Wind-Powered Car Completes an Epic 5,000km Journey Across Australia

Fuente: inhabitat.com

Autor: Timon Singh

Fecha: 16/02/2011

Man has used wind power to travel for centuries, but it is traditionally used on the sea. However, two Germans have decided to harness this natural occurrence to complete an epic road-trip across Australia. Television host Dirk Gion and engineer Stefan Simmerer recently completed a 5,000 km (3,107 mile) journey in their aptly titled The Wind Explorer, a lightweight electric vehicle powered by electricity-generating wind turbines and kites.

The 18-day road trip gave way to three world records for the Germans. First, it was the first time a continent had been crossed by a wind-powered vehicle; secondly it was the longest overall distance covered exclusively by a wind-powered land vehicle; and finally they set the record for the longest distance covered by such a vehicle in 36 hours. Overall, the duo completed the journey on less than $15 of electricity.

What is unique about The Wind Explorer is that the prototype electric vehicle has multiple ways of being charged. The vehicle’s eight kWh lithium-ion battery pack could be recharged overnight using a portable wind 20 foot turbine or through the grid when there was no wind. The vehicle could also take advantage of strong wind with the use of kites. In areas such as the Nullarbor Plain, Gion and Simmerer, kites could be deployed to propel the vehicle. However, because the kites worked like parasails, this meant that full-control wasn’t always easy.

The Wind Explorer weights just 200 kg (441 lbs) and is made primarily of ROHACELL sandwich carbon fiber over an aluminum frame, running on a sports bicycle tires so as to reduce rolling resistance.  The duo was able to find support for their venture from Essen-based Evonik Industries AG, who provided the materials for The Wind Explorer’s lightweight bodywork and lithium-ion batteries.

The trip that saw The Wind Explorer travel through the states of Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales, was not without its mishaps. The team punctured a lot of  tires and blew two motors before it arrived in Sydney on February 14.

For a taste of the action, watch a video of the Wind Explorer in action above. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6bU43RCIVw&feature=player_embedded

Toyota to Unveil All-Electric iQ at Geneva Auto Show

Fuente: inhabitat.com

Autor: Ami Cholia

Fecha: 16/02/2011

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While Toyota is going to launchplug-in hybrid version of the Prius soon, the company isn’t backing away from all-electric cars. We recently learned that Toyota will be showing off an all-electric prototype version its popular iQ model at the Geneva auto show next month.

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The three-seater prototype will have an electric powertrain based on Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system, which will feature a flat lithium-ion battery pack — giving the car a range of about 65 miles on a single charge. Considering the car’s size and small range, this EV is clearly meant to be used in urban settings.

The car is expected be officially released in 2012, and it will initially be available for lease in Europe (as part of a pilot test), after which it will hit North American markets.

Toyota is currently also working with Tesla to build an all-electric RAV4 compact SUV, which will hit markets in 2012. While the Prius is definitely the most dominant hybrid around, it’s nice to see Toyota moving into other alt-fuel territories.

Thai Temple Built From One Million Recycled Bottles

Fuente: www.stumbleupon.com

Autor: Evelyn Lee

Fecha: 16/02/2011

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The Wat Pa Maha Chedio Kaew temple has found a way to bottle-up Nirvana, literally. The temple, which sits in Thailand’s Sisaket province, roughly 370 miles northeast of Bangkok is made of more than a million recycled glass bottles. True to its nickname, “Wat Lan Kuad” or “Temple of Million Bottles” features glass bottles throughout the premises of the temple, including the crematorium, surrounding shelters, and yes – even the toilets. There’s an estimated 1.5 million recycled bottlesbuilt into the temple, and as you might have guessed, they are committed to recycling more. After all, the more bottles they get, the more buildings they are able to construct.

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The bottle-collection-turned-building started in 1984, when the monks used them to decorate their shelters. The shiny building material attracted more people to donate more bottles, until eventually they had enough to build the temple standing today. Bottle caps are also integrated as decorative mosaic murals. Going beyond use of glass as a sustainable building material, the bottle bricks don’t fade, let natural light into the space and are surprisingly easy to maintain. So if you’re looking to find Nirvana in a bottle, you might want to consider making a stop at the Wat Pa Maha Kaew Temple.

