Monday, April 28, 2014

Plastic to Oil Fantastic

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Plastic to Oil Fantastic

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A highly-promising development out of Japan: a corporation called Blest has developed a home-scale plastic to oil converter. Through the process 1kg of plastic yields 1 litre of oil.

The machine, produced in various sizes, for both industrial and home use, can easily transform a kilogram of plastic waste into a liter of oil, using about 1 kWh of electricity but without emitting CO2 in the process. The machine uses a temperature controlling electric heater instead of flames, processing anything from polyethylene or polystyrene to polypropylene (numbers 2-4).

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Computer-Controlled Mashrabiya Keeps Abu Dhabi’s Al Bahar Towers Cool | Green Prophet

Computer-Controlled Mashrabiya Keeps Abu Dhabi’s Al Bahar Towers Cool | Green Prophet
Commissioned to design the 25-story Al Bahar Towers on Abu Dhabi’s eastern flank, Aedas Architecture worked with Arup Engineering to create a computer-controlled mashrabiya that wraps around the Abu Dhabi Investment Council’s (ADIC) new headquarters. They move in accordance with the sun’s position in the sky, reducing solar gain by a whopping 50%!
mashrabiya, Al Bahar, Abu Dhabi, AEDAS, Arup, UAE, architecture, urban design
Perhaps more than any other Gulf nation, Abu Dhabi has taken enormous steps towards securing its residents against an inevitable end to their oil wealth. Naturally we don’t necessarily agree that building giant skyscrapers is the most sustainable defense against resource depletion and climate change, but at least the Emirate is making an effort.
Heat is one major challenge faced by all Gulf nations. This year during Ramadan, when many pilgrims flock to the holy sprawl that Mecca has become, Saudi Arabia will experience temperatures of 50 degrees Celsius in the shade. It’s not much cooler in Abu Dhabi, so energy-intensive air-conditioners suck up all of the nation’s most important export commodity (ie. oil).
mashrabiya, Al Bahar, Abu Dhabi, AEDAS, Arup, UAE, architecture, urban design
The software-designed mashrabiya screens help to mitigate that problem by deflecting solar gain, thereby significantly reducing the buildings’ overall cooling load. These screens almost envelope all but the northern flank of either tower, adding an aesthetically-pleasing geometrical dimension to the glass buildings.

Siemens opens Middle East’s greenest office building at Masdar City (PHOTOS) | Green Prophet

Siemens opens Middle East’s greenest office building at Masdar City (PHOTOS) | Green Prophet

Initially, Siemens asked for a LEED Gold building, but then they changed their mind and asked for LEED Platinum instead – without adjusting the budget. Ardill was fiercely exacting with his parametric analysis and evaluated 140 calculations to determine what materials and configurations would deliver the most efficient structure possible on that particular site. What’s more, Ardill and Wan worked together with their respective teams to deliver this incredible feat under budget.
Propped up on stilts, the boxy 22,800 m2 office complex floats above a public plaza with views of Abu Dhabi in the dusty distance.  It is clad in a lightweight aluminum shading system that provides 100 per cent shading to 95 per cent of the glazed surfaces, and, along with proprietary integrated building technology designed by Siemens, contributes to energy reductions of nearly 50 percent. 
Siemens LEED Platinum Headquarters, Masdar City, Sheppard Robson, David Ardill, Chris Wan, Masdar, green design, green buildings in the Middle East, greenest office building in the Middle East, Tafline Laylin photographer, energy efficiency, daylighting, commercially feasible green building
This shading system is just one example of how much care went into the design. The geometry of each fin is fine tuned to maximize daylight, reduce material loads, ensure the smallest percentage of solar gain, and reflects excess heat away from the glass, which is perfectly cool to the touch.
The building’s groundbreaking structural system reduced construction material by roughly 60 percent, providing great flexibility across all four office floors, thereby allowing for future reorganization, change or growth. Currently, the building boasts capacity for approximately 800 employees, and has already received 16 awards.

