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Sunday, December 7, 2014

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Pulling Water out of Thin Air – Sustainable Condensers Create Drinkable Water


elowater turbine

Fresh drinking water is a disappearing commodity for many people of the world. In fact, some 750 million people in the world lack access to safe drinking water. With current climate changes the desperation for water is expected to increase. This need has triggered the rise of numerous new technologies. Most promising are those that are self-efficient. The following devices function by condensing fresh water right out of thin air – utilizing renewable energy to get the job done.

water from wind

Since 2011 Eolewater has been developing the WMS1000  a wind turbine that powers itself using the wind and collects water from the humidity in the air. The WMS1000 has been able to collect an average of 62 litters an hour of fresh water in 45 percent humidity at 24 degree Celsius. After being able to produce 1000 liters a day of freshwater the turbine is currently being shipped to Abu Dhabi for the first phase of tests in extreme weather conditions. If successful, the WMS1000’s wind powered water collection can be implemented bring fresh water to people in need.

NERIOS S3

Eolewater also has systems that harness solar to power water collection. The NERIOS S3 is a solar powered water condenser. It’s the newest model and boasts 28 individual solar panels. Its ice storage system means that no battery is needed for when the sunlight is not available.

fontus condenser

Also harnessing the power of the sun  is another invention called Fontus. Designed by Kristof Retezar a Austrian industrial design student; Fontus is a solar powered water condenser for your bike.

fontus self filling

Fontus attaches to the frame and when you ride air flows in through the filter, is cooled, water condenses then drips down into the removable bottle. Offering a way to allow bicyclists to ditch the camel-packs and make their own water as they ride.

fonuts design

In 50 percent humidity at a minimum temp of 68 degrees Fahrenheit Fontus can condense at a rate of 1 drop per minute. However it currently lacks an additional filter to prevent pollutants from being in the water so it’s not recommended for use in an urban setting. At a price point of 25 to 40 dollars for a unit it might be a fun investment for the alternative bicyclist.

These technologies all address a growing problem in different ways. With our need for fresh water growing by the day inventions like these might save rivers and groundwater from being tapped.  They can also create a water source for people that live in even the driest of environments. Although water collection from humidity is more practical in areas where humidity is high, these strides are perhaps a step in the right direction.

related: more green design projects featured on The Alternative Consumer

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Monday, December 1, 2014

This Eco-Friendly Water Bottle Heats Your Drink Just by Shaking!


Warm Tech bottles

How often have you been suffering through the cold weather at some sort of sporting event or outdoor excursion, while clutching onto your once-warm and cozy thermos? If you were unfortunate enough to be stranded at home, snowed in, and without power through this young season’s already devastating snowfalls, you can relate to this as well. There are some super-high-quality containers out there to choose from — each new model promising to keep your hot coffee or tea warmer for a longer period of time, but they have each been restricted by the amount of they can keep a beverage hot, until now.

Warm Tech info

The Warm Tech Bottle introduced in last year’s Lite-On Award competition in China allows you to keep your hot beverage warm simply by shaking the bottle! A talented, four-person design team from the Tainan University of Technology was awarded the Silver Award for the Warm Tech Bottle, which they say, “aims to facilitate outdoor users to get warm water easily.” (more…)

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Automate Your Home with the EverSense Interactive Thermostat


EverSense smart thermostat

To be honest, when I discovered the EverSense Thermostat from Allure Energy, I had a complete moment of double take. I mean, advances in the resource efficiency of consumer products are not commonly known to originate in Texas, unless we’re talking about a more economical nodding donkey. Before I provoke you to un-holster that six-shooter, know that this native Texan has his pointed high in the sky, firing off my own one-gun salute to Allure Energy.

Eversense proximity

Imagine this: the workday is done – a cold wind bites at your face as you step outside – you hop into your electric car to begin the commute home – cannot use the heater; your battery is draining – traffic is at a standstill – you feel your hands tightening their grip on the steering wheel. You’re stressed, ready to get home and relax. Luckily though, something at home is ensuring you will be comfortable when you arrive.

EverSense Proximity

The EverSense Home Thermostat from Allure Energy, based in Austin, Texas, knows when you are approaching home by using its patented Proximity Control Technology and automatically activates your HVAC system when you are within a preset range of your home, instead of being triggered by a preset time. EverSense learns how to best provide you with a customized, convenient and environmentally friendly home climate control system by adjusting to your daily schedule by communicating with your SmartPhone. The device assures you that energy will not be wastefully expended heating or cooling an empty home and even provides you with on-screen, energy-saving recommendations to help you save additional money on your electricity bill. (more…)

