Raad Studio creates advanced solar funnel to grow plants deep underground

November 2, 2017 by  
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The innovative team behind NYC’s Low Line have designed advanced solar technology that allows plant life to thrive deep underground. Raad Studio’s latest installation Invasive Regeneration uses a high-powered, solar-powered funnel installed at street level to shoot light onto a concrete block underground, allowing vegetation to grow in an otherwise inhospitable environment. The technology behind Invasive Regeneration is an extension of that used to create NYC’s subterranean park , the Lowline. Created by James Ramsey and Dan Barasch, the world’s first underground park implements an innovative daylighting system of fiber optic cables and mirrors to capture and funnel sunlight underground. Related: Brooklyn Hotel by creators of the Lowline boasts winding gardens and tiny hidden spaces According to the team, the solar-powered installation – which is currently on display at the 2017 Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism – is inspired by the complex relationship between nature and the manmade environment. Their description of the project reads, “Nature represents both decay and renewal, and the continual struggle to gain mastery over the natural world can be inverted to foster growth and rebirth.” + Raad Studio Images via Raad Studio

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Raad Studio creates advanced solar funnel to grow plants deep underground

Street artist paints huge lifelike murals of butterflies

November 2, 2017 by  
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Graffiti artist Mantra is livening up cities with magnificent nature murals . The France-based self-taught painter adorns the sides of buildings and walls with huge murals, and butterflies are a common motif in his work — which has brightened up spaces in France, Spain, Colombia, and Austria. Nature , butterflies, and books often take center stage in Mantra’s lifelike artwork . He’s painted several butterfly murals where the insects appear as three-dimensional mounted specimens surrounded by frames as might be seen in a museum. Other murals feature women with butterfly tattoos, holding butterflies, or wearing blouses with a butterfly print. Related: Provocative street art installation shows baby peering over US-Mexico border wall La Reina del Rio (lost tape) #Bogotá Nov 2015 Drone : @kozmo_films Music : @roccaeloriginal – Con la Luna Album Bogotá/Paris Illustrated from a picture of @juliatrotti Model : @kristinasrzich Gracias a mis hermanos @ospeninkcrew @dexsink y @oxmesoleuno . #freehand #graffiti #spraycanart #noprojector #nojoke A post shared by Mantra (@mantrarea) on Sep 25, 2017 at 12:39pm PDT Butterflies aren’t the only creatures Mantra brings to life. He’s painted a snake, a bird, a grasshopper, an owl, and a cat. He often paints women outside in nature, but one striking mural features a woman reading among dozens of books on shelves. What appear to be stingrays and an owl keep her company in the piece entitled “Curiosity feeds Imagination.” Earlier this year, Street Art United States spoke with Mantra , who’s been creating street art since 2008. They reported he doesn’t use a projector or grid, but sketches out his work freehand. Mantra said he spent as much time as he could outside as a kid, and that frogs, owls, foxes, and reptiles were his superheros. He said he found “a sense of belonging, and a way of self-expression” in graffiti. Mantra also gave advice for aspiring artists in the interview, saying, “Remind yourself that you are here, alive, and all the small lessons hiding in small things surrounding us feed our imagination.” Find more of Mantra’s work on Facebook or Instagram . His art can also be glimpsed in Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, and Seattle. + Mantra Via Street Art United States and TreeHugger Images via Mantra on Facebook

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Street artist paints huge lifelike murals of butterflies

