Africa’s first waste-to-energy plant to supply 30% of Addis Ababa’s household electricity needs

February 22, 2018 by  
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Ethiopia ‘s capital Addis Ababa has had one landfill for around 50 years: the Koshe dump site. Serving over three million people, it’s about as large as 36 football pitches, according to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). A waste-to-energy plant, a first for Africa , could transform the site, burning around 1,400 tons of trash every day. Waste incineration is a popular energy source in Europe; there are 126 plants in France, 121 in Germany, and 40 in Italy, according to UNEP. But no plants have been constructed in Africa — until now. The Reppie Waste-to-Energy Project is designed to supply Ethiopia’s capital with around 30 percent of household power needs. To meet European standards, UNEP said Reppie “adopts modern back-end flue gas treatment technology to drastically reduce the release of heavy metals and dioxins produced from the burning .” Related: Dubai announces plans for world’s biggest waste-to-energy facility A BBC video posted this month said the waste-to-energy plant will generate three million bricks from waste ash, and 30 million liters of water will be recovered from the garbage. They said the plant will avert the release of 1.2 million tons of carbon dioxide . Hundreds of jobs will also be generated, including for people who depended on scavenging at the dump. For cities lacking a large amount of land, UNEP described waste-to-energy incineration as a quadruple win: “it saves precious space, generates electricity, prevents the release of toxic chemicals into groundwater , and reduces the release of methane — a potent greenhouse gas generated in landfills — into the atmosphere.” The government of Ethiopia partnered with renewable energy and waste management company Cambridge Industries , state-owned engineering company China National Electric Engineering , and Danish engineering firm Ramboll to build the plant. UNEP said last November it was set to start operating in January, though it appears they’re not all the way there yet; that said, the BBC video reported the plant is connected to the national power grid . + Reppie Waste-to-Energy Project + United Nations Environment Program Via the BBC Images via Depositphotos and Pixabay

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Africa’s first waste-to-energy plant to supply 30% of Addis Ababa’s household electricity needs

Solving climate change with Katharine Wilkinson— The opportunity for business

February 15, 2018 by  
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Project Drawdown is the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming and reach the point in time when the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere begins to decline on a year-to-year basis. Hear from Project Drawdown on how its team of PhDs developed the plan, based on existing solutions and technologies, and how businesses can act on these opportunities now to put carbon back where it belongs.

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Solving climate change with Katharine Wilkinson— The opportunity for business

Japanese builder unveils plans for worlds tallest timber skyscraper in Tokyo

February 15, 2018 by  
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Japanese builder and developer Sumitomo Forestry has unveiled designs for the world’s tallest timber skyscraper in the heart of Tokyo. Designed by Nikken Sekkei , the 1,148-foot-tall wooden tower will form part of the W350 Project, a mixed-use environmentally friendly development that the firms aim to complete in 2041 to mark Sumitomo’s 350th anniversary. The company says these steel-and-timber structures will help “transform the city into a forest.” Early renderings of the W350 project show the timber buildings covered in greenery and filled with natural light as part of Sumitomo’s message of promoting a healthier living environment. The buildings will be built to withstand earthquakes and be constructed with a 9:1 ratio of wood to steel. The development’s skyscraper centerpiece will house a hotel, offices, retail and residences. When complete, it will not only be the tallest timber tower in the world but also the tallest building in Japan. Related: Magnificent timber skyscraper will sequester carbon and add greenery to Bordeaux W350 is estimated to need over 6.5 million cubic feet of wood and cost approximately 600 billion yen. While the building framework will be made of a hybrid timber-steel structure, the interior will feature exposed wood in an attempt to bring people closer to nature. The company hopes that the project will popularize timber architecture and help jumpstart a revitalization of the forestry industry in rural areas and interest in reforestation . + Sumitomo Forestry + Nikken Sekkei Via Telegraph Images via Sumitomo Forestry

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Japanese builder unveils plans for worlds tallest timber skyscraper in Tokyo

Ocean Cleanup Project launches San Francisco base in Pacific trash-busting bid

February 14, 2018 by  
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The Ocean Cleanup Project seeks to dismantle the Great Pacific Garbage Patch , guided by an ambitious design concept and the development of new technology to tackle the pollution threat. First conceived in 2013 by aerospace engineering student Boyan Slat, the Ocean Cleanup Project has recently announced the location of its home base, a former naval station in San Francisco Bay . From here, the Ocean Cleanup Project will manufacture, then launch, the first of its giant trash-collecting booms. With any luck, the inaugural trash-busting voyage will set sail in mid-2018. In addition to its strategic location, the former Alameda Naval Station in San Francisco Bay is a location that carries special significance for Slat. “Next to Alameda’s major historical military significance, it was here that the famous car chase scene in The Matrix Reloaded was filmed, and it was home to some of the best experiments of my favorite childhood TV show, MythBusters,” said Slat . “We’re honored to be allowed to use this site as the assembly yard for the world’s first ocean cleanup system. Hopefully, we will make some history here as well.” Related: Could France-sized ocean garbage patch become 196th nation? The Ocean Cleanup Project ‘s 2,000-foot-long system harnesses natural currents to catch trash in passive, strategically located arms, under which wildlife should be able to swim. While some have criticized the project for the potential environmental damage and cost, the group has committed to undergoing environmental impact studies at every stage in development and production. The team has already conducted aerial surveys of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and developed a prototype system in the Netherlands. By the end of this year, we should know more about whether the Ocean Clean Project’s design is an effective tool to fight pollution. Via New Atlas Images via The Ocean Cleanup Project

