The world’s biggest offshore wind farm is being built in the UK

September 12, 2017 by  
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Very soon, the UK will be home to the world’s largest wind farm . The UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) announced that DONG Energy  is building a 1,386 megawatt wind farm called Hornsea Project Two. Once completed, the massive project will provide enough energy to power 1.3 million homes. Thanks to record low prices, offshore wind is now cheaper than gas and nuclear energy. This resulted in a  UK-low strike price of £57.50 per MWh, making wind an attractive investment. The Hornsea Project Two will be located 89 kilometers off the Yorkshire coast and slightly north of Hornsea Project One, a 1,200 MW offshore wind farm in the North Sea off the coast of England. The equivalent of 1.3 million UK homes are expected to receive power from the Hornsea Project Two, and up to 2,000 jobs during construction and 130 jobs during the 25-year operation life of the project will be created. “We’re delighted to be awarded a Contract for Difference for Hornsea Project Two, which is another important step towards fulfilling our vision of making offshore wind the most competitive form of electricity generation,” Said Samuel Leupold, the Executive Vice President and CEO of Wind Power at DONG Energy. “We have always promoted size as a key driver for cost. The ideal size of an offshore wind farm is 800-1,500MW, and therefore it is natural that Hornsea Project Two will deliver record-low costs to society. At the same time, the low strike price demonstrates the cost saving potential of developer-built offshore grid connections, which in the UK is included in the project scope.” Related: Revolutionary floors made from waste wood pulp generate clean energy DONG Energy UK’s Managing Director, Matthew Wright, added, “This is a breakthrough moment for offshore wind in the UK and a massive step forward for the industry . Not only will Hornsea Project Two provide low cost, clean energy to the UK, it will also deliver high-quality jobs and another huge boost to the UK supply chain.” The Hornsea Project One will begin operation in 2020, and Project Two in 2022. According to UK Minister for Energy and Industry, Richard Harrington, the UK’s latest investment is evidence that the country has “placed clean growth at the heart of the Industrial Strategy to unlock opportunities across the country while cutting carbon emissions . He said, “The offshore wind sector alone will invest £17.5bn in the UK up to 2021 and thousands of new jobs in British businesses will be created by the projects announced today. This government will continue to seize these opportunities as the world moves towards a low carbon future, and will set out ambitious proposals in the upcoming Clean Growth Plan.” + Dong Energy  Via Clean Technica Images via Dong Energy , Shutterstock

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The world’s biggest offshore wind farm is being built in the UK

Step aside Bitcoin – Ethereum could revolutionize the world of online transactions

September 12, 2017 by  
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Although Bitcoin may have opened the door for peer-to-peer virtual currency, a new platform and programming language is taking blockchain technology mainstream. Ethereum is a decentralized app development platform that could revolutionize online transactions by eliminating the middleman. Created by Russian-Canadian programmer Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum is a decentralized platform for creating applications that are impervious to fraud, censorship or third-party interference. It can be used to create digital currencies or to transmit funds or data without providing your information to a third party like Facebook, Paypal, or a bank. The key to the system lies within its flexibility – it allows developers to build their own custom blockchains to create decentralized applications that are virtually free from hacks. Related: 5 brilliant designs that will change the world in 2017 Ethereum provides a safe and secure way for users to validate their identity when making online transactions . Since users don’t have to deal with third party services, they have complete control over their personal information and data. The platform has the potential to completely transform the way we interact with online finances, business, and government. The Ethereum platform was recently awarded the 2017 INDEX: Award , which recognizes sustainable technologies that address global issues. + Ethereum Project + INDEX: AWARD 2017

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Step aside Bitcoin – Ethereum could revolutionize the world of online transactions

Modular WonderFrame sun shade structure turns this building into an energy efficient marvel

