Energy, Transportation, Biofuels, Home, and Living… All Sustainably Working Together ??

Egg-shaped Home Powered by Sunlight and Wind Lets You Live Off-grid Anywhere October 4, 2015

Filed under: Solar,Wind,Green Living,Green Building — bferrari @ 8:25 am
The Ecocapsule offers a radical alternative to conventional housing and can be situated anywhere on Earth.

The Ecocapsule offers a radical alternative to conventional housing and can be situated anywhere on Earth.

The sleek, egg-shaped capsule resembles a spaceship, complete with antennae and a layer of futuristic cells.

But the striking design from Slovakian group Nice Architects represents a creative effort to offer housing solutions for this planet. The ‘Ecocapsule‘ is a mini apartment with all the conventional luxuries you would expect, but generates its own clean energy and can be situated anywhere, from city to tundra.

After six years of development, the capsule was unveiled to rapturous acclaim at a recent design festival. Nice Architects have already received thousands of pre-orders and the buzz has extended to celebrities.

“We were not prepared for the reaction,” says Nice partner Igor Zacek. “We started small but now we have to revise our model.”

It was first displayed at Austria's Pioneer Festival.

It was first displayed at Austria’s Pioneer Festival.

The capsule marries form and function with stylish aesthetics. It powers itself through solar cells that cover the roof and a retractable 750W wind turbine, while the curved shape maximizes energy efficiency and allows for the collection of rainwater, which built in filters make safe for human consumption.

These measures make it practical in even the most remote locations, and for ease of transport it fits within a regulation shipping container.

As for living conditions, the design maximizes the eight square meters of interior space, managing to fit in in a folding bed, workspace that doubles as a dining area, en suite bathroom, kitchenette and storage.

Zacek sees specialist and general purposes for the capsule: “One use is businesses hospitality for entrepreneurs,” he says, adding that many of the pre-orders have been for multiple units from hotel affiliates.

“We also thought of people that have a relationship with nature, but based on the response it could be for almost everybody, it has caught the imagination and reminded people of childhood dreams.”

The architects have also worked to make the design better suited to the urban environment, making the shape more compact and improving energy efficiency.

Zacek believes it offers solutions for city dwellers suffering overcrowded conditions and exorbitant rents.

“We talked about areas with high rents. Google used to house employees in a van until they could afford to buy a house. This could be a better solution.”

Future iterations will feature smart weather forcasting software, which will set the interior climate accordingly.

Future iterations will feature smart weather forcasting software, which will set the interior climate accordingly.

Faced with enormous demand, the designers are now seeking to evolve the concept further. More intelligent features such as weather prediction software will be included in future incarnations, as well as a wheeled chassis for greater mobility.

As for the psychology of living in a capsule, Zacek believes users will be pleasantly surprised by the comfort.

“It seems quite small from outside, but spacious from inside. There are a lot of options where to go (in future), once we are established on the market, we can play with scenarios.”

Other architects seem to agree — the egg shape is emerging as a popular concept for green living space.

When the Ecocapsule reaches the market next year, the buzz will reach new heights.

Visit the Creators Webiste


Mystery No More: Tesla’s Model X Unveiled September 30, 2015

Filed under: Biofuels,Gasoline,Green Living — bferrari @ 10:09 am

Tesla’s new Model X

The crossover vehicle is Tesla’s third model and will join the Model S on the market. The signature series Model X will cost in the low six-figure range for customers seeking a fully loaded, top-of-the-line experience.

With the same options as a Model S, the new car will cost $5,000 more because of its size and body complexity, Musk tweeted. The base Model S starts at $70,000, not including any tax incentives that could be used at the federal and state level for electric vehicles.

The Model X is said to be able to seat seven people in three rows of seats, with the car having wing-like doors instead of opening from the sides. It’s unclear what the final pricing will be for the vehicle, which was first announced in 2012, but it hasn’t stopped Tesla devotees from putting down a deposit to reserve their Model X.

