New Japanese turbines harvest wave energy and protect coastlines from erosion

September 25, 2017 by  
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Surf’s up! Researchers from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) in Japan are working to create special turbines that harvest the renewable energy of waves while simultaneously protecting coastlines from erosion. To accomplish this, turbines would be anchored to the sea floor with mooring cables and placed nearby tetrapods, star-shaped concrete structures designed to reduce erosion, or natural barriers such as coral reefs. These structures have enormous potential to work together to both dampen the impact of powerful waves on shorelines and capture the seemingly endless oceanic energy. The wave turbine’s pairing with a solid, anchored structure could take advantage of preexisting infrastructure in Japan. “Surprisingly, 30% of the seashore in mainland Japan is covered with tetrapods and wave breakers,” said Professor Tsumoru Shintake, the lead researcher on the project. “Using just 1% of the seashore of mainland Japan can [generate] about 10 gigawats [of energy], which is equivalent to 10 nuclear power plants. That’s huge.” Each turbine would feature spinning blades attached to a permanent magnet electric generator, protected by a ceramic layer to keep seawater out. The energy captured from the waves would then be sent through a cable down the structure and back to shore for grid usage. Related: This carbon nanotube yarn generates power when pulled The turbines are designed with safety in mind. In order to avoid harming wildlife , the speed of the blades is calibrated so that any animal caught into them are able to harm. Similarly, the blades are flexible, like dolphin fins, to avoid cracking under powerful storms and swells. The support structure is also bendable. Each turbine is estimated to last for ten years before needing to be replaced, but its creators are thinking even further into the future. “I’m imagining the planet two hundred years later,” said Shintake. “I hope these [turbines] will be working hard quietly, and nicely, on each beach on which they have been installed.” Via New Atlas Images via  OIST

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New Japanese turbines harvest wave energy and protect coastlines from erosion

Plasma Rock is a new material made from 100% recycled landfill waste

September 25, 2017 by  
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Could our overflowing landfills be converted into gold mines? Designer Inge Sluijs has found an way to turn landfill waste into “Plasma Rock” – an innovative material that can be used to create eco-friendly consumer goods. The durable rock is the result of plasma gasification – a process that heats landfill materials at extremely high temperatures. Although plasma gasification technology is not necessarily new, Sluijs’ process of using Plasma Rock to create usable products is unique. The rock is quite durable and completely non-toxic – and Sluijs imagines that a worldwide circular economy could turn landfill junk into environmentally-friendly consumer goods. According to the designer, 20 kg of Plasma Rock can be created out of 100 kg of landfill waste. Related: Artist recycles leaf waste into biodegradable Beleaf chair Sluijs has focused her efforts on coastal landfill sites, starting at the East Tilbury landfill located in Essex, England. Scientists consider coastal landfills to be ticking time bombs, considering that the land is being quickly eroded by rising sea levels . Transforming waste into Plasma Rock would reduce landfill volume while diverting dangerous materials that would otherwise pollute the water. Plasma Rock starts as a powder, which can be formed and sculpted into different objects. Sluijs recently used the material to create Tilbury Tiles, which are distinctively decorated and marketed as souvenirs from the East Tilbury area. She has also developed glass vases decorated with specks of the rock. Through her designs, Luijs hopes to demonstrate not only the potential of Plasma Rock, but also the possibility of using landfill waste to the benefit of the environment. + Inge Suijs

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Plasma Rock is a new material made from 100% recycled landfill waste

London could be getting its first ultra-green, tidal-powered school

June 16, 2017 by  
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London-based Curl la Tourelle Head Architecture just unveiled plans for what could become London’s greenest building – a tidal powered school situated on the banks of the Thames River. The five-story building would be entirely powered by energy harvested from a series of large turbines built underneath the waterway. According to the proposal, the school’s location is key to the tidal power project. Currently, the proposed site is being used as a city trash collection center where boats pick up and transport the city’s refuse to a landfill outside of the city. However, this exact site happens to be located on the narrowest section of the Thames – the point in the river with the highest velocity of tidal surge. Related: Is tidal power finally coming of age? “As far west as Teddington, the power of the coastal tides is felt twice daily along the Thames, with a rise and fall of as much seven metres of water,” said Wayne Head, one of the studio’s two directors. “The movement of water due to tides represents an untapped source of power that it’s high time London harnessed for good,” he told Dezeen . “The site is located directly at the narrowest section of the Thames – meaning that the velocity of the tidal flow at this point will be the highest in the river. The plan is to capture this four-times daily energy through submerged tidal turbines as the primary means to supply the building with carbon neutral power.” The proposal, which will be built to meet the Passivhaus standard as well as the BEEAM Outstanding rating, calls for using the building’s natural environment of clean air and cooler temperatures to create a pleasant microclimate on the interior. The school would also be installed with a number of carbon monitoring systems that would help the occupants limit their carbon footprint as much as possible. Additionally, the various renewable materials used in the structure would be left exposed to serve as an example for future architecture projects. Although the proposal is at its very early stages, the architect envisions the carbon neutral project as not only the city’s greenest building, but also a beacon for future of sustainable architecture in the city, “The Thames Tidal Powered School is potentially London’s greenest public building,” he said. “The design is conceived as an exemplar of low embodied energy and carbon construction technologies, using natural and bio-renewable materials sourced through local supply chains.” + Curl la Tourelle Head Architecture Via Dezeen Renderings by Forbes Massie

