Photokina 2014 highlights

Environmentally-friendly

Who wouldn't want to wear clothing inspired by these guys?

Hagfish are super-slimy eel-like fish that live on the sea floor, where they feed on the carcasses of other sea creatures. Before you start disliking them too much, however, take note – synthetic fabrics of the future may be inspired by their slime.  Read More

A chemist is making cleaner-burning fireplace logs from lawn clippings (Photo: Shutterstoc...

Every year, untold tons of lawn clippings end up in landfills – or at best, in compost heaps. US Department of Agriculture chemist Syed H. Imam, however, has come up with what could be a better use for them. He’s been making them into fireplace logs, that have some big advantages over conventional artificial logs.  Read More

Researchers at the University of Freiburg have developed a technique for making foam from ...

Germany is known for its cutting-edge policies on green issues, and its drive towards a clean economy. One of its latest eco-breakthroughs comes from the University of Freiburg's Biofoambark project. Researchers there are trying to green up the insulation foam used in construction, by replacing its petroleum-based ingredients with a naturally-occurring compound that ordinarily goes to waste in the lumber industry.  Read More

Color-coded pipes for the cooling system, and a G-Bike for employees to get around the fac...

Last week, a post on Google's official blog announced a project that allows users to step inside the private world of its data centers. For the first time, the company's impressive efficiency records and green ethos have been given a face in the form of the stunning photographs by Connie Zhou and the Street View-able hallways of the Lenoir facility in North Carolina.  Read More

The cardboard bike can support a rider who weighs up to 220 kilograms (485 pounds), and it...

Israel-based Izhar Gafni has invented a working bicycle which is constructed almost entirely from recycled cardboard, and only costs around US$12 to manufacture. The cardboard bike is being touted as an ideal solution for city-dwellers who require an inexpensive and environmentally-friendly way to commute, in addition to a potential mode of transportation for people living in emerging countries.  Read More

The Supercharger network aims to make long distance travel possible for electric car owner...

Tesla Motors has announced an extensive network of Supercharger stations that aim to make long distance travel a reality for owners of its Model S electric car. The chargers are some 4.5x faster than previous methods, making it possible for drivers to get half a full charge in as little as half an hour.  Read More

XYZ Spaceframe Vehicles – this one shown with a trailer – incorporate weather-resistant an...

Danish design studio N55, in collaboration with German designer Till Wolfer, has created a series of open-source human-powered vehicle designs that can be built at home using basic tools and materials. Dubbed XYZ Spaceframe Vehicles, the models incorporate weather-resistant and lightweight frames that are made using standard aluminum tubes. Those tubes are assembled together using simple stainless steel bolts, washers and nuts. “Unlike the singular load-bearing tube seen in traditional bike structures, the main structure is an orthogonal spaceframe of standard aluminum tubes,” says N55.  Read More

The Bokashicycle Food Waste Pulverizer is designed to consolidate commercial food waste, a...

Businesses such as restaurants, grocery stores and farms are known for generating a lot of food waste. Not only can that waste take up space and attract vermin in landfills, but it can also be costly for those businesses to dispose of. That’s why Nevada-based Bokashicycle introduced a new product this week, the Bokashicycle Food Waste Pulverizer. The machine “shreds, rips, bruises and pulverizes” food waste, allowing more of it to fit within a receptacle, and preparing it for easy composting.  Read More

A chemical engineer has created a 'food biorefinery' that converts used coffee grounds and...

Every year, the individual stores that make up Starbucks Hong Kong produce almost 5,000 tonnes (4,536 tons) of used coffee grounds and unconsumed bakery items. As it stands now, all of that waste is incinerated, dumped in a landfill, or composted. In the future, however, it may be used to produce a key ingredient in laundry detergents, plastics, and many other items. A recent experiment showed that it can indeed be done.  Read More

NASA is seeking a 'green' alternative to hydrazine which, amongst other things, was used t...

After putting out a call for technology demonstration proposals for non-toxic “green” propellant alternatives to highly-toxic hydrazine earlier this year, NASA has selected a mission proposed by a team led by Boulder, Colorado-based Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation. The mission, which is intended to bridge the gap between technology development and use of green propellant, is expected to be developed and flown in around three years, with NASA providing US$45 million and additional funds provided by the mission co-investigators.  Read More

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