New forest resilience bond blazes a trail

September 20, 2017 by  
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A public-private partnership can address this burning problem.

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New forest resilience bond blazes a trail

Limited Time Only: Target Will Recycle Your Old Car Seat

September 18, 2017 by  
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Through Saturday, Sept. 23, you can take your old car … The post Limited Time Only: Target Will Recycle Your Old Car Seat appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Limited Time Only: Target Will Recycle Your Old Car Seat

Plastic-degrading fungus found in Pakistan trash dump

September 15, 2017 by  
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We’re filling up the world with plastic , and the material takes up to a millennium to break down in landfills . A group of scientists sought a solution to our plastic problem in nature – and they actually found one: a plastic-devouring soil fungus . Our current solutions for dealing with plastic aren’t working well. Not all of the material is recycled , and it’s polluting landfills and oceans . Sehroon Khan of the World Agroforestry Center said in a statement, “We wanted to identify solutions with already existed in nature, but finding microorganisms which can do the job isn’t easy.” Related: Plastic-eating caterpillar could revolutionize waste treatment Khan, lead author on a study published this year in Environmental Pollution , said they took samples from a dump in Islamabad, Pakistan “to see if anything was feeding on the plastic in the same way that other organisms feed on dead plant or animal matter.” Turns out, there was such an organism: the fungus Aspergillus tubingensis . Laboratory trials revealed the fungus can grow on the surface of plastic, where it secretes enzymes that break chemical bonds between polymers. The researchers even found A. tubingensis utilizes the strength of its mycelia to help break plastic apart. And the fungus does the job rapidly: the scientists said in weeks A. tubingensis can break down plastics that would otherwise linger in an environment for years. Factors like temperature and pH level may impact how well the fungus can degrade plastic, but the researchers say if we could pin down optimal conditions, perhaps we could deploy the fungus in waste treatment plants, for example. Khan said his team plans to determine those factors as their next goal. Khan is also affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Science, and eight other researchers from institutions in China and Pakistan contributed to the study. Via Agroforestry World Images via Alan Levine on Flickr and courtesy of Sehroon Khan

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Plastic-degrading fungus found in Pakistan trash dump

Man hits 162 mph on homemade rocket trike propelled by rainwater

September 14, 2017 by  
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Did you ever have the chance to make a bottle rocket in grade school? Daredevil athlete François Gissy applied those principles to a homemade water rocket trike, which he then zipped around the Circuit Paul Ricard at Le Castellet in France. Rainwater helped power the speedy trike, on which Gissy reached 261 kilometers per hour (kph), or around 162 miles per hour, and hit 100 kph from zero in just 0.55 seconds. Gissy says on his YouTube channel he aims to build inventions to break records, and constructs vehicles with recycled materials in his garage. He put together a water rocket trike that speeds around much like soda bottles filled with compressed air and water can launch into the sky. To drive his homemade rocket trike, he filled it up 76 times with collected rainwater. Related: Swiss Man Breaks Bicycle Speed Record with Insane 207-MPH Rocket Bike The water trike was a smashing success; after initial tests where the trike hit 145, 219, and 245 kph – that’s around 90, 136, and 152 mph – Gissy reached 162 mph on the trike. He traveled 60 feet in 852 milliseconds, and said during that time the average acceleration was around 50.39 meters per second squared. Gissy shattered a bicycle speed world record back in 2014. Riding a rocket-propelled bike , he hit 207 mph in 4.8 seconds . The bicycle, designed by friend Arnold Neracher, was stripped: essentially simply a rocket with a saddle. Gissy thanked precision machining company Comera for help with the water rocket trike, as well as Dr Lorenzo Lauro of P&L Racing for operating PortaTree Drag Racing Timing Equipment. He said on YouTube that he is still looking for more sponsors “to build much more powerful, spectacular, and faster vehicles. Some amazing projects are waiting to become a reality.” We’ll be excited to see what he fabricates next; his motto, according to his YouTube page, is “Enough is never enough.” + François Gissy Images via screenshot