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Monday, November 3, 2014

Robots: Behind the Scenes of the Green Energy Revolution


solar panel robot

Robotics has become a common industrial tool in the United States and abroad, taking the place of countless industrial workers and raising the production efficiency of the manufacture of many goods we use in our daily lives. It is, unfortunately, taking away

military robot

many blue-collar manufacturing jobs, though on the other hand robotics has arguably saved many American soldiers’ lives via the use of Unmanned Ground and Air Vehicles, such as bomb defusing mini-tanks and aircraft with remote pilots. Although robotics is largely working “behind the scenes”, beyond the awareness of  the average consumer, its articulated arms are in fact involved in many industries; perhaps the most important being the green energy sector. (more…)

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

the LED light bulb that shines when the power goes out


SmartCharge LED Bulb

If you live in an environment that is prone to extreme weather events like big winter snowstorms, high winds, or hurricanes you might want to contemplate what’s going to happen when the lights go out (and they will). One solution – an energy-efficient LED light bulb which contains a rechargeable battery that keeps the bulb lit when the power goes out and operates like a normal LED light bulb when the juice is on.

The SmartCharge LED Bulb was funded through a successful Kickstarter campaign that reached 183% of its target. SmartCharge is a nifty solution for folks who experience frequent power loss, or those who can’t afford to be left in the dark. (more…)

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

The ASMO Smartphone Charger – the Intelligent “Green” Smartphone Charger


ASMO Energy Saving Smartphone Charger

I love my smartphone; you know you do, too. But most of us Americans are wirelessly chained to a metaphorical ball that appears to outpace our unsustainable trek downhill. The earth is ripped and torn to procure the rare elements that make our smartphones’ existence possible. Nonetheless, today’s smartphones are an essential mixture of convenience, communication, entertainment and intelligence; devices that are indeed so intelligent that they count our every footstep, turn themselves on silent when you are near a preprogrammed location such as work or school, and tirelessly serve as our pocket personal assistants. The Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA) – The Wireless Association estimated in June, 2010 that there were 292.8 million active smartphones in the United States, representing 5% of the world’s wireless subscribers. For now, let us ignore the material costs or natural resource uses associated with the production of all of these smartphones and let us focus on the most archaic component you find when unboxing your new toy.

Asmo Saloranta is a young Finnish engineer and entrepreneur who, up until 2013, worked in information technologies.Asmo Saloranta When an electrical fire stemming from an unattended mobile phone charger consumed his girlfriend’s childhood home, Asmo began thinking of how to best avoid similar events in the future. There were not any products in the market at the time that fit his vision for a safe, energy efficient smartphone charger, so Asmo took it upon himself to come up with a solution. The resulting ASMO Charger is arguably the most interesting innovation to come out of Finland since the modern sauna and heavy metal music. By incorporating a simple relay into the smartphone charger, electric current can be blocked automatically when the device is disconnected.

ASMO charger graphic

Conventional smartphone chargers continuously draw electricity while plugged into the wall (vampire power) even when they are not in use, which poses a constant – although small – risk of fire. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, which garnered 533 backers, full scale production of the ASMO Charger is scheduled for (more…)

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Saturday, October 4, 2014

DIY: How to make a solar powered jack-o’-lantern


solar jack-o'-lantern

With fall upon us and stores bursting with Halloween supplies, many of us are starting to decorate our homes and yards. Lighting is always a fun way to give homes some festive curb appeal. What’s better than a glowing jack-o’-lantern? Buying a bunch of pumpkins and carving them every few nights doesn’t seem like a practical idea. And since electricity should not be wasted nor toxic batteries tossed, how about going solar? A solar-powered jack-o’-lantern is a great and green do-it-yourself option to bring some of the spirit of Halloween to your home.

clear glass bowlAnyone of any craft skill level can make these lanterns at home in three simple steps. Before you begin, gather the following:  (more…)

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

How to Donate or Recycle Cell Phones


Since smartphone manufacturers are constantly releasing their newest and hottest smartphones with exciting features, consumers are buying phones more often. The average person upgrades their cell phone every 18 months, a cycle which results in many people throwing out their old phones. This has major consequences on the environment: experts estimate that an astounding number of devices are thrown out every year in the United States alone. This adds to our country’s growing problem with overcrowded landfills.

The Environmental Effects
cellphone-slaes infographicAccording to e-Cycle.com, Americans throw out 130 million devices every year, making up the majority of toxins in our landfills. Even though more than 70 percent of these millions of phones can be reused, it is believed that only 14 to 17 percent of mobile devices are recycled. The environmentally responsible thing to do is properly recycle any mobile device that you no longer plan to use. When enough people participate, it can have a tremendous impact on the environment, our energy supply and our landfills.

For example, e-Cycle.com points out that recycling one lithium-ion battery of a smartphone can prevent the contamination of 60,000 liters of water (the equivalent of three Olympic-sized swimming pools). And, if 1 million people recycle their cell phones, this will reduce greenhouse gas emissions equal to taking 33 cars off the road for a year. Just 42 recycled cell phones save enough energy to power the average household for a full year.  (more…)

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