- 12:20 pm - Fri, Aug 22, 2014
- 92 notes
Food waste, by production stage and food type Click to see larger image. Katie Peek, via.
How The World Wastes Food, on Popular Science.
Every year, the planet loses nearly a third of its food—a staggering 1.4 billion tons. That’s according to a 2011 United Nations study that assessed food networks in 152 countries. The researchers’ results reveal where in the food-supply chain farmers, engineers, and consumers might more effectively get comestibles into mouths.
- 3:40 pm - Thu, Aug 21, 2014
- 93 notes
The BioEnergy Team, led by Ioannis Ieropoulos of the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) in Britain, are hoping to profit from working with [um, urine].
They have developed a new technique to turn urine into electrical power—or “urine-tricity” as they call it. People around the world produce an estimated 6.4 trillion litres of urine every year.
BRL, a collaboration between the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England, want to make the most of this abundant resource. At the core of urine-tricity are microbial fuel cells (MFCs), which contain live microbes. When urine flows through an MFC the microbes consume it as part of their normal metabolic process. This, in turn, frees electrons. Electrodes within the cell gather these electrons and when they are connected to an external circuit a current is generated.
Renewable energy: Pee power | The Economist
- 12:20 pm
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Researchers at the University of California San Diego have designed an electronic tattoo—a small, flexible circuit board that can be worn just like the Spiderman temp tats I used to stick on my face—that produces an electrical current.
It works by stripping the electrons from lactate, a byproduct of sweat, with an enzyme imprinted on the e-tattoo’s sensor. In other words, it produces power from your nasty workout juice. And, the researchers say, the technology could eventually generate enough electricity to run devices like phones, smart watches, and heart monitors.
"These represent the first examples of epidermal electrochemical biosensing and biofuel cells that could potentially be used for a wide range of future applications," said research lab director Joseph Wang in a statement.
More: This Sweat-Powered E-Tattoo Could One Day Charge Your Phone | The Creators Project
- 3:40 pm - Wed, Aug 20, 2014
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Bionic Yarns [is] a New York City-based startup that makes fabric from recycled ocean plastic, and next month, the company is launching its biggest collaboration to date with designer clothing company G-Star RAW.
The “RAW for the Oceans line” includes a range of denim products that, all told, are woven with some nine tons of ocean plastic inside. It’s a tiny fraction of the pollution problem, but you have to start somewhere.
More: How a Pair of Jeans Could Save Our Plastic-Choked Oceans | Business | WIRED
- 9:16 am - Tue, Aug 19, 2014
- 121 notes
How Do You Feel About Being Turned Into Compost When You Die? | Co.Exist | ideas impact:
Even when we’re dead, most Americans keep adding to our carbon footprints. Can the rituals around death be redesigned to become more sustainable?
With her Urban Death Project, designer Katrina Spade has been working on a greener alternative for the last three years. Along with the environmental issues, the design also considers the problem of space—cemeteries in the U.S. take up about a million acres of land, and as populations grow, even more space is needed. Spade wanted to find an answer that would allow people to be buried in cities.
The design uses composting to turn bodies into soil-building material for nearby farms and community gardens, so people literally become part of the city they once lived in. A four-story building, which Spade envisions being built in neighborhoods across a city, would serve both as composter and a place for ritual, where family members could see the deceased person for the last time. The composting process would take about two years.
- 3:19 pm - Sat, Aug 16, 2014
- 223 notes
DIY HAND-CRANK iPHONE CHARGER FROM SCRAP COMPUTER PARTS
Last month, we told you about a fun contest from Sparkfun, all about reusing electronic components:
Build us something, anything! It can be a working piece of circuitry, or a wonderful piece of art, or both! It should be made out of at least 75% reused parts (though we encourage 100%!).
Well, there’s a winner! It’s a DIY hand-crank iPhone charger:
The power source is an AC turntable motor salvaged from a broken microwave. The project enclosure is a reused cardboard shipping tube. And many of the electronic components, such as a USB receptacle, were scrapped from old computer boards.
Read more about it — and other impressive entries in the contest — here.
A full video about the winning project below.
- 12:20 pm - Tue, Aug 12, 2014
- 125 notes
In order to improve the quality of the water and the riverbeds at the same time, the local community [In Jakarta] and many volunteers collected waste of the Ciliwung River and re-used it to strengthen and broaden the riverbeds where people are living.