This house made of drought-felled wood is a water-saving wonder

October 5, 2017 by  
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California’s extreme droughts are so dire that students at UC Davis have designed an impressive solar-powered home built out of drought-felled timber and installed with various state-of-the-art water conservation features geared towards California residents. The design of the team’s Our H2Ouse (pronounced “our house”) not only implements various grey water systems to use 50% less potable water than a typical residence, but smart technology with real-time LED displays enables homeowners to monitor and control water flow at every single water line. According to the students from UC Davis, who are currently exhibiting their solar home in this year’s Solar Decathlon event in Denver, they based the design on three main pillars: drought resilience, education, and inclusiveness. Using California-specific strategies in the prototype, the resulting Our H2Ouse is a highly-efficient, net-zero-energy design that is equipped to drastically reduce potable water use. Related: 8 amazing homes that are 100% powered by the sun Geared for the state’s inevitable future droughts, the home was installed with various greywater systems , including a cutting-edge sanitization technology developed at the university. All of the home’s water faucets are equipped with light-up feedback displays to help occupants monitor and control water flow rates at every step. For example, the shower has LED lights that change from blue to red, depending on water use. At the front of the house is a wooden water tank with a gauge that rises and falls to display the daily water usage of the home. According to the team, this smart monitoring system was geared towards overcoming the most unpredictable factor in energy and water conservation : human behavior. By installing smart technologies with real-time displays, the team hopes to bridge the gap between potential and realized water and energy savings. Interestingly, a unique feature of the home’s digitized system allows for sharing usage numbers within a network of users, meaning that eco-minded homeowners can actively participate in not only their own water conservation efforts, but that of the surrounding community. While the heart of the home may be geared to address the state’s water issues, the aesthetic is also a nod to California style. The simple, modern-rustic design reflects the two side of Cali life, urban and rural. To efficiently and sufficiently insulate the home, the team chose to use a 12” thick, bamboo-based , panelized exterior wall system and structural insulated panels (SIPs). This system reduces the home’s carbon footprint to a fraction of a standard residence. All of the wood used in the home was sourced from salvaged California trees  that died due to the state’s severe drought. Because this felled wood is dry and prone to burning, using it in the home design actively helps prevent forest fires. On the interior, the home is well-lit with natural light thanks to large glass doors that lead to the open-air deck. As for the interior furnishings, there are plenty of multi-functional items that were handcrafted by the students themselves, including hollow stools that can be used for storage, and that can be combined to be used as beds or tables. Motion-triggered recessed circadian LED lighting was installed into the flooring to create a modern, but efficient ambience throughout the home. + UC Davis Solar Decathlon Photography by Mike Chino

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This house made of drought-felled wood is a water-saving wonder

Australian company lands $12M to print batteries on printed solar panels

July 13, 2017 by  
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Solar energy appeals to a lot of people concerned about the environment and reducing electricity costs, but the cost of installing the energy-generating panels remains prohibitively high for a lot of people – even though prices are gradually falling . Printed Energy has proposed a solution. The Australian company is on a mission to print out ultra-thin, flexible screen-printed batteries, which can then be applied on top of super-thin flexible screen-printed solar panels, considerably cutting installation costs. Earlier this week, the company signed a deal with UNSW and the University of Queensland — and received backing from the federal government —  to produce the printed batteries and offer them on the market. The $12 million project also received a $2 million grant from the Cooperate Research Centres Projects scheme. Having obtained funding, Printed Energy now seeks to produce “solid state” batteries that are thin and can be printed in a “roll-to-roll” process — similar to a newspaper. The printed batteries will also be adaptable to any shape. The idea isn’t to pair the printed batteries with existing solar technology but to match it with printed solar panels, and other devices the batteries could power. According to Rodger Whitby, CEO of Printed Energy and of the  St Baker Energy Innovation Fund , the printed battery technology is ideal for powering sensors, devices for the internet, disposable healthcare devices and, of course, renewable energy. While the invention could revolutionize the renewable energy industry, the company’s main priority is developing the batteries for “disposable devices.” Battery storage for solar will follow. Said Whitby, “We are really thinking of this type of battery in a different paradigm. We have also got IP for printed PV – so the idea is to have a sub-strata plastic sheet, and print solar on one side and battery on the other.” The printed batteries stand apart from other battery chemistries because the company is using commonly available metals, such as zinc and manganese oxides along with inorganic matrix structures, to produce the invention. This makes them low-cost, non-toxic and very low in flammability. However, challenges persist. For instance, the printed batteries, which are expected to cost next to nothing, still need to have enough efficiency to produce suitable amounts of power, store it, and to make it worthwhile in areas where competition exists. When asked if the vision can be achieved, the CEO of Printed Energy replied: “We don’t know. We have got a lot of research to undertake before we answer that question.” Related: Rocket Lab’s new rocket is 3D-printed and powered by batteries As Renew Economy  reports , the project is being backed by Sunset Energy  which has a hypocritical relationship with the clean energy industry. For instance, the company’s principal, Trevor St Baker, invested in a Tesla , put solar on his roof and has created an “energy innovation fund,” yet has argued against renewable energy targets and even recently said that “baseloading of intermittent renewables to replace coal in the foreseeable future … will just drive business out of the country.” Nonetheless, it’s backing by Sunset Energy and other companies that will ensure the product comes to market. + Printed Energy Via Renew Economy Images via Printed Energy , Gigaom