September 6, 2017 by  
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Students will learn sustainable building principles at a seriously green new academic building at Universidad EAN . The 215,278 square foot building in Bogotá, Colombia will feature the endlessly reusable and recyclable WonderFrame shade structure, designed by Cradle to Cradle founder William McDonough . The modular system includes perforated panels that can both shade and allow daylight to filter through, almost like tree leaves. Inhabitat spoke with McDonough and lead architect Roger Schickedantz about the building, called Project Legacy, which is McDonough’s first Cradle to Cradle-inspired signature building in Latin America. McDonough originally designed the WonderFrame as a temporary structure at the 2016 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Schickedantz said at Universidad EAN, 11.5 by 8.6 foot modules will be anchored to the facade of Project Legacy. Each module includes around 30 perforated, painted steel sheet triangles. While this WonderFrame is intended to be permanent, Schickedantz said it could be deconstructed and put together somewhere else as the WonderFrame is put together with bolts. Shade panels can also be moved around in the frame to change the way light enters the building. Related: INHABITAT INTERVIEW: Green Architect & Cradle to Cradle Founder William McDonough “WonderFrame is based on experiments we’ve been doing for inexpensive structural solutions for roofs and floors that are invisible,” McDonough told Inhabitat. “Here, it is used as a delightful skin of human expression. It allows for flexible adaptation for color, for solar collectors, for light and shade. Someday, perhaps even for planters .” The WonderFrame will blanket roughly 85 percent of the building’s facade, making it the largest installation of the system so far. And the design is meant to reflect Colombian culture. Schickedantz told Inhabitat, “Colombia has a rich indigenous culture which celebrates color and pattern. The shade pattern designed for the WonderFrame provides a modern, graphically expressive interpretation… The WonderFrame establishes a dialogue with a 2011 building designed by Daniel Bonilla, which anchors the campus block. The Bonilla building is covered in multi-hued green ribbon sunshades. The William McDonough + Partners building generates a new complementary and contrasting composition which joins the two buildings in a unified whole.” The WonderFrame is just the start of the building’s sustainability . The LEED Gold -seeking building will include solar chimneys to allow for natural ventilation. Rooftop solar will help power the building. Cradle to Cradle certified fabric and auditorium seating will comprise some of the building materials. Universidad EAN students will accompany the design team in interviews with vendors, according to Schickedantz, for the building where they will one day learn Cradle to Cradle Concepts. He told Inhabitat, “Ultimately, the intent is to inspire students to develop and market their own products. We envision a new generation of products which incorporate circular economy concepts and improve the world.” Groundbreaking is expected later this year. + William McDonough + Partners Images courtesy of William McDonough + Partners

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Modular WonderFrame sun shade structure turns this building into an energy efficient marvel

Zipline drones deliver life-saving medical supplies in under an hour

September 5, 2017 by  
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83% of rural Africans lack access to critical healthcare services – and delivering emergency supplies is often difficult or impossible due to ailing infrastructure. Zipline is changing that with the world’s first commercial medical delivery drones . A single drone can deliver up to 500 life-saving packages of medical supplies to remote areas in 24 hours. The project, which was just awarded a 2017 INDEX: Award , is a collaboration between Zipline and the Rwandan Government. The service is designed to deliver medical products to any area of Rwanda within 15-35 minutes – no matter how remote. Related: 5 brilliant designs that will change the world in 2017 To activate the system, health workers only need to text an order, which goes to a centralized distribution center. Once the order is put in motion, a drone is dispatched to the area, dropping the ordered items by parachute with a high degree of precision. According to the startup’s website, a single Zipline drone can carry up to 1.5 kilos (3.3 pounds) for up to 150 kilometers (93 miles), making up to 500 deliveries in one day – even in extreme weather conditions. In early 2017 Zipline began delivering blood to over 20 blood transfusion facilities in western Rwanda, and the project is set to begin service in Tanzania with 120 drones and more than 1,000 clinics. + Fly Zipline + INDEX: AWARD 2017

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Zipline drones deliver life-saving medical supplies in under an hour

Scientists develop tiny robots that drill into cancer cells to kill them

September 5, 2017 by  
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Tiny new robots are proving to be life-saving tools in the fight against cancer. As first reported in the journal Nature , scientists at Durham University in England, in collaboration with researchers at Rice and North Carolina Universities in the United States, have developed nanomachines that are capable of drilling into cancer cells, killing them within minutes. These light-activated nanobots, the size of a molecule, move so rapidly that they can burrow through cell linings of cancer. The researchers found that in order for the nanomachines to function effectively, they need to spin two to three million times per second in order to not be inhibited by objects (or what is known as Brownian motion, or the erratic movement of tiny particles in fluid.) When triggered by ultraviolet light, the nanobots begin to spin, allowing them to cut through cancer cells either to destroy the cell or create space for the delivery of beneficial drugs. “These nanomachines are so small that we could park 50,000 of them across the diameter of a human hair, yet they have the targeting and actuating components combined in that diminutive package to make molecular machines a reality for treating disease,” said Dr. James Tour of Rice University. “For many years I never had envisioned the nanomachines being used medically, I though they were way too small, because they are much much smaller than a cell, but now this work has really changed my thoughts.” Related: Nanotech Robots Travel Through Blood to Turn Off Tumor Cells According to Dr. Robert Pal of Durham University, these micro cancer slayers may be well suited to target those cancers that are resistant to existing chemotherapy. “Once developed, this approach could provide a potential step change in non-invasive cancer treatment and greatly improve survival rates and patient welfare globally,” said Pal. After initial experiments on microorganisms and small fish are completed, the team will advance to rodent subjects, then eventually clinical trials on humans if prior results are positive. Via Yahoo News Images via Dr. Robert Pal/Durham University and Tour Group/Rice University

