Turning Coal Carbon Emissions to Baking Soda

A coal-powered plant in Tuticorin, India has found an innovative way to capture carbon emissions — by recycling them into soda ash, an ingredient in common household products like bleach, sweeteners, and even your toothpaste.

The typical carbon capturing method filters out the carbon before it is released into the atmosphere and stores it in a separate containment. But Tuticorin is changing it up by crystallizing the coal and turning it into soda ash — otherwise known as baking soda.

That baking soda byproduct means Tuticorin has made carbon capture profitable: Not only is it environmentally wise, but dirty waste is being re-imagined to sell plastic, rubber, or glass manufacturing.

With solar, wind, and hydropower resources becoming more accessible to the masses, the demand for natural gas is expected to be on the decline, making this carbon capture method attractive to businesses and consumers alike. According to the Ren21 Global Status Report for 2015, the world invested twice as much in clean energy as they did in the oil and gas industry. Previous roadblocks have stopped the U.S. from investing in carbon capture in the past. But this new mechanism can be outfitted to any plant — no matter how old — and is much more affordable.

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Solar Wheelchair

A team of students and faculty from the University of Virginia School of Engineering created a prototype design of a solar powered wheelchair with retractable panels inspired by the idea from a man with cerebral palsy from Turkey. Their goal was to create a prototype of a solar powered wheelchair with retractable panels for individuals with lower extremity or mobility disabilities, spinal cord injury, or cerebral palsy. The Solar Powered Team (SPT) created the prototype using a Shoprider 6Runner wheelchair. They built a structured frame around the base of the wheelchair to hold the solar panels. Three solar panels were attached to a convertible-like structure which rotates back behind the wheelchair.

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The Biodegradable Bottle

In March 2016, a design student named Ari Jonsson entered in a design festival in Reykjavik, Iceland with his invention, a biodegradable water bottle that holds its shape while there is water in it. When it is empty, it naturally begins to compose. As it is made from jelly, it is even edible!

Ari Jonsson studies product design at the Icelandic Academy of Arts. After realizing just how much plastic we use, he decided that he’d take the initiative to offer a solution. “I read that 50 percent of plastic is used once and then thrown away,” he said. “I feel there is an urgent need to find ways to replace some of the unreal amount of plastic we make.” His solution comes from a source that is proving itself to be more and more useful: algae.

Jonsson’s water bottle can be formed by simply adding water and heat, then placing the jelly that forms into a freezable mold. When the bottle is filled, it keeps its shape. Then, when you’re done drinking whatever it is you’re drinking, the bottle begins to decompose. And, much like the delicious soup-in-a-bread-bowl, you can even eat the bottle.

Considering how many water bottles people use everyday (whether or not they recycle them!), this could mean a lot for the future of disposable containers for liquids we consume on the daily. Of course, maintain metal or glass containers is also effectively sustainable while these designs are in development.

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Se@Drone

In Delft, Netherlands a team by the name of “Se@Drone” is developing an unmanned surface and underwater drone duo that can pick up trash off the bottom of the sea floor! The surface drone holds the underwater drone during travel and releases it with a winch as a life-line. Once the underwater drone finds trash on the sea floor 4 sides can close around the waste.

Check out SeaDroneNL’s facebook page for more infomation!

( Link: https://www.facebook.com/SeaDroneNL/ )

AirCasting

AirCasting is an open-source, end-to-end solution for collecting, displaying, and sharing health and environmental data using your smartphone. The platform consists of wearable sensors that detect changes in your environment and physiology, including a palm-sized air quality monitor called the AirBeam, the AirCasting Android app, the AirCasting website, and wearable LED accessories. By documenting and leveraging health and environmental data to inform personal decision-making and public policy, the AirCasting platform empowers citizen scientists and changemakers.

(Visit AirCasting for more info!)

Kirigami-inspired Solar Cells

Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed solar cells that are lighter than ever before, modeled after “kirigami,” the ancient Japanese art of paper cutting.

A team of engineers and an artist developed an array of small solar cells that can tilt within a larger panel, keeping their surfaces more perpendicular to the sun’s rays.

“The beauty of our design is, from the standpoint of the person who’s putting this panel up, nothing would really change,” said Max Shtein, associate professor of materials science and engineering. “But inside, it would be doing something remarkable on a tiny scale: the solar cell would split into tiny segments that would follow the position of the sun in unison.”

(Source link: University of Michigan)

Undersea Oil Spill Device

At the age of 18, Karan Jerath of Friendswood, Texas won the top prize for Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (IISEF) for inventing a device that shuts down undersea oil spills.

Jerath was also one of the five students selected for the Intel and Indo-US Science and Technology Forum Visit to India Award. Jerath designed a sturdy device that can collect the oil, gas and water spewing from a broken well on the seafloor.

“Sensors inside the 350-ton device would measure the temperature, pressure and density of the mix of gases and fluids erupting from a well,” Karan said. “A computer would then calculate how valves in the gadget should be adjusted so that the gas and oil can be collected. That should stop a spill in its tracks. The device could help prevent an ecological catastrophe. It also would reduce cleanup costs.”

 (Source: Huffington Post)

The Dutchman Tree Spade

Why cut a tree down when it can be easily and efficiently transplanted?

I re-present to you, the Dutchman Industries’ Dutchman Tree Spade.

In the early 1970’s, Dutchmaster commenced the design, development, and manufacturing of the “Dutchman’s Tree Spade”. Continual design upgrades over the past two decades have resulted in a number of models that can deal with trees of all calipers while maintaining our reputation for efficiency and dependability. The Dutchman Industries Inc. has evolved into a 1600+ acre wholesale nursery distribution center. Their nursery offers a wide variety of deciduous and coniferous plants.

Check out their website for more info and videos here!