Powerful new Penn State battery turns waste CO2 into electricity

February 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Powerful new Penn State battery turns waste CO2 into electricity

With so much excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, researchers from every corner of the globe are working on innovative ways to soak it up. Penn State University scientists have gone a step further with a powerful new battery that not only soaks up CO2, but also repurposes it to make more energy . Their pH-gradient flow cell battery is not the first of its kind, but it is the most powerful – take a closer look after the jump. In an article published by Environmental Science and Technology Letters , the Penn State researchers note the discrepancy between CO2 concentrations in regular air and exhaust gases created by fossil fuel combustion results in an “untapped energy source for producing electricity.” “One method of capturing this energy is dissolving CO2 gas into water and then converting the produced chemical potential energy into electrical power using an electrochemical system,” they write. While previous attempts to convert CO2 into electricity have been successful, the researchers say power densities were limited, and ion-exchange technology expensive. They said their ph-gradient flow cell battery is considerably more powerful. Related: Plants are keeping atmospheric CO2 levels stable, but it won’t last forever “In this approach, two identical supercapacitive manganese oxide electrodes were separated by a nonselective membrane and exposed to an aqueous buffer solution sparged with either CO2 gas or air,” they write. “This pH-gradient flow cell produced an average power density of 0.82 W/m2, which was nearly 200 times higher than values reported using previous approaches.” Engadget breaks this down for lay readers: “As ions are exchanged between the denser CO2 solution and normal air solution, the voltage changes at the manganese oxide electrodes in either tank. This stimulates the flow of electrons between the two connected electrodes and voilà: electricity.” They also report that the process can essentially be reversed to recharge the battery, and that Penn State was able to repeat this process 50 times without losing performance. For now, the researchers aren’t ready to scale their technology, but when they do, they envision it embedded in power plants, diverting atmospheric CO2, and slowly chipping away at one of the most epic challenges humans have ever faced: climate change . Via Engadget Images via Environmental Science and Technology Letters, Pexels

Read the original here:
Powerful new Penn State battery turns waste CO2 into electricity

Historic San Francisco church creatively reborn as loft apartments

February 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Historic San Francisco church creatively reborn as loft apartments

Just across the street from San Francisco ‘s iconic Dolores Park is a striking dome-topped building with bold white columns lined up along its entrance. The imposing Neoclassical structure doesn’t look much like an apartment building, and for good reason: the building served as the Second Church of Christ, Scientist for the past one hundred years. A century later, the structure has been remodeled and creatively repurposed into a series of unusual and stunning private residences by developer Siamak Akhavan in partnership with HC Engineering and Modifyer . The original church was designed by architect William Crim in 1915 , who was also responsible for several other civic buildings that are still used in San Francisco today – including churches, temples, banks, and restaurants. The design for the Second Church of Christ, Scientist is Neoclassical, with traditional elements including large columns flanking the portico and a distinctive dome topping the building. Many major public buildings from this time period were constructed in the then-popular Neoclassical and Beaux Arts styles, featuring inspiration from the Greek and Roman period with additional aesthetic flourishes such as decorated columns, carved molding, and arched windows. ®Open Homes Photography By the early 2000s, the church’s congregation had been dwindling for years, making the cost and management of such a monumental property unsustainable. Several years prior to the residential conversation, the church had considered razing the historic building to build a few townhouses, which would have also financed the construction of a much smaller church. However, these plans never came to pass, and the property was sold by the church and subsequently permitted for conversion into a residence by 2013. ®Open Homes Photography The church looks much the same from the outside, retaining its historical significance to the neighborhood. However, the “Second Church of Christ, Scientist” lettering was removed and replaced with the building’s new name: ” The Lighthouse “. San Francisco Department of Planning The remodel includes several high-end three-bedroom townhouse units up for sale . Not for sale is the unusual penthouse suite , which hovers directly underneath the former church’s giant dome. In order to create living space and light, the dome was actually sliced off and then elevated several feet higher. The uppermost unit is set to be occupied by Siamak Akhavan, managing partner of The Lighthouse development team, and one of its principal designers. ®Open Homes Photography The units feature large, open floor plans with unique elements such as exposed brick walls and skylights that highlight original construction elements. ®Open Homes Photography The remodel made sensitive re-use of existing elements and incorporated materials from the original church building, including walnut paneling, entry doors, and brass chandeliers – plus original wooden church pews as seating. ®Open Homes Photography The remodel creatively works around the original steel frame structure by showcasing it in various rooms throughout the units. Because of its former life as a place of worship, the building features unusually high ceilings – up to 15-30 feet high in the living areas. + HC Structural Engineering, Inc. + The Lighthouse ®Open Homes Photography