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Scientists develop tiny robots that drill into cancer cells to kill them

China takes on the Hyperloop with a supersonic ‘flying train’

September 4, 2017 by  
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Hyperloop mania has been heating up with the recent news that Elon Musk is planning to build one of the systems himself . Now China has their own answer: T-Flight, a “flying train” they say could travel even faster than a Hyperloop. This proposed mode of transportation could also reportedly shatter the sound barrier at 2,485 miles per hour (mph). China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) is working on the flying train that could travel at supersonic speeds, according to chief engineer Mao Kai, speaking to the state-run China News Service (CNS). A Hyperloop would travel at speeds of around 760 mph, just below the sound barrier. Related: Hyperloop One exhibits exciting first images of full-scale test track The flying train doesn’t truly fly. Instead, CNET described it as basically a Maglev train in a vacuum tube, quoting the South China Morning Post which said it draws inspiration from bullet trains, supersonic flight, and, of course, the Hyperloop. Kai told CNS people don’t need to worry about passenger safety since as acceleration speed wouldn’t even be as fast as an airplane taking off. He also said the flying train wouldn’t run on fossil fuels and wouldn’t be impacted by weather conditions. The train could also connect with subways. According to CNS, the project team is working with more than 20 research institutes to realize this project. Experts have their doubts. Beijing Transport University professor Zhao Jian told South China Morning Post the human body can only endure acceleration speeds of up to 4,000 kilometers per hour, or 2,485 mph, for a very brief time period. He told the news outlet, “In that case, are the passengers going to be astronauts only?” Other people say there’s no braking system in the world that would be able to halt the flying train in an emergency stop and have the passengers live. Internet users said the government should focus on other important issues. One Beijing commenter wrote on social media network Sina Weibo, “Can the government please invent technology to solve traffic jams first?” There’s no time frame for when a flying train might materialize, although according to CNET, it’s among the first serious concepts for supersonic ground transportation. Via CNET , China News Service , and South China Morning Post Images via screenshot

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China takes on the Hyperloop with a supersonic ‘flying train’

Dreamy cabin is a luxurious escape in the New Zealand bush

September 4, 2017 by  
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Cabin envy is real with this gorgeous Back Country house in New Zealand’s Puhoi bush. Designed by David Maurice of LTD Architectural , this timber-clad holiday home combines backcountry tradition with beautiful contemporary design. The environmentally sensitive cabin was built with locally sourced materials and makes use of passive heating and ventilation. Inspired by New Zealand’s backcountry typology, the Back Country house boasts a simple and clean silhouette comprising a single volume for the communal activities and a lean-to annex for the lower floor sleeping and service areas. The main volume embraces indoor-outdoor living and is open fully on two sides to a large wraparound deck. The deck feels like an outdoor room with its large fireplace and twin built-in bathtubs. Related: Seascape cottage is a self-sustaining getaway made from locally-sourced materials Locally sourced bandsawn macrocarpa is used inside and out to reinforce the cabin’s connection to the outdoors, while galvanized corrugated iron strengthens the hut aesthetic. Natural light floods the open-plan living room, dining, area, and kitchen, as well as the mezzanine master suite. To add interest to the mostly white and timber palette, bright and colorful furniture punctuate the spaces. Passive heating and ventilation as well as high performance insulation keep the Back Country house’s environmental impact low . + LTD Architectural Via Contemporist Images via LTD Architectural

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Dreamy cabin is a luxurious escape in the New Zealand bush

Zaha Hadid Architects wins bid for the Port of Tallinn Masterplan

September 4, 2017 by  
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Zaha Hadid Architects just won an international competition to redevelop one of Europe’s fastest growing ports in Estonia’s bustling capital of Tallinn. The Masterplan 2030 will oversee a comprehensive and long-term redevelopment strategy for the Old City Harbor and reconnect disparate parts of the city into a more cohesive whole. Pedestrian friendly design, improved public transit access, and increased public space are part of ZHA’s redevelopment plans, as is sensitivity to the city’s historic fabric. An uptick of cruise ships and ferries to the Port of Tallinn has accelerated the demand for better passenger services as the port moves beyond just cargo needs. ZHA’s aim is to redevelop the port into a more attractive and easy-to-traverse urban space. The design will combine Tallinn’s innovative digital information technology with the charms of Tallinn’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Europe’s best preserved medieval cities. “We’re honoured to work with the Port of Tallinn, developing unique solutions to create these important connections for the Old City Harbour’s long-term vision,” said Ginaluca Racana, Director at Zaha Hadid Architects. “Supported by its network of new pedestrian routes and public transport links, the masterplan reinvents a familiar space in Tallinn and reconnects the city with its harbour, enabling residents to reclaim a part of the city that is currently difficult to access and designed only for transit.” Related: Zaha Hadid Architects turn an old fire station into a sparkling port headquarters for Antwerp The new masterplan is centered on a central pedestrian promenade with branching pedestrian footpaths that connect disparate parts of the city and link the ferry and cruise terminals to the city center. In addition to the emphasis on connectivity, the design preserves the city’s urban fabric from existing vistas to the sizing of new city blocks. The flexible and mixed-use civic spaces will provide cultural, entertainment, shopping, and hotel amenities to the over 5 million visitors to the port every year. The masterplan for the Old City Harbour is expected for completion by the end of 2017. + Zaha Hadid Architects Renders by VA

