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Alternative Materials

World's Largest Commercial Bamboo Building

Bamboo is considered a green building material, but it is most often found as an adjunct within larger construction using other materials. Recently, however, an entire chocolate factory has been built in Indonesia as the world's largest commercial bamboo structure. The 26,500 square foot (2,460 square meter) facility handles the entire range of operations, from initial processing the beans to final production of chocolate, what they call "beans to bars."

The Big Tree Farms factory, located in Sibang, Bali, not only has the exterior built from bamboo, but bamboo was also used for interior walls, which were made from woven bamboo strips, and stairs which used bamboo plywood for treads. The bamboo was treated with borax for fire-prevention and viagra 50 boric acid to resist insects, and a food-grade coating was applied to interior walls.

What makes bamboo an especially green building material is that it is fast-growing, making it a rapidly renewable resource that doesn't devastate the landscape when it is harvested. Bamboo is strong enough to compare with mild steel in some applications. It is regularly used for construction scaffolding throughout southeast Asia.

via: Architect magazine


World's Lightest Solid Unveiled

A material that is 100 times lighter than styrofoam has been produced by scientists from the University of buy viagra from china California, Irvine and the California Institute of Technology. The unnamed new material is made with nickel phosphorous in a nanoscale lattice. It is 99.99 percent air.

This material is even lighter than silica aerogel, and weighs just 0.9mg per cubic centimeter. The announced plans for the material include use for battery electrodes and for acoustic- and vibration-dampening applications. But there will doubtless be other applications that other materials engineers will find for this material.

The techniques used to fashion superlightweight materials may eventually be applicable for use with other materials. Even though there isn't an immediate green tech application for this material doesn't mean that it isn't interesting.

image credit: Dan Little, HRL Laboratories LLC

via: Architect Magazine


Making Natural Gas from Sunlight

Producing natural gas from wastewater and sunlight sounds like an idealized fuel production scenario, and that is just what a company called HyperSolar is claiming to be able to do.

Unlike many other companies making fuel using microorganisms, the HyperSolar process is designed to mimic photosynthesis with a nanomaterial. Hydrogen is produced at normal pressure, and then reacted with injected CO2 to produce methane.

Sunlight activates the nanomaterial particles and produces a charge which allows the particle to release hydrogen from the water. The process can even use untreated wastewater as a feedstock, and will produce clean water along with the natural gas.

This kind of natural gas would, of course, be preferable to fossil natural gas, since it would use already freed CO2 and leave the viagra discount drug sequestered fossil carbon undisturbed. Moreover, it would serve as a source of natural gas without the need for controversial extraction methods like fracking.

Because the process takes place at normal pressure and temperature, it is less expensive than other systems that require large capital investments for the special equipment needed for their processes.


Whey Protein Transformed into Sustainable Food Packaging

Whey protein, a milk protein that is a byproduct of cheese production, is often used in protein bars and shakes, but scientists in Barcelona have discovered that it can also be made into a more sustainable plastic for food packaging.

The WheyLayer project was funded by the European Commission to find an alternative to petroleum sources in food packaging.  Through this project, research company IRIS found that whey protein could replace synthetic petroleum-based polymers.  The whey protein plastic has similar oxygen-blocking properties to traditional food packaging, but it's cheaper to make and, even better, more easily recyclable.

Traditional plastic packaging is hard to recycle because the petroleum-based polymers are almost impossible to separate for individual recycling, but with the whey protein plastic, the whey can be removed with enzymes so that the remaining film can be recycled or reused in new packaging.

This process also keeps the 40 percent of whey protein discarded by European cheese factories out of landfills.

via Earth911



Plastic Made from Fish Scales

Erik de Laurens, a student from the Royal College of generic levitra for sale Art has come up with an alternative to petroleum for making plastic: fish scales. Through a process that involves nothing but heat, high pressure and natural dyes, Laurens developed a sturdy plastic that can be used in cups, eyewear and pfizer viagra online even decorative tiles.

Much like using the viagra medicare uk keratin from waste chicken feathers to make plastics, Laurens' process makes use of waste fish scales from the fishing industry, giving new life to something that would otherwise end up in the garbage. And while the thought of waste fish scales is kind of gross, the resulting products are actually really good looking.

Titled Fish Feast, his project will be on exhibit during the London Design Festival. It has been shortlisted for the 2011 Sustain RCA Award, which honors graduate student work in sustainable design.

via Crisp Green

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