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London could be getting its first ultra-green, tidal-powered school

Gorgeous Japanese-inspired reading nook breathes new life into a Frank Gehry-designed home

June 16, 2017 by  
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A slice of reading heaven has been inserted into this Frank Gehry -designed home in Los Angeles’ Sawtelle Japantown. Local studio Dan Brunn Architecture gutted and renovated the 1970s house named Hide Out with a minimalist aesthetic that pays homage to Gehry’s original design. Commissioned by a pair of art collectors, the stylish home disrupts its art gallery-like feel with large walnut surfaces that add warmth and even carve out an enviable reading nook by the garden. Formerly owned by the Janss Family, the 3,600-square-foot Hide Out house was overhauled to create an open-air area on the first floor for displaying the work of the new owner, artist James Jean. Since the Janss Family discarded some of Gehry’s signature details in the original construction of the home, Dan Brunn Architecture used the renovation as an opportunity to bring back those lost architectural details. In addition to the oversized rectangular skylight in the center of the home—the only major architectural detail from Gehry’s design that the Janss retained—the architects added dynamic shapes and a simple material palette typical of Gehry’s style in the 1970s and 1980s. The renovated Hide Out features a simple material palette of walnut , concrete, and glass and is filled with natural light from the rectangular skylight and new glazed openings. White walls and pale concrete floors are broken up by eye-catching walnut surfaces, such as the handcrafted and beautifully sculptural walnut staircase at the heart of the home. The open-plan layout is decorated with minimal furnishings to keep focus on the art. Related: How Frank Gehry’s provocative designs go from concept to reality In reference to the home’s surroundings in the Little Osaka neighborhood, the architects drew inspiration from Japanese design for multiple aspects of the home, including furnishing. The reclaimed timber coffee table, for instance, was custom made with traditional Japanese joinery. Traditional Japanese tearooms provided inspiration for an inserted walnut volume that functions as a reading nook, meeting space, or meditation room. The room overlooks a garden planted with traditional Japanese species of bamboo, gingko, and maple. + Dan Brunn Architecture Via Dezeen Images © Brandon Shigeta

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Gorgeous Japanese-inspired reading nook breathes new life into a Frank Gehry-designed home

Despite Hawaii success, American wave energy lags behind rest of the world

September 20, 2016 by  
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Thanks to a Navy test site, America’s first wave-produced electricity was fed into Hawaii’s power grid  last summer. The US Department of Energy confirmed in July 2015 that the Azura prototype generator developed by Oregon-based Northwest Energy Innovations (NWEI) was the first to add wave energy to a US power grid, and although the test site has remained active, it could still be a decade or more before a large-scale wave energy project begins producing a substantial amount of electricity for the American people. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAqNOTSoNHs Wave energy , also known as tidal energy, is a growing sector in renewable energy that holds a lot of promise. Solar and wind power have been established as viable alternatives to fossil fuels, both in cost and electricity production, but the output of wave energy could eventually help it become a leading source of clean energy. Wave energy makes a lot of sense in a place like Hawaii, which is surrounded by some of the best surf on Earth. WETS, which came online July 2015, also aims to contribute to the state’s goal to get 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2045. Related: 45-ton Azura generator harvests energy from Hawaii’s waves “More power from more places translates to a more agile, more flexible, more capable force,” Joseph Bryan, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy, said during an event at the site. “So we’re always looking for new ways to power the mission.” More than a year after it first went online, WETS is still only a small scale pilot program. Elsewhere, the world’s first large-scale tidal energy project kicks off in Scotland using vastly different technology, and won’t be fully operational before 2020. An Australian wave energy project recently set a world record for days in operation. Meanwhile, Sweden-based CorPower Ocean pushes the envelope, promising five times the electricity production of existing wave energy technology. Other projects are planned for various sites around the globe, demonstrating the increasing popularity of this oft-overlooked clean energy source. Although the early results from the Hawaiian test site are exciting, wave energy experts say it could be up to 10 years before a large-scale wave energy project could go online. In part, they blame the very seawater that makes the clean energy possible. “The ocean is a really hard place to work,” said Patrick Cross, specialist at the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, which helps run the Hawaii test site. “You’ve got to design something that can stay in the water for a long time but be able to survive.” Via Phys.org Images via Northwest Energy Innovations

