Incredible Algae Dome absorbs sun and CO2 to produce superfood and oxygen

September 5, 2017 by  
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Industrial agriculture is blamed as a major cause of greenhouse gas, but what if there was a way to sustainably produce food that could help solve some of the world’s toughest environmental problems? That’s what the folks at SPACE10 , a Copenhagen-based future-living lab, tackled with the futuristic Algae Dome, a four-meter-tall food-producing architecture pavilion that pumps out oxygen in a closed-loop system. Powered by solar energy, the Algae Dome offers a sustainable and hyper-local food system that can pop up almost anywhere with minimal impact on the environment. Architects Aleksander Wadas, Rafal Wroblewski, Anna Stempniewicz, and bioengineer Keenan Pinto created the Algae Dome, which was presented at the CHART art fair in Copenhagen last week. Although SPACE10 has experimented with growing microgreens before, the team targets an even smaller food with the Algae Dome—micro-algae. Praised as a future “superfood,” micro-algae is said to contain twice as much protein as meat and is packed with vitamins and minerals, with more beta carotene than carrots and more iron than found in spinach, according to SPACE10. Even better? Micro-algae are among the world’s fastest-growing organisms and can be grown with sunshine and water almost anywhere, all while sucking up carbon dioxide and expelling oxygen in the process. Related: SPACE10 creates an open-source Growroom you can build at home During the three-day CHART art fair, the Algae Dome produced 450 liters of micro-algae and provided an interactive architectural experience that was part food system, part furniture, and wholly educational. The large amount of food was produced in a surprisingly small amount of space thanks to the design that featured 320 meters of coiled tubing, showing off the flow of emerald green micro-algae. Visitors were invited to sit inside the pavilion and enjoy a “breath of fresh air” created by the micro-algae as it converted carbon dioxide into oxygen. Packets of delicious spirulina (a type of blue-green algae) chips, created by SPACE10’s chef-in-residence Simon Perez, were placed around the pavilion to give passersby the chance to try the superfood. “In the future, different species of microalgae could be used as a form of nutrient-rich food, as a replacement for soy protein in animal feed, in the development of biofuels, as a way to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, and as a method of treating industrial wastewater,” said SPACE10. “In other words, microalgae could help combat malnutrition, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels , help stop the destruction of the rainforest, improve air quality, and reduce pollution. Little wonder that microalgae has been dubbed the future’s sustainable super crop.” SPACE10 sees the Algae Dome as the prototype for food-producing architecture that could pop up virtually anywhere, from bus stops to apartment complexes. + SPACE10 Picture credit: Niklas Adrian Vindelev

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Incredible Algae Dome absorbs sun and CO2 to produce superfood and oxygen

NASA unveils plan to make oxygen on Mars

August 24, 2017 by  
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Future Mars colonists are going to need oxygen , and NASA has a plan to make it. Their Mars 2020 Rover will be equipped with a Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment device, nicknamed MOXIE, which will attempt to make oxygen via electrolysis . The oxygen could be used not only for breathing, but also for rocket fuel. NASA Acting Chief Administrator Robert Lightfoot, Jr. told Futurism , “The next lander that is going to Mars, Mars 2020, has an experiment where we are going to try and actually generate oxygen out of the atmosphere on Mars, clearly that’s for human capability down the road.” Michael Hecht of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been the principal investigator for MOXIE. Oxygen is only present in trace amounts in the red planet’s atmosphere, but carbon dioxide (CO2) is pretty abundant; 95.32 percent of Mars’ atmosphere is comprised of CO2. A laser could ‘slice off’ the carbon atom in CO2 to leave O2 behind. But NASA’s going with another method: electrolysis, or using a fuel cell to split up the oxygen and carbon atoms. Related: NASA unveils inflatable greenhouse for sustainable farming on Mars It should take MOXIE around two hours to produce oxygen from carbon dioxide in Mars’ atmosphere. It operates at a temperature of 1,472 degrees Fahrenheit, and its production rate is around 0.022 pounds an hour. The device is 9.4 by 9.4 by 12.2 inches big, and will hitch a ride to the fourth planet from the sun aboard the 2020 Rover. If the experiment is successful, NASA might one day send an instrument that is 100 times larger than MOXIE, so astronauts can breathe when they get to Mars. Via IFLScience and Futurism Images via NASA

