Swiss grocery store chain will be the first to sell insect burgers

August 16, 2017 by  
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Would you eat a burger made of mealworms? Coop , the second-largest supermarket chain in Switzerland , will start selling food made with insects . The country will be the first in Europe to allow sales of insect-based food for people, thanks to laws changed in May. Coop will sell insect burgers and balls from Switzerland-based startup Essento . Switzerland’s food safety laws allow sales of food made from mealworms, crickets , or grasshoppers. Coop will be selling Essento Insect Burgers and Essento Insect Balls, both made with mealworms. The burgers also contain rice, vegetables like leeks and celery, and spices like chili and oregano. The balls – which could be eaten inside pita bread, for example – are filled out with chickpeas, garlic, onions, parsley, and coriander. Related: BUG BUG cutlery set might just make you want to eat insects Coop Head of Category Management Silvio Baselgia said they’re Switzerland’s first retailer to sell Essento’s insect products, which the company has been developing for more than two years. Essento co-founder Christian Bärtsch said in a statement, “As food, insects are convincing in many respects: they have a high culinary potential, their production saves resources, and their nutritional profile is high quality. Thus insects are the perfect complement to a modern diet.” According to Essento’s website, mealworms don’t produce as many greenhouse gases as animal food sources like pigs or cows. 80 percent of insects are edible, as compared with 40 percent of cows, and raising insects requires less food and water. Insects are a good source of protein and also contain unsaturated fatty acids, the vitamins A, B, and B12, and minerals like zinc, potassium, calcium, and iron. Essento’s products will be on sale on August 21 in seven Coop stores to start, including branches in Zurich and Geneva. + Essento Via The Guardian and Coop Images via Essento Facebook and Coop

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Swiss grocery store chain will be the first to sell insect burgers

Finnish scientists make food from electricity

July 28, 2017 by  
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A team of researchers from Finland might have solved world hunger. The scientists just produced a single-cell protein from electricity and carbon dioxide, and it can be further developed for use as food or animal feed. Renewable energy sources such as solar can be used to produce the protein. The final product is a nutritious mix of more than 50 percent protein and 25 percent carbohydrates with the rest consisting of fats and nucleic acids. “In practice, all the raw materials are available from the air. In the future, the technology can be transported to, for instance, deserts and other areas facing famine. One possible alternative is a home reactor, a type of domestic appliance that the consumer can use to produce the needed protein,” said Juha-Pekka Pitkänen, Principal Scientist at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. The Food from Electricity project is a collaboration between VTT and Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT). Related: Vertical farming startup raises $200M from Alphabet, Jeff Bezos The next step for the researchers is pilot production to work on improving efficiency and to test scaling up for commercial use.  Currently, the production of one gram of protein takes around two weeks, using laboratory equipment that is about the size of a coffee cup. Pitkänen gives a 10-year timeframe for the product to become fully commercialized. “We are currently focusing on developing the technology: reactor concepts, technology, improving efficiency and controlling the process. Control of the process involves adjustment and modelling of renewable energy so as to enable the microbes to grow as well as possible. The idea is to develop the concept into a mass product, with a price that drops as the technology becomes more common. The schedule for commercialisation depends on the economy,” said Professor Jero Ahola of LUT. The technological breakthrough could in a decade not only provide plentiful cheap and nutritious food to people around the world, but also decrease global greenhouse gas emissions emitted from industrial livestock production. Producing animal feed could also free up land for other purposes such as forestry. + Protein produced from electricity to alleviate world hunger Via Futurism Images via LUT

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Exquisite Shore House is a modernist triumph that embraces nature

July 28, 2017 by  
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Hidden away in Long Island’s North Haven village is an exquisite modernist home that looks like a natural extension of the landscape. Leroy Street Studio designed the Shore House, a green-roofed retreat in Suffolk County, New York with views of the Peconic Bay. Built partly into a hillside, the charred cedar-clad home uses a natural materials palette to sensitively blend into the surrounding environment. Surrounded by windswept trees and tall grasses, the Shore House enjoys a secluded lot on the beach with expansive views of the water and the setting sun. “The home was conceived of as a gateway for experiencing the passage from forest to sea,” said the architects, according to Dezeen . “The approach was designed to guide the individual through a sequence of views revealing new perspectives of the house, sky, and water.” The waterfront home is faced with glazed sliding doors that open up to views of the bay. Related: Leroy Street Studio’s Louver House is an Airy, Daylit Barn-Shaped Home Since the Shore House was built on a sloped lot, the architects partly excavated the site to embed a lower level into the hillside. The main entry starts as a footpath in the forest that leads down a flight of stairs to the green-roofed lower level mostly hidden from view. The dining room, den, living room, and kitchen are located on the lower level, as are the staff bedroom and an outdoor sunken fireplace tucked beneath the cantilevered end of the upper volume. The upper floor houses the master bedroom and bathroom, guest bedroom, and a cabana. + Leroy Street Studio Via Dezeen Images via Leroy Street Studio , by Scott Frances

