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Thread: The Technology thread

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    The Technology thread

    The evolution in tech development in this day and age is rapid and exponential. This thread is dedicated to all kinds of tech, new and old that assist Mankind and the Planet.

    Here is an old process with a new approach for drought stricken communities to start off with.

    The Bamboo Tower That Produces Water.

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    The WarkaWater tower is an unlikely structure to find jutting from the Ethiopian landscape. At 30 feet tall and 13 feet wide, it’s not half as big as its namesake tree (which can loom 75 feet tall), but it’s striking nonetheless. The spindly tower, of latticed bamboo lined with orange polyester mesh, isn’t art—though it does kind of look like it. Rather, the structure is designed to wring water out of the air, providing a sustainable source of H 2O for developing countries.

    Created by Arturo Vittori and his team at Architecture and Vision, the towers harvest water from rain, fog and dew. This isn’t a new idea—people have been doing this for as long as they’ve needed water, often with air wells. Often built as high-rising stone structures, air wells gather moisture from the air and funnel it into a basin for collection. The WarkaWater functions in much the same way, using mesh netting to capture moisture and direct it into hygienic holding tank accessed via a spout.

    We wrote about the towers last year when Vittori unveiled a full-size prototype. The company has a newer version of the WarkaWater and a Kickstarter campaign to fund field testing in Ethiopia later this year. Based on tests performed in its Italian lab, the company claims the latest iteration can harvest 13 to 26.4 gallons of water daily. That’s less than most people flush away each day, but a significant quantity in a country where some 60 million people lack sufficient potable water.

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    The new prototype has some key upgrades: The exterior is of bamboo rather than juncus, the top of the tower has reflective pieces to deter birds, and the structure is larger (13 feet wide, up from 7). This doubled the surface area of its water-resistant polyester mesh netting—the orange material you see—so more water is collected as fog permeates the fine mesh. MIT has been researching a similar fog harvesting technique that draws inspiration from the Namib beetle. The process of collecting rain is straightforward, but capturing dew is slightly more complicated. Dew forms when the surface area temperature drops relative to the surrounding air. This happens most often in the time between nightfall and sunrise. Vittori is researching materials for the funnel section of the WarkaWater (between mesh netting and the tank) that will lose heat as quickly as possible in order to optimize the small window of dew-production.

    The WarkaWater will cost around $1,000 to produce and requires no electricity. Vittori says it takes less than an hour to assemble the five modules into a finished tower, making it easily packed and moved as necessary. The practical goal is for the WarkaWater to become an efficient round-the-clock water production machine. But populating the landscape with alien towers is about more than just functionality, it’s about architecture. You can tell Vittori wanted to design something iconic, but beyond that is the tower’s potential to the social nexus of a village. With fabric canopies that stretch out like a peplum skirt, the towers could be a place where people gather to socialize and seek shelter from the sun, just as they would beneath a leafy Warka tree.

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    http://www.wired.com/2015/01/archite...on-warkawater/

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    Re: The technology thread

    The Lucid-Pipe Power System

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    There's a lot of water constantly moving through the municipal pipelines of most major cities. While the water itself is already destined for various uses, why not harness its flow to produce hydroelectric power? Well, that's exactly what Lucid Energy's LucidPipe Power System does, and Portland, Oregon has just become the latest city to adopt it.

    LucidPipe simply replaces a stretch of existing gravity-fed conventional pipeline, that's used for transporting potable water. As the water flows through, it spins four 42-inch (107-cm) turbines, each one of which is hooked up to a generator on the outside of the pipe. The presence of the turbines reportedly doesn't slow the water's flow rate significantly, so there's virtually no impact on pipeline efficiency.

    The 200-kW Portland system was privately financed by Harbourton Alternative Energy, and its installation was completed late last December. It's now undergoing reliability and efficiency testing, which includes checking that its sensors and smart control system are working properly. It's scheduled to begin full capacity power generation by March.

    Once up and running, it's expected to generate an average of 1,100 megawatt hours of energy per year, which is enough to power approximately 150 homes. Over the next 20 years, it should also generate about US$2 million in energy sales to Portland General Electric, which Harbourton plans on sharing with the City of Portland and the Portland Water Bureau in order to offset operational costs. At the end of that period, the Portland Water Bureau will have the right to purchase the system outright, along with all the energy it produces.

    For now, the new LucidPipe Power System is the only one in Portland. If it proves successful, however, others may follow. A previously-installed system has been providing power in Riverside, California since 2012.

    If you like the basic idea behind the technology, there are smaller similar systems that can be installed within your own home. The Pluvia generates electricity from the flow of rainwater off of rooftops, while the H2O Power radio runs on electricity generated by the flow of shower water.

    http://www.gizmag.com/portland-lucid...-system/36130/

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    Re: The technology thread

    World’s largest indoor vertical farm will produce 2 million pounds of soil-free food in Newark.

    A new $30 million deal will soon make New Jersey’s largest city home to the world’s largest indoor vertical farm. Currently under construction, the 69,000-square-foot facility will serve as the new global corporate headquarters for the urban agricultural company AeroFarms and will be capable of aeroponically growing two million pounds of soil-free leafy greens and herbs each year. In addition to bringing fresh, nutritious, and pesticide-free food to the community of Newark, the environmentally friendly project will also introduce 78 new jobs to the city by the end of 2015.