This way frequent floods are prevented from destroying the lives of the poor people — quite an inventive way of dealing with trash. Meanwhile, many other movements have emerged and organizations are involved with the revitalization of the living environment alongside the river.
Read more here: Building On Trash In Jakarta — Pop-Up City
- 3:40 pm - Mon, Aug 11, 2014
- 75 notes
The New York Times recently had this interesting writeup about a new material for wetsuits, via Patagonia.
It may not be a surprise that Patagonia would be involved in using a less damaging material for wetsuits, but I was interested that the company has chosen to encourage others to work with material — instead of protecting the right to use it for competitive reasons. That seems cool!
The suit, which has begun hitting the market, is made not from conventional, petroleum-based neoprene but from a natural rubber derived from a desert shrub. It is one way Patagonia is trying to nudge along a sport that has not always been environmentally conscious despite its roots in the natural world.
Patagonia executives are also convinced that the many years of development and testing they have supported have resulted in a revolutionary material that will wind up not only in wet suits but also in everyday items like sneakers and yoga mats.
But if they have their way, only a few of those products will bear the Patagonia name. Instead of holding the manufacturer of the rubber, Yulex, to a yearslong exclusive contract, Patagonia is encouraging its competitors to use the product, hoping to see its use grow and drive down the price.
Other wet suit and athletic apparel companies have shown interest, and Quiksilver plans to have a biorubber wet suit on the market next year.
- 12:20 pm
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Indonesian artist Ono Gaf works primarily with metallic junk reclaimed from a trash heap to create his animalistic sculptures.
His most recent piece is this giant turtle containing hundreds of individual metal components like car parts, tools, bike parts, instruments, springs, and tractor rotors.
You can read a bit more about Gaf over on the Jakarta Post, and see more of this turtle in this set of photos by Gina Sanderson.
(via A Towering Turtle of Discarded Industrial Junk Welded by Ono Gaf | Colossal)
- 3:40 pm - Sun, Aug 10, 2014
- 63 notes
Here we have the winner of the latest competition by Spain’s Ministry of Housing, seeking the best ideas around solar-powered housing.
Rhome (A Home for Rome), the overall winner, is intended for the Tor Fiscale district of Rome. It’s “part of an urban regeneration program for the district, with a goal to replace illegally inhabited buildings,” say the students behind the design. More generally, it’s a response to population growth and projected shortages of space.
According to Fast Company, Spain’s competition builds on the Solar Decathlon, “the Department of Energy's popular solar-house building competition. It's been running now for more than a decade, producing dozens of interesting, innovative designs, and inspiring thousands of students to get creative with renewable energy and energy efficiency.”
Reportedly, 20 teams from 17 countries participated in Spain’s 2014 contest.
More here: 20 Solar-Powered Houses That Reimagine Europe’s Solar Future | Co.Exist | ideas impact
- 12:20 pm
- 105 notes
This may be the ultimate unconsumption challenge: Can something useful be done with the reported “5.6 trillion used cigarettes,” or filters from smoked cigarettes, more properly, that smokers discard annually? That’s said to add up to 766,571 metric tons of waste material
Motherboard reports that “a group of South Korean scientists recently published a study that proposes a one-step process to turn nasty ol’ flicked butts into something useful—like coating the electrodes of supercapacitors.”
The team from Seoul National University sees, if not beauty in trash, then at least some utility. They found that the cellulose acetate fibers that cigarette filters are made of could be turned into a carbon-based coating for the electrochemical components of supercapacitors.
[These] store extremely large amounts of electrical energy for things like backing up batteries, handling the fluctuating demands of laptops, storing the regenerative electrical power from electric cars’ brakes—all sorts of stuff.
Read more about it here: The Quest To Turn Littered Cigarette Butts into Something Useful | Motherboard
Popular Science has a writeup about this, too. “Here’s how the scientists described the process:”
Used cigarette filters are composed largely of cellulose acetate. They are disposable, non-biodegradable, toxic and are a threat to the environment after usage. However, it has been reported that cellulose acetate can be directly utilized in the production of carbon materials containing a meso-/micropore structure by only a carbonization process . That is, used cigarette filters could be used as a proper carbon source for supercapacitors. Importantly, carbonizing used cigarette filters in a nitrogen-containing atmosphere could provide the nitrogen doping on the carbon structure with the formation of such unique pore structures in a one-step process.