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January 5, 2015

Design graduate creates long-lasting bioluminescent lamp

Filed under: Design,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 12:50 pm

bioluminescent

In the video below, recent graduate of the Design Academy Eindhoven, Teresa van Dongen presents her graduation project called ‘Ambio’, an ambient lamp using a glass tube filled with bioluminescent bacteria, usually found on octopuses, in a saltwater solution. Once pushed the Ambio will swing for 20 minutes and emit light as long as it moves. The bacteria can survive for about two days, but Van Dongen has managed to push that to three weeks so far. The goal is to develop a way for the bacteria to survive for longer and find actual practical applications for such ambient lighting.

Before turning to design Van Dongen studied biology, which explains her interest in using bioluminescent substances. She’ll also explain why waves such as the one in the picture above emits light the way it does.

(Link: www.dezeen.com, Photo of Bioluminescent wave by slworking2, some rights reserved)

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December 28, 2014

Much-hailed solar bike path is cracking

Filed under: Bicycles,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 7:00 am

Solaroad

We’ve been posting about this solar cell bike path since 2011 and now the truth is, when this year’s first frost hit the ground, the solar panels cracked.

In November, De Orkaan website had said that the solar cell bike path was possibly a bad idea (Dutch), quoting an article from Renewables International that had dissed the project altogether.

A 70 metre bike path in Krommenie, North Holland was fitted with solar cells, protected by a glass surface ‘strong enough to drive a truck over it’, but apparently not strong enough to deal with a bit of frost. Granted, it was a pilot project, but it is important to show people what failure looks like before the Dutch government spends tons of tax payers’ money on something that doesn’t work.

(Link and photo: deorkaan.nl)

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December 23, 2014

Dutch weed burger made from local seaweed

Filed under: Food & Drink,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 1:17 pm

Weed burger

Founded in 2012 the Dutch Weed Burger company makes seaweed burgers, demonstrating an innovative and sustainable use of food without using animal products.

The company explains that the patty is made from kombu seaweed and chunks of roasted soy shreds. Their buns contain the microalgae chlorella, which is packed with proteins and other essential nutrients. The weed sauce is a vegan cream sauce enriched with Dutch sea lettuce from Zeeland.

The Japanese and other cultures have been eating seaweed for ages, so why not the Dutch? If we ever have one of these burgers, we will report back. I’m already thinking the burger will have enough salt in it for my taste.

For anyone thinking of yet another boring pot joke: a ‘weed’ burger would be the worst thing you could eat to calm the munchies.

(Link: www.fastcoexist.com, via www.dutchnews.nl)

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December 19, 2014

Unilever pulls case against vegan mayo maker

Filed under: Food & Drink,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 11:55 am

chickpeas

Dutch-British food giant Unilever has decided to stop its attack on American company Hampton Creek for its eggless mayonnaise Just Mayo this week. Unilever claimed that Just Mayo was not actually mayonnaise as the real deal has eggs in it and that their logo with an egg on it was misleading.

Hampton Creek retorted that its product is called ‘mayo’ and not mayonnaise, while fans of vegan food and healthier eating responded badly to the food giant’s attack on an alternative quality product. Just Mayo uses yellow chick peas as a replacement and also makes eggless cookies that have not upset any big company so far. Hampton Creek was financially back by BIll Gates to the tune of 30 million USD, a man who probably knows a thing or two about rubbish lawsuits.

Unilever’s world brand mayonnaise Hellman’s has just started being sold in the Netherlands this year and ironically, it doesn’t meet the requirements to be called mayonnaise in this country, as it has less oil than the definition formulated by the Dutch Food Authorities.

(Links: www.z24.nl, www.ft.com, Photo of Chick peas by abrunvoll, some rights reserved)

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December 12, 2014

Boris Johnson insults the Dutch hand that helps him

Filed under: Bicycles,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 2:28 pm

Drooder

A bit of a buffoon at home if we believe the media and quick to call Amsterdam ‘sleazy’ as the Mayor of Amsterdam and King Willem-Alexander were visiting London (which was nice), the Mayor of London Boris Johnson has no qualms about calling upon Dutch business expertise from Amersfoort to build proper bike paths so that cycling in London becomes safe for all road users.

London’s bike paths are found on busy roads and are dangerous, as London Cyclist points out and has filmed during a ride. The goal is to build bike paths in London along quieter roads, parks and the likes, a bit like we do in the Netherlands.

Cycling in major Dutch cities feels quite safe to me, but the zooming scooters, mobile using morons and inattentive tourists make it a bit stressful. However, it’s nothing compared to this video that I find difficult to watch.

And Johnson, the biggest tourist nuisance as of late in Amsterdam are British stag and hen parties. Mayor Eberhard van der Laan invited you to check out how your fellow Brits behave in his ‘sleazy’ city, so what’s the hold up?

(Link: www.z24.nl, Photo of Kruiskerk, Amstelveen by Drooder Fiets)

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May 18, 2014

Dutch spaceman Wubbo Ockels dies

Filed under: History,Sustainability,Technology by Branko Collin @ 2:16 pm

wubbo-ockels-jens-nielsen-pdFormer Dutch astronaut Wubbo Ockels died earlier today in Amsterdam as the result of cancer, NRC writes.

Ockels was born in 1946 in Almelo. In 1985 he spent 7 days in space on board the US space shuttle Challenger which made him the first Dutch astronaut.