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    The multimillion-dollar deal was developed by AeroFarms in partnership with property management firm RBH Group, Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group, Prudential Financial Inc., and the City of Newark and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA). The urban vertical farm will anchor the ongoing ‘Makers Village’ redevelopment project in Newark’s Ironbound neighborhood. The first phase of the project is slated to open later this year and is expected to generate part of its energy through renewable sources, such as solar energy.

    Related: Indoor Vertical Farm ‘Pinkhouses’ Grow Plants Faster With Less Energy

    Housed in a converted steel factory, the urban vertical farm will use AeroFarms’ innovative aeroponics technology that grows soil-free plants by spraying a mist of high-nutrient solution onto the crops. Instead of soil, the plants take root in a permeable micro fleece cloth stretched across modular and stackable planters. The sustainable process uses recycled water, zero pesticides and fertilizers, and takes up less space and resources than traditional farming. Monitoring equipment will regulate the amount of carbon dioxide the plants receive, as well as the color wavelength and intensity of the overhead LEDs.

    http://inhabitat.com/worlds-largest-...ood-in-newark/

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    Re: The technology thread

    World’s First Airborne Wind Turbine to Bring Renewable Energy and WiFi to Alaska.

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    Wind turbines have become airborne! An enormous helium-filled wind turbine will soon float over the city of Fairbanks, Alaska to produce enough electricity for more than a dozen families living off the grid. Designed and built by MIT startup Altaeros Energies, the turbine known as BAT-Buoyant Airborne Turbine will hover at an altitude of 1,000 feet for 18 months, catching air currents that are five to eight times more powerful than winds on the ground.

    Large wind farms floating over major cities may seem like something from a sci-fi movie, but the concept of airborne wind turbines is close to becoming reality. Altaeros has already built the world’s highest turbine that can generate twice the energy output of its ground-based counterpart. Besides generating power, these floating power plants can provide data coverage, cell service and local weather data and can be deployed in harsh weather conditions.

    The helium-filled turbine will be installed over the city of Fairbanks, Alaska, and will feed energy into the grid through cables that will connect it to the ground. The team is planning to further develop the project and initially target remote areas, disaster-stricken regions and military bases.

    Several other companies have tried to develop airborne wind systems, including Makani Power, whose design for a winged turbine was acquired by Google last year. However, the project is still under development. Despite the high expenses, the Buoyant Airborne Turbine will tackle the issue of high energy costs in regions such as Alaska. The Alaska Energy Authority has awarded Altaeros a $1.3 million grant to test the design over the course of 18 months.

    http://inhabitat.com/worlds-first-ai...ifi-to-alaska/

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    Re: The technology thread

    The Large Hadron Collider is fully rebooted and ready for record-setting atom smashing.

    The LHC’s crowning achievement so far is the probable discovery of the Higgs boson, a particle theorized decades ago as part of the standard model. There’s still a bit of disagreement about what the data means, but the Higgs is more or less confirmed, and that strengthens the predictions made by the Standard Model. So what is there for the LHC to still do? Scientists will use the new and improved LHC to probe the subatomic realm for evidence of supersymmetry.

    In theoretical physics circles, supersymmetry is a theory holding that each particle in the Standard Model has a heavier, undiscovered partner particle. Supersymmetry could explain many of the quirks of the universe in ways that the Standard Model can’t. For example, this could allow scientists to finally understand the nature of dark matter, which has thus far remained unobservable directly.

    Getting the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) up and running was one of the most complex scientific endeavors humanity has ever embarked upon. The deviously complicated instrument first came online in 2008, and went on smash atoms until 2013, confirming the existence of the elusive Higgs boson along the way. After two years of upgrades, the Large Hadron Collider is now fully operational again and more powerful than ever.

    The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) took the LHC offline in February of 2013 as part of a planned upgrade that brings it to the design’s intended maximum power. This involved reinforcing 10,000 electrical connections between the LHC’s supercooled magnets. These magnets line the machine’s 17 mile long circular track, which is used to accelerate particles to incredible speeds before they collide. The more energy can be put into this collision, the more interesting flotsam comes out for analysis. It can now operate at an energy of 6.5 TeV per beam, with a 13TeV proton-proton collision expected this summer.

    There is a lot that can go wrong with an advanced piece of technology like the LHC — in fact, there have been a number of setbacks over the years — so CERN is taking things slow as the machine comes back online. The beam energy is starting low, and will remain so for the next few weeks. Researchers expect to start high-energy, record-setting collisions in May or June, depending on how the LHC holds up. The restart was originally scheduled for several months ago, but a malfunction pushed the timeline back. The LHC is not the sort of thing you rush, though.

    There’s still a lot of science to be done at the Large Hadron Collider, but scientists are also dreaming up its successor. This instrument could feature a 60-mile circumference and seven times the collision energy of the LHC. If that doesn’t rip a hole in the universe, nothing will.

    http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/2...-atom-smashing

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