“SMART” ELECTRICITY GENERATING WINDOWS ARE ON THEIR WAY...

Nov 18, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] FUTURISM Zastavki In Brief New smart windows are not only able to toggle transparency but also store electricity to power other devices. These windows can help reduce a home’s carbon footprint by helping to regulate heat as well as taking away some of the power consumption burden. Smarter Smart Windows Researchers from the Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics, University of Maryland designed smart windows that can harness solar energy as well as adjust to either allow or block light using a switch. The solar smart window not only uses the solar energy to power itself up but can also store energy for powering other devices. The technology uses a polymer matrix imbued with microdroplets of liquid crystals and an amorphous silicon layer like those in solar cells. These are then...

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THE BIM MOMENT: WHAT WE’RE LOSING IN THE ROBOT-AGE OF ARCHITECTURE...

Nov 6, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Essays By Duo Dickinson   COMMON EDGE.ORG For most architects today, Building Information Modeling (BIM) is the elephant in the room. We know BIM and Revit take the efficiencies of CAD drawings and launch them into a near seamless technological integration of the entire design/build process that will ultimately change the way every architect works.   But change is always hard. Especially change that is both not chosen and involves alien technologies. Involuntary change causes great fear and often angry rejection. When huge machines began to eliminate artisanal labor in 1811 textile mills in England, some radical rejectionists began smashing those machines—Luddites, named for a possibly apocryphal young textile worker, Ned Ludd.   I may be closer to Ned Ludd than I want to admit. I am 61 and cannot draw a line in...

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EFFICIENCY SAVES DEVELOPED COUNTRIES $540 BILLION A YEAR, IEA REPORTS...

Oct 13, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Dr. Joe Romm Climate Progress, “the indispensable blog,” as NY Times columnist Tom Friedman describes it.   Economic growth is no longer tied to energy use. Toyota’s Prius, the world’s top-selling hybrid, has helped drive a global efficiency revolution. CREDIT: AP/Michael Probst The total energy consumed by industrialized nations peaked in 2007, and has completely decoupled from their economic growth, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported Monday. The IEA’s Energy Efficiency Market Report 2016 details the stunning improvements in energy efficiency since 2000, which are now providing $540 billion a year in energy cost savings for IEA-tracked countries. The IEA countries roughly correspond to the 35 developed nations that make up the OECD. Just as the United States has achieved more than 25 percent GDP growth since 2000, while energy consumption is roughly the...

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WORLD’S LARGEST CARBON CAPTURE PLANT SET TO FIGHT GREENHOUSE GASES...

Oct 7, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] FUTURISM In Brief The 240-megawatt facility is expected to capture 90% of the carbon dioxide from its exhaust gas. The gas isn’t just kept from harming the atmosphere, it will be used to tap into more energy sources. Clean Technology The Petra Nova system at the  W.A. Parish Generating Station in Texas will be the largest coal power plant in the world when it fires up next year, according to a report from Scientific American. It is expected to capture 90% of the carbon dioxide from its exhaust gases. This is a breath of fresh air for an industry so admonished and blamed for the rising global greenhouse gas emissions. Petra Nova isn’t the first company to work toward cleaner ways of utilizing coal. Notably, the Kemper County Energy Facility project in Mississippi, once destined...

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Engineering ourselves against terror attacks: How building design changed after 9/11...

Sep 10, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Most buildings had been built with defenses against total collapse, but progressive collapse was poorly understood Shih-Ho Chao, The Conversation   SALON.COM The One World Trade Center building, second from right, is reflected in the windows of the 9/11 Museum, in New York, Monday, March 23, 2015. The first stair-climb benefit will be held at One World Trade Center in May to raise money for military veterans, two foundations, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation and the Captain Billy Burke Foundation, formed after the 9/11 attacks announced Monday. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)(Credit: AP) This article was originally published on The Conversation. When buildings collapse killing hundreds — or thousands — of people, it’s a tragedy. It’s also an important engineering problem. The 1995 collapse of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City...