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Australian company lands $12M to print batteries on printed solar panels

Beautiful bamboo building withstands floods and storms in Vietnam

July 13, 2017 by  
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Architecture firm RÂU ARCH created this beautiful thatched roof building burrowed deep into the lush rainforests of Vietnam. The MOOC Spring building is designed to accommodate the many visitors that come to the nearby natural springs. Due to the reoccurring storms and floods in the area, the architects chose to use a combination of locally-sourced stone, timber and bamboo , along with traditional building techniques in order to create a resilient structure able to withstand the harsh climate. The building was designed as an addition for an adjacent resort and houses a restaurant and lounge area. In addition to using locally-sourced materials in its construction, the Mooc Spring building was also built using traditional methods. The circular shape was chosen to withstand harsh winds and the building sits on a base made out of local stone. The first floor contains utility rooms as well as the kitchen and bathrooms. Related: Luxurious bamboo beach bar and restaurant bolsters spa in Vietnam The upper level, which houses the reception area and restaurant, was constructed using timber and bamboo . Although concrete pillars were used for optimal strength, they were wrapped with honey-hued nulgar bamboo for added resilience and of course, for its beautiful aesthetic. The local material was woven throughout the building in various intricate patterns and details to create an atmosphere that would blend in with the natural surroundings. The interior space is exceptionally well-lit thanks to the large glass skylight in the thatched roof that floods the interior with natural light . + RÂU ARCH Via Archdaily Photography by Hùng Râu Kts

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New interactive periodic table shows how each element influences daily life

July 13, 2017 by  
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How do gallium and tantalum influence your daily life? Quite a bit, it turns out. Gallium is a component of light-emitting diodes, or LEDs , while tantalum can be found in mobile phones . Boeing software engineer Keith Enevoldsen designed the interactive Periodic Table of the Elements, in Pictures and Words to show just how much those seemingly-obscure elements on the periodic table play a role in our lives. Scandium is found in bicycles ; palladium is used for pollution control . These tidbits are just a few of the facts you can find out on Enevoldsen’s interactive periodic table, targeted towards kids but still informative for adults. Bet you didn’t know there’s krypton in flashlights, antimony in car batteries , or strontium in fireworks? Related: New periodic table shows the cosmic origins of your body’s elements Each element on the interactive table comes with a description and a list of a few different uses. The tables are color-coded to show how the elements are grouped together, and symbols indicate whether an element is a solid, liquid, or gas. Other symbols show whether the element is common in the human body or in the earth’s crust, and if it’s radioactive , magnetic, noble, and rarely or never found in nature . Enevoldsen updates his tables when new elements are added. For example, in November 2016 the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry approved four brand new element names – 113 Nihonium (Nh), 115 Moscovium (Mc), 117 Tennessine (Ts), and 118 Oganesson (Og) – and Enevoldsen added them to his charts. He offers the tables in different formats, in words or in pictures, as posters available for purchase online . He also offers print-your-own element flash cards. Enevoldsen also runs a website called ThinkZone with miscellaneous thought experiments and resources for mathematics, language, science, history, geography, art, and music. + The Periodic Table of the Elements, in Pictures and Words Images © Keith Enevoldsen and via Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

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Flexible new solar panel is almost 80% lighter than traditional panels

