What an integrated Western grid means for California

January 8, 2018 by  
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The electricity grids of the Western U.S. are home to major electricity innovation — as well as major grid challenges.

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What an integrated Western grid means for California

What an integrated Western grid means for California

January 8, 2018 by  
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The electricity grids of the Western U.S. are home to major electricity innovation — as well as major grid challenges.

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What an integrated Western grid means for California

American fern inspires groundbreaking new solar storage solution

April 3, 2017 by  
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Energy storage has been a leading obstacle to widespread adoption of solar energy , but that may be about to change. A new nature-inspired electrode developed by two scientists at RMIT University in Australia could hold the key to drastically improved storage. Their electrode, which is based on patterns in the western swordfern, could boost the capacity of storage technologies by a staggering 3,000 percent. The groundbreaking electrode is made with graphene , and according to the university, could open the door to flexible, thin solar capture and storage technology. This would allow us to place a thin film on smartphones, cars, or buildings – enabling them to power themselves with solar energy. Related: Pocket-sized HeLi-on charger uses flexible, printed solar cells to power your phone The two researchers found inspiration for their prototype in the veins of the Polystichum munitum , a native western North American fern. Researcher Min Gu said in a statement, “The leaves of the western swordfern are densely crammed with veins, making them extremely efficient for storing energy and transporting water around the plant. Our electrode is based on these fractal shapes – which are self-replicating, like the mini structures within snowflakes – and we’ve used this naturally efficient design to improve solar energy storage at a nano level.” The electrode could be combined with supercapacitors , which have been combined with solar already but haven’t been widely utilized for storage due to limited capacity. But the scientists’ prototype can increase their capacity 30 times greater than current limits, according to Gu. The journal Scientific Reports published the research online the end of March. Paper lead author Litty Thekkekara said by using their electrode with a solar cell, we could develop flexible thin film solar, replacing the rigid, bulky solar cells that are limited in use. Smartphone batteries would become a thing of the past, and hybrid cars wouldn’t need charging stations, if scientists could build on this research to develop thin film solar. Via RMIT University Images via RMIT University

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American fern inspires groundbreaking new solar storage solution

NYC community gardens may wither under Trump’s proposed budget cuts

April 3, 2017 by  
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President Donald Trump’s proposed budget cuts could mean the kiss of death for New York City’s community gardens . More than 500 of the communal spaces across all five boroughs depend on a program called GreenThumb , which is administered by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation . Initiated in the wake of the 1970s fiscal crisis, which resulted in the widespread abandonment of both private and public land, GreenThumb has turned hundreds of derelict lots into tillage. Most of its funding comes from federal Community Development Block Grants—the same ones the budget blueprint seeks to eliminate. Should the budget pass, GreenThumb risks losing $1 million a year out of a $2.4 million budget, according to WNYC . Related: Detroit nonprofit seeks crowdfunding for new East Side community garden “It would be devastating to GreenThumb, it would mean laying off a dozen workers or more, and it would be less money for supplies, for bulbs, for tools,” said New York City Councilman Mark Levine, who chairs the city’s Parks and Recreation Committee. Levine, WNYC adds, is working on securing more money for community gardens, as well as the restoration of jobs for 150 Parks department gardeners and maintenance workers. Via WNYC Photos by Unsplash

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NYC community gardens may wither under Trump’s proposed budget cuts

Scientists discover immense pool of molten carbon beneath the Western United States

February 15, 2017 by  
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In what could be some of the worst news for climate change since the election of Donald Trump , a group of scientists have discovered a massive reservoir of melting carbon hidden deep under the Western United States. Researchers used the world’s largest array of seismic sensors to map the reservoir, which covers an area of about 695,000 square miles and challenges everything scientists have previously thought about the amounts of carbon trapped inside the Earth. To make a long story short, there’s way more than anyone has ever predicted before. Located about 217 miles beneath the planet’s surface, the reservoir is made up of carbonates that are melting under temperatures as hot at 7,230 degrees Fahrenheit. According to Science Daily , carbonates are a large group of minerals – including magnesite and calcite – which contain a specific carbon ion that when molten is believed to be responsible for the electrical conductivity of the Earth’s mantle . While it’s too deep underground to physically study, a research team from the Royal Holloway University of London employed a wide-ranging network made up of 583 seismic sensors to conduct their study. Those sensors honed in on some strange vibrations in the upper mantle, which in turn identified this immense pool of molten carbon. Based on what these sensors have told them, the researchers believe the Earth’s upper mantle might hold as much as 110 trillion tons of melted carbon. “Under the western US is a huge underground partially-molten reservoir of liquid carbonate,” explains team member, Sash Hier-Majumder. “It is a result of one of the tectonic plates of the Pacific Ocean forced underneath the western US, undergoing partial melting, thanks to gasses like carbon dioxide and water contained in the minerals dissolved in it.” It turns out this carbon is a bit of sleeping giant, as the scientists say this it will make its way out of the deep recesses of the Earth slowly via volcanic eruptions. But that seepage will add to the significant amounts of greenhouse gasses humans are adding to the planet’s atmosphere and contribute to climate change. Related: Scientists hatch crazy $500 billion plan to refreeze the Arctic “We might not think of the deep structure of Earth as linked to climate change above us, but this discovery not only has implications for subterranean mapping, but also for our future atmosphere ,” Hier-Majumder explains. “For example, releasing only 1% of this CO 2 into the atmosphere will be the equivalent of burning 2.3 trillion barrels of oil. The existence of such deep reservoirs show how important is the role of deep Earth in the global carbon cycle.” Via Science Daily Images via gunckx , Flickr Creative Commons and Pixabay

