Archives for category: Engineering

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In Tuscany there is currently passionate dispute over land-use in the area that famously provided Michelangelo’s marble for David in a region known as the Apuan Alps. The 150 firms that run the quarries are eagerly waiting to see the outcome of the Tuscan regional government’s decision or its “final approval to the plan” this week.

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The Apuan Alps quarries are from classical times and still have traces of the engineers that mined and the Roman artisans who sculpted. Unfortunately, these quarries left scars on the surrounding landscape and entire mountain peaks have been destroyed.

One of the quarry owners and operators was concerned that the Tuscan regional government’s plan is the first step towards closing these quarries. Shutting down the 48 will result in a direct loss of about 5,000 jobs. A spokeswoman for quarry employers said that about 150 employers have agreed to suspend all activity on Monday and Tuesday by barring workers from entering the quarries.

This lock out is being described as “anti-democratic and contemptuous of the rights of works” whereas the regional government is trying to be more responsible for their environmental impact and irreversible devastation.

 

(Source: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/30/tuscany-marble-quarries-shut-environment-dispute)

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build high green halo waste tracking system xeros washer water

It’s not news that certain parts of the world have drought emergencies right now but Xeros has an new invention that is helping reduce the travesty. Xeros came out with a polymer bead laundry system which comes with enormous savings and benefits that currently attracts mainly commercial locations. This new laundry system is currently impacting the hotel, gym, and hospital industries in a great ways.

By reducing consumption in commercial laundry, hotels can conserve valuable resources, gain competitive advantages, market themselves as green to increase their brand value and improve customer loyalty in addition to reducing costs.

The Xeros washer works by utilizing the hydrophilic properties of polymer beads. Scientists at the University of Leeds School of Textiles discovered that these beads, mixed with a small amount of water and a special detergent act as magnets for stains and dirt to clean laundry better and more gently than traditional methods. These reusable polymer beads also last for hundreds of washes before they need to be recycled and the Xeros polymer bead laundry system uses 80% less water, 50% less energy, about 50% less detergent and results in better cleaning results compared to traditional methods.

Source: http://www.waterworld.com/articles/iww/print/volume-14/issue-3/features/wiser-washing.html

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build high green halo waste tracking system palm oil bio porducts energy and water treatment

The fifth International Engineering Invention & Innovation Exhibition (i-ENVEX 2014) in Kangar just wrapped up and the goal medalists beat out more than 87 entries with their project on the production of bio-products as a source of energy and waste water treatment.

The goal medalists are from the UCSI University chemical engineering and the students names are Jing Ren, Selvaraja, Chun Man and Shapnathayammal. The team, including Teoh Kai Wen developed an alternative fuel source that helps overcome fossil fuel dependence, and also reduces the pollution resulting from fossil fuel production. “It combines both the immobilization of cellulase enzyme (attachment of cellulase to a solid support) and functionalization (surface modification) of multi-wall carbon nanotube (MWCNT) processes,” Jing Ren explained. Jing Ren also said that: “The past few decades have seen cellulase enzyme being used as the catalyst in industrial processes but large quantities are often involved and the associated purchase cost for raw cellulase is very high”.

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The raw material used in this project was palm oil sludge, which was usually disposed after palm oil production. The chemical engineers converted the waste into different products, “bio-oil” and “biochar” by processing the palm oil sludge with pyrolysis.

 

Source: http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Education/2014/06/08/Kudos-for-turning-waste-to-fuel/

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green halo systems coconut-water-splash

Tokelau, a New Zealand island has an abundance of coconuts but the same can’t be said for other natural resources that help us survive. For this reason, Tokelau’s leader Foua Toloa announced in 2009 that the island will switch to using coconuts and solar power to provide all of the energy for the island. At the moment, diesel is administered to the island from New Zealand to meet the island’s electricity demands (about 42,000 gallons annually). In addition to diesel, gasoline and kerosene is also imported to the island.green halo systems tokelau 2

In Tokelau, most of the population has modern appliances, including satellite TV and Internet. It’s astonishing to think that the island can run off of solar power and coconut oil but we applaud Foua Toloa and Tokelau for being so bold.  green halo systems tokelau