Go here to read the rest: 
Historic San Francisco church creatively reborn as loft apartments

Scientists discover 52-million-year-old tomatillo fossil

February 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Scientists discover 52-million-year-old tomatillo fossil

While not quite as charismatic as those of dinosaurs , vegetable fossils can provide game-changing insight into modern plants and their evolutionary process. A team of scientists led by paleobotanist Peter Wilf of Penn State University discovered fossils of tomatillos, that delicious relative of the tomato that is a key ingredient in salsa verde, in the Patagonia region of Argentina . Using atomic age dating techniques, the team determined that the newly discovered primordial tomatillos are about 52-million years old, at least 12 million years older than previously thought. Although the site where the fossils were found is now a cold and arid environment, the ancient tomatillos thrived in a very different climate. “The plants that generated these fossils were alive in a temperate rain forest next to a volcano,” said Richard Olmstead, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Washington. “When it finally snapped together [that] we were looking at a fossil tomatillo, it was quite shocking. It was disbelief. It was joy coupled with disbelief.” The tomatillo is a member of the nightshade family, which includes tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, eggplants, and tobacco. The recently discovered fossils are the most intact and earliest examples of nightshade to date. “It’s a tremendous find. It provides insight totally absent from the fossil record and our understanding of the family prior to this,” said Olmstead. Related: Scientist finds dinosaur tail trapped in amber – and it’s covered with feathers Wilf and his team have given the species name  infinemundi,  Latin for “at the end of the world,” to its tomatillo specimen in reference to both where it was discovered and the era in which it lived. “It’s a nod to the modern and ancient location,” said Wilf “It’s at the edge of Argentina, so the end of the world that way. And it’s at the end of this time in Earth history.” This ancient tomatillo would have lived on the edge of major geologic and climatic changes , including the rise of the Ande s Mountains and the retreat of tropical biomes. These disruptions would have set the stage for the great diversity that emerged from the nightshade family, which includes over 2,400 extant species today. Via NPR Images via Flickr  and Killy Ridols

Continued here: 
Scientists discover 52-million-year-old tomatillo fossil

Penn State Students Present Beautiful Landscape Designs for Stormwater Management at the Artful Rainwater Event

December 3, 2013 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Penn State Students Present Beautiful Landscape Designs for Stormwater Management at the Artful Rainwater Event

Stormwater management as art? Absolutely. Artful Rainwater Design , a green infrastructure design event that celebrates rain, brought together faculty, students and eco-enthusiasts for a symposium sharing innovative ideas for capturing stormwater runoff. The event was hosted by Penn State University’s Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture . Check out the project images from on the students’  tumblr , and watch the presentations of the works in action  here . + Artful Rainwater Design Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Artful Rainwater Design , design event , eco-art , green infrastructure , nature art , Penn State University , stormwater management , Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture        

View original here:
Penn State Students Present Beautiful Landscape Designs for Stormwater Management at the Artful Rainwater Event

Scientists Are Searching For Gigantic Alien Solar Power Stations

November 6, 2012 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Scientists Are Searching For Gigantic Alien Solar Power Stations

Scientists at organizations such as S.E.T.I (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) have traditionally looked for alien life by searching for radio signals. However according to Treehugger and The Atlantic , a trio of astronomers led by Penn State’s Jason Wright have begun a two-year search for massive alien solar power stations known as Dyson Spheres . Read the rest of Scientists Are Searching For Gigantic Alien Solar Power Stations Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “solar energy” , aliens , astronomer , dyson buble , dyson cluster , dyson ring , dyson sphere , Penn State University , Solar Power , space station , star trek , the atlantic , treehugger

Read the rest here:
Scientists Are Searching For Gigantic Alien Solar Power Stations

Bad Behavior has blocked 1205 access attempts in the last 7 days.