SeaChange uses plasma arc technology to save the oceans from plastic waste

September 8, 2020 by  
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We’ve all heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and the continuing flow of oceanbound plastic. But what if something could intercept that plastic before it made it into the oceans? That’s the plan of SeaChange, a new organization that claims to have devised the technology to save our oceans from the plastic pollution crisis. The start of SeaChange SeaChange founders Carl Borgquist and Tim Nett grew up together in Paradise, California, and have been lifelong friends. They went on to have varied careers — Borgquist in renewable energy and as CEO of Absaroka Energy and Nett as a serial entrepreneur in advertising and media. But then their entire hometown burned in the infamous Camp Fire of 2018. Eighty-five people lost their lives and more than 11,000 homes burned to the ground. It was the worst fire in California history up to that point, and the future looked bleak as climate change worsened wildfires throughout the west. Related: Babylegs — the inexpensive, educational way to monitor ocean plastic   “ Climate change stops being theoretical when it destroys everything you’ve grown up with,” Nett said . “When there is no hometown to go back to. We couldn’t in clear conscience stand by and do nothing.” The two men decided to put their considerable life experience and gray matter together to work on climate change. And they’ve made a promising breakthrough. How SeaChange’s technology works SeaChange will outfit its ships with something called the Plasma Enhanced Melter (PEM). The PEM uses plasma arc technology to zap plastic and other trash before it enters the ocean. Plastic is shredded before it enters the Plasma Arc Zone. Instead of leaving harmful residues like conventional waste treatment methods, plasma arc technology uses high temperature and high electrical energy to heat waste , mostly by radiation. Organic material can be burned down into a combustible gas called syngas, which can be used as clean fuel for SeaChange’s ships. Inorganic components wind up as glassy slag. This reusable black glass is said to be nontoxic and safe for marine life. SeaChange will heat the plasma arc to temperatures up to 18,000 degrees. “That’s like dropping it on the surface of the Sun,” SeaChange said on its website. While this may sound like science fiction, the technology has been used on hazardous and medical waste since 1996. Finding the trash Of the 400 million tons of plastic produced every year, 90% is burned, buried or lost in the environment. Only 10% is recycled . Even if plastic is recycled, you could say that’s delaying the problem. Up until now, plastic has been forever-lasting, with no permanent solution to vaporize it. The SeaChange ships will seek the plastic that is lost in the environment. According to the organization’s research, about 10 million tons of plastic trash enters the oceans each year. That equals about one dump truck load per minute. Of this ocean plastic pollution, 90% flows into the sea from the 10 most polluted rivers . China’s Yangtze River gets the trophy for pollution champion, collecting 1.5 million tons of plastic trash before dumping it into the East China Sea near Shanghai. The runner-up is the Indus, which originates in Tibet before winding through Pakistan and then emptying an average 164,332 tons of plastic junk into the Arabian Sea by Karachi. The other eight rivers are the Yellow, Hai, Nile, Ganges, Pearl, Amur, Niger and Mekong Rivers. Eventually, the SeaChange ships — equipped with plasma arc technology — will travel to these polluted rivers to harvest and vaporize plastic trash before it enters the ocean. The crew can process up to 5 tons of plastic on the ship each day, melting it down to about 225 pounds of inert black glass . First stop, Indonesia SeaChange is planning to go on its first mission in 2021. Destination: Indonesia. Currently, somewhere between 0.5 and 1.4 million tons of plastic waste wind up in the ocean around Indonesia every year. SeaChange plans to remove trash to protect a sensitive Indonesian ecosystem full of coral species and mangrove forests. The organization is still sorting out what NGOs, government agencies and individuals it can partner with to make the mission happen. Since planning began, the pandemic has created additional logistical obstacles. It’s also contributing to the plastic problem. A huge surge of medical waste is landing in Indonesian waters after a six-month uptick in single-use gloves and masks. The trash that stays out of the waterways is being burned in open pits, exposing people to carcinogenic clouds of dioxins, which isn’t much better. If all goes to plan, SeaChange will start making a dent in the oceanbound plastic problem next year. This partnership between Borgquist and Nett reminds us of the oft-repeated and inspiring idea that even something terrible can bring about something positive. For example, when your hometown burns, you decide to tackle one of the world’s biggest problems. If the Indonesia mission is successful next year, maybe we’ll one day see a SeaChange ship at the mouth of every polluted river. + SeaChange Images via Kevin Krejci , M.W. and Sergei Tokmakov, Esq.

