Archives for the month of: January, 2014

Walnut Creek, CA – The City of Walnut Creek is considering an ordinance to prohibit the distribution of single use carryout bags in all retailers (except restaurants and non-profit charitable thrift stores). Under the ordinance, all grocery and retail stores in Walnut Creek would no longer provide single-use carryout plastic bags. Stores may sell paper bags for a minimum of 10 cents for each bag. Protective plastic or paper bags, without handles, for items such as meat, fresh produce, dry-cleaned clothes and prescription medications will be allowed. Consumers will have the option to bring their own reusable bags or pay for recycled paper bags. The City Council will consider the proposed ordinance as early as March 2014 (walnut-creek.org).

Green Halo Walnut Creek CA Proposed Plastic Bag Ban Ordinance

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Even though this crazy hover bike hasn’t yet left the inventor’s neighborhood, the high-flying invention has some amazing potential. Designed by Australian Chris Malloy the bike is capable of traveling at speeds of up to 173mph at 10,000 feet. It could potentially travel even higher, but then users would have to carry oxygen. Classified as an ultralight, users won’t be required to have a pilot’s license to ride it.

The 1170 cc hover bike engine is air-cooled and runs on regular unleaded fuel. One tank will net you about 92 miles. They’ll cost a pretty penny too – up to $40,000 depending on demand – though if Malloy can pull in more than 1,000 orders annually, prices will drop.

In an urban context, the hover bike would be an absolute nightmare. But potential positive applications include aerial cattle mustering, search and rescue, aerial survey, wildlife and parks, film, military and emergency services, as well as power-line inspection. Quieter and smaller than helicopters, and therefore more fuel efficient, the hover bike could offer a more sustainable alternative to airborne searches.

Green Halo technology hover bike

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The INgSOC bike combines the aerodynamic shape of a triathlon bike with flexible handling and hybrid technology to create a wild-looking chain-less bike that runs in three modes: battery-powered, battery assist, and battery charge mode, where the user powers up the battery by pedaling.

The INgSOC’s frame is constructed from carbon fiber-reinforced polymer. A battery powers the motor as well as a headlight and rear tail lights, plus an iPhone charging dock. What do you think of the INgSOC?

Pics below:

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A research team from Virginia Tech led by Y.H. Percival Zhang just developed a battery that runs on natural sugar that could replace conventional batteries within three years.

Most gadgets today run on lithium-ion batteries, which are costly. Lithium is a limited resource with the majority of the world’s supply found in Bolivia, China, Chile, Argentina, and Australia. Sugars, on the other hand, are abundant in supply and safe to use. The battery technology could serve as the next generation of green power sources.

The sugar battery is cheap, refillable, and biodegradable, and it could be used to power cell phones, tablets, video games and other electronic Green Halo sugar powered batterygadgets in the future. “Sugar is a perfect energy storage compound in nature,” Zhang said. “So it’s only logical that we try to harness this natural power in an environmentally friendly way to produce a battery.”

Researchers have used sugar to power batteries before, but they were not able to store that much energy. Zhang claims his prototype has an energy density of a higher order of magnitude than others, which allows it to run longer before needing to be refueled.

The impact of disposable batteries on the environment has been well documented – billions are thrown away in the US alone every year. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), improperly disposed batteries pose a risk to both human health and the environment, but Zhang says his sugar replacement could stop hundreds of thousands of tons of batteries from ending up in landfills.

The sugar battery combines fuel – in this case maltodextrin, a polysaccharide made from partial hydrolysis of starch – with air to generate electricity, and water is its main byproduct. “We are releasing all electron charges stored in the sugar solution slowly step-by-step by using an enzyme cascade,” Zhang said.

However unlike traditional batteries, the fuel sugar solution is neither explosive nor flammable and it has a higher energy storage density. The enzymes and fuels used to build the device are also biodegradable, and it can also be refilled, much like a printer cartridge.

Even though the sugar battery stores a high amount of energy for its mass, the maximum amount of power it can put out is still lower than that of lithium-ions, thus limiting its potential applications to portable devices (you couldn’t use a sugar battery to run vehicles, for instance).

The team says that the sugar fuel cell could be ready to integrate into our electronics in three years and will eventually be at least one-tenth the cost of lithium-ion batteries.

Green Halo Virgina Tech Sugar Battery

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There are many ways to brighten up dark spaces without mechanical assistance, but few are as efficient and simple as the groundbreaking LightCatcher from EcoNation. A mirror integrated within a polycarbonate light dome, the LightCatcher is equipped with patented sensor technology that enables the system to search for the optimum light spot. A 185.35 square ft opening in a roof brings in 646-1,202 square ft of natural light without using a lick of energy. Designed by Maarten Michielssens in collaboration with the University of Ghent, this energy-saving technology earned EcoNation a nomination as one of the top small to medium-sized enterprises (SME) eligible for a Zayed Future Energy Prize (ZFEP) award.

