany that was published in the journal  Environmental Research Letters suggests that over half of the world’s population could depend on imported foods by 2050. Read the rest of Study Projects Over Half of World’s Population Could Rely on Food Imports by 2050 Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: central america , Climate Change , diet , food security , germany , imported food , marianela fader , Middle East , North Africa , Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research , self sufficiency        

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Study Projects Over Half of World’s Population Could Rely on Food Imports by 2050

Study Projects Over Half of World’s Population Could Rely on Food Imports by 2050

May 8, 2013 by  
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Photo via Shutterstock With tomatoes from Chile, salmon from Norway, chocolate from Africa, and coffee from Indonesia, a trip to the local grocery store can seem like a journey around the world. But food security is a serious issue in the 21st century, as countries around the world struggle to produce enough food to feed their growing populations. A new study from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany that was published in the journal  Environmental Research Letters suggests that over half of the world’s population could depend on imported foods by 2050. Read the rest of Study Projects Over Half of World’s Population Could Rely on Food Imports by 2050 Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: central america , Climate Change , diet , food security , germany , imported food , marianela fader , Middle East , North Africa , Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research , self sufficiency        

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Study Projects Over Half of World’s Population Could Rely on Food Imports by 2050

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