Record-breaking paper water purifier operates at near 100% efficiency

May 7, 2018 by  
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Researchers at the University at Buffalo have created a highly efficient device that uses sunlight and black carbon-dipped paper to clean water . The paper is placed in a triangular arrangement, which enables it to vaporize and absorb water with nearly 100 percent efficiency. The simple, inexpensive technology could be deployed in regions where clean drinking water is chronically unavailable or areas that have been acutely affected by natural disasters. “Our technique is able to produce drinking water at a faster pace than is theoretically calculated under natural sunlight,” said lead researcher Qiaoqiang Gan in a statement . The solar still concept, which uses sunlight to purify water, is ancient; Aristotle described a similar technique more than 2,000 years ago. The difference is the new device’s ability to achieve ultra-high efficiency. “Usually, when solar energy is used to evaporate water, some of the energy is wasted as heat is lost to the surrounding environment,” Gan explained. “This makes the process less than 100 percent efficient. Our system has a way of drawing heat in from the surrounding environment, allowing us to achieve near-perfect efficiency.” The carbon -dipped paper’s sloped orientation is key in achieving this efficiency, allowing the bottom edges to soak up water while the outer coating absorbs solar heat to be used in evaporation. Related: This moss can naturally eliminate arsenic from water The research team prioritized simplicity and accessibility in its design. “Most groups working on solar evaporation technologies are trying to develop advanced materials, such as metallic plasmonic and carbon-based nanomaterials,” Gan said. “We focused on using extremely low-cost materials and were still able to realize record-breaking performance.” Through their recently launched start-up, Sunny Clean Water, the team hopes to increase access to their device for areas in need. “When you talk to government officials or nonprofits working in disaster zones, they want to know: ‘How much water can you generate every day?’ We have a strategy to boost daily performance,” said Haomin Song, an electrical engineering PhD graduate, in a statement . “With a solar still the size of a mini fridge, we estimate that we can generate 10 to 20 liters of clean water every single day.” + University at Buffalo Via Futurity Images via Huaxiu Chen and Douglas Levere/University at Buffalo

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Record-breaking paper water purifier operates at near 100% efficiency

World’s largest artificial sun switches on in Germany

March 23, 2017 by  
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German scientists are hoping to shine new light on ways to generate environmentally friendly fuels. At the German Aerospace Center (DLR)’s Institute for Solar Research, they have flipped on a system called Synlight, which they describe as the largest artificial sun on the planet. Synlight is comprised of 149 huge spotlights, pouring out a light intensity around 10,000 times the solar radiation naturally found on Earth. Synlight’s 149 spotlights are similar to those commonly used in cinema projectors. According to DLR, “These enable solar radiation powers of up to 380 kilowatts and two times up to 240 kilowatts in three separately usable irradiation chambers, in which a maximum flux density of more than eleven megawatts per square meter can be achieved.” They create a brilliant array, which scientists hope will help them figure out how to best use the huge quantity of energy from sunlight hitting Earth. The experiment doesn’t come without a cost: Synlight sucks up as much electricity in just four hours as a family of four could use in an entire year, according to the Associated Press. It’s also housed in a specially built structure in Germany. Related: Norwegian Town Creates ‘Artificial Sun’ to Light Up Dark Winter Days The focus for Synlight researchers will be on solar fuels, according to DLR, which said scientists will zero in on developing manufacturing processes. Scientists will delve into new ways to create hydrogen , which isn’t found naturally but must be created by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen, according to ABC News. The publication quoted the institute’s director Bernhard Hoffschmidt, who said the furnace-light conditions Synlight can produce – up to 5,432 degrees Fahrenheit – are crucial to experimenting with new methods of creating hydrogen. DLR said industrial companies, such as those in air and space travel, will be able to use Synlight to test components with the help of DLR scientists. Via DLR , ABC News , and the Associated Press Images via DLR

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World’s largest artificial sun switches on in Germany

Google Street View cars are helping scientists spot methane leaks

March 23, 2017 by  
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The Google fleet has been mapping cities around the world for years, making navigation easier for travelers. Now they have an important new responsibility: Google Street View cars will seek out natural gas leaks in urban areas. The data will not only help cities protect citizens from potentially harmful gas leaks, but also help cut accidental greenhouse gas emissions. The project was outlined in a new paper published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology . It’s a collaborative effort between Colorado State University researchers, the Environmental Defense Fund , and Google that involves attaching methane sensors to Google Street View cars. Related: Google Street View takes you inside the fiery depths of an active volcano The cars have been outfitted with special infrared lasers that can detect the amount of methane in the surrounding air in real time. Experiments found that the sensors had a range of about 65 feet, more than enough to detect leaks in urban settings where pipelines run beneath or near public streets. So far, the cars have found that there may be many more methane leaks in America’s major cities than previously believed. Cities with more modern pipelines were far less likely to have leaks, while Boston —the worst offender—was found to have thousands of leaks, resulting in a loss of about 1,300 tons of gas per year. Related: House Republicans move to make methane pollution great again While these aren’t necessarily a threat to public health or safety as long as the leaks are outdoors and natural gas can’t build up to explosive levels, they can wreak havoc on the atmosphere. Methane is far more potent than carbon dioxide, and leaks could seriously accelerate climate change if they aren’t addressed. Via The Washington Post Images via Wikipedia

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Google Street View cars are helping scientists spot methane leaks

Chasing Sunlight is a smart flower pot that rolls to find ideal light conditions

January 15, 2015 by  
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How about instead of moving your plants during the day or depending on the season, they find the optimal position in your flat all by themselves? Thanks to a new prototype designed and built by Xiaolong Mu , it could someday be a reality. His Chasing Sunlight mobile pots have light sensors and motorized wheels that enable plants to move on their own to reach optimal positions. Read the rest of Chasing Sunlight is a smart flower pot that rolls to find ideal light conditions Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: arduino , Chasing Sunlight , diy design , easy to assemble , flower pot , green design , house plants , light sensors , mobile flower pot , motorized wheels , photosythesis , plants , Xiaolong Mu