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Solar-powered Pipe desalinizes 1.5 billion gallons of drinking water for California...

Aug 23, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Tafline Laylin   INHABITAT.COM View Slideshow The infrastructure California needs to generate energy for electricity and clean water need not blight the landscape. The Pipe is one example of how producing energy can be knitted into every day life in a healthy, aesthetically-pleasing way. One of the finalists of the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica Pier, the design deploys electromagnetic desalination to provide clean drinking water for the city and filters the resulting brine through on-board thermal baths before it is reintroduced to the Pacific Ocean. “LAGI 2016 comes to Southern California at an important time,” write Rob Ferry and Elizabeth Monoian, co-founders of the Land Art Generator Initiative. “The sustainable infrastructure that is required to meet California’s development goals and growing population will have a profound influence...

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THIS TECH COULD MAKE WATER SHORTAGES A THING OF THE PAST...

Aug 3, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Infographics Videos Getty In Brief It’s no secret that there is a rather serious issue on our planet: Water. Droughts are plaguing a number of societies around the world. However, solutions appear to be on the horizon. As the droughts in California continue to intensify and summer temperatures soar around the globe (well, at least part of it), water conservation efforts are at the forefront of our minds. As everyone knows, water is the most important resource in the world. We use water for just about everything, from agriculture to industrial purposes, and of course, for the most obvious purpose: Hydration. Even though water is an essential building block for life, about 700 million people currently lack access to clean, safe water. And ironically some of these people live near immense bodies of...

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THIS CHEAP MATERIAL CAN PURIFY DIRTY WATER AND MAKE IT SAFE TO DRINK...

Aug 1, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Videos Hard Science Washington University  FUTURISM In Brief US scientists discover a process to use graphene sheets to clean water. Biofoam sheets based on graphene can be laid on top of dirty or salty bodies of water to purify them and make the water safe to drink, scientists in the US have discovered. The process – the latest awesome example of what wonder material graphene can do – has huge potential as a cheap, electricity-free water purification method for developing nations. These dual-layer biofoam sheets work by drawing up water from underneath and then causing it to evaporate in the uppermost layer, releasing fresh water as condensation on the top and leaving particles and salts stuck in the foam. “The process is extremely simple… the entire thing is produced in one shot,” said one...

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New Solar Device Removes Carbon Dioxide From the Atmosphere...

Jul 29, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] If the experimental technology can be commercialized, it can become an important tool for reducing the impact of climate change. Researchers used simulated sunlight to power a solar cell that converts atmospheric carbon dioxide directly into syngas, a combination of hydrogen gas and carbon monoxide that can be burned for energy or converted into liquid fuels. (Photo: University of Illinois at Chicago/Jenny Fontaine) Emily J. Gertz is an associate editor for environment and wildlife at TakePart. A new type of solar-powered technology has the potential to play a big role in the fight against climate change if its inventors can take it from the laboratory to industrial-scale use. On Thursday, a team of scientists announced in the journal Science that they have created a device that absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and...

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This ‘Other’ Form Of Solar Energy Can Run At Night, And It Just Got A Big Backer...

Jul 17, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Joe Romm CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: PHOTO BY AMBLE VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS Nevada’s Crescent Dunes concentrating solar thermal plant went online last September. It is 110 Megawatt with 10 hours of built in storage.   Converting sunlight directly into electricity, the photovoltaic (PV) solar panel industry has dominated the solar generation market recently because of its astounding price drops. Prices have fallen 99 percent in the past quarter century and over 80 percent since 2008 alone. This has also helped to slow the growth of the “other” form of solar, concentrating solar thermal power (CSP), which uses sunlight to heat water and uses the steam to drive a turbine and generator. Fortunately, one country appears to be making a major bet on CSP — China. SolarReserve, the company that built the Crescent Dunes...

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David Hertz’s Los Angeles Oasis...

