Building the World

February 3, 2017
by buildingtheworld
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Glass of Air

“A glass of water” by photographer Derek Jensen, Tysto, 2005. Image: wikimedia commons.

In a world where water is increasingly scarce, can the answer be in the air? In a time when streams may be endangered, where can clean water be found? Water has occasioned innovation from ancient times to present; China, Italy, England, Australia – the most arid country on earth – have all transformed their lands and economies through water innovations. Chilean innovator Hector Pino pursued a new idea when his baby daughter was born with a kidney condition requiring sodium-free water. Now, a parent’s love may change the world.

Pino and co-founders Carlos Blamey, engineer, and Alberto González, designer, are utilizing technology originally developed in Israel to draw water from air. It can run on solar, too. The 748 million people without water infrastructure could now draw clean water in amounts sustaining a household. In cities where old water systems leak lead or in streams once protected now compromised, where could consumers turn? The household FreshWater device produces 28 liters of water per day. A mochila version is in development, making air the ‘magic water bottle’ in your backpack.

For Fresh Water Solutions’ video: http://www.freshwatersolutions.org/#new-page

For more: “How to pull clean water from air.” Bloomberg, Businessweek, 12 January 2017, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-01-12/pulling-clean-water-from-thin-air

For the Stream Protection Rule, protecting 6,000 miles of streams and 52,000 acres of forest, added as clarification to 1977 Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act:https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=OSM-2010-0018-10631

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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November 3, 2015
by buildingtheworld
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Driving the Future

 

Flex fuel vehicles in Brazil can switch among bioethanol, gasoline, and natural gas. Image: wikimedia commons.

Drive into a gas station in Brazil and you’ll find a choice of ethanol, gasoline, premium, or even natural gas. Car manufacturers have responded with flex-fuel vehicles. Brazil is the second largest global producer of ethanol fuel and a leader in sustainable biofuels; with the United States, the two countries account for 87.8% of global ethanol production. Brazil advanced renewable energy with Itaipu and the Liter of Light program. Should American car manufacturers, and fuel stations, follow Brazil’s leadership with flex-fuel vehicles?

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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March 4, 2015
by buildingtheworld
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Solving Brazil’s Water Crisis

Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil: official photo, 2011. Image: wikimedia commons.

Cantareira reservoir, supplying water to 6.5 million Brazilians, is running on empty: 7% capacity in 2014, down from 50% capacity in 2013. Could building canals, like China’s Grand Canal, or France’s Canal des Deux Mers, be the answer? If drought is not solved, there will be energy problems as well: 80% of Brazil’s electricity is hydropower from plants including Itaipu. What actions should president Dilma Rousseff take to solve Brazil’s water crisis?

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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January 12, 2015
by buildingtheworld
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Failure Powers Success

IBM ThinkPad Laptop. Image: wikimedia.org.

In a throw-away culture, more than 50 million laptop batteries are discarded every year. Trash could hold treasure, because 70% of these cells have enough power to light an LED bulb for four hours each day — for a year. Science continues to develop new energy sources ranging from improved hydroelectricity to atomic energy, solar and beyond. But using what we have now is also important. In India, 400 million people struggle without reliable electricity. IBM’s Smarter Energy Group and RadioStudio are testing the laptop battery program, harnessing the power of failure to create success.

Vikas Chandan, IBM Research India. “A Lighting Solution using Discarded Laptop Batteries.” http://www.dgp.toronto.edu/~mjain/DEV-UrJar-2014-PPT.pdf

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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October 9, 2012
by zoequinn001
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Singing Stone

When American composer Philip Glass received a commission from the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra to create a new work, the artist was looking for a way to contrast nature and technology. Friends mentioned Itaipú. Glass visited in 1988 and fell into a state of awe when he saw the massive structure, soaring in height more than 55 stories. He likened it to the Egyptian pyramids. Learning the name meant “singing stone,” Glass was inspired to create a work of four movements using the indigenous Guarani language and poetry in the libretto written by Daniela Thomas. Below listen to a clip from Glass’ “Itaipu”.

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Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

 

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