[Video] Nanosolar Causing Disruptions at 1/3 Cost

Nanosolar wants to create paper-thin, flexible solar panels that can be made at 1/3 the cost of heavy, silicon-made solar panels.  It’s important to keep an eye on tech like this because Nanosolar is currently building the largest solar panel manufacturing plant in the U.S.  If successful, this stuff is going to be on every building and structure starting in 2008.  It’s going to change the way the game is played in a major way. 

To give you an idea of how compelling, how enormous this is, check this:  the Google founders are investing in Nanosolar, an IBM manufacturing executive just joined Nanosolar, and the U.S. Department of Energy just awarded them $20 million. 

By |August 8th, 2007|Energy Efficiency, Materials, News, Solar|3 Comments

Trend Q: Modern, Green All Surface Material

Trend Q

Trend USA has just released details of their new engineered, agglomerate stone product called "Trend Q."  Trend Q is a USA-made, 1/4" surface material that is impervious to stains and fading.  It can be made in sizes as small as 12" tiles and as large as 10′ x 4′ slabs.  Containing up to 72% post consumer recycled content, Trend Q not only contributes to LEED certification, but it comes in a veritable cornucopia of colors.  Organic neutral.  Fiery orange.  Brilliant red.  You name it.  Another cool aspect of the product is that it’s made to be applied to all types of surfaces, whether it’s walls, counters, or floors.  Just bust out the water jet machine and make that magic happen. 

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By |August 7th, 2007|Gadgets, LEED, Materials, Modern design|0 Comments

VERDIER Solar Power Camper, Rethinking Westfalia VW

Verdier Solar Power Camper

Based on the old "hippy" classic VW Westfalia camper, Alexandre Verdier has completely redesigned the Westfalia into a modern, green camper with major appeal.  This camper is powered by a 200 hp hybrid (fuel or diesel) + electric engine.  Some other features include solar panels on the camper roof (40 watt – 12 volt), GPS navigation, wireless internet, and a sink with 4 spots for cooking.  Priced at $69,000, I’m thinking there’s market for something like this.  Don’t you?  Video + images below; via Modern Flat

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By |August 4th, 2007|Gadgets, Modern design, Nature, Solar|0 Comments

Human Bones + Nanoengineering = Green Concrete?

Greenconcrete_2 The following post may seem a little esoteric, if not absolutely dry, but don’t be intimidated.  Bear with me a second as the idea opens up towards the end of this article.  Every year, roughly 1.89 billion tons of cement (the main component of concrete) are manufactured.  Cement accounts for about 7-8% of all human-generated CO2 emissions (a main ingredient in the recipe for climate change).  Here’s what happens: cement is made by burning fossil fuels to heat a limestone and clay powder to 1500 °C.  Then, the resulting cement powder is mixed with water and gravel and the invested energy in the powder is released into chemical bonds that form calcium silicate hydrates.  Those calcium silicate hydrates bind the gravel to create concrete. 

So, the idea goes, human bone could show us how to manufacture concrete with less CO2 emissions.  Human bone achieves a similar packing density to concrete at the nanoscale, but with human bone, this packing density is achieved at body temperature with no extra release of CO2.  Stated otherwise, bone strength is achieved naturally without having to heat powder at a high temperature, and thus, without the CO2 release.  The problem is, however, the hardening of apatite minerals in the bone takes a long time.  Say, a month or more. 

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By |August 1st, 2007|Gadgets, Materials, News|0 Comments

The Orb Steps Up for a Younger Generation

Home Office The Orb

This is incredible.  It would be nice if someone here in the U.S. would put something like THE ORB into production.  According to the company’s website, The Orb "is a new generation of mobile structures created specifically to fire the imagination of a younger, style conscious generation.  It has been designed to appeal across three distinct markets: commercial show units, holiday park homes and adaptable home offices.  Built to a standard far beyond that of comparable structures using marine technology, it is both incredibly durable, lightweight and transportable."  Appeal?  Done. 

Now, the website reveals some details on how The Orb is built (and Treehugger suggests that using GRP may not be that green), but I think one could use green materials to get it built.  Plus, you could toss up a few solar panels on a separate pole and provide renewable energy for it too.  Another positive aspect of The Orb is that it’s small by design, but chances are, this will not be a primary dwelling, so size is not an issue.  Regardless, I dig it and think it could be used in a variety of applications.  Plus, it’s kind of similar to Dasparkhotel (and we know that’s been successful).  More images below.  Via CubeMe

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By |July 31st, 2007|Materials, Modern architecture, Prefab|0 Comments

Hamiltons Castle House Will Blow Your Top Off (S2)

Turbines

This incredible design scheme is Castle House by Hamiltons of London.  Located at Elephant and Castle, the project will have two buildings: the 43 story tower with 3 nine meter diameter wind turbines at the top and the 5 story pavilion building on the side.  I’m not really sure what stage of development the project is in, but it was supposed to start in mid- to late-2006.  With completion projected for 2009, the residential project is targeting an "excellent" rating under the EcoHomes certification system.  When complete, Castle House will have 310 apartments comprising 247,500 sf and retail units on the ground level.  More images and modeling below the jump.  Via WAN + WAN

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By |July 29th, 2007|Gadgets, Nature, Skyscraper, Wind|0 Comments