Jul 10, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] The architect and environmentalist is known for repurposing materials. Now a new device is helping him turn air into water. By Sheila Marikar   NEW YORKER MAGAZINE The L.A. architect and environmentalist David Hertz has a knack for repurposing stuff: planks of wood into skateboards, the wings of a Boeing 747 into the roof of a house, crushed LPs (smashed by teens in a gang intervention program) into flooring for a record label’s headquarters. But when a former client told him, last year, that he knew a guy who had invented a way to turn air into water, Hertz was incredulous. “I was, like, sure, let’s try it,” Hertz said. “It sounds like alchemy. And it sounds too good to be true, but let’s try it.” Hertz connected with Richard Groden, a general contractor...

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THE NEXT SPACE RACE: FARMING SOLAR POWER IN THE COSMOS...

Jun 28, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] https://youtu.be/AB1VlSlLrgkhttps://youtu.be/AB1VlSlLrgkSPS-Alpha concept by John C. Mankins. (Illustration: Courtesy Artemis Innovations) Scientists are making the big push to send electricity to Earthlings from the final frontier. Anna Bitong FUTURISM   Aboard an imaginary space station surrounded by distant planets, an astronaut on the fringes of human life toiled to turn the sun’s rays into electricity and then zapped it through space and back to the planets to be used as a power source. “Our beams feed these worlds energy drawn from one of those huge incandescent globes that happens to be near us. We call that globe the Sun,” the spaceman says in one of Isaac Asimov’s earliest works, the 1941 science fiction short story “Reason.” Biochemist and science fiction novelist Isaac Asimov. (Photo: Bettmann Archive) What was then an implausible idea—collecting solar energy...

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THE NEW LANDSCAPE DECLARATION: PERSPECTIVE AND CRITIQUE (PART 2)...

Jun 25, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] The Dirt Contributo New Landscape Declaration / LAF The second day of the Landscape Architecture Foundation‘s New Landscape Declaration:  Summit on Landscape Architecture and the Future offered critical responses to the 23 declarations delivered on the first day of the event and looked ahead to the next 50 years. Afternoon sessions were divided into five panels, each representing a different aspect of landscape architecture: academic practice, private practice, public practice, capacity building organizations, and emerging voices. Each panelist gave a short talk before engaging in a group discussion, addressing audience-sourced questions, and offering perspectives on what needs to be achieved over the next 50 years: Academic practice: Maintain the value of the “long view” “Academics combine teaching, scholarship, and service” while “taking the long view: looking back, then to now, and forward,” argued...

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THESE REAL-LIFE CYBORGS HACK THEIR BODIES WITH CHIPS, MAGNETS AND OTHER TECH...

Jun 19, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   Health & Science These real-life cyborgs hack their bodies with chips, magnets and other tech How cyborg artist Neil Harbisson senses invisible colors Embed Share Play Video1:29 Neil Harbisson is a contemporary artist and cyborg activist best known for having an antenna implanted in his skull and for being officially recognized as a cyborg by a government. (Washington Post Live) By Abigail Abrams Moon Ribas is a self-proclaimed cyborg, but not the kind that super­hero fans will recognize from comic books. The 30-year-old Spanish choreographer has a small magnet implanted in her arm that allows her to feel earthquakes as they happen anywhere in the world. Her implant receives data from a mobile app that collects seismic activity from geological monitors around the globe. When an earthquake happens, the implant vibrates inside...

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WHAT PROBLEM WOULD YOU SOLVE WITH $100 MILLION?...

Jun 8, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] THE DIRT  BY Jared Green The MacArthur Foundation, creators of the “genius” grant, have just launched 100&Change, a competition for a single $100 million grant that can make “measurable progress towards solving a significant problem.” The MacArthur Foundation seeks a bold proposal with a charitable purpose focused on any critical issue facing people, places, or the environment. Proposals must be “meaningful, verifiable, durable, and feasible.” The goal is to identify issues that are solvable. The MacArthur Foundation expects to receive applications mostly focused on domestic American issues, but they welcome international proposals as well. Cecilia Conrad, MacArthur’s managing director leading the competition, told The Washington Post that the grant competition is designed to inspire more creative problem solving. “We believe there are solutions to problems out there that $100 million might be able...