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Ocean Cleanup Project launches San Francisco base in Pacific trash-busting bid

Moya Power tests sheeting material to harvest wind power from London’s Crossrail

February 14, 2018 by  
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We can harness the power of wind in a field or on the ocean, but what about in drafty train tunnels? 27-year-old Charlotte Slingsby’s startup Moya Power seeks to generate electricity capturing wind in existing infrastructure, Wired reported . The company employs a lightweight sheeting material to harvest low grade wind power. They have a pilot project underway on the London Crossrail . Slingsby pioneered Moya Power as part of an Innovation Design Engineering master’s program at Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art (RCA); the description on RCA’s website describes Moya as a building material able to harvest wind energy in a variety of locations, like bridges or building facades. The statement on the project said, “The printed, semi-transparent sheets are light, low cost, versatile, and scalable.” Related: Pavegen unveils world’s first energy-harvesting smart street in London Wired described Moya as lamellae-covered plastic sheets. Moya Power’s website said the energy harvesting material “is designed to scavenge-off low grade wind energy, which is abundantly found against existing infrastructure . This involves vibrations and low speed, turbulent winds generating power 24 hours a day, which can be mounted on otherwise unused surfaces, hidden from public view.” One of those areas is the London Crossrail . The Moya material has been installed in tunnels , where wind from trains causes protrusions on the sheeting to move to generate electricity. According to Wired, the system is able to generate 10 percent of the power per square meter a solar panel can. Slingsby sees her product as one piece of a future mixture of urban power sources. She told Wired, “If we all live in cities that need electricity, we need to look for new, creative ways to generate it. I wanted to create something that works in different situations and that can be flexibly adapted, whether you live in an urban hut or a high-rise .” + Moya Power Via Wired and Royal College of Art Images via Transport for London Flickr and Moya Power/Royal College of Art

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Moya Power tests sheeting material to harvest wind power from London’s Crossrail

rsted’s massive new offshore wind farm will generate power for 1M homes

February 1, 2018 by  
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Offshore wind farms keep getting bigger and bigger. Ørsted , formerly DONG Energy , started offshore construction on Hornsea Project One , the latest offshore wind project poised to claim the “world’s largest” trophy, according to CleanTechnica . The first of the plant’s 174 monopiles has been installed off the coast of Yorkshire in the United Kingdom . Hornsea Project One is expected to be operational in 2020, and produce power for more than one million homes. Hornsea Project One is located around 75 miles off the coast of England. Monopiles, or support structures for the wind turbines , for the 1.2-gigawatt offshore wind farm are around 213-feet-long, with a 27-foot, diameter. Each weighs 800 metric tons. Related: The world’s biggest offshore wind farm is being built in the UK Offshore marine engineering company GoSea is installing the monopiles with Innovation , an installation vessel able to transport as many as four monopiles at once. Program director Duncan Clark said in a statement that they’re excited to see offshore construction start following years of planning. They’re also continuing to build an East Coast Hub, which will act as a maintenance and operations base for their existing wind farms nearby and Hornsea Projects One and Two – which they “took a final investment decision on last year.” “These wind farms will not only greatly contribute to the UK’s goal of decarbonizing our energy system, they are also bringing jobs and investment to Grimsby and the North East,” Clark said. Hornsea Project One and Hornsea Project Two combined will produce enough electricity for more than 2.3 million homes in the UK. Ørsted’s press release described the company as the biggest offshore wind farm developer in the world, with the UK as their largest market. They boast two operational wind farms off the nation’s east coast, Lincs and Westermost Rough. Another offshore wind farm, Race Bank, is slated to open later in 2018. + Ørsted + Hornsea Project One + Ørsted Press Release Via CleanTechnica Images via Ørsted ( 1 , 2 )

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rsted’s massive new offshore wind farm will generate power for 1M homes

