VeruTEK’s Got the Green Nano-Clean for Toxic Dumps

from Green Options by Tina Casey

VeruTEK\'s patented plant extracts can dissolve and oxidize toxic substances.

Cleaning up a toxic dump the conventional way is a messy business, and VeruTEK Technologies, Inc. is one company that offers a more sustainable path to remediation.  Instead of excavating and trucking the contaminated soil to landfills, Connecticut-based VeruTEK has developed plant extracts, nanometals produced from plant extracts, and other natural substances that dissolve and oxidize contaminants in place.

Last summer VeruTEK announced the latest in a string of successful remediation projects.  The site was contaminated with up to an inch of toxic chemicals such as volatile organic compounds and petroleum hydrocarbons.  Three months after completion of the project, the contamination was reduced to non-detectable limits.  With an estimated 294,000 more toxic sites in the U.S. waiting for remediation, alterna-clean companies like VeruTEK have their work cut out for them.

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Stunning Shanghai Corporate Pavilion Made From Used CD Cases

from Gizmodo Australia by Sean Fallon

With the Shanghai World Expo 2010 fast approaching, architects are jumping in on the “Better City, Better Life” theme with concepts like this Shanghai Corporate Pavilion. The plans include many green features, including a structure made from recycled CD cases. (more…)

Reality-Augmenting Terminator Vision Contact Lenses Nearly Here

from Gizmodo Australia by Matt Buchanan

Amazing and terrifying all at once, reality augmenting contact lenses are nearly real. Like, they’re almost here. Circuits and antennas and LEDs in a contact lens, generating virtual imagery, Predator style. In your eyeball. (more…)

John Wardle Architects and Office dA to Design Melbourne’s New Architecture School Site

from Bustler.net News by Vanilla Hustler

John Wardle Architects and Office dA have been named the winners of the competition to design thelandmark new Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning site at the University of Melbourne.

Architecture Faculty Building University of Melbourne by John Wardle Architects and Office dA

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Winning design for the new Architecture Faculty Building of the University of Melbourne by John Wardle Architects and Office dA

Japan To Spend $US21B On A Power Plant In F%#king Space

from Gizmodo Australia by Adam Frucci

Holy shit, Japan is getting prepped to drop $US21 billion on a solar power station in space, one that will beam enough energy back to Earth to power 294,000 homes. With no cables. (more…)

Mercedes Launches its First Ever Production Fuel Cell Vehicle

from Green Options by Andrew Williams

Mercedes has dipped its toes into the world of hydrogen power (video) with the launch of its first-ever production fuel-cell vehicle, the B-class F-cell.

An initial fleet of 200 zero-emission models will be finished by the end of the year and delivered to lease-only customers throughout the US and Europe in early 2010.

Speaking about the launch, a Mercedes spokesman said, “2009 is the year in which we are establishing further milestones where sustainable mobility is concerned. The B-Class F-cell is taking on a pioneering role as the world’s first fuel cell powered automobile to be produced under series production conditions.”

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BMW’s New Vision: 155-MPH Plug-In Hybrid

from Wired: Autopia by Tony Borroz

bmw_concept

We were as shocked as anyone when BMW announced it was quitting Formula 1 to devote more resources to developing cleaner, greener automobiles. There was some skepticism, but BMW wasn’t blowing green smoke. It’s serious about building eco-friendlier pavement-peeling cars.

First up is a slick 356-horsepower all-wheel-drive plug-in diesel-hybrid concept that BMW claims accelerates like an M3, sips gas like a Toyota Prius and can go 31 miles on battery power alone. It’s called the Vision Efficientdynamics Concept, and we’ll see it later this month at the Frankfurt auto show.

No, Vision Efficientdynamics Concept doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. But the name aside, BMW has a dynamite idea on its hands here.

The EfficientDynamics is a 2+2 four-door hybrid that combines M Series performance with better fuel efficiency and less emissions than you see in many compacts. BMW performs this magic by marrying its ActiveHybrid technology with an extremely economical engine and excellent aerodynamics. The result is a concept car with a top speed governed at 155 mph and a zero-to-62 acceleration time of 4.8 seconds. More impressive, the car gets 62.2 mpg and emits a Prius-like 99 grams of CO2 per kilometer.

Power comes from a 1.5-liter direct injection 3-cylinder turbodiesel engine and an electric motor on each axle. The engine was small to squeeze in between the rear seat and the rear axle, which should make the Efficientdynamics Concept very agile. The diesel puts out 163 horsepower and 214 pound-feet of torque. Add in the motors and total output is 356 ponies and a stump-pulling 590 pound-feet, though you can only get that much power in short bursts. The car has all-wheel-drive when running in electric mode. BMW says the car can run on the diesel engine, either one of the electric motors or any combination of the three.

