Energy harvesting pavement powers its own streetlights.
London-based startup Pavegen has developed tiling that can harvest kinetic energy from people’s footsteps, turning it into up to 8 watts of electricity per footstep.
The tiles are made of 95 percent recycled tyres, and use a proprietary wireless communications technology to transmit data about the number of footfalls and the energy generated via the Internet. A wireless network of the tiles could provide valuable information to city planners and nearby business owners about the number of pedestrians in the area at different times of the day.
At the last Summer Olympics in London, the tiles were installed outside a tube station where they generated enough energy to power lights in the area for five hours a night.
I am fascinated with harnessing unused energy…
It’s no secret that the world’s ocean trash problem is getting bad; looking at a handful of images from the Texas-sized Pacific garbage patch should be enough to convince anyone. As for all of our litter that doesn’t end up in the middle of the ocean? It often stays close to shore, where volunteers for Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup pick some of it up, cataloging all the items they find.
Peanut: The Story Behind a Poor Turtle Deformed by a Six-Pack Ring
“You may recognize Peanut, the small-waisted turtle that obviously didn’t get her slender figure from exercising. Photos of this poor turtle have been making the rounds across the internet…but what’s the story behind her travail? Apparently she was trapped in a six-pack ring at a young age, couldn’t get out of it, and her body continued to grow around it.”
Find out more at Inhabitat here.
So sad and frustrating!
Estrogen-like compounds in water supplies have been linked to numerous health problems in humans and animals. Plastic compounds like BPA have been known to leach these estrogen mimics into rivers and lakes, leading to a huge backlash against use of those products.
University of Exeter biologists have now created a fish (the tiny model organism Danio rerio) that can sense these pollutants. When pollutants are detected in a certain tissue, a gene is activated that makes it glow green! It’s a living pollution sensor. It probably won’t show up in streams anytime soon, but it shows that we can use biology to engineer canaries for a multitude of coal mines.
(via BBC News)
Los Angeles became the largest city in the nation Wednesday to approve a ban on plastic bags at supermarket checkout lines, handing a major victory to clean-water advocates who sought to reduce the amount of trash clogging landfills, the region’s waterways and the ocean.
Egged on by actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus and an array of environmental groups, the City Council voted 13 to 1 to phase out plastic bags over the next 12 months at an estimated 7,500 stores. Councilman Bernard Parks cast the lone no vote.
“Let’s get the message to Sacramento that it’s time to go statewide,” said Councilman Ed Reyes, who has focused on efforts to revitalize the Los Angeles River.
Read the rest: LATimes
Previous bag-ban coverage here.
The Secret of the Ooze: Two Years After the Spill
Al Jazeera has a frightening, damning, and infuriating report on the ongoing damage to the Gulf of Mexico ecosystems since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. It’s been nearly two years since the Macondo well was ruptured, spilling almost 5 million barrels of oil and requiring almost 2 million barrels of dispersants to clean it up.
Fishermen are reporting shrimp catches full of eyeless shrimp, as well as fish and shellfish with oozing sores and black gills. The damage doesn’t seem limited to oil, either. Manganese-heavy drilling mud and dispersant lefotvers are showing up at even higher rates than petroleum.
Head over to Al Jazeera to read the full article. The Gulf has not recovered, and it will likely take most of a lifetime to do so. It’s important that scientists continue to get financial support to monitor the area and that the government keep pressure on BP to do their part. Not just this year, but until the mistake is fixed.
This is one of the most diverse and fruitful ecosystems in America, and we must repair it.
This is really friggin’ gross, but that doesn’t mean it’s not something important to know about.
British company Pavegen has developed a new paving tile that captures the energy of footsteps and turns it into electricity.
On a small scale, one day’s worth of foot traffic over a few tiles could power one street light overnight. In another recent field test at a music festival, dancers stomping on a dance floor with Pavegen tiles generated enough energy to recharge their mobile phones.
The company’s first big field test will come this summer at the London Olympics. Pavegen will be installing its system just outside the Westfield Stratford Shopping Center, one of Europe’s biggest and busiest urban shopping malls. The tiles will be placed on one of the main pedestrian thoroughfares leading into nearby London Olympic Park. Depending on the foot traffic, the company hopes its tiles might be able to power the mall’s entire lighting system. More.
This is fantastic. I have always raved on and on regarding how the possibilities of gravitational potential energy have been long under-explored. The application of this technology could be a real game changer in the industry of energy.
I love this idea. I always like to think of little things that we do all the time here and there that produce “waste” energy that can be reharnesed for something useful.
Mardi Gras is pretty much the best thing ever. But there is an unfortunate eco-downside to it: The plastic beads that are coveted one second, and pretty much garbage the next. Tourists who smack each other down to snag them during parades may find they’ve collected more than they need as souvenirs, and regard the rest as “strands of junk,” says this article, which notes that “Traditional recycling centers cannot process the beads.”
A few nonprofits in recent years have refined programs that collect, bundle and resell them. And this year, an unprecedented crop of initiatives has sprung up to help feed the recycled bead market, with most of the ideas as idiosyncratic as the city itself.
The main focus of the story is a couple named Kirk and Holly Groh:
On Feb. 11, the group the Grohs founded, Verdi Gras, tested a first-ever recycling pilot program with the blessing of city government, setting out bead collection bins along the route for the Krewe of Pontchartrain.
Like-minded revelers, about 130 of whom attended a Verdi Gras ball in January, imagine a future Carnival where more “throws” might be locally produced, handmade objets d’art. Kirk Groh, a 48-year-old lawyer, noted that the Krewe of Zulu’s hand-painted coconuts are always among Mardi Gras’ most coveted throws.
For these new activists, the deluge of beads is emblematic of regional attitudes about the environment that they wish to change. National green groups, which descended on Louisiana during the BP oil spill, often received a lukewarm reception from residents worried about the effect of stricter regulation on oil industry jobs. Before Katrina, New Orleans officials had discussed killing off the city’s curbside recycling program because of low participation rates.
“It’s a cultural thing,” said Ryan F. Berni, a spokesman for Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “We have a hard enough time convincing people to put their trash in the can.”