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Chasing Sunlight is a smart flower pot that rolls to find ideal light conditions

Burn the trash, forget the toxins is the USA’s new garbage policy

January 15, 2015 by  
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“Burn baby, burn” is an old chant for a new generation of Americans who are too inconvenienced to put a bottle or two in a blue bin instead of a brown one. Americans produce 4.4 pounds of trash per person per day, more than any other population in any other country, and communities across the country are now looking into waste-to-energy incinerators as the only option for getting rid of the multiplying mounds of trash . Read the rest of Burn the trash, forget the toxins is the USA’s new garbage policy Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: air pollution , Baltimore , baltimore incinerator , baltimore incinerator project , burned garbage , burning garbage , burning trash , Curtis Bay , dioxin , energy incinerators , environmental toxins , fertilizer plant , florida incinerator , fuel depot , incinerators , Maryland , medical waste incinerator , mercury , renewable energy , toxic air , waste to energy , waste-to-energy incinerators , west palm beach florida incinerator

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Burn the trash, forget the toxins is the USA’s new garbage policy

3D-printed Solar Bytes Pavilion pushes the boundaries of architectural innovation

January 15, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of 3D-printed Solar Bytes Pavilion pushes the boundaries of architectural innovation Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “solar energy” , 3d printed pavilion , 3D printing , arch pavilion , DesignLabWorkshop , kent state university , LED lights , LEDs , pavilion , smart technology , Solar Bytes Pavilion , solar exposure , Solar Power , solar powered pavilion , sun path , translucent plastic

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3D-printed Solar Bytes Pavilion pushes the boundaries of architectural innovation

INFOGRAPHIC: How to make the right window choices for a light-filled home

January 5, 2015 by  
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Light-filled homes always catch our eye here at Inhabitat— natural lighting makes interiors look great, and it can also reduce a home’s energy footprint and dependency on artificial lighting. While increasing the amount of sunlight into a home can do wonders, how you choose to frame those rays can be a tough stylistic decision. Fortunately, Half Price Shutters put together an infographic to help homeowners and builders make the right window choices. From clerestory windows to skylights, this infographic covers a wide range of styles and tips you should consider for optimizing sunlight, ventilation, and views. Read the rest of INFOGRAPHIC: How to make the right window choices for a light-filled home Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: half price shutters , house building , infographic , natural light , reader submitted content , sunlight , window architecture , windows

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INFOGRAPHIC: How to make the right window choices for a light-filled home

The Russians want to build an outpost on the moon

January 5, 2015 by  
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The owners of a private Russian company claim they have the capability to build an outpost on the moon. According Next Big Future, a company called Lin Industrial has its sights set on a first-stage lunar base near the moon’s south pole to be followed by a second-stage facility as part of a project with an estimated cost of $9.3 billion. But as of press time, it’s unclear where the required funding will come from. Read the rest of The Russians want to build an outpost on the moon Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: astronauts , construction , cosmonauts , Lin Industrial , living on the moon , lunar base , lunar outpost , moon , moon base , private company , Projects , rocket , rockets , russia , Russian company , space exploration , tech company

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The Russians want to build an outpost on the moon

GREEN BUILDING 101: Environmentally Friendly Lighting for Health and Well-Being

June 10, 2014 by  
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Lighting is one of the most critical—and most visceral—qualities of an indoor space, and the difference between good and bad lighting can make or break comfort, mood and overall happiness in your home. Exposure to natural light affects your immune system  as well as your circadian rhythms , sleep cycle and hormones, and studies have linked lack of sunlight to depression (S.A.D), immune problems, diabetes and cancer . According to researcher and director of SUNAC (Sunlight, Nutrition and Health Research Center) William B. Grant , “over 20,000 Americans die prematurely annually from insufficient UVB/vitamin D, and half of those with multiple sclerosis in the U.S. would not have MS if they had had more UVB exposure.” Read the rest of GREEN BUILDING 101: Environmentally Friendly Lighting for Health and Well-Being Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: cancer , circadian , circadian rhythms , Daylighting , energy efficient lighting , Green Building 101 , green design , green lighting , Health , illumination , lamps , LED , LED lamps , LED lighting , lights , paint , reflection , skylight , skylights , sunlight , sunshine , Sustainable Lighting Design , vitamin d , voc , well-being , wellbeing

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GREEN BUILDING 101: Environmentally Friendly Lighting for Health and Well-Being

Solar-Powered SunnyBot Directs 7000 Lumens of Daylight Into Your Home

June 27, 2013 by  
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What if you could have sunlight in every room in your home, regardless of its orientation? Solenica , a manufacturer of heliostats , made the SunnyBot robot to focus the sun’s rays and redirect them towards indoor areas that might otherwise be without daylight. Carrying 7000 lumens of sun rays, SunnyBot can bring light into an office, greenhouse, attic or even a basement, and ultimately reduce a home’s carbon footprint by one ton per year, according to the company. Solenica has launched a Kickstarter campaign to get support to bring its newest prototype to the market. Read the rest of Solar-Powered SunnyBot Directs 7000 Lumens of Daylight Into Your Home Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “solar energy” , battery powered robot , Daylighting , heliostats , kickstarter campaign , optical positioning system , optical sensors , reducing carbon footprint , solar energy storage , Solar Power , solar robots , Solenica heliostats , sunlight , SunnyBot        

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Solar-Powered SunnyBot Directs 7000 Lumens of Daylight Into Your Home

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