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NASA unveils plan to make oxygen on Mars

Subterranean Oxygen Park is a breath of fresh air in the Qatari desert

August 18, 2017 by  
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A “green lung” in Qatar’s desert landscape is helping people stay healthy and active, and reconnecting them to nature. Erik Behrens and James Haig Streeter of AECOM recently completed Oxygen Park, a unique public space in Doha’s Education City. Built to promote exercise and social gatherings, Oxygen Park is partly buried underground and features undulating, organic forms masses inspired by the desert’s wind-eroded rocks and landscapes. Oxygen Park derives its name from the elemental life-force of oxygen , which the park also produces with its tree-studded green landscape. The designers wrote: “Oxygen Park is a man-made ‘green lung’ with a design inspired by nature. It is an antidote to the generic indoor gym environment and helps people to get back to nature, while fostering social engagement and promoting active healthy lifestyles.” A series of “balloon lights” float above the subterranean landscape to draw attention to Oxygen Park from afar. Related: SOMA Architects’ luxury Shaza Hotel breaks ground in Doha The park’s exercise features include shaded running trails, subterranean pitches for team sports, and equestrian facilities. More passive recreational areas also punctuate the park in the form of water plazas, sensory gardens, shade gardens, play gardens , and a series of soundscape -filled, folly spheres. The use of water and shade are seamlessly integrated into the design to provide relief from the hot climate. At night, a beautiful lighting scheme illuminates the park and water to create a safe and attractive environment for workouts and strolls after sundown. + AECOM Images by Markus Elblaus

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Subterranean Oxygen Park is a breath of fresh air in the Qatari desert

Cozy charred timber box adds a new social heart to Dublin home

August 18, 2017 by  
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A tiny new addition has made a big impact on a terraced home in North Dublin. Stephen Kavanagh Architects designed Copeland Grove, a sun-soaked home refurbishment and extension that connects to an existing garden. Formerly a leaky kitchen extension, the new timber-and-glass structure provides transformative panoramic views and greatly increases thermal comfort. Lighting was key in the design of the 24-square-meter timber extension. Full-height glazing and a skylight increase solar heat gain and let in abundant natural light. At night, concealed LED strips and pendant lighting provide enough illumination without the need for visible lamps, thus reducing visual clutter. Related: Charred timber pavilion slides back and forth to expose rooms to the outdoors Charred timber wraps around the timber-framed building to complement and contrast with the main home’s white facade. The interior also features timber in the exposed wooden beams and choice of furnishings. Light-colored tiled floors and walls reflect light and contribute to the extension’s light and spacious appearance. The project cost £110,000 for construction and took 14 weeks to build. + Stephen Kavanagh Architects

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Ingenious Chlorella Oxygen Pavilion helps city dwellers breathe clean, unpolluted air using algae