Getting the delayed Model X to customers will help Tesla clear the way for its next project — the lower cost Model 3. Musk revealed the electric car company will show off the look of the vehicle March and will begin taking pre-orders around that time.

The smaller sedan is expected to cost around $35,000 and will begin production in 2017.


Thirsty Concrete Absorbs 880 Gallons of Water a Minute September 27, 2015

Filed under: Green Living — bferrari @ 10:02 am

It’s a bit like a large-scale magic trick. In the video above, a truck dumps gallon upon gallon of water onto the pavement, and it all seems to disappear the moment it hits the ground.

Behind the magic: Topmix Permeable, an absorbent concrete that’s made by Tarmac and able to filter 880 gallons per minute through its pervious top layer. The water then goes to a drainage system where it re-enters the groundwater system.

The porous concrete could help to prevent flash floods by serving as a reservoir during heavy rain periods. It could also improve safety conditions simply by reducing puddles and overflow, plus it stays cooler than most asphalt in the sweltering months.

While the “thirsty” Topmix holds a lot of promise for many regions, it’s untenable in colder climates, where frozen water in winter months would expand and wreck the surface.


Coffee Grounds Can Absorb Global Warming-Causing Methane Through a Simple Treatment September 8, 2015

Filed under: Energy Ineffiency,Global Warming,Green Living — bferrari @ 11:41 am

Tech Times noted on their article published on Wednesday that scientists have found a way to convert coffee grounds used in compost, allowing them to act as sponges that absorb greenhouse gas methane, which causes global warming.

In order to come up with methane sponges, the coffee grounds are submerged in a solution that consists of ingredients found in oven cleaners and are boiled in a furnace with a temperature of over 700 degrees Celsius. This process will hopefully eradicate methane from the atmosphere. It could even be used in natural gas fuel cells.

“The big thing is we are decreasing the fabrication time and we are using cheap materials,” said one of the study’s authors Christian Kemp of Pohang University of Science and Technology, Korea. “The waste material is free compared to all the metals and expensive organic chemicals needed in other processes. In my opinion, this is a far easier way to go.”

Activated carbon or activated charcoal is absorbent enough to wash away the toxins in people who experience poison-ingestion or drug overdose. With coffee grounds being absorbent as well, scientists have been able to do away with the filtering and washing methods, which are usually done to activate a material’s carbon.

In the method conducted by the scientists, the coffee grounds’ carbon are activated during the treating process and heating process in the furnace. These steps are enough to make the coffee grounds absorb methane gas and fight global warming.

On an article published today by the Business Insider, methane is the second most abundant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, with carbon dioxide topping the list. In a period of a century, it has been found that methane is 25 times more harmful in global warming compared to carbon dioxide.

The fast and low cost way of turning coffee grounds into methane sponges can help save the world from global warming without causing hazards to humans, considering that current methods are expensive, heavy and dangerous.


Italy’s Eni discovers huge gas field off Egyptian coast, Largest Ever August 31, 2015

Filed under: Energy Exploration,Global Warming — bferrari @ 8:13 am
Eni said the well could be one of the largest in the world

Eni said the well could be one of the largest in the world

Italian energy group Eni says it has found one of the world’s largest natural gas fields off Egypt’s coast.

The company said the area was 1,450m (4,757 feet) beneath the surface and covered 100 sq km (39 sq miles).

It could hold as much as 30 trillion cubic feet of gas, or 5.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent, Eni said.

The company says that the Zohr field “could become one of the world’s largest natural-gas finds” and help meet Egypt’s gas needs for decades.

“This historic discovery will be able to transform the energy scenario of Egypt,” said Claudio Descalzi, chief executive of Eni.

Eni, which has full concession rights to the area, is the biggest foreign energy firm in Africa.