The lithium-polymer battery pack sports 98 cells. It delivers 8.6 kilowatt-hours for driving the car, and BMW says the serial arrangement of cells has gross storage capacity of 10.8 kilowatt-hours. The pack weighs 187 pounds and BMW says it doesn’t need an active cooling system. BMW says the battery recharges in 2.5 hours at 220 volts.

All that tech is housed in a body designed with some serious inspiration from BMW’s Formula 1 cars. BMW says the Vision has a drag coefficient of 0.22, aided in part by the myriad vanes and ducts. People are going to love it or hate it, but you’d expect nothing less from BMW even without controversial designer Chris Banglearound anymore.

So far the Vision is just a concept. Still, BMW has made it clear it plans to make sustainability a cornerstone of its lineup, so we’re sure to see some of the technology in road cars before long.

Images and video: BMW

Pump Hydro Underground to Store Wind Power

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer


Pumped hydro storage is a simple technology already in wide use. Pump water up a hill when you have available energy, let it fall when you need its power.

But Riverbank Power; a new start-up founded by a former wind developer who wants to develop large-scale energy storage, is trying out a new idea. Instead of using hills for the height, it will go the other way. Down into the ground.

Their Aquabank would let gravity drop water underground to turn turbines and make hydro electricity. That electricity would be sent from underground to the grid day time. At night, when excess wind is available; wind powered electricity would gently push the water back up to replenish its surface source.

Video after the jump:

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Sep 2, 2009 (yesterday)

LAVA Architects Win Masdar Eco City Center Competition

from Bustler.net News by Vanilla Hustler

German-Australian practice Laboratory for Visionary Architecture (LAVA) recently won the first prize in theMasdar Eco City Center Competition for Masdar, United Arab Emirates.

LAVA already succeeded in the first stage of the competition earlier this year, and collaborated with Kann Finch GroupArupTranssolar, and a team of international experts for the second stage challenge.

This is how LAVA explains its concept for ‘Masdar Plaza, The Oasis of the Future’:

The City of the Future

The future well being of cities around the globe depends on mankind’s ability to develop and integrate sustainable technology.

Masdar City is the city of the future; positioned at the forefront of integrating sustainable technology into modern architectural design. Rome, Athens, Florence; most great historical cities have had the plaza, forum, or square at their epicenter – where the life, values, ideals, and vision of the population evolved. Equally, the center of Masdar must be an iconic beacon that attracts global attention to sustainable technology.

Masdar Plaza by LAVA

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Perspective Plaza Day (Image: MIR)

Masdar Plaza by LAVA

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Perspective Plaza Evening (Image: MIR)

Masdar Plaza by LAVA

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Perspective Plaza Night (Image: MIR)

Oasis of the Future

We see Masdar Plaza as “The Oasis of the Future”: a living, breathing, active, adaptive environment; stimulated by the social interaction of people, and spotlighting the use and benefits of sustainable technology.

Masdar Plaza by LAVA

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Bird’s View Masdar (Image: Simon)

How Many Solar Panels Would It Take To Power The World?

from Gizmodo Australia by Jesus Diaz

After seeing how many nukes would it take to obliterate humanity instantly, I wanted some good news. Like, how many solar panels would it take to power the entire world? The entire surface of Africa, maybe? Actually, it’s surprisingly less.(more…

cox architects: melbourne rectangular stadium

the melbourne rectangular stadium by cox architects is the latest sports facility to go up in the sports
capital of australia. the stadium will have a capacity of 30,000 spectators when complete in 2010, when it
will house the melbourne victory soccer team and melbourne storm rugby club. designboom was lucky
enough to get a tour of the building under construction back in july. the building’s key design feature is
its bubble-like bio-dome which will be covered with thousands of LED lights. the roof is inspired by
buckminster fuller’s geodesic dome and its unique cantilevered design will provide excellent sightlines
while covering the seats. the stadium will also house a sports medicine facility and administration complex
for many of the city’s sports organizations.

Trends in capture fisheries and aquaculture

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Trends in capture fisheries and aquacultureThe levelling off of the global fisheries catch reflects a growing decline in most major fishing areas. Today, these fishing areas are producing lower yields than in the past, and it is unlikely that substantial increases will ever again be possible (FAO, 2000). Inland and marine aquaculture production grew by about 5% annually during the 1950s and 1960s, by about 8% per year during the 1970s and 1980s, and by some 10% per year during the 1990s (FAO, 2000). Most aquaculture is developed in freshwater environments, primarily in Asia. The development of inland aquaculture is seen as an important source of food security in Asia, particularly in land-locked countries.