Bilbao estrenará una loseta ecológica que absorbe el dióxido de carbono

Fuente: www.construarea.com

Autor:  Staff

Fecha: 16/02/2011

El Ayuntamiento de Bilbao ha decidido colocar en zonas peatonales un nuevo tipo de loseta, igual que la tradicional en apariencia, que incorpora un aditivo capaz de absorber dióxido de carbono, principal responsable del efecto invernadero. El producto, de nombre GeoSilex, ha sido desarrollado por la empresa Trenzametal en colaboración con la Universidad de Granada.

Losetas de hormigón GeoSilex

GeoSilex se estrenará en la capital vizcaína, probablemente en la céntrica calle Lutxana, antes del verano. Se calcula que cada metro cuadrado limpia 5.000 metros cúbicos de aire, como si las aceras se cubrieran de un manto verde.

El sistema que se va a poner en marcha en los próximos meses es “totalmente nuevo”, recalcan los fabricantes y las autoridades municipales. Se basa en un producto patentado en mayo de 2010 por la empresa zamorana Trenzametal, que ha contado con la colaboración de la Universidad de Granada.

El GeoSilex se añade a la composición de la baldosa, una mezcla decemento, áridos y agua. Como se integra en la totalidad de la masa, actúa desde el primer momento independientemente de las condiciones meteorológicas. El principio activo es hidróxido de calcio. Al entrar en contacto con el CO2 -que pesa más que el aire y tiende a concentrarse cerca del suelo- se endurece y se convierte en piedra caliza. Capa por capa, a medida que el dióxido de carbono penetra por los poros, la loseta se va petrificando y aumenta de peso, aunque no de volumen. Su vida útil será de entre 12 y 15 años, similar a la de las aceras convencionales.

Con un residuo reciclado
Bilbao cuenta con la ventaja de ser la primera ciudad que prueba este sistema, ya que la empresa que lo ha patentado tiene un acuerdo “en exclusiva” con UGP (United Global Pavings); una empresa formada por Baldexpor y Hermanos Eguskiza, que fabrica, entre otros pavimentos, la baldosa de Bilbao y ha ofrecido al Ayuntamiento “la primicia” por su relación con la ciudad “y el interés que ha demostrado en los pavimentos sostenibles”.

José María Pérez Eguskiza y Alberto Jericó, responsables de UGP, tienen la intención de presentar el producto en Abu Dabi dentro del plan Masdar City, que aspira a ser la primera ciudad del mundo libre de emisiones de carbono.
El nuevo producto es el resultado de “dos años de investigación”, recuerda Miguel Bermejo, de Trenzametal. Buscaban la forma de captar CO2 con un coste medioambiental cero, a partir de un material que no consuma energía en su fabricación ni provoque emisiones de dióxido de carbono. Lo encontraron en el hidróxido de calcio, un residuo industrial que normalmente acaba en los vertederos, y del que han conseguido eliminar las impurezas.

Esta es la base de la sustancia que se añade en nanopartículas al resto de los materiales que forman una baldosa.
El GeoSilex se traerá desde Zamora en unos contenedores especiales, en forma de iglú, donde no puede entrar el aire para evitar que pierda propiedades. Las losetas se fabricarán en la planta de Eguskiza en Sopuerta con un espesor de seis centímetros -dos más de lo habitual en zonas peatonales- para aprovechar mejor su potencial.

Old Factory Transformed into a Bright Modern Loft by Zecc Architects

Fuente: inhabitat.com

Autor:  Yuka Yoneda

Fecha: 16/02/2011

Zecc Architects is known for taking decrepit old buildings and transforming them into bright new livable spaces – and that’s exactly what they’ve done with this former factory. Located in Utrecht, Netherlands, the old brick building still looks from the outside the way it did when it served as a manufacturing plant. But the inside reveals a vast, open floorplan that preserves and celebrates the historic features of the original building, with plenty of room to spread out.