Unlocking secrets of new solar material -- ScienceDaily

Unlocking secrets of new solar material -- ScienceDaily

A year later, Michael Grätzel, a top solar scientist from Switzerland, teamed with Park on a paper, sparking more widespread interest. Their paper in the journal Nature Scientific Reports reported a conversion efficiency of about 10% with perovskite. "By then, I knew this was something I wanted to pursue," Zhu said. At the beginning of 2013, the efficiency level for perovskite had climbed to 12.3%.
"And then about a year ago, when they added chlorine to the materials, the electron and hole diffusion lengths just went through the roof," Ginley said. "The most remarkable thing is that you add a little bit of chlorine and you see how the diffusion lengths change -- by a factor of 10. That really brought attention to them." Ideally, a solar cell has a diffusion length long enough for the electron to reach the contacts both above and below it, and thus escape the possibility that it will be trapped in its layer and recombine into an electron-hole pair.
When Zhu's proposal to examine perovskite was approved, the efficiency level had climbed to 14.1%. Now, the highest certified rate is 16.2% by Sang Il Seok of Korea. "Seeing how rapidly this field is progressing, I feel very lucky that I started on this more than a year ago," Zhu said.
Meanwhile, Zhu is in the midst of an experiment in which he prepares a precursor solution that converts from a liquid base to an absorber in a device. "This material is so easy to work with," Zhu said. "Working on solution processing, we can make a device in one or two days, from beginning to finish."
To boost efficiency levels even further will take more effort, Zhu concedes. "But this new material can probably be processed at a much lower cost" than rival materials, he said. It doesn't have to deal with the problem of the substrate not matching with the material above it, or with the delicate deposition process necessary with many alternative solar materials.
Several companies are already interested in forming cooperative research and development agreements so they can work with NREL on perovskite. "At NREL, we have this depth and breadth of understanding of materials, devices, transport, and, really, all aspects of solar cells that should help us make an important contribution to this new material," Zhu said.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Collapsible woven refugee shelters powered by the sun | Green Prophet

Interesting concept of a collapsible yurt, looks very attractive but the structural details are not clear, looks like a modified yurt to me!
Collapsible woven refugee shelters powered by the sun | Green Prophet

This lightweight, mobile, structural fabric could potentially close the gap between need and desire as people metaphorically weave their lives back together, physically weaving their built environment into a place both new and familiar, transient and rooted, private and connected,” says Seikaly.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Making graphene in your kitchen

Making graphene in your kitchen:

A team from England and Ireland, however, reported on Sunday they had used a blender to make microscopic sheets of graphene.
They placed powdered graphite, the stuff from which pencil lead is made, into a container with an "exfoliating liquid", and then mixed at high speed.
The result is miniscule sheets of graphene, each about a nanometre (a billionth of a metre) thick and 100 nanometres long, suspended in a liquid.
The force generated by the rotating blades separated the graphite into graphene layers without damaging their two-dimensional structure.
"We developed a new way of making graphene sheets," Trinity College Dublin chemical physics professor Jonathan Coleman, who co-authored the study in the journal Nature Materials, told AFP.
"This method gives lots of graphene with no defects."
The team used industrial equipment called shear mixers, but successfully repeated the experiment with a kitchen blender.
From lab to kitchen, 'wonder' nanomaterial
Production of graphene by shear exfoliation of graphite in the solvent N-methyl-pyrrolidone using a Silverson high shear mixer. In this experiment, 100 litres of graphene suspension were produced. Credit: CRANN
The liquid so produced can be spread onto surfaces as films of graphene sheets, like paint, or mixed with plastics to produce reinforced, composite materials.
"In the lab, we produced grams. However, when scaled up, tonnes will be produced," said Coleman.
Graphene is the world's thinnest substance, transparent but stronger than steel—a conductive super-material made of carbon just one atom thick.
There is a surge of interest in it to replace semiconductors in next-generation computers, touch screens, batteries and solar cells.
From lab to kitchen, 'wonder' nanomaterial
Transmission electron microscope image of nanosheets of shear exfoliated graphene. The scalebar is 100 nm. Credit: CRANN
Graphene was aired as a theoretical substance in 1947. But for decades, physicists thought it would be impossible to isolate, as such thin crystalline sheets were bound to be unstable.
The problem was resolved in 2004 by a pair of scientists who used ordinary sticky tape to lift a layer from a piece of graphite.
That layer was itself pulled apart using more tape, and the process repeated until just the thinnest of layers remained—a .

