Saturday, August 25, 2012

Keeping Warm Like a Honeybee

In the land of Milk and Honey, the honey bee is one to be emulated. Specifically, for the purpose of solar water heaters that have been created based on the honeycomb model.

More succinctly, Israeli company Tigi Solar has taken its inspiration from the worker bee to create a very unique and Earth friendly solar water heater. Building Tigi's solar water heater in the shape of a honeycomb creates a far more efficient solar water heater. In fact, it is so efficient that it can pipe boiling water made from the sun into people's homes.

Tigi's solar water heater, aptly named Honeycomb Collector, is based on a "transparent insulation mechanism" which increases the efficiency of the water heater with minimal energy loss.

Not only does national use of the Honeycomb Collector reduce national energy usage and energy costs, but the technology, while currently being used in a warm climate country like Israel, also aims to reduce energy costs in colder countries in Europe. 

Read more about it here

Off to enjoy a bit of sweets and honey while we wait for Hurricane Isaac to visit here in South Florida, till next time! J

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Earth-Friendly Food and Drink Wrap

Plastics packaging is a nightmare for the environment. Taking hundreds of years — if at all — to degrade, plastic wrappers and plastic-lined juice boxes clog landfill sites, choke wildlife and eventually leach dangerous chemicals into groundwater. Cities including San Francisco, Toronto and Mexico City have gone so far as to ban plastic bags, and savvy consumers are seeking better alternatives.

Tired of nagging her kids to bring home their used food packaging and cans for recycling, Israeli computer-engineer-turned-entrepreneur Daphna Nissenbaum hired expert consultants in biopolymers to search the world for a fully compostable packaging material. They found nothing to fit the bill.

Because Nissenbaum couldn’t find this green wonder material on the shelf of any chemist’s lab she approached, she started a green packaging company, Tipa. The idea was to create a package from which you can eat or drink and then throw it into the organic waste stream to fully decompose –– to go back to nature in the compost bin.

The material had to be made to decompose under certain conditions — with the right heat and bacteria, for instance — and not in the kitchen cupboard. The packaging would have to have a nice touch, yet be flexible enough not to break. It couldn’t be noisy. It would have to be transparent, yet create a barrier against oxygen and water. Plus it would need to be sealed well and it would need to be able to hold food with a six-month shelf life, at least.

There are biodegradable films out there, but they cannot be used for food packaging. Israeli and US experts at Tipa created a patentable solution based on new and different green materials that can be used for all kinds of food packaging.

To ensure that no new equipment would be required for adopting Tipa’s packaging, the new solution was continuously tested on existing machinery in working factories.

Tipa captured a first place at Israel’s Cleantech 2012 out of 50 promising companies and also won a prize at Anuga Foodtec, a leading food industry packaging conference in Germany.

With the marketing environment ripe for Tipa’s packaging solution, new material based on plant and plant derivatives will go on sale shortly.

Source: Israel21c

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Cleaning Up Oil Spills

Oil-covered birds
We are all too familiar with those heartbreaking images of dying wildlife at the site of an oil spill. In fact, between 180,000 and 240,000 marine oil spills occur around the world every year.

Current oil spill containment and removal products are slow in absorption, expensive, often ineffective and sometimes even potentially toxic.

New Israeli company EcoBasalt developed a unique manufacturing and emulsification process to produce super thin basalt fiber compound SB-1 – a mineral sorbent made of basalt fibers from volcanic rock that, according to the company’s website, is “more efficient and more effective than any sorbent currently on the market, that allows the removal and reuse of adsorbed oil, and that is fully recyclable and eco-friendly.”

SB-1 has already been tested by independent laboratories in the US, the Netherlands and in Israel. It is safe for the environment and presents no health hazards.

SB-1 can adsorb all types of oil and does not require disposal of oil-filled sorbents. It can be recycled, mixed in with asphalt and concrete for tarmacs.