October 31, 2016 by  
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Air quality is a serious issue that needs to be addressed as more and more people move to large cities . At the same time, we are losing the forests that help us combat air pollution, which means that pollution promises to be a major health threat in coming decades. The Chlorella Pavilion  addresses that need, taking inspiration from the air purifying process that occurs in nature. The design emphasizes the  symbiotic relationship between animal and plants. Miklosi conceived a system of tubes that run throughout the interior and exterior of the structure, filled with algae soaking up energy from the sun and “exhaling” oxygen into the space by way of a central fountain. The fountain is surrounded by seating so that people can relax enjoy the fresh air. Visitors coming to this futuristic oxygen bar will feed the algae by converting oxygen into CO2 with their breath, creating a continuous cycle. The entire system is run by solar panels, which provide power for artificial lighting that supports photosynthesis. Photobioreactors create a network of transparent plastic tubes, each of which is filled with 5 cubic meters of algae. The algae sucks in dirty air, cleans it, and sends out purified air. Surrounding this central algae “fountain” are a series of chairs in a circle, facing the center. Related: Biodesign Competition winners announced – algae takes center stage Called a “temple of relaxation,” the Chlorella Pavilion could be placed just about anywhere, including metropolitan areas where bustling city dwellers could use a natural boost of oxygen-driven energy – or just some fresh air. The innovative structure is built with molded beech wood and an isolating teflon film on the exterior to help create a space for relaxation and recovery. The project was inspired by Russia’s Controlled ecological life support system , in which a self-supporting life system was created using algae to provide oxygen.  Miklosi’s design recently won Inhabitat’s  Biodesign Competition . +Chlorella Oxygen Pavilion

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Ingenious Chlorella Oxygen Pavilion helps city dwellers breathe clean, unpolluted air using algae

Are algae-powered oxygen bars on the horizon?

October 18, 2016 by  
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While the idea may seem strange at first, these pods could actually be the answer to the increasing problem of urban pollution and carbon emissions . The World Health Organization predicts that by 2030, 60% of the world’s population will live in big cities, and a recent study from WHO found that a staggering 92% of the human beings on the planet are already being exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution . That’s a lot of people who could benefit from a quick daily dose of purified air. The design of the structure does more than simply purify the air. It also uses semi-transparent Teflon membranes to reduce noise and visual stimulation – creating a quiet, isolated escape for tired visitors who want to relax and recharge. The algae fountain in the center consists of a series of photobioreactors filled with five cubic meters of water and algae. Surrounding the core photobioreactor would be ten rail-bound relaxation chairs placed in a circle, to allow quiet time for study and reflection – it’s sort of an oxygen bar meets library. The chairs can be shifted individually in order to facilitate social gatherings or to create a more private personal space. This innovative design impressed us so much that it took both the Grand Prize and the Healing Spaces Prize in Inhabitat’s recent Biodesign Competition . Related: Biodesign Competition winners announced – algae takes center stage An urban escape from pollution wouldn’t be the only benefit to this design. We could also harness elements of this design to help reduce overall atmospheric CO2 – a pressing issue at a time when existing carbon sinks worldwide are disappearing. Deforestation could potentially lead to a massive increase in unabsorbed carbon dioxide pollution. Researchers predict that deforestation in the Amazon, has already led to a 12% increase in carbon emissions worldwide since the 1960s, and that will only increase as farming and logging continue in the region. Environmental changes such as drought have severely impacted the ability of trees to store carbon and have even caused them to release it into the atmosphere instead. + Ádám Miklósi

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The world will run out of breathable air unless carbon emissions are cut