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Zaha Hadid Architects wins bid for the Port of Tallinn Masterplan

China is fighting desertification with a Great Green Wall of trees

August 31, 2017 by  
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In a major geoengineering effort to fight back against ever-encroaching desert, China is planting trees to create a “Great Green Wall” that may halt erosion, capture carbon, and provide economic benefits to the People’s Republic. By 2050, the nation of nearly 1.5 billion people aims to plant 88 million acres of woodland in an area that stretches 3,000 miles long and up to 900 miles wide. If successful, China’s reforestation project could serve as a guide for the countries of the 250 million people worldwide threatened by desertification . The vast arid land of China, which includes the historic Gobi Desert, encompasses up to 27 percent of the country’s land, and that number is growing. By 2006, nearly 1,000 square miles, an increase of 400 square miles since the 1950s, of usable land was being consumed by the desert . Desertification in China causes dust and sandstorms that contribute to poor health outcomes, the crippling of transportation routes, and economic losses, which are estimated to be in the billions of dollars every year. Related: The Great Green Wall of Africa could fight desertification and poverty The results of the project, which began in 1978, have been mixed. On the one hand, the project has provided financial stability to many previously impoverished communities located in the prospective Great Green Wall region. Government investment in infrastructure surrounding the project has also aided regional development. The Chinese government claims that the project has already yielded a decrease in sandstorms, stabilized acres of desert, and even increased precipitation . Others are more skeptical. “When it’s profitable, people tell lies,” said Cao Shixiong, a professor at Minzu University of China.  “I thought it was a very good way to combat desertification,” said Cao. However, in light of some estimates that up to 86 percent of the trees planted as part of the project have died, Cao changed his mind. “I realized it’s because of policy. We were choosing the wrong place to plant trees.” Researchers are also concerned that importing ill-suited trees into the fragile ecosystem may yield disastrous consequences in the future. “For the past 1,000 years, only shrubs and grass have grown in those areas. Why would they think planting trees would be successful?” said Sun Qingwei, a former Chinese Academy of Sciences desert researcher who now works for the National Geographic Society. “It’s not sustainable. Investing money in trees that are not supposed to be there is kind of crazy.” Time will tell if the Great Green Wall is as enduring as its stone-and-brick namesake. Via Mother Jones Lead image via Deposit photos , others via People’s Daily Online , Vaiz Ha/Flickr , and Christopher Michel/Flickr

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China is fighting desertification with a Great Green Wall of trees

Funky Gemma Observatory in New Hampshire is the perfect place for stargazing

August 31, 2017 by  
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The new Gemma Observatory in New Hampshire defies architectural tradition by rejecting the established dome form. Instead, this private astronomical observatory looks like it has been carved out of the rock on which it stands. Anmahian Winton Architects designed the building as a faceted volume that creates optimal conditions for sky observation. The building is located on a remote mountain summit in central New Hampshire. It sits on a granite outcropping, amidst a very “dark” landscape with minimal light pollution,  which would potentially obstruct views of the night sky. Related: X-Studio’s Lightweave Palm Observatory is Made Entirely From Palm Leaves Gemma’s faceted form reflects the surrounding terrain, while its zinc cladding makes it look like a single piece of stone. Its interior, on the other hand, provides warmth through the presence of fir plywood . It houses a research office, sleeping bunk, and warming room on the first floor, and an exterior observation deck accessible via a helical stair. One of the most important aspects of the design is the role its shape and cladding plays in facilitating its function. The outstanding heat transfer capability facilitates sky observation by minimizing temperature differential distortion. Furthermore, cuts in the zinc cladding create strategically placed openings oriented towards both geological and celestial landmarks. + Anmahian Winton Architects Via v2com

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Funky Gemma Observatory in New Hampshire is the perfect place for stargazing

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