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Scientists discover immense pool of molten carbon beneath the Western United States

The self-contained mobile prefab Coodo lets you live almost anywhere in the world

February 15, 2017 by  
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What if you could make your home anywhere in the world without sacrificing creature comforts? Meet Coodo , an eco-friendly mobile home that promises just that with its flexible and modern modular design. Created in Germany, Coodo can pop up almost anywhere in the world – from urban rooftops to remote beaches – and it can be easily relocated to give you the freedom to travel with the comforts of home. Designed by LTG Lofts to go GmbH and Co. KG, Coodo is a mobile prefabricated house that can be quickly and easily installed with minimal impact on the building site and environment. The company offers a variety of Coodo models ranging in sizes from 36 to 96 square meters and usage type, such as the saunacoodo and watercoodo, which functions as a houseboat . Depending on the model selected, loading and unloading can take anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours. The Coodo is transported by flat bed truck and craned into place. All models boast a minimal and modern design that can be customized to the owner’s needs. In addition to the desire to provide freedom of travel to the homeowner, the company is also committed to minimizing the mobile home’s environmental impact. According to their website, all units consist of “low-pollutant, ecologically compatible, and mostly natural materials.” All condo houses are designed with passive house principles for energy efficiency and the company is currently developing off-grid units. Triple-glazed full-height windows and high-tech insulation wrap the rounded steel-framed modules and overlook an outdoor shaded deck built from recycled planking. A built-in micro-filtered ventilation and air moisture system ensures clean and dust-free indoor air. Almost all electrical devices will be connected to a wireless smart system so that they can be controlled remotely via smartphone. Related: Solar-powered Ecocapsule lets you live off-the-grid anywhere in the world “We want to lead by example by having a great impact on society and proving that high ecological and sustainable standards do not stand in opposition to equally high standards for design and comfort, but can work in harmony through innovation“, said Mark Dare Schmiedel, CEO of LTG. Prices are not listed on the website and are dependent on module type and interior options, which can be delivered as a shell, with basic interior, or fully equipped. + Coodo

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The self-contained mobile prefab Coodo lets you live almost anywhere in the world

Here’s what you need to know about tonight’s black moon

September 30, 2016 by  
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You’ve heard of a blood moon or a harvest moon , maybe even a supermoon. But what about a black moon? Tonight, people living in the Western Hemisphere has the chance to experience a black moon…but they won’t be able to see much. As explained by Space.com and NASA , a black moon is the second new moon in one month. It’s kind of like the opposite of a blue moon, which is when there’s a second full moon in a month. Typically there is a single new moon and a single full moon in a month, so when a second comes along, some take notice. Unfortunately the black moon isn’t as exciting as an eclipse or meteor shower. Humans gazing at the night sky won’t be able to see much of the black moon. The side of the moon that will be facing Earth will be dark, so the black moon will be “more or less invisible,” according to Space.com. Related: Everything we thought we knew about the moon’s origins is probably wrong What’s the fuss? A British tabloid and some Twitter users suggested the black moon could signal the end of the world. However, it’s not even a particularly rare phenomenon; the last black moon occurred in March 2014, and there will be another in 2019. NASA says there is “nothing mysterious” and “nothing supernatural” about the black moon. Only those in the Western Hemisphere will experience the black moon tonight at 8:11 PM Eastern Time or 5:11 PM Pacific Time. As it will happen after midnight in the Eastern Hemisphere, it won’t count as a black moon for those in Africa, Asia, Europe, or Australia – it will simply be their first new moon. Eastern Hemisphere dwellers will get a black moon, though, on October 30 for most and October 31 for Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and eastern Asia. Via Space.com Images via Wikimedia Commons and Pixabay

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Here’s what you need to know about tonight’s black moon

Small Pacific nation makes bold plans to protect ocean life

June 30, 2016 by  
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With regional authorities doing little to protect fish in the Western Pacific, Palau takes the lead to protect marine life with new initiatives.

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Small Pacific nation makes bold plans to protect ocean life

12 Stunning zigzag homes hide behind Australia’s longest rammed earth wall

September 11, 2015 by  
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Green-topped boathouse harmonizes with lush landscape in Western France

May 1, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Green-topped boathouse harmonizes with lush landscape in Western France Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: boathouse , eco design , green design , green roof , Guinée*Potin Architectes , Lake Vioreau , sustainable design

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Green-topped boathouse harmonizes with lush landscape in Western France

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