Archive for the environment Category

1 | A Simple Solar Oven Makes Salt Water Drinkable | Co.Design: business + innovation + design

Posted in environment, science, technology with tags , on August 27, 2012 by SpenceG

It functions by filling the black boiler with salty sea water in the morning, then tightening the cap. As the temperature and pressure grows, steam is forced downwards through a connection pipe and collects in the lid, which acts as a condenser, turning the steam into fresh water. Once Diamanti established the fundamentals were sound, he experimented with a series of concepts for the aesthetic of the object. “My goal was to design something friendly and recognizable for the users,” he explains. “The process developed quite naturally to determine the current shape; every detail is there for a reason, so the form, as well as production techniques, represent a compromise between technical and traditional.” Primary field studies in sub-Saharan Africa revealed the habit of carrying goods on the head–also a common practice in other areas around the world–and this was integrated into Eliodomestico’s plan. And while solar stills aren’t a totally new concept, Diamanti says it’s rare to find them in a domestic context rather than in missions or hospitals, or as large plants overseen by qualified personnel that serve entire communities. “I tried to make something for a real household that could be operated directly by the families,” he says.

via 1 | A Simple Solar Oven Makes Salt Water Drinkable | Co.Design: business + innovation + design.

Solar Markets Are Booming in the US -IREC | Use – reduce global °Celsius

Posted in environment on August 17, 2012 by SpenceG

Despite some high-profile negative news stories about solar in 2011, solar markets are booming in the United States, says Larry Sherwood, President of Sherwood Associates, and author of the 2012 Solar Market Trends Report from the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. Falling photovoltaic prices, strong consumer demand, and financial incentives from the federal government, states and utilities meant that twice as much photovoltaic solar was installed in 2011, as was installed in 2010.

via Solar Markets Are Booming in the US -IREC | Use – reduce global °Celsius.

Rate of Arctic summer sea ice loss is 50% higher than predicted | Environment | The Observer

Posted in environment with tags , , on August 14, 2012 by SpenceG

The view from a yacht’s mast. Summer pack ice is showing a rate of loss 50% higher than anticipated. Photograph: Mike Powell/Corbis

Sea ice in the Arctic is disappearing at a far greater rate than previously expected, according to data from the first purpose-built satellite launched to study the thickness of the Earth’s polar caps.

Preliminary results from the European Space Agency’s CryoSat-2 probe indicate that 900 cubic kilometres of summer sea ice has disappeared from the Arctic ocean over the past year.

This rate of loss is 50% higher than most scenarios outlined by polar scientists and suggests that global warming, triggered by rising greenhouse gas emissions, is beginning to have a major impact on the region. In a few years the Arctic ocean could be free of ice in summer, triggering a rush to exploit its fish stocks, oil, minerals and sea routes.

Using instruments on earlier satellites, scientists could see that the area covered by summer sea ice in the Arctic has been dwindling rapidly. But the new measurements indicate that this ice has been thinning dramatically at the same time. For example, in regions north of Canada and Greenland, where ice thickness regularly stayed at around five to six metres in summer a decade ago, levels have dropped to one to three metres.

via Rate of Arctic summer sea ice loss is 50% higher than predicted | Environment | The Observer.

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