Equilibrium Concept Makes Our Hearts Beat Faster

from Wired: Autopia by Keith Barry

equilibrium1

A new concept aims to create an “intense” ownership experience by using emerging technologies to strengthen the emotional bond between man and machine.

Bob Romkes, a designer at Britain’s Royal College of Art, penned the Equilibrium concept as a luxury car for the future. In an era when customization equals personalization, Romkes sees a chance for an emotional connection with a vehicle that’s mass-produced.

“I wanted to create an emotional connection with the vehicle without using customization,” Romkes told Autopia. “So that even though it will be mass produced and your car can look the same as your neighbor’s car, you still feel strongly connected with yours.”

To achieve a strong attachment between car and driver, Romkes used sensors to connect with and respond to the driver’s heartbeat from the moment he or she approaches the car in the parking lot. On initial approach, the car’s interior lights begin to glow and the door opens slightly to invite the driver to step inside.

“The vehicle needs you to operate, by using your heartbeat as the driving source,” Romkes told Autopia. A database of user inputs help the car to nurture the relationship. “Over time it studies your driving characteristics and adapts itself to make the experience even more smooth and natural.”

The glowing, “breathing” light on Apple laptops and the startup sequence of Romkes’ Sony VAIO laptop were both subtle rituals that he observed as inspiration for the Equilibrium. “It is amazing how such small elements can bring an extra dimension to a product,” he told Autopia. “It moves the product from static to dynamic and it brings a human factor as well. It is very subtle and I think most people experience this unconsciously.”

Far from a kinder, gentler Christine, the Equilibrium is a technical tour de force that mimics animate objects using technology from the not-so-distant future. Romkes pointed out the paradox that so many would-be supercar owners face: at the time in your life when one has the means to buy a dream car, one is also constrained by the priorities of family and functionality.

With the Equilibrium, “it is possible to have best of both worlds: a spacious interior and still an aerodynamic and relatively compact exterior. I decided to emphasize these two points by making a ‘one volume’ architecture without a shoulder-line and with covered wheels.”

Floating seats allow for easy customization of the car’s interior and seats that absorb impact. It is with “Rubber Metal,” a  flexible mixture of rubber and glass made through nanotechnology, that the wheels can simultaneously be covered and connected with the steering mechanism.

“This made me think of an external steering mechanism, where the exterior ‘skin’ can function as ‘artificial muscle structure’ and pull the wheels from the center around their axes,” Romkes told Autopia. “This way, the body can be placed close to the wheels. Because the material is flexible and attached to the wheels it can function as an external suspension system as well.”

Images: Bob Romkes. The Equilibrium concept uses technologies from the near future to forge a connection between car and owner.


equilibrium2equilibrium3equilibrium4

Swiss Zinc-Air Battery Company, ReVolt, Chooses Portland, Oregon For US Headquarters – Wants $30M in Stimulus Funding.

from Green Options by Nick Chambers

Setting its sights on the burgeoning US market for car batteries, cutting-edge Swiss zinc-air battery company,ReVolt, has decided to take advantage of Oregon’s generous business tax credits for development of next generation car technologies.

Announcing that it has selected Portland, Oregon as the location for its US headquarters and manufacturing center, ReVolt said it expects to create as many as 250 new jobs there. The partnership represents a coup for Oregon and Portland in the race to be the future electric car capital of the world.

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Reconnecting North and South Korea a Win For Foster+Partners

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer


With a startling green master-plan that will one day connect North and South Korea, Foster+Partners has won an international competition to design an extensive mixed-use scheme for two Korean islands near Seoul.

That it is bold, green and innovative is no surprise. Foster+Partners is known for visionary sustainable architecture – such as their Teatro Del Agua. It harvests sea spray and wind to naturally cool an outdoor amphitheater.

But this is perhaps their most extraordinary scheme ever. How often does an Architectural firm get to connect a communist and a capitalist country? With the world’s longest bridge? Incredible.

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Water Scarcity Started 15 Years Ago

Canberra, Australia (SPX) Sep 02, 2009 – New analysis shows that the water scarcity being experienced in southeast Australia started up to 15 years ago. While the results from the work by senior CSIRO researcher, Dr Albert van Dijk, may not surprise many people, it provides scientific evidence of the shift.

Water requirements for food production 1960-2050

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Water requirements for food production 1960-2050The requirements for water in agriculture in developing countries will need to increase in order to meet the Millennium Development Goal 1, target 2 ‘Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger’. To decrease hunger the outputs in agriculture will need to increase, and thus the water use. The data has been calculated for developing countries with minimum set of calories.