Dubai announces plans for world’s biggest waste-to-energy facility

February 1, 2018 by  
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Dubai plans to deal with their garbage in a bold new way: with the largest waste-to-energy plant in the world. Gulf News and New Atlas reported the government announced plans for a facility that will handle as much as two million tons of solid waste yearly. That’s around 60 percent of the trash Dubai produces in a year. With a 185 megawatt (MW) capacity, the plant will generate power for around 120,000 homes. Dubai’s launching an ambitious effort to turn junk into energy . The waste-to-energy plant will treat around 5,000 metric tons every single day, and will generate as much power as 2,000 skyscrapers as big as the Burj Khalifa could consume – roughly two percent of Dubai’s annual electricity consumption, according to the Government of Dubai Media Office . Related: World’s largest waste-to-energy plant in China will be topped with green roofs and photovoltaics Dubai will raise the waste-to-energy plant on five acres of land, and will partner with Switzerland-based waste-to-energy technology company Hitachi Zosen Inova and Belgian construction company BESIX on the project. HV 132kV cables will connect the plant to the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA)’s grid. DEWA CEO Saeed Mohammad Al Tayer told Gulf News, “This will be a new source of [power] supply for Dubai. This will improve security of supply.” Construction will commence in a few months, according to Dubai Municipality director general Hussain Nasser Lootah, and the plant should be operating before World Expo 2020 . There is another waste-to-energy plant in progress vying for the title of world’s largest planned for Shenzhen , China; Inhabitat covered its green design here . Both could be finished in 2020. New Atlas reported the Shenzhen plant is still on track to claim the prize, but if the Dubai project reaches its goals, it could snag the title, with an output around 20 MW greater than the Shenzhen plant. Via New Atlas and Government of Dubai Media Office via Gulf News Images via BESIX

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Dubai announces plans for world’s biggest waste-to-energy facility

"World’s first smog vacuum cleaner" heads to Poland

January 25, 2018 by  
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After touring in China, Studio Roosegaarde’s Smog Free Project will offer a vision of clean air in a new location: Poland . Daan Roosegaarde’s studio will install a Smog Free Tower – described by the studio as “the world’s first smog vacuum cleaner” – in Kraków’s Park Jordana. Studio Roosegaarde’s Smog Free Tower will start sucking pollution out of the air in Park Jordana from February 16 to April 15. Visitors to the project will also have an opportunity to see the Smog Free Ring at a Smog Free Project pop up at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow (MOCAK). The tower, which is almost 23-feet-tall, draws on patented positive ionization technology to scrub the air of pollutants. Roosegaarde told Inhabitat last year the tower offers “a local solution on a park level: to create these bubbles of clean air in the city.” He said areas around the tower are “55 to 70 percent cleaner than the rest of the city” – and research from the Eindhoven University of Technology confirmed the tower’s efficacy. Related: INTERVIEW: Designer Daan Roosegaarde on smog temples, space trash, and what’s next Krakow has wrestled with smog in the past; a 2016 article in the Krakow Post reported the city’s air quality has often been worse than other cities known for their air pollution like Los Angeles and Beijing . A 2017 Bloomberg article delved into fashion statements made by locals with smog masks to stave off harmful small particles – and said on high smog-alert days, the city’s particulate-matter pollution can hit levels six times those thought to be safe, according the World Health Organization. ING Bank ?l?ski S.A. is the project’s main partner in Poland; MOCAK, the Municipality of Kraków, and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands’ in Poland are also supporters. + Studio Roosegaarde + Smog Free Project in Poland Images via Studio Roosegaarde/World Economic Forum and Studio Roosegaarde ( 1 , 2 )

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"World’s first smog vacuum cleaner" heads to Poland