So, how does it work? The mirror integrated within the dome captures incoming daylight that is then reflected, filtered and amplified in a light shaft before it spreads through a building. Images demonstrate how this solar-powered system brightens a room more effectively without mechanical assistance than a standard light bulb. In fact, the LightCatcher is so efficient that it is possible to enjoy daylighting for an average of 10 hours a day, which reduces energy usage by up to 70 percent.

The Belgian company also has an interesting business model. EcoNation installs LightCatcher light domes on the roofs of commercial or government buildings, absorbing the entire investment, and then monitors energy savings. Whatever money is saved by the system is then shared between the client and the company. According to EcoNation, this LightCatcher Light Energy model provides businesses and governments an opportunity to reduce energy bills without an upfront cash outlay.

Green Halo LightCatcher EcoNation Dome Light Energy Saver

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Smog levels in Beijing, China were found to be 10 to 15 times what the World Health Organization classifies as a health risk. The streets are still overflowing with people wearing gas masks and respirators, and city officials recently announced a fuel pollution tax to help curb emissions. Yu Shaocai, an expert on “wet deposition”, recently proposed a radical new solution that could help clear the air: giant sprinklers that spray water into the atmosphere of heavily-polluted cities.

Yu Shaocai, a former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency employee, and an expert on “wet deposition” proposed a solution which is based on a valid natural occurrence. “Wet deposition” is a process by which raindrops and snowflakes deposit polluted particles on the ground and clean the air. Shaocai’s idea is to create a new urban infrastructure and attach the giant sprinklers to the exteriors of skyscrapers in order to clear out toxins and gases from the air.

Shaocai doesn’t have specific answers to some of the technical questions. Installing giant sprinklers would involve a costly process of retrofitting skyscrapers with necessary equipment, not to mention the safety measures during storms and strong winds. The proposal is a theoretical paper, published in the January issue of Environmental Chemistry Letters, which Shaocai plans to test at Zhejiang University and in Hangzhou.Green Halo China Smog Giant Sprinklers Wet Deposition

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In late February, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is teaming up with a fishing equipment company to test out an unusual approach to fighting space junk: a satellite equipped with a 300-meter magnetic net that will sweep up the man-made debris hovering in low Earth orbit. The net is only 30 cm wide when unspooled, and it is composed of a highly flexible metal fiber. When the net is launched into space, it will use a magnetic field to attract pieces of orbiting debris.

Green Halo Japan Launches Giant Net Space Debris

Over the course of a year, the collected space junk will sink lower and lower, eventually burning up in Earth’s atmosphere. If this test proves successful, a kilometer-long version has already been fabricated for future use. Jaxa is currently figuring out how to use space craft to attach these nets to larger pieces of space debris, like old rocket engines or broken satellites. A functioning system could be deployed as early as 2019.

Currently experts estimate there are 100 million bits of junk floating around the Earth. 22,000 of those pieces of space debris are believed to measure 10 cm or longer, potentially threatening satellites and the International Space Station. Most of the debris is made up of discarded parts of degrading satellites and old rockets.

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Scorching heat in Australia and the impact it’s having on sports:

waste tracking wastetracking.com australia heat wave

 

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Jan. 17 – Could this be the high-tech toy of the future? Anki Drive is an iPhone controlled car racing game. Players can not only outrun their opponents, but also fire imaginary weapons at them. The entire racing game can be customized from the race car performance characteristics to the weapons that each car can use.

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China warns people in its northern regions to stay indoors as air pollution in Beijing is averaging 18 times World Health Organization (WHO) recommended levels.

The concentration of fine particulates that pose the greatest risk to human health was 447 micro-grams per cubic meter near Tienanmen Square in Beijing. Compare that to an average of 456 over the past 48 hours, the Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center said on its website. The WHO recommends exposure to no higher than 25 micro-grams per cubic meter over a day.Green Halo China Smog Problem Air Pollution World Health Organization WHO

The smog adds pressure on the government to take measures beyond shutting steel plants and limiting the number of cars on the road to battle air pollution.

Beijing Mayor Wang Anshun declared an “all-out effort” to tackle air pollution by cutting coal use by 2.6 million metric tons and transforming 300 polluting companies this year, the official Xinhua News Agency reports.

Coal-burning boilers inside Beijing’s fifth ring road will be eliminated and measures taken against coal burning in the capital’s periphery, Xinhua said.

A rising number of Chinese cities have introduced emergency measures to counter smog amid increasing social unrest over the health effects of a spoiled environment.

Check out this video:

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