In the late 1980s Ockels’ reputation took a dive when he caused havoc with private air planes. On 5 December 1989 his plane taxied to a runway in Lille, France, when an Airbus came in a for a landing. The Airbus totalled Ockels’ plane, but curiously everybody got out alive.

Back on the ground Ockels became a professor of air and space technology at Delft University in 1992. He used this position for a great number of sustainable inventions. Together with his students he worked on projects that often involved converting wind energy into electricity, such as a laddermill and an energy-neutral sailboat. He also worked on the Superbus, bringing the speed and aesthetics of Formula One to the world of public transport.

Ockels’ daughter Gean published the book De Zeven Levens van Wubbo Ockels in 2010 (The Seven Lives of Wubbo Ockels). By then he had escaped death five times. And although he had allegedly tweeted he would cheat the grim reaper for a sixth time in combating cancer (“I am Wubbo Ockels, the strange geezer who always finds a way out”), he succumbed to his illness this morning.

(Photo by Jens Nielsen who released it into the public domain)

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March 27, 2014

Government buys into harnessing electricity from plants

Filed under: Nature,Sustainability,Technology by Orangemaster @ 10:58 am

Chargers

Plant-e , founded by David Strik and Marjolein Helder in 2009, is a spin-off company of the Environmental Technology of Wageningen University. After obtaining her PhD in November 2012 Helder became the CEO of Plant-e, while Strik works as an assistant professor at the university, supporting Plant-e’s research and development one day a week.

On March 12, coinciding with Dutch Arbour Day (‘Nationale Boomfeestdag’), Plant-e signed a deal with the Dutch government to build a plant-driven power plant. The plants will be grown on the Hembrug military terrain in Zaandam, North Holland and will be used for outdoor lighting and charging mobile phones.

Thanks to photosynthesis, a bioenergetic process used by plants to convert light into energy, plants create organic material. The roots of these plants contain bacteria that breaks down organic material, giving off electrons. Plant-e has created technology that captures these electrons as carbon electrons, which can be used directly as electricity.

Just this month we told you about a table that uses plant energy to charge mobile phones.

Watch the promo video (in English):

(Link: www.plant-e.com, Photo of Charging station by Katja Linders, some rights reserved)

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January 10, 2014

Amsterdam district bans disposable plastic bags

Filed under: Sustainability by Branko Collin @ 2:17 pm

plastic-bag-kate-ter-haarThe vendors of the market on Plein ’40-’45 in Amsterdam (district of Nieuw-West) have stopped handing out free plastic bags in an effort to stem litter.

Shoppers are requested to bring their own bag. The district says on its website:

Thousands of bags a day were handed out at the market. Most of these bags ended up in the garbage having been used only once and many bags blew away and littered the neighbourhood.

In 2011 the market in Dordrecht started an awareness campaign with the same goal. Vendors were asked to display signs asking shoppers to bring their own bags. According to the campaign website, one vendor, a baker called Kanters, has seen the amount of plastic bags he handed out for free drop by as much as 90%. He has since started charging 10 cent a bag from the remaining die-hards among his customers.

(Photo by Kate ter Haar, some rights reserved)

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December 6, 2013

Nothing tops Groningen as a cyclist’s paradise

Filed under: Bicycles,History,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 7:00 am

Bikes-Grunn

Groningen, a city in the North of the Netherlands whose slogan is ‘Er gaat niets boven Groningen’ (‘Nothing tops Groningen’) has some 196,000 residents, a quarter of which are students and where half of the population, if not more, gets around by bicycle. The film by Clarence Eckerson Jr., an American who was inspired by what he saw, tells the story of how cycling took over Groningen.

Travel times by car are longer (see screenshot) and cycling is faster because cars need to go around the city center to get from one part of town to another, while bikes can go anywhere. At about 9:00 into the film, you can see that even IKEA, apparently a very big one, has serious accommodations for cyclists. The one downside of this film is that it’s not bright and sunny like that very often, but again, when it is, you have a great excuse to get out on your bike.

Watch the whole film and get a feel for Groningen, always a lovely place to visit and a city we like, too:

Lou Reed’s Perfect Day rings out in Groningen

University of Groningen gaining popularity with Brits

Groningen students build world’s largest touch screen

Watch the film, it’s in English (and some Dunglish):

Groningen: The World’s Cycling City from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

If you want more, there’s always Bicycle anecdotes from Amsterdam, which has a friend of 24oranges nicely waiting for a tram to go by.

(Image: Screenshot of Groningen: The World’s Cycling City)

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November 3, 2013

Dave Hakkens partners with Motorola for Phonebloks

Filed under: Design,Sustainability,Technology by Branko Collin @ 12:01 am

Mobile phone manufacturer Motorola has announced it will be working with Dave Hakkens on his modular phone project Phonebloks.

More precisely, Motorola has been working on its own modular system in the past year called Project Ara, which is designed to be “a free, open hardware platform for creating highly modular smartphones. We want to do for hardware what the Android platform has done for software: create a vibrant third-party developer ecosystem, lower the barriers to entry, increase the pace of innovation, and substantially compress development timelines.”

The manufacturer will now be “engaging with the Phonebloks community throughout [Project Ara's] development process.” The idea behind Phonebloks is to create a modular phone to combat electronic waste—instead of throwing out an entire phone because a component is broken, you swap out the broken component instead. Phonebloks is looking for manufacturers who want to work in their ecosystem.

Motorola was once a major player on the mobile phone market. It was recently acquired by Google. Dave Hakkens is a 2013 graduate of the Design Academy Eindhoven.

(Via The Verge)

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