Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Fake Plastic Trees? Maybe, but at least they're full of solar leaves!

April 6th, 2011. Nature always provides inspiration in many ways to man and the manner in which a leaf uses the sun for photosynthesis has been mimicked by Dr. Daniel Nocera of MIT. Many people have tried to do this and there are other research projects which are ongoing, but this one has succeeded. This artificial solar leaf can actually provide enough low cost energy to power a home for one day.
Earlier projects used very expensive and rare metals so were not viable for commercial use. This new solar leaf, which is actually like a small playing card, made of silicon and electronics, uses nickel and cobalt catalysts to hydrogen and oxygen ten times more than a natural leaf.
It is simple to use and merely has to be put in a gallon of water in the sunlight. The resulting energy is stored in a fuel cell which can be near the house or on top of it. The prototype was able to work continuously for 45 hours.
The ramifications for this are enormous. Electricity is in short supply all over the world and there are many places which don’t have electricity at all. Whether it is villages in rural areas in Africa or Asia or other off grid places, or even on the battlefield, or during natural disasters, this solar leaf can provide energy without power lines all over the place. For the environmentally friendly, this is another boost to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and reduce power costs.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


April, 5th 2011. I am sorry for the little delay in posts recently but I have been working 24/7 on a project for a design competition! Wish me good luck! I will go back to florence for few days for some wedding preparations and I am already tasting the drinks with my old friends and the toasts with the family! So, just to get in the mood, here is a news that is quite interesting, above all for those countries around the Mediterranean Sea where you can go out of a bar with your drink, but rigorously in a plastic cup. 
Plastic and Styrofoam are not environmentally friendly and paper cups and glasses are usually too flimsy. 
To fill in the gap, Biopac came up with its biodegradable range of tumblers with different capacities.
These are made of polylactic acid which comes from cornstarch. The best part is that they are fully compostable, so you don’t have to worry about polluting the environment or toxic landfills.
Available in small and big sizes, the smaller ones can be used for cold drinks and other beverages and the larger ones can be used for beer. In UK they are the first to carry the CE mark. They meet the high European standards for environmentally friendly products. If you want them branded, and you are buying them in bulk, the company will do it for you.
So, if every pub/bar would use these material, there would be so much less plastic around the street and in our landfills.