In June, it signed an energy exploration deal with Egypt’s oil ministry worth $2bn (£1.5bn) allowing the company to explore in Sinai, the Gulf of Suez, the Mediterranean and areas in the Nile Delta.

Eni’s find follows other significant gas discoveries in the Mediterranean in recent years, including by Egypt’s neighbour Israel.



Great Pacific Garbage Patch: 20-Year-Old to Launch World’s First Ocean Cleaning System Next Year August 23, 2015

Filed under: Cleaning,Global Warming,Government Policies,Green Living — bferrari @ 9:47 am

There are an estimated 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating through the world’s oceans, enough to fill almost 600 jumbo jets. Cleaning up so much pollution might seem like a monumental task, but one 20-year-old is setting out to make a difference — in a big way.

Boyan Slat, the founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup, announced earlier this week that his organization will deploy the world’s first system to passively remove plastic waste from oceans around the world.

The system is comprised of a series of floating barriers that spans over a mile long, making it the longest floating structure in the ocean. The barriers trap floating plastic debris, which is then picked up a via conveyer belt 7900 times faster and 33 times cheaper than other methods:

“Taking care of the world’s ocean garbage problem is one of the largest environmental challenges mankind faces today. Not only will this first cleanup array contribute to cleaner waters and coasts but it simultaneously is an essential step towards our goal of cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This deployment will enable us to study the system’s efficiency and durability over time,” said Slat.

The Ocean Cleanup plans to deploy the structure off of the coast of Japan during the second quarter of 2016.



Sunflower Oil Hits the Road June 22, 2015

Filed under: Biofuel,Energy Ineffiency,Green Living — bferrari @ 10:35 am
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It turns out that sunflower oil is good for baking and braking.

That’s right, braking — as in your car’s brakes.

Michelin’s new Primacy MXM4, unveiled earlier this year, boasts a unique rubber compound that incorporates sunflower oil in order to offer improved performance in both wet and snowy weather.

Production of the tire using sunflower oil began at a Michelin facility in South Carolina.

Mike Wischhusen, director of industry standards for Michelin North America, notes that vegetable oils have been used as extender oils in the rubber industry (not only tires) for several years.

Why sunflower oil, in particular?

“We encountered sunflower oil specifically over the past decade when we were faced with the technical challenge of developing a high-performance tire for modern luxury performance vehicles that could still deliver superior cold-weather winter grip on wet and snowy roads — the concept of a high-performance all-season tire,” Wischhusen comments.

The use of sun oil in the tire’s patented “Helio Compound” increases traction at low temperatures for braking and handling in wet conditions and has better overall performance in the snow. In fact, Primacy MXM4 tires are able to stop up to 19 feet shorter in wet conditions than a leading competitor, according to Michelin.

The company’s priority was to design a new tire with a specific consumer benefit in mind. Sunflower oil provides unique properties to cured rubber that allowed Michelin to overcome one of the traditional balance-of-performance issues when trying to design high-performance all-season tires.

“The use of sunflower oil in our tread rubber delivers the rigidity, grip and durability characteristics necessary for high-performance tires — and, more importantly, retains that same performance as temperatures decrease to freezing levels: a snowy or wet winter road,” Wischhusen explains. “Other types of oils can achieve that performance level at high temperatures (summer) or low temperatures (winter) but not both. Sunflower oil allows us to break a traditional compromise and deliver the full-time balance of performance that consumers need.”

Tire developers at Michelin use a high-oleic variety of sunflower oil. For tires produced in the United States, they use U.S.-sourced sunflower oil.

Not only does the new technology give the driver better stability on the roadway, it also helps the environment. The oil compound gives increased rigidity in the tread block or groove pattern, increasing mileage and, in turn, decreasing CO2 emissions.

The tire was made available to consumers in North America on July 1. It is an original equipment release for luxury car makers including Acura, BMW, Cadillac, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus. Michelin also is considering developing the tire for replacement size tires.



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