June 22, 2016 by  
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As the world struggles to find effective ways to limit carbon emissions and slow global warming , a recent study has found that the stakes may be higher than anyone has realized. According to Sergei Petrovskii, an applied mathematics professor at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom, an unchecked rise in global temperatures could end up drastically reducing the amount of breathable oxygen in the planet’s atmosphere, threatening life on Earth as we know it. In a study published late last year in the Bulletin of Mathematical Biology , Petrovskii ran computer models looking at the phytoplankton in the world’s oceans, microscopic marine plants responsible for producing two-thirds of the world’s atmospheric oxygen. In examining the ability of phytoplankton to photosynthesize at various temperatures, Petrovskii learned something incredibly troubling — at a certain point, these plants would simply halt oxygen production, leaving the world gasping for breath. Related: Alarming study shows disastrous climate change will strike much sooner than expected Perhaps the most terrifying part of Petrovskii’s findings is the fact that this catastrophe would come with few, if any, warning signs. If global warming continues unchecked, some scientists estimate we could reach this drastic tipping point as soon as 2100 , leaving us with only about 84 years before a mass die-off of human and animal life might occur. It’s important to note that this is an avoidable, although plausible, catastrophe: this doomsday scenario will only occur if we allow the world’s oceans to warm by a total of 6 degrees Celsius. Most climate scientists warn that to avoid the most disastrous effects of climate change , global temperatures must be halted before they rise more than 2°C  above pre-industrial levels, and this is the goal recently adopted by the world’s nations at the Paris climate accord. Related: Runaway Global Emissions Make the Two-Degree Global Warming Limit Highly Unlikely That being said, the research is also showing that staying below the 2°C limit is increasingly unlikely unless global emissions can be slashed drastically, and the deals reached during the COP21 talks simply aren’t enough. The Climate Action Tracker , an independent group of European climate experts, estimates that current agreements will put eventual global temperatures at around 2.7°C , far lower than the scenario outlined in Petrovskii’s paper, but high enough to potentially trigger major sea level rise , destroy most coral reefs and glaciers , and permanently alter agricultural cycles around the world. In other words, though we’re currently on track to avoid an Earth with completely unbreathable air, we’re nowhere near where we need to be to avoid the worst effects of global climate change. Still, lawmakers must absolutely keep the possibility of this catastrophe in mind when crafting environmental policy. All life on Earth may depend on it. Via TakePart Images via NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

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The world will run out of breathable air unless carbon emissions are cut

The cicadas are have arrived, blanketing Midwestern porches by the thousands

June 21, 2016 by  
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The iconic, spine-tingling line from Poltergeist, “They’re here…” is on the lips of wide-eyed mid-westerners during the deafening invasion of 17-year cicadas. Photos of one Mansfield, Ohio homeowner’s porch have gone viral , depicting piles and piles of discarded exoskeletons and deceased insects. The scene, to some, is like a real-life horror movie. Cicadas emerge from under the ground in broods. This particular brood is surfacing for the first time since 1999. Over the span of about six weeks they will shed their exoskeleton, mate, lay eggs, and then die. The thunderous mating call of millions of male cicadas is the biggest nuisance for humans, unless they show up on your doorstep. Richelle Smart, in northern Ohio, recently posted photos of thousands of bugs overtaking her porch. Her children dutifully helped sweep up the crunchy mounds, when they weren’t not jumping back at the sight of a live, bug-eyed cicada. Related: They’re coming… BILLIONS of cicadas to invade the northeast next month The cicadas’ presence may only be an annoyance to people, as they have a symbiotic relationship with Mother Nature. Laying eggs on tree branches promotes healthy pruning and the underground burrowing aerates the soil. The exoskeletons are returned to the Earth as nourishment, completing the cycle of life. If you are living in eastern Ohio, northern West Virginia, southwest Pennsylvania, or some pockets of Virginia and Maryland, the beauty of nature may be the last thing on your mind. Luckily, once this brood takes care of their business, you won’t have to worry about them popping back up for another 17 years. Via  Daily Mail Images via  Wikimedia , Facebook

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The cicadas are have arrived, blanketing Midwestern porches by the thousands

Stunning prefab OxyGen project will deliver a green oasis to Paris

March 9, 2016 by  
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NASA Reveals Plans to Start Growing Vegetables in Space this Year

September 12, 2013 by  
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NASA is planning to grow fresh vegetables in space , 230 miles above the Earth. Later this year the space agency’s Vegetable Production System (VEGGIE) program  will send astronauts to the International Space Station with kits to grow six romaine lettuce plants. Hopefully the project will allow our space explorers to farm edible food in space for the first time in history. Read the rest of NASA Reveals Plans to Start Growing Vegetables in Space this Year Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: bacteria , carbon dioxide , Clean Food , Colonization , deep space , Farming in Space , Growing Food in Space , international space station , Is There Life on Mars , iss , LEDs , life on mars , nasa , News , Orbital Technologies Corporation , oxygen , Simulating Sunlight , Space Microbes , sustainable food , Urban Farming , Vegetable Production System program , VEGGIE Program        

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