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

build your own Cistern, complete Howto

Cistern Howto
This article is based on a 16ft diameter, 4 ft tall tank, holding 6,000 gallons. However, you can alter the dimensions to fit your needs.
Round tank:
π (3.14) x radius x radius x height x 7.5 = gallons
(e.g. 3.14 x 8ft x 8ft x 4ft x 7.5 = 6028.8 gallons)
Square tank:
length x width x height x 7.5 = gallons
(e.g. a 18ft square that is 4ft tall will hold 9,720 gallons)
Liner Dimensions:
You want to make your liner a little larger than the tank's dimensions, so that it has some slack. Also make it 1ft taller than your tank's walls.
Even though a square tank is more efficient with space and thus your liner, we would unequivocally recommend going with a circular design. We have done both and the round one is far stronger and requires less work. Any money you might save on the liner for a square tank is negated by the extra strength you will have to add to the frame. If you decide to go square, bury the bottom 1/3 of the tank.



  1. Mark out the area where you wish to build your tank, and level it. You can dig down or fill in, though a combination of the two is often the least labor intensive.
  2. Put a layer of sand, about 6" deep over the whole area and compact it well.
  3. Place a rebar or post in the center of the area and attach a string to it.
  4. Tie the other end of the string to a stick or piece of metal, so that the distance between the stick and the center post equals the radius of your tank, in this case 8 ft.
  5. Keeping the string taut and the stick upright, mark the sand in a circle around the central post.
  6. Center bricks over this line all the way around the circumference, leveling them with each other.
  7. Fill your circle with sand, then compact it well, so that the sand is an inch or two below the top of the bricks.
  8. Fill that inch or so with finely screened sand and compact again.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Old toilets, other ceramic waste can be made into "greener" cement : TreeHugger

Old toilets, other ceramic waste can be made into "greener" cement : TreeHugger
Recycling old concrete into new cement is nothing new, but throwing in old toilets and bath tubs? That one we haven't heard before. According to an international team of researchers working on creating cleaner cement, those ceramic castaways, as well as bricks, can be used to make a cement that's just as strong as traditional cement, but through a process that's much less dirty.
For the new cement, ceramic waste is ground up and mixed with an activator solution -- in this case sodium hydroxide, sodium silicate or even potentially rice husk ash -- and water. The mix is poured into a mold and baked under high temperatures. Tests on a mixture made with red clay brick show it to be actually stronger than common types of cement.
© Asociación RUVID
According to the researchers, who hail from Spain's Universitat Politècnica de València and Universitat Jaume I de Castellón, Imperial College of London, and the Universidade Estadual Paulista of Sao Paulo in Brazil, if these waste ceramics are used with the rice husk ash activator, then the resulting mix is a cement made completely from waste materials, which means waste streams are kept out of landfills and groups providing those materials could have a new way to produce revenue.

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promising new battery tech; StoreDot’s Bio-Organic Battery Tech Can Charge From Flat To Full In 30 Seconds | TechCrunch

StoreDot’s Bio-Organic Battery Tech Can Charge From Flat To Full In 30 Seconds | TechCrunch
StoreDot’s original focus for the nano-crystals was memory chips — which could write faster than traditional flash memory. It has also demoed an image sensor using the technology. But it’s now shifted its focus to what it sees as the two most promising near-term routes to commercialize the technology: fast-charging smartphone batteries, and cadmium-free displays — with its nano-crystal tech offering a cheaper and non-toxic alternative to cadmium in screens.
“We’ve demonstrated an iPhone display that the active material which emits light is a bio-organic material that is created by our compounds. This will be the first ever bio-organic display,” says Myersdorf. “We already demonstrated all the colours… we can bring the entire RGB spectrum for the display so now it’s all a matter of being able to reach the lifetime and the efficiency similar to cadmium.”
The big challenge for StoreDot is getting an industry that’s used to building electronics one way to switch to something new and different, says Myersdorf — even though that alternative may ultimately be cheaper and less toxic than existing manufacturing materials and processes.
“The only disadvantage is that the industry is not ready for it. The ecosystem is not ready,” he says. ”This is a new type of material, with new physics, new chemistry, that is actually coming from nature… Everything we do we try to imitate and to follow and to let nature take its course. To create these nano-crystals we don’t need a huge fabrication facility. We mix some basic elements — like hydrogen, nitrogen, helium.”
Myersdorf said StoreDot is therefore considering building its own facility to produce its bio-organic smartphone batteries, as a way to speed up their entry to market.
“Our challenge is not only stabilizing our own material but to change the entire ecosystem around the manufacturing of semi-conductor and batteries in order to be able to accommodate bio-organic material,” he adds.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Smart owner built passive solar house; An afternoon With Doug and Claudia Kalmer Part 1 6 15 13

