Researchers successfully made a battery out of trash

June 14, 2017 by  
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If there’s one thing that abounds on planet Earth , it is man-made trash . Fortunately, researchers have developed a method of using discarded goods to create sodium-ion batteries. Made from recycled materials and safer than lithium variants, the battery is the latest step in renewable energy storage. To create batteries out of trash, the scientists accumulated rusty, recycled stainless steel mesh. Then, they used a potassium ferrocyanide solution — the same solution used in fertilizers and in wine production — to dissolve the ions out of the rust layer. Ions such as nickel and iron then bonded with other ions in the solution. This created a salt that clung to the mesh as scaffolded nanotubes that store and release potassium ions. As Engadget reports , “The movement of potassium ions allows for conductivity, which was boosted with an added coating of oxidized graphite.” Related: ‘Instantly rechargeable’ battery spells bad news for gas-guzzling cars More often than not, lithium batteries are used for renewable energy storage. However, the type of battery is expensive and exists in limited amounts. Additionally, lithium batteries have been known to explode. Not only are the new sodium-ion batteries safer, they boast a high capacity, discharge voltage, and cycle stability. Developing the battery was step one of testing the concept. Now that scientists have successfully created renewable energy from trash, the battery can be improved upon to maximize its potential. Via Engadget Images via Pixabay

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Researchers successfully made a battery out of trash

Old watermill recycled into modern light-filled refuge in Portugal

February 3, 2017 by  
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Down on the banks of a beautiful creek sits a beautiful and modern refuge that blends in with its environment. Ansião-based architecture practice Bruno Lucas Dias designed this rentable lodge constructed with recycled materials from an old watermill . Nestled in Portugal’s Ponte de São Simão, the contemporary home, called Watermill on the Crag (Moinho das Fragas), was constructed on a modest budget and saves costs with its energy-efficient design. The Watermill on the Crag is largely constructed with natural materials that blend the home into its forested surroundings. Crafted from an old watermill, the building’s external walls are constructed of stone , matching the craggy cliff faces of Saint Simon. “This local lodging project is born out of the respect of the existing language, and aims to requalify the constructions and their context, faithfully respecting, as much as possible, its past use,” write the architects. Related: Water Pumping Mill Transformed Into Self-Sustaining Residence The watermill’s stone exterior was mostly left intact save for new double-glazed wooden window frames and thermal improvements to the roof. In contrast, the interior was largely revamped with white walls and surfaces covered with locally sourced pinewood . The building contains a bedroom that sleeps two, a bathroom, and open-plan living room, dining area, and kitchen, as well as an outdoor terrace with views of the mountains and creek. + Bruno Lucas Dias Images by Hugo Santos Silva

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Old watermill recycled into modern light-filled refuge in Portugal

Berlin’s High-Flying ‘Mount Center’ Climbing Park Looks Like a Real-Life Donkey Kong Level

November 20, 2016 by  
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Berlin’s amazing Mount Center opened in 2010 next to a wild park, meters away from the Nordbanhof S-Bahn train station. After a short training session with an experienced guide, visitors are welcome to climb the grand parkour area and discover six different courses with different difficulty levels and altitudes. The recycled area is 43 feet high and features a mix of classics cars (including vintage German Beetles and East German Trabants ), repurposed barrels, tires, wood and ropes. The Beach-Mitte area provides a sandy environment to play beach volleyball against the backdrop of concrete buildings. The Hawaiian-themed Beach Bar offers a two-story transparent pavilion for enjoying cool drinks and tasty food. The bar is decorated with a colorful collection of lamps made from recycled plastic containers, driftwood and vintage lights. Berlin’s fun and sporty Mount Center is also great for kids – it has a cool beach playground featuring a cute wooden Noah’s Ark. + Mount Center Photo © Ana Lisa Alperovich for Inhabitat

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Berlin’s High-Flying ‘Mount Center’ Climbing Park Looks Like a Real-Life Donkey Kong Level

