Researchers develop solar-powered device to harvest water in the desert

April 14, 2017 by  
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A solar-powered device could make water worries a thing of the past. Nine scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology , and University of California, Berkeley designed a water harvester that can pull water from air even if humidity is just 20 percent. Chemist Omar Yaghi of UC Berkeley said, “We wanted to demonstrate that if you are cut off somewhere in the desert , you could survive because of this device.” Yaghi invented compounds known as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) 20 years ago, and now is using MOF crystals to harvest water even in dry places. In the water harvesting device, around two pounds of tiny MOF crystals are compressed between a solar absorber and condenser plate to collect around 0.7 gallons of water in 12 hours. Related: World’s largest fog harvester produces water from thin air in the Moroccan desert That may not sound like all that much, but it’s plenty for a human trapped in the desert to survive. Yaghi said, “A person needs about a [330ml] can of water per day. That is something one could collect in less than an hour with this system.” Right now there’s no other way to harvest water in low humidity except to draw on extra energy , according to Yaghi. “Your electric dehumidifier at home ‘produces’ very expensive water,” he says. In contrast sunlight enables the new device to work. Rooftop tests at MIT have already demonstrated the device works in the real world. Even if you never find yourself stranded in the desert, you could benefit from such a water harvester. “One vision for the future is to have water off-grid , where you have a device at home running on ambient solar for delivering water that satisfies the needs of a household,” said Yaghi. “To me, that will be made possible because of this experiment. I call it personalized water.” Science published the team’s research yesterday . Via the University of California, Berkeley and The Independent Images via MIT/laboratory of Evelyn Wang and MIT/Hyunho Kim

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Scientists say we have 10 years to save Earth

April 14, 2017 by  
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Time is running out to protect Earth from the disastrous effects of climate change . An international team of eight researchers said we have just 10 years to save the planet. But their news isn’t all bad: they’ve come up with a model for balancing carbon dioxide emissions with carbon sinks , like forests, to keep temperatures from passing the 1.5 degree Celsius mark widely considered safe for life as we know it. Scientists say if the world actually intends to stick to the Paris agreement , the next decade will be critical. They say there are two ways to reduce carbon emissions: by slashing the emissions we humans produce and by restoring carbon sinks, and it’s time to take action on both. They detailed their plan in a Nature Communications study, published online yesterday. Related: Scientists say Trump’s presidency could lead to a “game over” scenario for the planet World Bank consultant Brian Walsh, who led the study while doing research for the Austria-based International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), said they scrutinized carbon emissions from fossil fuels , agriculture, food production, bioenergy, and land use. They also accounted for natural ecosystems taking in carbon emissions to determine where they originate and where they go. Here’s the recommendation: we must reduce fossil fuel use to the point where it’s under 25 percent of the global energy supply by 2100; it’s at 95 percent right now. And we need to reduce deforestation to attain a 42 percent decrease in emissions by 2100. Renewable energy is also part of the answer. The researchers considered four scenarios for energy development in the future. A high-renewable scenario would see wind, solar, and bioenergy use increase by five percent a year so emissions would peak by 2022. Even that pathway would lead to a 2.5 degrees Celsius temperature increase if we don’t also employ negative emissions technologies. IIASA Energy Program Director and co-author Keywan Riahi said, “Earlier work on mitigation strategies by IIASA has shown the importance of demand-side measures, including efficiency, conservation , and behavioral change. Success in these areas may explain the difference between reaching 1.5 degrees Celsius instead of 2 degrees Celsius.” Via the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and EcoWatch Images via Wikimedia Commons and Pixabay

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Wind-powered Water Seer pulls 11 gallons of clean drinking water from thin air

October 6, 2016 by  
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A new device that relies on simple condensation to collect clean water from the atmosphere promises to provide up to 11 gallons of safe drinking water without an external power source, greenhouse gas emissions , or adverse environmental impacts. What’s more, the innovative Water Seer collection device could potentially run forever, gifting generations of people with access to ‘liquid gold’ in areas of the world where a harsh climate or lack of infrastructure make access to clean drinking water a major problem. Water Seer is powered by a simple wind turbine, and the device could easily be the first step toward a sustainable, enduring solution to water shortages around the world. http://vimeo.com/182748120 The Water Seer device is planted six or more feet into the ground, and soil is then packed around its metal neck. The top of the Water Seer holds a vertical wind turbine, which spins internal fan blades to draw air into the subterranean chamber. Because the underground chamber portion of the Water Seer is cooled by the surrounding earth, water condenses in the reservoir to creates sort of an artificial well, from which people can draw clean, safe drinking water around the clock. Related: Innovative Water-Gen machine harvests up to 825 gallons of clean water from thin air in a day The low-cost device was developed by VICI-Labs, in partnership with UC Berkeley and the National Peace Corps Association, as a possible solution for the 2.3 million people on the planet who lack regular access to safe drinking water. A single Water Seer device can collect up to 11 gallons of clean water every day with no external power supply required, and a collection of several devices can provide enough water to support a small village. The not-for-profit company will match US purchases of each unit by donating a Water Seer collection device to those in need living in developing countries or in arid climates . Water Seer launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise $77,000 to build “orchards” of water collection devices around the world. The device has already been tested as a prototype, and the latest model was finalized in August 2016 and will undergo field tests with the National Peace Corps Association once the crowdfunding campaign closes. + Water Seer Website + Water Seer on Indiegogo Images via Water Seer