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great simple passive solar house with attached greenhouse, well done video with good visuals, nice people!

Free-Energy Devices, zero-point energy, and water as HHO fuel

Free-Energy Devices, zero-point energy, and water as HHO fuel

The purpose of this web site is to provide you with an introduction to a series of devices which have been shown to have very interesting properties and some are (incorrectly) described as 'perpetual motion' machines.
What's that you say - perpetual motion is impossible?   My, you're a difficult one to please.   The electrons in the molecules of rock formations have been spinning steadily for millions of years without stopping - at what point will you agree that they are in perpetual motion?
So, why don't electrons run out of energy and just slow down to a standstill?   The universe is a seething cauldron of energy with particles popping into existence and then dropping out again.   If the equation E = mC2 is correct, then we can see that a tremendous amount of energy is needed to create any form of matter.   Scientists remark that if we could tap even a small part of that energy, then we would have free energy for our lifetime.
The Law of Conservation of Energy is generally thought to be correct when it states that more energy cannot be taken out of any system than is put into that system.   However, that does not mean that we cannot get more energy out of a system than we put into it.   A crude example is a solar panel in sunlight.   We get electrical power out of the panel but we do not put the sunlight into the panel - the sunlight arrives on its own.   This example is simple as we can see the sunlight reaching the solar panel.   In passing, it might be remarked that the "Law" of Conservation of Energy has recently been proved to be wrong, however, it wouldn't bother me at all if it were actually right as it assumes a "closed system" which is something that does not exist anywhere in the universe.

If, instead of the solar panel, we had a device which absorbs some of the energy which the universe contains and gives out, say, electrical power, would that be so different?   Most people say "yes! - it is impossible!" but this reaction is based on the fact that we cannot see this sea of energy.   Should we say that a TV set cannot possibly work because we cannot see a television transmission signal?

Many people have produced devices and ideas for tapping this energy.   The energy is often called "Zero-Point Energy" because it is the energy which would remain if a system has it's temperature lowered to absolute zero.   This presentation is introductory information on what has already been achieved in this field: devices which output more power than they require to run.   This looks as if they contradict the Law of Conservation of Energy, but they don't, and you can see this when you take the zero-point energy field into account.
The material on this web site describes many different devices, with diagrams, photographs, explanations, pointers to web sites, etc.   As some of the devices need an understanding of electronic circuitry, a simple, step-by-step instruction course in electronics is also provided in Chapter 12.   This can take someone with no previous knowledge of electronics, to the level where they can read, understand, design and build the type of circuits used with these devices.
This is a very interesting field and the topic is quite absorbing once you get past the "it has to be impossible" attitude.   We were once told that it would be impossible to cycle at more than 15 mph as the wind pressure would prevent the cyclist from breathing.   Do you want to stay with that type of 'scientific' expert?   Have some fun - discover the facts.
There are many, many interesting devices and ideas already on the web.   This site does not mention them all by any means.   What it does, is take some of what are in my opinion, the most promising and interesting items, group them by category, and attempt to describe them clearly and without too many technical terms.   If you are not familiar with electronics, then some items may be difficult to understand.   In that case, I suggest that you start with Chapter 12 and go through it in order, moving at whatever speed suits you, before examining the other sections.   I hope you enjoy what you re

Wednesday, April 2, 2014