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DEPLOYMENT MIRACLE PUTS ELECTRIC VEHICLES ON TRACK TO SAVE LIVABLE CLIMATE...

Jun 8, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Joe Romm CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: Shutterstock Tesla supercharging station in Oslo, Norway.   An almost two-century-old technology with virtually no market penetration just six years ago is now on track to become a cornerstone solution in the fight to avoid catastrophic climate change, the International Energy Agency (the IEA) reported this month. If that isn’t an energy miracle, what is? Driven by aggressive government deployment programs and one high-flying entrepreneur (Elon Musk), the world has seen stunning drops in the prices for the advanced batteries that electric vehicles (EVs) require. The result is that of 19 key low-carbon technologies the IEA is tracking, only EVs have made sufficient progress in the market to be in the IEA’s highest category: “on track, but sustained deployment and policies required,” to keep total global warming...

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IN-EAR LANGUAGE TRANSLATORS MAY SOON BE HERE, THANKS TO WAVERLY LABS...

May 17, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Moonshots Waverly labs  VIA FUTURISM In Brief New York City-based company Waverly Labs says they will soon release the Pilot, a pair of in-ear translators designed to let people who speak different languages understand each other in real-time. “It’s real,” says Andrew Ochoa, CEO and founder of the New York City-based company Waverly Labs, which claims to be the first to pioneer an in-ear language translator that is capable of of rendering human speech in real-time. They’re calling it the Pilot, and the “smart earpiece” could soon be in users’ hands. The technology makes use of an embedded app that does the translating, which is delivered to the earpiece that is shared by two people. The Pilot is also supposed to comes with an additional earpiece for wireless streaming music and an app that allows people toggles between languages. In...

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WE CAN STOP SEARCHING FOR THE CLEAN ENERGY MIRACLE. IT’S ALREADY HERE....

May 15, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Joe Romm CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: Justin Pritchard, AP   Key climate solutions have been advancing considerably faster than anyone expected just a few years ago thanks to aggressive market-based deployment efforts around the globe. These solutions include such core enabling technologies for a low-carbon world as solar, wind, efficiency, electric cars, and battery storage. That’s a key reason almost everything you know about climate change solutions is probably outdated. In Part 1 of this series, I discussed other reasons. For instance, climate science and climate politics have moved unexpectedly quickly toward a broad understanding that we need to keep total human-caused global warming as far as possible below 2°C (3.6°F) — and ideally to no more than 1.5°C. But the media and commentariat generally have not kept up with the science or...

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ONE BUILDING IS SAVING $1 MILLION A YEAR ON ENERGY. WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF THE WHOLE WORLD WAS MORE EFFICIENT?...

May 13, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Samantha Page CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: AP Photo/Keith Srakocic The U.S. Steel Building in Pittsburgh saves more than a million dollars a year after retrofitting for better efficiency.   Amid all the talk about transitioning to clean energy sources, consider this: The cleanest energy is the energy we never use. It’s also the cheapest, which is one reason that companies are embracing energy efficiency now more than ever. In fact, energy efficiency — now being rebranded for the business sector as energy productivity — is having a moment. “People have been working on this topic for the last 20 to 30 years, but there still are so many opportunities that need to be unlocked,” Jenny Chu, a manager at The Climate Group, told ThinkProgress. Chu was speaking from the Alliance to Save Energy’s...

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WHY USED ELECTRIC CAR BATTERIES COULD BE CRUCIAL TO A CLEAN ENERGY FUTURE...

May 9, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Joe Romm CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: Shutterstock   Battery costs are plummeting to levels that make EVs a truly disruptive technology, as we’ve explained. That’s why electric vehicle (EV) sales are exploding world-wide, and why Tesla broke every record for pre-sales with its affordable ($35,000), 200+ mile range Model 3 last month. But what you may not realize is that major EV makers — BMW, GM, Nissan, Toyota — are now exploring how much value their EV battery has for use in the electricity storage market after that battery can no longer meet the strict requirements for powering its car. This potential second life for EV batteries is a clean energy game changer for two reasons: These used EV batteries hold the promise of much cheaper electricity storage for renewables than is available...