The inside of the building boasts 250 m2 of living space that, despite the lack of walls, is partitioned into livable areas. Living, working and eating spaces are defined using colorful mats, a cool system that also saves on materials. The furniture and decor have been kept minimal in order to highlight the historic architectural features of the factory.

The factory’s original wooden beams have been preserved and add an element of the old to the bright, modern space. The loft’s slanted skylights allow the large room to be naturally lit during the day, cutting down on electricity.

WHY THIS MATTERS:

By renovating existing buildings instead of erecting new ones from scratch, we can save energy and avoid carbon emissions (not to mention money). Plus, why demolish something as cool and still functional as this charming factory?

New Automated Technology Makes E-Waste Recycling More Efficient

Fuente: inhabitat.com

Autor:  Jessica Bailey

Fecha: 16/02/2011

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Electronic waste is notoriously hard to recycle, which is why so many old gadgets end up in toxic e-waste dumps. But a new recycling plant recently opened by Sims Recycling Solutions just outside of Toronto is using a new automated technology to better separate and recycle the parts of old electronics. The multi-million dollar system allows for every single part of the electronics — even the dust created during the breakdown — to be recycled.

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The system combines the most advanced existing recycling technologies, like optical sensors and machines for plastics and metal separation, and applies them specifically to electronics. The result is higher and faster recycling rates, while still maintaining the strict environmental and safety standards.

The center first sorts out toxic materials like fluorescent bulbs and batteries, then shreds the old electronics and uses several different automated machines to separate glass, metals, and plastics. Optical scanners that can identify transparency separate glass, and an x-ray machine separates plain glass from glass with lead. Magnets and an eddy machine separate non-ferrous metals. The remaining plastics are sent to another belt, where they are separated and sold as raw material.

The new facility will be able to process 100,000 metric tons of electronic waste each year, providing e-waste recycling solutions to residential consumers, businesses, governments and provincial programs throughout Canada. Sims Recycling Solutions invested in the automated process in anticipation of higher rates of e-waste recycling due to mandates in Canada.

WHY THIS MATTERS

Our future is undoubtedly filled with old and obsolete gadgets, which means that smarter and more efficient technologies for recycling e-waste are desperately needed. The technologies implemented by Sims Recycling Solutions are expensive, but if more facilities invested in them, they could positively change the way electronics are recycled.

Sustainable Solarium Garden Designed for Delhi, India

Fuente: inhabitat.com

Autor:  Apurva Bose Dutta

Fecha: 15/02/2011

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NCR has developed an innovative new recreation center and solarium for the city of Delhi, India. Slated to open in 2012, the new structure showcases a variety of eco-friendly, sustainable building strategies. Mumbai-based architecture firm Prem Nath & Associates designed the structurally dynamic project to host outdoor activities throughout the year. Featuring a flowing form totaling 1 million square feet, the solarium is multi-use destination complete with a farm, gymnasium, pool, aquatics center, library, and track, all topped off with solar panels, a greywater system, and passive cooling/heating design.

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The entire structure is formed from glass and aluminum sections. Double-glazed low-e glass is held in place with high-strength horizontal fiber glass tendons and aluminum structural members. The clean construction gives way to an equally streamlined interior that is rendered clutter-free. The indoor temperature is regulated to meet both human comfort and to optimize conditions for plant growth.

The building’s aluminum frame was designed to make the structure homogenous, lightweight and structurally stable. Photovoltaic solar panels work with the building’s low-e glass to control temperature and reduce energy use, and rotating louvers on the roof help bring ample fresh air indoors. Meanwhile, motion sensors and LUX intensity meter sensors control lighting for efficient energy consumption.

Landscaping forms a core feature of the project, and irrigation requirements are partially met using recycled water. There are various themed indoor gardens with fruit tree plantations, sculptures, and pathways curbed with flowering plants.