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SeaChange uses plasma arc technology to save the oceans from plastic waste

CRA unveils designs for Biotic, a high-tech district in Brazil

September 8, 2020 by  
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After two years of development, international design firm Carlo Ratti Associati and consultancy firm Ernst & Young have unveiled their masterplan designs for Biotic, a high-tech innovation district in Brasilia, Brazil. Inspired by the Brazilian capital’s modernist masterplan engineered by urban planner Lucio Costa and architect Oscar Niemeyer, Biotic was conceived as an extension of the city’s historic layout as well as a reinterpretation of the city’s iconic superblocks to create a more nature-centric community with greater mixed-use programming.  Developed for public real estate company TerraCap, the 10-million-square-foot Biotic would be located between the UNESCO World Heritage “Plano Piloto” — the foundation of Brasilia in 1960 — and the 42,000-hectare Brasilia National Park in the northwest of the Federal District. The proposed technology and innovation district focuses on “domesticating nature” to allow residents, workers and visitors closer contact with nature in both public and private areas. Related: How Barcelona “superblocks” return city streets to the people The Biotic project expands on Brasilia’s iconic Superquadra (or superblock ) modules by subdividing each into pedestrian blocks with street fronts. These internal neighborhoods would not only be protected from traffic and pollution, but the inward-facing spaces would also promote social cohesion and community. The masterplan also champions mixed-use programming — a feature that was typically avoided in Brazil’s modernist urban planning in the mid-century. The architects intend to take advantage of Brasilia’s year-round mild climate to cultivate stronger connections with nature. For example, outdoor offices would be designed with curtain walls that could open like real curtains. Digital technologies embedded into plazas , pedestrian zones, shared vegetable gardens and other spaces would be used to monitor sunlight, wind and temperature and create comfortable working environments while allowing close contact with nature. “The office buildings, hovering above the ground level, are designed for sun and wind to come in,” said James Schrader, project manager at CRA. “Thanks to a system of openable wooden facades that can slide along the building like a curtain, the interior spaces will open to the exterior, allowing users to enjoy Brasilia’s weather. This project merges the interior and exterior into one space.” + Carlo Ratti Associati Images via Carlo Ratti Associati

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CRA unveils designs for Biotic, a high-tech district in Brazil

Sperry introduces shoes made with ocean plastic

March 27, 2020 by  
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Undoubtedly, one of the world’s most pressing issues is the massive amount of plastic waste that is clogging our oceans and waterways on a daily basis. Thankfully, some companies are converting this ocean plastic into useful products for the everyday consumer. Already well-known for its attractive boat shoes, American footwear company Sperry has just launched Bionic, a new type of eco-friendly boat shoe that is made with textiles spun from ocean plastic. Dating back to 1935, Sperry is an American shoe line that specializes in stylish and durable boat shoes. Its shoes are beloved by professional and amateur sailors, who also have a front-row seat to the shocking amount of plastic waste that is suffocating our planet’s water systems. Related: New line of men’s swimwear is made from recycled ocean plastic Working under its motto of “Look Good. Do Good.”, the footwear company has just unveiled a new line of eco-friendly boat shoes that are made out of recycled plastic waste. Working in collaboration with the teams from Water Keeper Alliance and Bionic Yarn , Sperry created the new Bionics collection, which features various boat shoes that are made with fabric spun from recycled plastic bottles. Once the plastic waste is collected from marine and coastal environments, it is then sent to be turned into eco-friendly yarn and fabric. Each shoe has the same rugged structure as Sperry’s regular collections, but the Bionic boat shoes feature that eco-friendly twist. In fact, according to Sperry’s calculations, each pair of shoes is made out of the equivalent of five recycled plastic bottles. Each item in the collection varies in cost, ranging from $30 to $100 per pair, with a range of styles and colors to choose from for both adults and children. + Sperry Images via Sperry

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Sperry introduces shoes made with ocean plastic

Infographic: Our Plastic Earth

February 13, 2020 by  
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The extent of plastic pollution has reached a level that … The post Infographic: Our Plastic Earth appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Infographic: Our Plastic Earth

6 circular economy trends that will shape 2020

January 2, 2020 by  
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From refill schemes to more practical and viable recycling options, there’s a stronger sense of urgency to find solutions.

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6 circular economy trends that will shape 2020

6 circular economy trends that will shape 2020

January 2, 2020 by  
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From refill schemes to more practical and viable recycling options, there’s a stronger sense of urgency to find solutions.

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6 circular economy trends that will shape 2020

How 16 initiatives are changing urban agriculture through tech and innovation

January 2, 2020 by  
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From high-tech indoor farms in France and Singapore to mobile apps connecting urban growers and eaters in India and the United States, here are more than a dozen initiatives using tech, entrepreneurship, and social innovation to change urban agriculture.

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How 16 initiatives are changing urban agriculture through tech and innovation

SAP’s simple, sensible contribution to sustainability

November 21, 2019 by  
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Often, the best technology innovations are the ones that are virtually invisible.

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SAP’s simple, sensible contribution to sustainability

VMWare’s Pratima Rao Gluckman on using blockchain to rescue ocean-bound plastics

November 13, 2019 by  
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Pratima Rao Gluckman shares how VMWare and Dell are working together to collect ocean-bound plastics and using blockchain to track packaging materials. As companies continue to innovate technological solutions, there’s always challenges. VMWare and Dell have had to figure out how to eliminate fraud and authenticate source materials.

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VMWare’s Pratima Rao Gluckman on using blockchain to rescue ocean-bound plastics

Earth911 Podcast: Rockay Socks Combine Recycled Ocean Plastic With Reduced Water Usage

November 11, 2019 by  
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Rockay makes socks from ocean plastic with anti-odor characteristics that … The post Earth911 Podcast: Rockay Socks Combine Recycled Ocean Plastic With Reduced Water Usage appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Podcast: Rockay Socks Combine Recycled Ocean Plastic With Reduced Water Usage

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