Temporary dome made from newspapers pops-up in Beirut

November 14, 2016 by  
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https://vimeo.com/189543978#at=0 Paper Dome recently popped up in Beirut’s Sanayeh Garden . A dream team of 10 local architecture students, guided by Atelier YokYok  and Ulysse Lacoste, built the structure in just seven days. Its skeleton was assembled from local pine wood, and the skin is made up of folded newspaper “tiles”. Related: Designer Woojai Lee recycles newspaper into “marbled” furniture The ephemeral structure, which offers shade and shelter to curious passersby, rests on one point so that it can be easily lifted. Once inside, visitors can enjoy the tranquility of the space and reflect on the fragility of life. Paper Dome was designed as part of Art in Motion , a public art festival in Beirut , for the inclusion of wide audiences from diverse socio-economical backgrounds. + Atelier YokYok + Ulysse Lacoste + Art in Motion Via UrDesign Photos by  Atelier YokYok

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Temporary dome made from newspapers pops-up in Beirut

11 green building materials that are way better than concrete

July 8, 2016 by  
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1. Straw Bales Rather than relying on new research and technology, straw bale building hearkens back to the days when homes were built from natural, locally-occurring materials. Straw bales are used to create a home’s walls inside of a frame, replacing other building materials such as concrete, wood, gypsum, plaster, fiberglass, or stone. When properly sealed, straw bales naturally provide very high levels of insulation for a hot or cold climate, and are not only affordable but sustainable as straw is a rapidly renewable resource. ®Flickr/Willie Angus 2. Grasscrete As its name might indicate, grasscrete is a method of laying concrete flooring, walkways, sidewalks, and driveways in such a manner that there are open patterns allowing grass or other flora to grow. While this provides the benefit of reducing concrete usage overall, there’s also another important perk — improved stormwater absorption and drainage. 3. Rammed Earth What’s more natural than the dirt under your feet? In fact, walls that have a similar feel to concrete can actually be created with nothing more than dirt tamped down very tightly in wooden forms. Rammed earth is a technology that has been used by human civilization for thousands of years, and can last a very long time. Modern rammed earth buildings can be made safer by use of rebar or bamboo, and mechanical tampers reduce the amount of labor required to create sturdy walls. 4. HempCrete HempCrete is just what it sounds like – a concrete like material created from the woody inner fibers of the hemp plant. The hemp fibers are bound with lime to create concrete-like shapes that are strong and light.  HempCrete blocks are super-lightweight, which can also dramatically reduce the energy used to transport the blocks, and hemp itself is a fast-growing, renewable resource. ®Flickr/Carolina Zuluaga 5. Bamboo Bamboo might seem trendy, but it has actually been a locally-sourced building material in some regions of the world for millennia. What makes bamboo such a promising building material for modern buildings is its combination of tensile strength , light weight, and fast-growing renewable nature. Used for framing buildings and shelters, bamboo can replace expensive and heavy imported materials and provide an alternative to concrete and rebar construction, especially in difficult-to reach areas, post-disaster rebuilding, and low-income areas with access to natural locally-sourced bamboo. 6. Recycled Plastic Instead of mining, extracting, and milling new components, researchers are creating concrete that includes ground up recycled plastics and trash, which not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions, but reduces weight and provides a new use for landfill-clogging plastic waste. 7. Wood Plain old wood still retains many advantages over more industrial building materials like concrete or steel. Not only do trees absorb CO2 as they grow, they require much less energy-intensive methods to process into construction products. Properly managed forests are also renewable and can ensure a biodiverse habitat. RELATED: Energy efficient timber cabin in Norway 8. Mycelium Mycelium is a crazy futuristic building material that’s actually totally natural – it comprises the root structure of fungi and mushrooms. Mycelium can be encouraged to grow around a composite of other natural materials, like ground up straw, in molds or forms, then air-dried to create lightweight and strong bricks or other shapes. ®Flickr/Zack Detailer 9. Ferrock Ferrock is a new material being researched that uses recycled materials including steel dust from the steel industry to create a concrete-like building material that is even stronger than concrete . What’s more, this unique material actually absorbs and traps carbon dioxide as part of its drying and hardening process – making it not only less CO2 intensive than traditional concrete, but actually carbon neutral. ®Flickr/Alan Stark 10. AshCrete AshCrete is a concrete alternative that uses fly ash instead of traditional cement.  By using fly ash, a by-product of burning coal, 97 percent of traditional components in concrete can be replaced with recycled material. ®Public Domain Pictures 11. Timbercrete Timbercrete is an interesting building material made of sawdust and concrete mixed together. Since it is lighter than concrete, it reduces transportation emissions, and the sawdust both reuses a waste product and replaces some of the energy-intensive components of traditional concrete. Timbercrete can be formed into traditional shapes such as blocks, bricks, and pavers.