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Despite Hawaii success, American wave energy lags behind rest of the world

Massive Floating Sails Could Harness Wind and Wave Energy to Power Copenhagen’s Electric Grid

August 20, 2014 by  
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Artist Felix Cheong designed Oscillating Platforms, a proposal for an off-grid floating art installation submitted to the 2014 Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) design competition . Outfitted with colorful and eye-catching sails, each freeform platform creates opportunities for artists to showcase their talents while harvesting tidal and wind energy to generate electricity. By harnessing renewable energy , the Oscillating Platforms can teach the public about sustainable energy and has the potential to offset the energy use of approximately 1,539 Copenhagen residents per year. Read the rest of Massive Floating Sails Could Harness Wind and Wave Energy to Power Copenhagen’s Electric Grid Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “wind turbine” , 2014 LAGI competition , 2014 land art generator initiative competition , art installation , copenhagen , Felix Cheong , harness wind energy , land art generator initiative , oscillating platforms , oscillating water column , pressurized air chamber , renewable energy , tidal energy , wave energy

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Massive Floating Sails Could Harness Wind and Wave Energy to Power Copenhagen’s Electric Grid

Poachers Killed 100,000 Elephants in 3 Years Due to Skyrocketing Ivory Demand

August 20, 2014 by  
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Africa is experiencing a huge spike in elephant deaths due rising demand for ivory in China and other Asian nations. A new study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals that poachers killed an estimated 100,000 elephants across Africa between 2010 and 2012. A decade ago 25% of all elephant deaths were due to illegal killings, however that figure has risen to 65% today – and if it continues it will lead to extinction of the species. Read the rest of Poachers Killed 100,000 Elephants in 3 Years Due to Skyrocketing Ivory Demand Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: botswana , china , china demand for ivory , chinese embassy in kenya , Colorado State University , East africa , elephant deaths , elephants , george wittemyer , iain douglas-hamilton , illegal ivory trade , illegally killing elephants , kenya , kenya wildlife service , liu xianfa , monitoring the illegal killings of elephants , poaching , Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , save the elephants , selous game reserve , South Africa , tanzania

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Poachers Killed 100,000 Elephants in 3 Years Due to Skyrocketing Ivory Demand

Southern Hemisphere’s First Tidal Energy Facility to be Constructed in Darwin, Australia

November 14, 2012 by  
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The first tidal energy facility in the Southern Hemisphere could be located down under. Australia’s Charles Darwin University signed a memorandum of understanding with  Tenax Energy in the first step towards building a new facility that would provide renewable energy to the city of  Darwin . The research center is expected to be built about 60 kilometers north of Darwin in Clarence Strait, and it will likely begin with a 2MW pilot plant. Read the rest of Southern Hemisphere’s First Tidal Energy Facility to be Constructed in Darwin, Australia Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “clean energy” , australia , Charles Darwin University , Clarence Strait , Darwin , Northern Territory , renewable energy , Tenax Energy , tidal energy , tidal power , tidal turbine

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Southern Hemisphere’s First Tidal Energy Facility to be Constructed in Darwin, Australia

Maine Launches the First Commercial Tidal Power Project in the US!

July 25, 2012 by  
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Each day, 100 billion tons of water flow in and out of the Bay of Fundy between Maine and Canada with the force of 8,000 locomotives, creating a tidal change of up to 50 feet or more. Now Ocean Renewables Power Company (ORPC) has announced plans to tap this enormous resource by working with The Department of Energy to launch the United States’ first commercial grid-tied tidal power project! The TidGen Cobscook Bay project will generate up to 3 megawatts, which is enough electricity to provide 1,200 Maine homes and businesses with tidal energy. Read the rest of Maine Launches the First Commercial Tidal Power Project in the US! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Cobscook Bay , Eastport Maine , Ocean Renewables Power Company , ORPC , The Department of Energy , tidal energy , tidal power , TidGen Power System

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Maine Launches the First Commercial Tidal Power Project in the US!

Tiny Stacked Marfa 10×10 House is a Minimalist Artistic Dwelling in Texas

July 25, 2012 by  
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Read the rest of Tiny Stacked Marfa 10×10 House is a Minimalist Artistic Dwelling in Texas Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “sustainable architecture” , candid rogers , candid rogers architecture , cor-ten , eco design , green architecture , Green Building , green design , marfa , marfa 10×10 , micro home , micro house , small space living , studio house , Sustainable Building , sustainable design , texas , West Texas

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Tiny Stacked Marfa 10×10 House is a Minimalist Artistic Dwelling in Texas

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