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Man hits 162 mph on homemade rocket trike propelled by rainwater

Freitag’s "Zippelin" is an inflatable suitcase that rolls up for storage

September 14, 2017 by  
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Rolling or non-rolling, hardshell or soft-sided, compact or capacious; there are only so many ways you can build a suitcase, right? Freitag begs to differ. The Zurich-based apparel and accessories brand claims to have created the world’s first one-of-a-kind luggage that expands to accommodate several weeks’ worth of clothing yet flattens into a tight roll for storage. Think of it as your own personal air ship. Dubbed the “Zippelin,” the luggage is designed for long-haul, intercontinental travel. Clad in recycled truck tarpaulin and featuring a pair of skateboard ball-bearing wheels to scoot around on, the Zippelin boasts 85 liters worth of space at full sail. Deflated and coiled into itself, it takes up no more space than the “two liters of booze you bought at duty-free,” Freitag said. The trick lies with a hidden garden-variety bicycle inner tube, which you can inflate with a standard pump. Accidental blowout? A zippered pocket makes easy work of replacing the tire. Freitag is currently accepting preorders for the Zippelin on Kickstarter , where it has already doubled its original funding goal of $120,000. Although the company expects to retail the Zippelin at €520—that’s $618 in American dollars—early-bird pledgers will be able to snag 100 of the bags for €380 ($451) for delivery next April. Another 300 pieces will be available for €420 ($499) for a May 2018 delivery. The campaign runs from now through October 12. + Freitag Zippelin on Kickstarter + Freitag

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Freitag’s "Zippelin" is an inflatable suitcase that rolls up for storage

People are using recycled laptop batteries to power their homes

August 23, 2017 by  
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Why spend thousands of dollars on a Tesla Powerwall when you could build your own – for a fraction of the cost? This is a question many alternative energy enthusiasts have asked, and it is ultimately what has led hundreds of people to develop their own versions using recycled laptop batteries. Now that plans for DIY Powerwalls are being shared for free online, several people have created rigs capable of storing far more energy than the Tesla version. On Facebook , YouTube and in forums , people are learning how to safely create their own DIY versions that cost much less than a Tesla Powerwall. One of the most popular powerwall builders is Jehu Garcia . He told Vice, “It’s the future. It’s clean, simple, efficient and powerful.” Joe Williams , another DIY powerwall enthusiast, added ”The end result is being able to rely on something I not only built myself but understand the ins and outs of to power some or all of my electricity in my home. That is inspiring.” There are several DIY versions capable of storing more energy than Tesla’s Powerwall. On the French forum  Diypowerwalls.com , user Glubux said his powerwall can store 28 kWh of energy. “I run all the house with it, in fact I even bought an electric oven and induction cooking plate to use the extra energy during summer,” they said. Australian YouTuber Peter Matthews claims he has created a gigantic battery that can store 40 kWh of energy. Reportedly, it harvests power from over 40 solar panels on Matthews’ roof and stores nearly enough power for his home’s electricity needs. “The only things I don’t run are the big air conditioners and the water heating system,” he said. The alternative energy aficionado created DIYpowerwalls as well as the most popular powerwall Facebook group . Related: Mercedes takes on the Tesla Powerwall with a new battery for buildings Most of the powerwall hobbyists recommend using 18650 lithium-ion batteries for their projects. The batteries are usually encased in a colorful plastic and can be found inside electronics, such as laptops. If sourced online or from a computer store, the batteries will cost more than $5 a piece. If obtained second-hand, from old Dell, HP, Lenovo and LG laptops, it’s possible to save hundreds — if not thousands — of dollars on the project. Of course, one might meet challenges collecting the batteries , as tech companies frown upon their creative repurposing. A positive effect of the DIY powerwall trend is that it reduces waste . According to Carl E. Smith, the CEO and president of  Call2Recycle , approximately 95 percent of consumer batteries which are sold in the US are not recycled and are ultimately thrown away. ”Virtually all batteries can be recycled into valuable secondary products which is the biggest reason why they should not be landfilled and should be recycled instead,” he said. Though it can be time-consuming to source the used batteries, it’s a worthwhile investment according to DIY powerwall enthusiasts. And, if one carefully follows instructions when building their own version (such as those that follow), the risk of burning down one’s house is minimized. Ultimately, there is a risk associated with creating your own energy storage device, but the trend can’t be ignored as it grows in popularity. Via Motherboard Vice Images via  Daniel Römer ,  Jehu Garcia ,  Glubux

