8-Story Antigravity Forest Facade Takes Root

August 30, 2009 at 8:22 pm (ecology, Psychogeography) (, , , )

Probably one of the best ideas I have seen all day:
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When Patrick Blanc was a boy, he suspended plants from his bedroom wall and ran their roots into a fish tank. The greenery received nourishment from the diluted—ahem—fertilizer and purified the water in return. Forty-five years on, the French botanist’s gardens have grown massive in scale. One inside a Portuguese shopping mall is larger than four tennis courts, and there’s one in Kuwait that’s almost as big. But Blanc’s recently completed facade for the Athenaeum hotel in London (shown) could be his most high-profile project yet. Looming over Green Park, it’s an eight-story antigravity forest composed of 12,000 plants.

(the rest: Wired)

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Microbial Fuel Cell which cleans brackish water and produces electricty

August 30, 2009 at 5:04 pm (ecology) (, , , , , )

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Desalinization technology has long been trapped between two competing nightmare scenarios. Without desalination, fresh water resources run out and large swaths of the earth suffer crippling water shortages. But if we desalinate on a large scale, we keep burning fossil fuels, the earth warms, the ice caps melt, and sea levels rise to wreak havoc on coastal regions.

Desalinization could theoretically solve the impending water crisis if it weren’t such an energy-intensive process; desal requires large amounts of electricity, which is primarily generated by burning fossil fuels. Call it a catch-22. But researchers at Penn State think they’ve solved the problem by creating a process that cleans wastewater while generating electricity, simultaneously removing 90 percent of salt from seawater.

(via: POPSCI

[Another potential application of this type of fuel cell is the creation of living solar panels using cyanobacteria (which can photosynthesize with limited sunlight and using the grey water from ones home to cycle through the cell as part of a purification process. ]

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