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11 green building materials that are way better than concrete

Architect transforms scrap yard materials into a vibrant discotheque

July 4, 2016 by  
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Architect Manoj Patel transformed materials sourced from a scrap yard into a 2,101-square-foot discotheque. Made from mostly reclaimed materials , the project was created with the aim of creating a vibrant space that minimized its impact to the environment. Recycling is celebrated in the design and prominently featured in the discotheque’s entrance area, which is decorated with recycled tin lids. Recycled beer bottles and recycled paper line the foyer, while reclaimed barrels can be found at the mocktail bar. Other salvaged materials can be found throughout the space. + Manoj Patel The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

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Architect transforms scrap yard materials into a vibrant discotheque

Traditional windows transform the facade of Tehran apartment building into art

May 23, 2016 by  
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The seven-story building features a facade made of heat-treated timber inset with stained glass and vegetation. In addition to its role in controlling solar intake, the facade has a decorative quality by combining natural materials, color and transparency. The patterned facade references some of Iran’s iconic traditional residences, while functioning as a high-performance element that reduces heat buildup. Related: Apartment No. 1 is Built Completely Out of Recycled Stone in Mahallat, Iran “Economic…

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Traditional windows transform the facade of Tehran apartment building into art

Our carbon budget could be shot in five years, researchers say

May 23, 2016 by  
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As we hurtle towards the 2 degrees Celsius limit, climate scientists at CarbonBrief scrutinized carbon budgets to see how long we have left before we use them up. These budgets relate amounts of carbon humans can emit to stay below 1.5 degrees, 2 degrees, and 3 degrees Celsius greater than levels before the Industrial Revolution. The findings weren’t good. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbhlWSxcoYg CarbonBrief utilized carbon budgets prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate…

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Our carbon budget could be shot in five years, researchers say

The number of pregnant women with Zika in the US just tripled

May 23, 2016 by  
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on May 20th that the number of pregnant women in the US with Zika virus is now three times higher than previously thought. The cases have jumped from 48 to 157, although the agency claims that it’s aware of less than a dozen babies or fetuses who’ve actually suffered from birth defects due to the infection. However, since most of the pregnancies are ongoing, that number will likely climb. An additional 122 cases in pregnant women have also…

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The number of pregnant women with Zika in the US just tripled

Apple unveils nature-filled, solar-powered future for its retail stores worldwide

May 23, 2016 by  
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Foster + Partners is no stranger to working with Apple. The international architecture firm has overseen the design of several iconic Apple stores, such as the glass-clad flagship in Istanbul, as well as the new Apple Campus 2 in Cupertino that’s nearing completion. With Apple Union Square, the architects closely collaborated with Jonathan Ive, Apple’s chief design officer, and Angela Ahrendts, the senior vice president of Retail and Online Stores. Set across from San Francisco’s famous Union…

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Apple unveils nature-filled, solar-powered future for its retail stores worldwide

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