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Exquisite Shore House is a modernist triumph that embraces nature

Vertical farming startup raises $200M from Alphabet, Jeff Bezos

July 21, 2017 by  
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Indoor vertical farming is on the rise, if a recent funding round for San Francisco startup Plenty is any indication. The company just scored what they say is the largest agriculture technology investment in history. Plenty has attracted attention – and quite a lot of money – from well-known tech greats like Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt. Plenty is utilizing technology to improve agriculture. The startup draws on big data processing, micro-sensor technology, and LED lighting in an effort to make affordable, local food available for people around the world. Their system uses less water and space than conventional farms, and grows food more efficiently. Plenty says they can yield as much as 350 times more crops per square foot than a typical farm. Their recent Series B funding round, led by Japanese media corporation SoftBank ‘s Vision Fund, turned out to be quite fruitful at $200 million. Related: 40-foot shipping container farm can grow 5 acres of food with 97% less water SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son said in a statement, “By combining technology with optimal agriculture methods, Plenty is working to make ultra-fresh, nutrient-rich food accessible to everyone in an always-local way that minimizes wastage from transport. We believe that Plenty’s team will remake the current food system to improve people’s quality of life.” Plenty will use the $200 million to start expanding, and plan to bring their first produce to market later this year. They plan to grow two to five acre indoor farms, which the BBC said is around the size of a Walmart or Home Depot. The company already employs 100 people working in three facilities in Wyoming and San Francisco. Initially, Plenty will provide mainly leafy greens and herbs for distributors that have already signed on, according to co-founder and CEO Matt Barnard. He said in a statement, “The world is out of land in the places it’s most economical to grow these crops. After a decade of development driven by one of our founders, our technology is uniquely capable of growing super clean food with no pesticides nor GMOs while cutting water consumption by 99 percent…We’re now ready to build out our farm network and serve communities around the globe.” + Plenty Via Plenty and the BBC Images via Plenty Facebook

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40-foot shipping container farm can grow 5 acres of food with 97% less water

July 11, 2017 by  
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Communities that have to ship in fresh food from far away could start getting local produce right from their parking lots or warehouses thanks to Local Roots ‘ shipping container farms . The 40-foot containers house hydroponic farms that only draw on five to 20 gallons of water each day to grow produce like lettuce, strawberries, or kale. Popping up all around the United States, these scalable farms “grow far more produce than any other indoor farming solution on the market” according to co-founder Dan Kuenzi. Local Roots is even talking with SpaceX about using their farms in space . Local Roots’ 40-foot shipping container farms, called TerraFarms, grow produce twice as fast as a traditional farm , all while using 97 percent less water and zero pesticides or herbicides. They can grow as much food as could be grown on three to five acres. They’re able to do this thanks to LED lights tuned to specific wavelengths and intensities, and sensor systems monitoring water, nutrient, and atmospheric conditions. Related: Pop-up shipping container farm puts a full acre of lettuce in your backyard The process from setup to first harvest takes only around four weeks. TerraFarms can be stacked and connected to the local grid. CEO Eric Ellestad said in a video 30 million Americans live in food deserts , and their farms could be placed right in communities that most need the food. Los Angeles is already home to a farm with several shipping containers, and a similar one will be coming to Maryland this year. It could offer local food like strawberries in January. And Local Roots’ technology could one day allow astronauts to consume fresh produce in space. Their growing systems could offer a food source on long-term, deep space missions. Ellestad told The Washington Post, “The opportunities are global and intergalactic at the same time.” + Local Roots Via The Washington Post Images via Local Roots Facebook

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40-foot shipping container farm can grow 5 acres of food with 97% less water