redhouse studio is making a mobile machine that recycles old buildings

January 25, 2018 by  
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Did you know that buildings are responsible for 39 percent of the United States’ carbon emissions? Architect Chris Maurer of redhouse studio told Inhabitat he loves being an architect, but finds it difficult to reconcile that figure. To help lighten the construction industry’s footprint, Maurer is teaming up with NASA , MIT , and the University of Akron to create the Biocycler: a mobile machine that literally recycles old buildings. The machine will use living organisms, not glue, to bind construction waste into durable bricks that can be used to build brand new structures. Read on for a closer look at this groundbreaking project. Maurer was inspired to create the Biocycler in part through his experience at demolition sites throughout Cleveland. “We do many projects that are adaptive reuse to preserve old buildings, but even then the demolition waste can be quite extensive,” he said. During a design/re-build project at Kent State University, the team was dismayed at how much waste their preservation project produced. “We dropped the material ourselves at the landfill ,” Maurer said. “It was hard to do (it was hard to see it all go to waste) but there was no economically feasible way to use the materials.” Related: New self-healing concrete uses fungus to fix cracks The Biocycler could change all that. redhouse plans to experiment with fungal mycelium and calcite-producing microbes as building and binding materials in the Biocycler. Maurer explains that “A symbiosis of the microbes and fungi can be made to feed each other and [they] are working towards using the microbes as bio-signals to tell us things about the structure and air-quality within it.” The incorporation of fruiting fungus (i.e. mushrooms) could serve the additional purpose of food production. “Where food security is an issue, we are looking to make mushroom production the main activity and the bio-materials the secondary output,” he said. redhouse studio is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to fund the construction of a proof of concept. “Truth be told, we’re already recycling buildings, or at least materials,” said Maurer. “The kickstarter will lead to a mobile unit to put these processes on display and get closer to building entire structures out of the waste.” redhouse has already constructed and tested bricks and panels from recycled materials, as well as some model prototypes, and hopes to complete a full-size structure in 2018. Related: Church built for $35k stays naturally cool in Malawi Prior to starting the Cleveland-based studio in 2014, Maurer served as director for studioMDA in Malawi and MASS Design Group in Rwanda, where he came to more fully understand the value and potential of sustainable design. “[In Africa], we needed to innovate with limited resources,” said Maurer. Related: This company wants to turn food waste into building materials — here’s how redhouse has worked for commercial clients, such as the Hulett Hotel in Cleveland , while also developing humanitarian design projects, such as the Bioshelter , a prefabricated home that mitigates waste while providing food security and economic opportunity through crops grown on-site. As with much of the studio’s work, the Bioshelter was conceived to be as self-sustaining as possible. “We are constantly looking for new resource loops, finding benefits to waste streams,” he said. Change can sometimes be uncomfortable for the mainstream consumer, particularly if it includes the words “fungus” and “microbe.” Nonetheless, Maurer believes the time has come for fresh, green solutions to global problems. “Think about the pro-biotic craze right now,” he said. “People are waking up to the fact that antibiotic medicines and sanitizers can be dangerous, and that you want the right kinds of microbes around.” Similarly, biological building materials can also be pro-biotic. “There are many organisms that can be used in bio-materials that naturally battle pathogens,” he said. “We want them on our team.” Related: These amazing zero-waste buildings were grown from mushrooms To complete a project as ambitious as the Biocycler, collaboration is key. “ Architecture is by nature collaborative,” said Maurer. “Through our network in biomimicry, we’ve learned the advantages of working with biologists in addition to engineers.” redhouse is collaborating with scientists at NASA and MIT to create the Biocycler, which may only be the beginning of a revolution in smart, living building materials. “When you consider all the possibilities of the materials – bio-luminescence, radiation protection, self cleaning, pathogen protection, etc, it sounds sci-fi, but we’re not that far out from some of these features,” he said. With a Biocycler proof of concept in action, redhouse will have taken us another step further into this sustainable, bio-future. + The Biocycler on Kickstarter + redhouse studio Images via Keith Hayes/redhouse studio

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redhouse studio is making a mobile machine that recycles old buildings

Researchers discover a new family of viruses swimming in the ocean

January 25, 2018 by  
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Scientists at MIT and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York have identified a new family of ocean-dwelling viruses that can’t be detected using standard lab tests. Despite their previously hidden existence, these tail-less viruses are quite common. Scientists suspect they may be abundant everywhere. “We don’t think it’s ocean-specific at all,” MIT environmental microbiologist and study leader Martin Polz told ScienceAlert . The discovery adds a key missing piece to our understanding of viral ecosystems and may lead to developments in human health, medicine, and bio-sciences. The most common variety of viruses on Earth are double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) viruses, the most well-known of which is the Caudovirales order, also known as the “tailed” viruses. The newly discovered tail-less viruses were first identified in a new study published in the journal Nature , in which scientists incubated the viruses from seawater collected along the coast of Massachusetts and sequenced their DNA . The scientists have dubbed the tail-less viruses  Autolykiviridae, in honor of Autolykos (“the wolf itself”), a character in Greek mythology known for its ability to avoid detection and capture. Related: Scientists harness tobacco plants to produce polio vaccine Autolykiviridae viruses have shorter genomes than tailed viruses and are notably more aggressive in their predation of bacteria , playing a major consumer role in microscopic ecosystems. “They caused about 40 percent of the bacterial killing observed, despite comprising just 10 percent of the viruses that we isolated,” study co-author and microbiologist Libusha Kelly told ScienceAlert . Now that a utolykiviridae have been identified, scientists have determined their presence in human digestive systems. “We’ve found related viral sequences in the [human] gut microbiome,” said Kelly , “but we don’t yet know how they influence microbial communities in the gut or how important they are for health.” While more research is necessary and forthcoming, this discovery alone is significant. “In a practical sense, it also shows how we need to alter some commonly used methods in order to capture these kinds of viruses for various studies,” Jed Fuhrman, a marine biologist at University of Southern California unaffiliated with the study, told ScienceAlert . “I’d say it is an important advance in the field.” Via ScienceAlert Images via Kaufmann et al. and Depositphotos

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Researchers discover a new family of viruses swimming in the ocean

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