March 22, 2017 by  
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Solar panels just got a lot slimmer. Zhengrong Shi, a.k.a. the Sun King, is now marketing eArche, a super flexible, ultrathin solar panel that could stretch along building facades, atop buses, or on top of carports to charge electric cars. According to Shi, the groundbreaking panel has unlimited potential, and 40 kilowatts (kW) of the new technology has already been installed in three locations throughout Australia . eArche draws on a composite material like that utilized in airplane windows that is almost 80 percent lighter than conventional photovoltaic panels, according to RenewEconomy. Shi is distributing his new products through Australian company Energus and Hong Kong company SunMan , and believes eArche is the biggest innovation in over 10 years in the solar industry . He told RenewEconomy, “Most of the cost reductions we have seen come from manufacturing, growing efficiency, and supply chain. There has been very little innovation on products and applications, so we have decided to focus on the panel itself, which has been very rigid and heavy.” Related: SolarWindow unveils new energy-generating glass that bends Some companies haven’t been able to install solar because panels are too heavy for their buildings’ roofs, but Shi’s technology could remove that issue. Rooftop solar systems typically weigh around eight metric tons for a 100 kW array, according to The Daily Advertiser, but eArche weighs just around two metric tons for 100 kW. Shi said eArche can be custom-shaped for building roofs or walls. He told RenewEconomy, “We think governments should require all new buildings to have solar panels integrated into their structure. With this panel, it is easy to do.” SunMan also envisions the technology on RVs, yachts, vending machines, and more. Time will tell if eArche is as revolutionary as Shi thinks. The technology stands in contrast to Tesla’s proposed solar tiles , which Shi said is “the wrong way of doing it” largely due to expense and weight. Via RenewEconomy and The Daily Advertiser Images via Sunman Energy Facebook

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Flexible new solar panel is almost 80% lighter than traditional panels

Swiss pilot plans to fly solar airplane to the edge of space

November 28, 2016 by  
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It might sound like the stuff of science fiction, but a Swiss pilot is preparing to fly to the edge of space in a solar-powered aircraft . According to Wired , Raphël Domjan is planning to fly his plane, SolarStratos , higher than any plane has gone before. His goal is to prove that renewable energy is not only equal to, but potentially greater than fossil fuels. Check out the video below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jw1TYssfSCg That goal, it seems, is a lofty one in both the literal and figurative senses. When the planned date arrives in late 2018, Domjan hopes to hop into SolarStratos and fly 25,000 meters into the sky, to the edge of space. After flying for two and a half hours, he is planning to spend 15 minutes in the stratosphere before slowly ascending back to terra firma. “Our goal is to be the highest plane ever, not only solar and electric,” Swiss pilot, Domjan told Wired . With this project, we take technology you can find in the supermarket and we put it to the limit. He adds that showing solar technology can take humans as far or further than petroleum fuels will send a strong message about the potential that clean technology holds. “We still have so many things to explore,” he adds. “Maybe exploration can be used to protect our planet.” Related: World’s first piloted solar-powered helicopter lifts off in Maryland But he needs more funding to make his mission happen. Since founding SolarStratos in 2014, Domjan has raised $5 million to make his experimental plane , which is expected to be released by solar aviation specialist PC-Solar by the end of this year. The finished plane will weigh just shy of 1,000 pounds, including two 19kw motors that produce about 50 horsepower. That much weight and power is just barely light enough to complete the missions; according to Wired, Domjan will have to lose about 20 pounds before he can attempt the feat. There’s also the problem of how he will breathe at 25,000 meters, where there’s only two percent of the oxygen available at sea level. Also, despite the funds already raised, the team needs another $5 million in the bank before they’re ready to take flight. Still, it’s a worthy mission – let’s hope the project lifts off the ground. Via Wired Images and video via SolarStratos , Youtube

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Swiss pilot plans to fly solar airplane to the edge of space

Olafur Eliasson launches a gorgeous and affordable handheld solar phone charger

September 3, 2015 by  
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U.S. Army develops new solar cells that are 1,000 times thinner than current technology

July 9, 2015 by  
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Military research leads to a lot of cool technological advancements that can benefit the public as much as the troops. United States Army researchers have been working on improved solar technology , and they have developed a tiny photovoltaic solar cell that is substantially smaller and more cost effective than any other solar cell on the market. The new design has won the Army a patent, and the inventors are calling it a “breakthrough” in clean energy. Read the rest of U.S. Army develops new solar cells that are 1,000 times thinner than current technology Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: army patents solar cells , clean energy technology , more efficient solar cells , Solar Power , solar technology , thinnest solar cells , u.s. military research , United States Army

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