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GOOGLE’S NEW MEDIA APOCALYPSE: HOW THE SEARCH GIANT WANTS TO ACCELERATE THE END OF THE AGE OF WEBSITES...

May 1, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] SALON.COM The tech titan plans to roll out a new service encouraging publishers to put their content directly on Google Jack Mirkinson (Credit: Reuters/Gary Hershorn) On Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported something that, in hindsight, was completely inevitable: Google is rolling out a feature that allows media companies to publish material directly on its platform. From the Journal report: Google is experimenting with a new feature that allows marketers, media companies, politicians and other organizations [to] publish content directly to Google and have it appear instantly in search results. The search giant said it began testing the feature in January and has since opened it up to a range of small businesses, media companies and political candidates. Fox News has worked with Google to post content related to political debates, for example,...

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RETHINKING ARCHITECTURE, FROM A ROBOT’S PERSPECTIVE...

Apr 22, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Perspective METROPOLIS MAGAZINE Architect Michael Silver believes robots will soon help laborers build the architecture of the future. Matthew Shen Goodman *- Architect Michael Silver is a self-taught roboticist based at the University at Buffalo. There, he cofounded the Sustainable Manufacturing and advanced Robotic Technologies (SMaRT) group that develops robots, such as the two-legged OSCR-3 prototype. All photography courtesy Paul Qaysi “My first robot was made out of Scotch tape and Spirograph gears,” says architect and robotics autodidact Michael Silver. “It ran off nine-volt batteries and a little stepper motor, which was hard for a 12-year-old to find. All it could do was grab a test tube out of one rack and swing it around to another one.” Despite the dearth of motors available to tweens at the time—“This was pre-Internet!”—Silver insists that such...

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FOREIGN AFFAIRS SAYS SLASHING C02 QUICKLY REQUIRES NON-EXISTENT TECHNOLOGIES...

Apr 21, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   by Joe Romm CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: By Koza1983 via Wikipedia Aerial photo of Spanish solar power towers.   Foreign Affairs has run one of the most confused, out-of-date and error-riddled pieces ever seen on clean energy and climate change. I will fact check it here, since the editors apparently didn’t. Despite the title, “The Clean Energy Revolution: Fighting Climate Change With Innovation,” it’s not about how the clean energy revolution of the last several years has been a game-changer for near-term climate action. Quite the reverse: It’s mostly an outdated rehashing of the oddly pessimistic “We need an energy miracle” myth, which has been debunked here and elsewhere so many times I’ve lost count. Bloomberg New Energy Finance: The “energy miracle” has arrived Indeed, earlier this month, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF)...

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OPEN SOURCE PHYTOREMEDIATION PROJECT TACKLES THE TIBER RIVER’S POLLUTION CRISIS...

Apr 18, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Lucy Wang  INHABITAT Despite its historic significance, Rome’s Tiber River has become extremely polluted. In a bid to clean up the murky, trash-infested waters, deltastudio designed Albula, an interactive floating structure that combines elements from historic water mills with bio-based techniques like phytoremediation. Even better, the Albula is designed as an open-source and scalable project that can be replicated in a variety of contexts. Albula by deltastudio, YAP MAXXI 2016 finalist project, open source water purification, open source water urban installation, urban installation with phytoremediation, MAXXI urban design project Recognized as a YAP MAXXI 2016 finalist project, the Albula installation was proposed for the public square in front of the Zaha Hadid-designed MAXXI museum of contemporary art and architecture. The project comprises four main elements: a platform, a T-shaped metal frame, a...

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CALTECH’S 2500 ORBITING SOLAR PANELS COULD PROVIDE EARTH WITH LIMITLESS ENERGY...