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Wind-powered Water Seer pulls 11 gallons of clean drinking water from thin air

New invisibility cloak improves on previous designs with sneaky microscopic film

September 21, 2015 by  
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Researchers at the Berkeley Lab just developed what could be the most effective invisibility cloak we’ve seen outside of a sci-fi movie. The ultra-thin cloak is made of near-microscopic brick-shaped gold antennas , and it resolves some of the shortcomings of previous technologies. Because of its ingenious design, the cloak works nearly as well as a perfectly flat mirror, reflecting light in such a way that makes it seem like the cloak and the object it’s hiding are not there at all. The researchers say that even the edges of the object are invisible with the new device. Read the rest of New invisibility cloak improves on previous designs with sneaky microscopic film

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New invisibility cloak improves on previous designs with sneaky microscopic film

Ancient human-sized fish breathed with lungs

September 21, 2015 by  
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The ancient ancestors of the human-sized coelacanth (see-leh-kanth) breathed with lungs, according to a new study. The modern coelacanth, like most fish, uses gills to get oxygen from the water, but its dinosaur-age ancestors also had a well-developed lung, allowing them to survive in low-oxygen shallow waters. It’s probable that during the Mesozoic Era, part of the coelacanth family moved to deeper waters, eventually losing their lung and relying solely on their gills to breathe. Read the rest of Ancient human-sized fish breathed with lungs

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Ancient human-sized fish breathed with lungs

9 Inspiring green artists on show at Decorex from London Design Week 2015

September 21, 2015 by  
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9 Inspiring green artists on show at Decorex from London Design Week 2015

A new 3D map shows how volcanic activity on the surface stems from deep below the Earth’s mantle

September 11, 2015 by  
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Click here to view the embedded video. Volcanoes are fascinating, powerful, and somewhat mysterious. Researchers at University of California at Berkeley have been working on shedding a little light on the subject, by using supercomputers and seismic waves to build a 3D map of the Earth’s interior . They did it, in part, to explain how volcanic islands, like Hawaii, are formed. But their research also provides a deeper understanding of the nature of volcanic activity deep under the Earth’s surface. Read the rest of A new 3D map shows how volcanic activity on the surface stems from deep below the Earth’s mantle

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How one app fed almost 600,000 homeless people

June 30, 2015 by  
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Click here to view the embedded video. A simple lunch with a homeless vet forever changed the life of Komal Ahmad, who was then a student at University of California, Berkeley and is now a CEO. Ahmad was walking near campus a few years ago when a homeless man asked her for money. She bought him lunch instead. The meeting left a deep impact, so she soon devised, along with classmate Chloe Tsang, a way to get campus food waste onto the plates of local people who were going hungry . Her initiative sparked food waste “forwarding” programs on other campuses and inspired an app that has fed almost 600,000 people in the San Francisco Bay area alone. Read the rest of How one app fed almost 600,000 homeless people Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Chloe Tsang , donation app , feeding america , feeding forward , feeding forward app , food waste , food waste donation , Komal Ahmad , uc berkeley , wasted food

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How one app fed almost 600,000 homeless people

Amazing Interactive Map Shows Carbon Footprint of all 31,000 U.S. ZIP Codes

January 16, 2014 by  
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In amongst numerous discussions about reducing greenhouse gases stands a glaring question: what are the greatest sources of household emissions? To answer this, and provide a tool to help cities devise localized, comprehensive climate action plans, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley created this amazing interactive map that tracks the carbon footprint of all 31,000 U.S. ZIP codes. The map is comprised of data that analyzes everything that people consume in a single year including transportation, housing, food, goods and services. Read the rest of Amazing Interactive Map Shows Carbon Footprint of all 31,000 U.S. ZIP Codes Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: carbon emissions , Climate Change , electric vehicles , electricity usage , global warming , green transportation , greenhouse gas , hcf , house size , household carbon footprint , renewable energy , suburbs , tiny homes , uc berkeley , Urban design , urban planning        

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Amazing Interactive Map Shows Carbon Footprint of all 31,000 U.S. ZIP Codes

Echoviren: World’s First 3D Printed Architectural Structure Built in California

August 21, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of Echoviren: World’s First 3D Printed Architectural Structure Built in California Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 3D printed house , 3d printed Möbius house , 3d printer , 3D printing , 3d printing technology , aggregates architecture , bio-plastic , cad software , digital fabrication , Emerging Objects , Emerging Objects 3d printing , PLA bio-plastic , Project 387 , Smith Allen , Smith Allen architects , uc berkeley , ZCorp        

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Echoviren: World’s First 3D Printed Architectural Structure Built in California

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