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People are using recycled laptop batteries to power their homes

Perkins + Will overhauls a boring concrete warehouse into beautiful LEED Gold offices

August 23, 2017 by  
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At first glance, it’s hard to imagine that this gorgeous light-filled building was once an uninspiring concrete monolith. It’s a testament to the architectural might of Perkins + Will , which transformed the 1940s military warehouse in San Francisco into the LEED Gold -certified Bay Area Metro Center. Constructed with recycled materials, this eight-story adaptive reuse project features soaring ceilings with state-of-the-art offices, community hearing spaces, a boardroom, and ground floor retail. Located at 375 Beale Street, this massive 525,000-square-foot building once served as a navy supply warehouse during World War II and exuded an air of impenetrability with its fortress-like facade. Perkins + Will and interior design firm TEF did away with the monolith’s bleak appearance with the addition of ample glazing and an seven-story-tall atrium that floods the building with natural light . The transformation created a welcoming and collaborative environment that consolidates four government agencies and offers diverse amenities including retail, workspaces, open coffee bars, and even bike storage. Reclaimed timber is used throughout the interior to lend a sense of warmth to the concrete structure. Wood rails were repurposed from the building and nearby sites as was the timber used for stair treads, countertops, and wall finishes. Splashes of greenery enliven the building including a tree well on the sixth floor, garden patio on the eighth floor, and a landscaped garden outside the main public hearing room. Related: Form follows function at Shanghai’s new bioclimatic Natural History Museum Perkins + Will wrote: “As part of a required seismic retrofit, shear walls were introduced at all perimeter walls to reinforce the structure without compromising the opportunity for open offices. Addressing both seismic and daylighting issues, a seven-story atrium was carved out the of the center of the building, both reducing the structural mass of the building and bringing much needed daylight to the building’s interior, decreasing energy use while creating a welcoming atmosphere. The atrium and interconnecting stairs also provide the opportunity for informal encounters between the various agency employees.” + Perkins + Will

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Perkins + Will overhauls a boring concrete warehouse into beautiful LEED Gold offices

Cameroon student nonprofit recycles plastic bottles into boats

August 10, 2017 by  
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Humanity has a plastic bottle addiction, purchasing one million a minute , and many bottles wind up not in recycling bins but in our oceans. Cameroon -based nonprofit Madiba & Nature is pioneering a creative use for all those polluting bottles: boats . They’re fabricating floating canoe-shaped crafts out of collected empties in an effort to prompt people to think differently about how they consume and dispose of plastic bottles. A group of students is transforming plastic trash into boats. They aim to promote a circular economy in Africa ; according to their website: “…we want to help change people’s attitudes and bad habits on the management of plastic waste that degrades sensitive ecosystems.” One Green Planet reports Cameroonian Essome Ismael invented the boats. Related: The world’s population buys one million plastic bottles every single minute Madiba & Nature volunteers have gathered to pick up thousands of plastic bottles near Cameroon’s largest city, Douala, to use those bottles for what they call ecological canoes. The boats could help not just the environment , but the local community as well. In a video, Ismael said there’s a great need for fishing boats in his area, and the plastic bottle boats could meet that need. Local fisherman Emmanuel Japa said at first they thought the plastic bottle boats were a joke, but it turns out the crafts are actually strong and seaworthy. Ismael also said plastic bottles clogging their waterways have led to flooding in the local area. The boats are just the beginning. Madiba & Nature’s website says in around a year of work, they’ve started a program for students and engineers to learn more about green business , and have developed an environmental awareness and education program. They’ve also helped develop a local waste management system and have supported other groups laboring to protect the environment. Their website also says they aim to research how to use recycled plastic in building or paving systems. + Madiba & Nature Via One Green Planet Images via Madiba & Nature Facebook