Apr 13, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] FUTURISM NASA In Brief The Space Solar Power Initiative (SSPI), a collaboration between Caltech and Northrup Grumman, has developed a system of lightweight solar power tiles which can convert solar energy to radio waves and can be placed in orbit to beam power to an energy-thirsty Earth. Soaking in the Sun’s Rays One of the greatest challenges facing the 21st Century is the issue of power—how to generate enough of it, how to manufacture it cheaply and with the least amount of harmful side-effects, and how to get it to users. The solutions will have to be very creative—rather like what the Space Solar Power Initiative (SSPI), a partnership between Caltech and Northrup Grumman, has devised. Prototype of the “multifunctional tile.” Credit: Caltech “What we’re proposing, somewhat audaciously, is to develop the technology...

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HOW A PAPER PLANT IN ARKANSAS IS ALLEGEDLY POISONING THE PEOPLE OF CROSSETT...

Apr 13, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Tech & Science By Emily Crane Linn NEWSWEEK The Georgia-Pacific’s aeration pond in Crossett, Arkansas. The paper and plywood plant employs a large amount of the surrounding community and many in the area blame the plant’s pollution for the severe health issues residents are facing. Nicolaus Czarnecki/ZUMA/Alamy “Let me give you a sketch of the neighborhood,” Leroy Patton said as he put his car in Park on the side of Lawson Road. He took his toothpick out of his mouth and used it to point to an empty house, an abandoned doll lying facedown in the weeds in front of the hollow structure. The Lawson couple used to live here, Patton says; the street was named for them. “They’re dead from cancer and stroke.” He pointed to another property. “Down here is Pat....

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CAN TECHNOLOGY SAVE OUR CRUMBLING INFRASTRUCTURE?...

Apr 11, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] THE DIRT  by Jared Green Mississippi collapsed bridge / Wikipedia “The infrastructural situation in the U.S. is bad,” said Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kantor at SXSW Interactive in Austin, Texas. Traffic causes “5.5 billion of hours or about $70 billion of lost productivity, costs 2.9 billion gallons of fuel, and increases our healthcare costs by $45 billion each year.” About a quarter of American bridges are crumbling and structurally obsolete; and we hear horror stories nearly every month of another major collapse. “But technology is the big hope.” Kantor argued that embedded sensors can be used to make roads and cars smarter so they can relay traffic reports in real time, identify structural issues and report them, and reduce traffic collisions and fatalities, which also cost the U.S. hundreds of billions...

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UK’S FIRST SOLAR-POWERED GLAZED BUS SHELTER GENERATES ENOUGH ELECTRICITY TO POWER A LONDON HOME...

Apr 9, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Lucy Wang  INHABITAT London has just taken another big step towards a solar-powered future. Today technology company Polysolar and the Canary Wharf Group unveiled the UK’s first transparent solar bus shelter with a ceremony officiated by Green Party candidate Sian Berry. Clad in innovative and transparent photovoltaic glass, the solar bus shelter is capable of generating 2,000 kW-hours per year—equivalent to the amount of electricity needed to power the average London home. Designed by Polysolar in collaboration with hard landscaping and street furniture supplier Marshalls, the Canary Wharf solar bus shelter proves that urban infrastructure can be functional, beautiful, and innovative. The modern and minimalist metal-framed shelter is topped by a butterfly roof to effectively shed rainwater and prevent runoff from spilling onto the heads of transit riders. Related: Solar Powered Bus...

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CARBON SINKS: THE NEXT BIG THING (PART 3)...

Mar 27, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] THE BLOG HUFFINGTON POST William S. Becker Executive Director, Presidential Climate Action Project This is the 3rd in a four-part post on using ecosystems to store carbon. Part 1 was about the need to bring the Earth’s carbon cycle back into balance. Part 2 discussed how restoring carbon sinks is a necessary part of America’s climate action plan. In this part, I describe why we should not always choose a technical fix to solve environmental problems. The late American critic Lawrence Clark Powell noted, “We are the children of the technological age”. He might have added that like children, we run to technology when we have a problem. We want a technical fix. A technical fix has appeal because it allows people to continue business as usual without the usual consequences — to...

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