Chic, minimalist hydroponic garden makes growing your own veggies a snap

July 6, 2017 by  
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Hydroponic systems let you grow fresh produce indoors, but they can be a pain to set up. Fortunately, Seedo just unveiled a modern hydroponic garden that takes all the fuss out of harvesting your own fruits and vegetables. The device looks like a typical mini fridge, but don’t let its simple exterior fool you – the Seedo is an amazingly high-tech system that can help just about anyone grow the urban garden of their dreams. Especially useful for those who aren’t blessed with a green thumb, Seedo’s high tech system comes with a number of features that make urban gardening possible in just about any environment. The system comes with a sterile hermetic ecosystem that keeps insects away and built-in cartridges that automatically release CO2 during the photosynthesis phase. To create a healthy growing environment on the inside, a full spectrum LED system controls the lighting and an automated temperature control function keeps the interior temp and humidity at precise levels. Related: Start an Organic Garden Anywhere Using Fizzy Farms Compact Hydroponic Grower The Seedo is a great option for almost any type of plant profile , from veggies and herbs to flowers and medicinal plants. In order to monitor the system from the comforts of your own home or while on the road, the Seedo system also comes with its own app and an internal HD camera in order to closely monitor your garden. + Seedo Lab Via Geeky Gadgets Save

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Chic, minimalist hydroponic garden makes growing your own veggies a snap

World’s Smallest Garden lets you recycle old bottles into adorable hydroponic gardens

June 7, 2017 by  
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You can always recycle an old wine bottle , but what if you could transform it into a tiny garden instead? Urban Leaf empowers people to grow food at home through the World’s Smallest Garden, and upcycle used bottles into planters. It takes minutes to put together one of the mini gardens, which can grow greens and herbs year-round – and you can snag one on the cheap right now on Kickstarter . The World’s Smallest Garden is comprised of a 3D-printed cylindrical device, or plug, that fits right into the neck of an old bottle. The plastic used in the product is biodegradable . Users fill the bottle with water, insert the device filled with soil and seeds, and sit back and let the plants grow. Plants can draw on that initial water source for a month, and then users can add water as needed. Related: Build your own indoor garden with modular LEGO-like blocks Dill, lettuce, bok choy, and basil are just a few of the plants that can be grown with the World’s Smallest Garden. Users will be able to start harvesting the plants after around four to six weeks. The team designed the garden with the idea that plants would grow just in the bottle, although co-founder Robert Elliott told Inhabitat it should work to move a plant into a planter since hydroponically grown plants typically transplant well. They’ve been able to grow herbs like mint and parsley for five months in bottles, and even grew dwarf tomatoes to fruit in a World’s Smallest Garden. Elliott and Nathan Littlewood started Urban Leaf to work towards a better food system. On their website they say they believe growing food in urban areas solves many of the issues with the modern food industry , allowing for less waste, less packaging, and shorter supply chains. But many people living in cities don’t have a lot of space to grow gardens, an obstacle Urban Leaf overcomes with the World’s Smallest Garden. Elliott told Inhabitat, “The design process for the World’s Smallest Garden was an effort to create the most minimal product that still effectively grew plants. We started with a ‘bells and whistles’ prototype and removed lights, pumps, multiple substrates, nutrient packets, and even the reservoir. Brown or green glass bottles are a natural fit for a reservoir (they block harmful red/blue light while allowing you to see in) and most people just throw them away! By selling just the essential component to turn existing waste into a hydroponic reservoir we save customers money and reduce our manufacturing and shipping environmental impact.” Urban Leaf is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter . You can get a single pack that comes with three plugs and seeds for $15. Check out the Kickstarter here . + Urban Leaf Images courtesy of Urban Leaf

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‘Instantly rechargeable’ battery spells bad news for gas-guzzling cars

