A layered concrete works to absorb rainwater that seeps to a living layer beneath, sandwiched between insulating layers that act to absorb solar energy and protect the building from moisture. This development by UPC in Barcelona is intended for primarily Mediterranean climates, but offers an innovative solution to CO2 emission reductions in those regions by utilizing building wall space. Normal concrete is not conducive to most plant life, so this concrete is more acidic, with lower pH levels. Although buildings worldwide already feature vertical gardens, the idea to implement them within the actual wall structure is revolutionary.
At the Wallenberg Wood Science center at KTH in Stockholm, a new solution to solar panels is growing. Removing lignin from cell walls of wood allows for researchers to generate a transparent wood that can be used in windows and walls for solar panels while still maintaining some privacy. This would allow for solar panels to be further incorporated in building surfaces. The benefits of using wood include low cost and availability as a renewable resource. The center is currently working on ways to ramp up production and improve the transparent qualities.
These biodegradable pencils have been designed with capsule of your choice of seeds (you can choose from 12 varieties of flowers) replacing their erasers so that when the pencil is too short for use it can simply be planted in the ground. The pencil is made of cedar and its clay/graphite core contains no lead. Currently available for purchase on the Sprout Pencil online store (http://sproutworld.com) and amazon. Definitely a novel idea for recycling a commonly used item, and certainly something to write home about :)
HomeBioGas, a backyard bio-digester can convert every 1kg of waste food into 200 liters of gas - enough for a full hour of cooking. This really attests to its ability to function off-grid, and the future possibilities are exciting. Additionally, it also produces fertilizer and can digest most types of food including meat and dairy. The product is in its final stages of funding on Indiegogo and expects to launch soon. Truly better than compost!
A pilot project in western Australia, CETO is harnessing wave
power to produce both energy and desalinated water. The system is
located underwater to protect it from corrosion. The desalination is
coupled with the pump system used to pressurize the water before it is
sent to an onshore hydroelectric power generation station.
Using piezoelectric generation and ePaper, ShiftWear proposes to harvest energy from walking to power animated displays on shoes. Currently just in the prototype phase, the project still has hurdles to overcome in producing a viable model. Regardless, the idea demonstrates what may is possible for the future application of energy harvesting.
With 99.9% effectivity on bacterial agents, the drinkable book has a promising future for developing regions. It teaches clean water drinking habits at the same time as filtering water through silver nano particles that coat the pages.
An interesting proposal that leads me to wonder about the infrastructure requirements and what might result for future grid connectivity…
A great commentary on the amount of power we need to power devices we may consider simple and take for granted in our everyday lives… how effective are human powered machines?
A solar-bicycle hybrid vehicle may be the perfect compromise between electric vehicles and human powered transit