The new energy plan is to transfer most of the islands’ power generation to 93% photovoltaic solar arrays and biofuel from coconuts will supply the remaining 7% of power generated in Tokelau. Some say that this effort is purely symbolic but we should note that this is part of an effort amount South Pacific island nations to encourage renewable energy systems.fresh coconut halves on beach

Source: http://www.fastcoexist.com/1678915/a-tiny-pacific-island-is-now-powered-by-coconuts

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L. Kevin and Donna Philippe-Johnson talk about their story here: http://earthstar.newlibertyvillage.com/thinkingsmall.htm

They downsized from an annual income of $42,000 to $6,500 by means of their voluntary creative simplicity.
Here’s an outline:
1. They were a middle class American couple who had an income of $42,000 a year in the 80’s but got sick of dealing with frequent layoffs and the instability of being unemployed and then employed off and on.
2. They decided to drastically cut expenses by moving to the country where they also met plenty of like-minded people.
3. Kevin and Donna decided to shake loose from the things holding them down and paid off all of their debt, cancelled credit cards, and followed an efficient financial plan to track every penny.
4. This led them to be able to save a little bit of money, so they decided that the next thing to do would be to change their eating habits to stay strong and healthy. They broke away from fast-food, pre-packed food and even prescription medicine to eating organic whole grains, fruits, vegetables and more.
5. They set up a special savings account for emergency first-aid treatment so that they could stop paying health insurance premiums.
6. Of course, the cell phone, cable television and internet bills were the next thing to go.
7. Eventually they began their “simple life” when they set up a dome tent to live in. They “happily lived in [their] tent that summer while clearing the land and constructing a rustic 10’ by 12’ room with a sleeping loft” on a pay-as-you-go plan.
8. The couple then build an underground cistern for collecting rainwater and finally, a 500 square foot cabin. Kevin took drafting, dish washing, courier, and other jobs to pay for the little cabin.
9. Kevin and Donna spent the next few years working towards their goals, building things, growing crops, spending quality time with one another and “replaced all of the costly false values that had occupied [their]time before”
10. In the end, the couple felt independent and truly self-reliant. Surprisingly enough, Kevin realized that the only thing he truly loved to do was to bake his own whole-grain sourdough bread to give away to his friends and family. He then came to the conclusion that he should stay at home and bake bread to sell to their neighbors. This provided for him and his wife. He also wrote this story to tell others that “little things” like baking bread for a neighborhood can be financially supportive and can make some people happier.

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Altaeros Energies has announced the first planned commercial demonstration if it’s Buoyant Airborne Turbine or BAT product. The announcement event plans to deploy the BAT at a height of 1,000’ above ground which could break the record for the highest wind turbine in the world. See what the BAT looks like here:

The BAT has a helium-filled, inflatable shell which lifts the apparatus to high altitudes so that energy can be consistently generated in a low cost way as well. BAT is secured to the ground with high strength tethers and electricity gets sent to the ground from there. The reason behind traveling to higher altitudes is because the winds are stronger and more consistent higher up in the sky.

To learn more, visit: http://www.altaerosenergies.com/

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Part of the philosophy behind these awesome houses is to build high:

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For the method used in these eco-homes, visit:

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/33s38S/1F9KoPVyF:DZIoIbfd/home-and-gardening.info/2009/11/12/eco-homes-tree-house-that-are-capable-of-being-sustained-develops-with-its-dwellers/

 

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Green building is expected to grow 10% in upcoming years and many in the industry consider sustainable building to be the “right way to build” now a days. At a time when people are still building, consuming, and spending the majority of their time indoors it is critical that we build more sustainable buildings. Calrecycle.ca.gov explains that green buildings are designed to meet certain objectives such as “protecting occupant health; improving employee productivity; using energy, water, and other resources more efficiently; and reducing the overall impact to the environment”. If you’ve ever been in a green building before, high achieving green buildings are stunning. The air quality inside certainly feels better than most buildings, the overall impact to the environment is also great because of the landscaping that is chosen and you would notice different materials that are likely made from recycling.

This article is preparation for a very special “How to Choose a Green Contractor” interview/article that is coming soon. What’s important to know ahead of time, is what a green building looks like because it is a fairly new idea. Some of the benefits are lower operating costs over the life of the building, improved productivity, reduced environmental impact, and increase in health and in comfort.