June 7, 2017 by  
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Charging an electric car remains an obstacle for some people, especially in areas lacking charging infrastructure. But new battery technology developed by researchers at Purdue University could change that completely. They’ve designed an instantly rechargeable battery that could allow electric vehicles to be charged in roughly the same amount of time it takes to fill up a car with gasoline today. The researchers designed a flow battery system, which in itself isn’t unique, but the Purdue scientists removed battery membranes, something they say no one else has done. Membranes in batteries break down over time, so the new battery technology allows for a longer lifespan and cuts costs. This rechargeable battery could be a game changer for electric cars. Related: New battery concept could give electric vehicles a 621-mile range Drawing on the Purdue energy storage technology, electric car owners would pull up to a station and fill up their cars with not gas, but fluid electrolytes. The spent battery fluids could be gathered and recharged at a solar or wind farm . Earth, atmospheric, and planetary science professor John Cushman said in a statement, “Instead of refining petroleum, the refiners would reprocess spent electrolytes and instead of dispensing gas, the fueling stations would dispense a water and ethanol or methanol solution as fluid electrolytes to power vehicles…It is believed that our technology could be nearly ‘drop-in’ ready for most of the underground piping system, rail and truck delivery system, gas stations and refineries.” They say their instantly rechargeable method is affordable, safe, and environmentally friendly. Cushman recently presented their findings at the International Society for Porous Media 9th International Conference in the Netherlands. With two other Purdue researchers, he started a company, IFBattery, to commercialize their technology. Cushman said they are seeking financing to develop large-scale prototypes, and from there they’ll look for manufacturing partners. Via Purdue University Images via Purdue University and Håkan Dahlström on Flickr

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Fisker is back with the $130,000 400-mile range EMotion

June 7, 2017 by  
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Designer Henrik Fisker is getting ready to jump back into the EV segment with a new electric car called the EMotion. Now that Fisker’s former EV, the Karma has been reborn under new ownership, Fisker is ready to move beyond the capabilities of the old Karma with the entirely new 400-mile range 2019 EMotion. Fisker Inc has released a set of teaser photos of the new EMotion, which is going to debut later this month on June 30. The EMotion’s design has been toned down a bit from the EMotion prototype and renderings that we’ve seen over the past year. The big changes, include a revised grille, more production friendly headlights and toned down fenders. Related: Fisker’s EMotion has the Tesla Model S in its sights Even though the overall design has been toned down, the exterior does conceal some new tech features, like an integrated LIDAR system behind a tinted screen to provide autonomous driving capability. The side mirrors conceal two cameras, which enable panoramic, 360-degree views to the driver. Fisker also says that the carbon fiber and aluminum structure exceeds current safety standards, while its light carbon fiber and aluminum wheels reduce rotational mass by 40 percent. Fisker hasn’t revealed the full specs for the 2019 EMotion, but it will have a driving range over 400 miles and new proprietary UltraCharger technology can add over 100 miles to the large battery in nine minutes. The EMotion will also have a top speed of 161 mph. The big news is that the pricing for the EMotion has also been released, starting at $129,900. Fisker is going to reveal the EMotion on June 30 and will also begin taking reservations on the same day. + Fisker Images @Fisker

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Fisker is back with the $130,000 400-mile range EMotion

Portable SolSource Sport solar stove heats up 5X faster than a charcoal grill

May 29, 2017 by  
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Imagine visiting your favorite local park with a portable stove that’s 100 percent powered by the sun and heats up five times faster than a charcoal grill. Meet the SolSource Sport. One Earth Designs is crowdfunding their latest compact solar cooker just in time for summer . The SolSource Sport focuses light onto cookware to get food sizzling and ready to eat super quickly. It can be used in places like national parks or apartment rooftops that don’t allow fires, because this solar cooker doesn’t need a flame to operate. With the versatile stove, you can grill, pan fry, boil, stir fry, or reheat meals. And you can use most of the cookware you already own instead of buying new pots or pans. The solar cooker gets up to grilling temperatures in a snappy five minutes, and reaches searing temperatures in 10 minutes. Related: SolSource Air: One Earth Designs Taps Google Glass Creator to Launch Portable, Affordable Solar Stove The SolSource Sport works in a variety of sun conditions – from one hour after sunrise to one hour before sunset, and in air temperatures between 30 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. You can even cook in the snow as long as the sun is shining. And since sunlight is the only fuel necessary, the SolSource Sport doesn’t produce any carbon emissions . The surface of the solar cooker stays cool to the touch, making it safe to use. The stove pops up and breaks down in around five minutes, and it can be stored inside a two-foot-long carrying bag. One Earth Designs has already raised nearly $75,000 out of an original goal of $20,000 on Kickstarter . You can snag one of these affordable little cookers for under $200 if you’re fast (retail price is $249). + One Earth Designs Images via One Earth Designs

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