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Cameroon student nonprofit recycles plastic bottles into boats

Inexpensive new battery generates power with just a drop of saliva

August 10, 2017 by  
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In addition to aiding digestion, it turns out saliva can also power batteries. Researchers at Binghamton University discovered this while inventing a small, paper-based battery that generates energy when mixed with a drop of saliva. The batteries, which are more like tiny microbial fuel cells, are inexpensive to make and could be used in natural disasters and remote settings where on-demand power is hard (if not impossible) to come by. As a result, access to medical care and screenings in rural settings could improve. Binghamton University Electrical and Computer Science Assistant Professor Seokheun Choi spent the past five years developing the micro-power sources. His ultimate goal was to find a way to power medical diagnostic tests in poverty-stricken regions; finally, he succeeded at developing paper-based bacteria -powered batteries “On-demand micro-power generation is required especially for point-of-care diagnostic applications in developing countries,” said Choi. “Typically, those applications require only several tens of microwatt-level power for several minutes, but commercial batteries or other energy harvesting technologies are too expensive and over-qualified. Also, they pose environmental pollution issues.” Related: Indian startup pioneers new battery swapping system for electric buses The batteries contain freeze-dried exoelectrogenic cells which generate power when saliva is added. Astonishingly, with just one drop of spit, the paper batteries can produce enough power for low-power biological sensors in just a matter of minutes. Eureka Alert reports that a benefit of freeze drying the cells is that they can be stored for a long time before use. This means they can be stocked in medical clinics around the world. An additional perk is that the required biological fluid (saliva) can be easily obtained anywhere, anytime. At present, the battery can only produce a few microwatts of power per square centimeter. However, Choi and his research assistant, Maedeh Mohammadifar, are working on boosting the output. In the future, the team hopes to make the paper batteries more robust so they can sustain devices other than LED lights when connected in a series. The paper, “A Papertronic, On-Demand and Disposable Biobattery: Saliva-Activated Electricity Generation from Lyophilized Exoelectrogens Preinoculated on Paper,” was published in Advanced Materials Technologies. + Binghamton University Via Eureka Alert Images via  Binghamton University , Pixabay

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Inexpensive new battery generates power with just a drop of saliva

Watch the solar eclipse from a private plane AND stay in an amazing Airbnb dome

August 10, 2017 by  
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The upcoming solar eclipse is slated to be the event of the century , so it seems only fitting to celebrate in style. National Geographic and Airbnb have teamed up to treat two budding astrophysicists (or just you and your mom) to a stay in this cool geodesic dome in a remote area in Oregon the night before the eclipse. However, the real prize is watching the momentous occasion from the comfort of a private jet that will fly the winners high in the sky, following the eclipse’s path. The dreamy geodesic pod is located in a remote area of Oregon, and comes complete with an observation deck and with a variety of telescopes. Upon arriving on the 20th, the winners will be met by their hosts: Dr. Jedidah Isler, a National Geographic Explorer and the first African American woman to receive a Ph.D. in Astrophysics from Yale University and, Babak Tafreshi, a renowned National Geographic photographer and science journalist. Related: Coming Total Solar Eclipse to be an ‘event of the century’, scientists say Right before the actual eclipse is visible from the ground, the two lucky winners will board a small private jet at the nearby Redmond Municipal Airport. The pilot will take off over the Oregon shore – flying west while following the Path of Totality – in order to be witness to the very first moments of the eclipse from high in the sky. + Airbnb Solar Eclipse Stay

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Watch the solar eclipse from a private plane AND stay in an amazing Airbnb dome

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