Some green buildings look like the modern marvels they are but they can also be designed to be more lavish like other fabulous homes of the past. Now, let’s look at some inspiring homes, and please read next week for the special piece that’s coming up!

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After writing about the EPA’s new proposal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30% from 2005 levels by 2030, and China’s battle against smog, we want to present a new “Smog-Sucking Electrostatic Vacuum Cleaner” idea that cleanses polluted air:

Copper coils buried in the ground create a positively charged electrostatic field. All particles of ten nanometres or more — including smog — become positively charged, and thus attracted to the grounded earth, where they are collected. “It’s a loop of fresh air,”

The method of ionizing smog particles came from Delft University of Technology researcher Bob Ursem who noticed that tiny particles of organic debris would move from the Atlantic Ocean onto the beach. The particles would fly over the dunes, towards the bushes and then over the bushes. Ursem explained that the particles had a negative charge because of friction and they floated above the negatively charged bushes, “…indicating that the electrical force is greater than the gravity force”. Ursem began studying the negatively charged particles by replicating this phenomenon in his lab and he eventually was able to reverse the charge on the particles using an electrostatic field. Under lab conditions, Ursem created an “ionic wind” as the force of positively charged particles attached themselves to the ground. This sweeping discovery is fascinating also because of Roosegaarde’s awesome plans and creativity. Roosegaarde is trying to build such devices to place on the sides of buildings in Beijing to reduce smog in the city. The latest project specs indicate that the pockets of cleansed air will be in parks so that people can enjoy a 30,000 meters cubed area of fresh air. Another testament to Roosegaarde’s creativity is that he would like the particles in smog that get collected by the air-purifying devices to be turned into “diamond” rings representing the smog that is collected in this process.

Roosegaarde’s smog air bubble airea

 

(Source: http://www.studioroosegaarde.net/project/the-smog-project/stories/#794 and http://www.wired.co.uk/magazine/archive/2014/04/start/beijings-cloud-server)

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Obama and the EPA 's fight on power plants, the epa, climate change and green house gas

We at Green Halo Systems have been following the news about the USA’s greenhouse gas policies since the beginning of the year when the Secretary of State John Kerry’s goal was to become the “lead broker of a global climate treaty” according to The New York Times. John Kerry has made President Barack Obama and millions of others focus on global warming in the past six months and today it was announced that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing a 30% cut from 2005 figures to all power plant emissions by 2030.

To review some of what has happened since the beginning of the year, this past February, the EPA drafted a new rule to regulate 1,500 power plans in America to curb climate change and to tighten the language on such a rule. Later that month, Pres Obama ordered the development of new fuel efficiency standards for the nation’s heavy-duty trucks through the use of executive authority. Days later, the Supreme Court considered the President’s orders when it comes to emissions from “stationary sources” such as power plants. Pres Obama’s use of executive authority has since become a popular topic.

At the end of March the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change report warned that climate change is having a “sweeping effect worldwide” that is likely to grow worse unless greenhouse emissions get under control. The report gave weight to Pres Obama’s effort to use his executive authority under The Clean Air Act.

During April the United Nations report said that the United States needs to develop a climate change law so taxing carbon pollution was up for discussion. Paul Krugman’s response to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s statement was that economists’ optimism about limiting emissions of greenhouse gases is due to technological innovations that have decreased the cost of renewable energy.

At the beginning of May, Pres Obama announced investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy. The President campaigned to build support for the EPA’s carbon pollution limits on pollution from coal-fired power plants. Also in May, research about the giant glaciers’ “tipping points” as proof of global warming was scrutinized by The New York Times. Pres Obama also recently stated that the proof of climate change makes this issue “not some distant problem of the future”.

And so now, in the beginning of June, Pres Obama reiterated the importance of climate change policies in his second-term agenda. On June 1st, 2014, the Obama administration proposed what might be the most ambitious climate change mitigation strategy in the USA so far. The proposal is that the entire power sector (America’s largest carbon polluter) must bring its emission levels down by 30% from what they were in 2005 by the year 2030.

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