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January 27, 2016

‘Lab grown meat to hit shops in five years’

Filed under: Food & Drink,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 9:03 am

Newly founded Dutch company Mosa Meat wants to see lab grown meat in supermarkets in five years’ time. One of the owners of the company, Dutch researcher Mark Post of Maastricht University, was behind the growing of pieces of muscle in a lab, claiming that synthetic meat could reduce the environmental footprint of meat by up to 60%. The original lab meat cost 290,000 euro to produce.

Together with Dutch food expert Peter Verstraate Mosa Meat plans to sell lab meat for 10 to 20 euro a kilo, a price that would go down if this ever become a reality and a consumer habit. A select group of people tasted the lab meat in London in 2013 and you can watch a short video on how that went. English chef Richard McGowan prepared burgers, and not Heston Blumenthal as initially suggested. The critics were positive about the taste of lab meat.

“I think most people just don’t realise that the current meat production is at its maximum and is not going to supply sufficient meat for the growing demand in the next 40 years, so we need to come up with an alternative,” Post explains.

There’s already a cookbook for lab meat on standby.

(Link: www.bright.nl)

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January 24, 2016

Almost no more free plastic bags in shops

Filed under: General,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 6:10 pm

plastic-bag-kate-ter-haar

As of 1 January 2016, free plastic bags, the thin ones given out by shops and markets, are illegal. We get it: there’s plastic bags in our seas and forests and it has to stop. However, there are exceptions, as my local baker can still give me a thin plastic bag with my bread. The exceptions have to do with food that otherwise couldn’t be reasonably protected like bread, fresh fruit and vegetables or raw fish. Sealed plastic bags at airport tax-free shops and in the plane remain legally free as well.

For quite some time the Dutch have been used to carrying around plastic shopping bags or cloth ones for buying food, and no fuss is made about having to pay around 0.10 euro for a good one at supermarkets. In October 2015 shops in the UK had to stop dispensing free thin bags and now charge 5p (0.06 euro) for one, something that you’ll hear British people complain about a lot. Exceptions in the UK are pretty much the same as here. Recap: the UK pays 0.06 euro for the crappy thin ones, while for 0.10 we can get one that’s three-four times the size, way thicker and actually reusable.

Instead of getting rid of the next to useless thin bags in the UK and replace them with good ones, charging for something that wasn’t quality in the first place is a bit odd. If you read these stories though, you’d think paying 5p was equal to giving away your first born.

Time to start carrying the big ones around like we do and stop the plastic soup. Simples.

In 2014 an Amsterdam district decided to ban disposable plastic bags, and once again the world didn’t end.

(Link: www.rijksoverheid.nl, Photo by Kate ter Haar, some rights reserved)

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January 20, 2016

Emmen plans world’s first wooden bike path

Filed under: Bicycles,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 3:46 pm

After solar-powered bike paths, heated bike paths and glow in the dark bike paths, the next trend in bike paths would be wooden ones. The city of Emmen, Drenthe has announced that it is planning to renovate a 200-metre stretch of bike path using a biocomposite material made from woodchips and bioresin for its robustness and resistance to wear. Any new material for something like a bike path needs to be able to also deal with vandalism, the weather and last a long time.

If the test goes well, it could lead to the manufacturing of these sustainable biocomposite plates in a factory that would employ 75 people in Emmen. The entire idea is part of getting more innovation going in the region.

(Link: www.dvhn.nl, Photo of a Schwinn Tailwind Electric Assist bike by Richard Masoner, some rights reserved)

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November 27, 2015

Westland bat bridge wins architectural award

Filed under: Animals,Architecture,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 7:00 am

Bat-bridge

Last October the ‘Vlotwatering bridge’ or ‘bat bridge’ was opened in a nature area called Westland in South Holland, designed by NEXT Architects of Amsterdam and picked up an ARC15 Detail Award, given to them unanimously by the jury. The bridge is in Monster (yup, a Dutch town) and it was applauded for its ‘eye for detail and attention to biodiversity’.

According to NEXT Architects, the bridge was designed to house bats in as many ways as possible. The bridge has three specific bridge components that provide roost for different bat species throughout the entire yea, intended to constitute the ideal habitat for various species of bats, so that a large colony can grow around the bridge.

(Links: www.naturetoday.com, www.archdaily.com, www.nextarchitects.com, Photo: www.nextarchitects.com)

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October 3, 2015

Fairphone 2, more expensive but easier to repair

Filed under: Sustainability,Technology by Orangemaster @ 8:27 pm

fairphone

In 2013 we told you about an ethically sourced smartphone, the Fairphone. Today the Fairphone 2, which runs a customised version of Android 5.1, sells the idea that it is ‘as repairable as a modern smartphone gets’.

Owners can replace the screen, microphone, speaker, camera, and main circuit board using nothing more than a screwdriver, with all the replacement parts available directly from Fairphone. The new phone has gone up in price from €325 to €525 and is concentrating on turning into a movement rather than just being a product.

The company’s founder and CEO Bas van Abel says that the most ethical smartphone is the one you already own. The fact that the phone can easily be take apart is quite the party piece.

(Link: www.theverge.com, Image, screenshot of video)

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September 25, 2015

Around the world in 80 days on an electric motorbike

Filed under: Automobiles,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 12:20 pm

80dayrace

In a race inspired by French author Jules Verne’s book ‘Around the World in 80 days’, students of the Eindhoven University of Technology are getting ready to go around the world in 80 days on an electric motorbike. On October 1st, the students will unveil their new design featuring a battery that can last twice as long as existing electric motorbike batteries.

The entire point of the trip is to prove that sustainability is an option for the future. Find out more about the the 80 day race here. As explained by team member Texas van Leeuwenstein, electric mobility sometimes has a dull image and they really want to kick that out.

Here’s an interview with Van Leeuwenstein, explaining the work on the prototype leading up to the race:

(Link: www.omroepbrabant.nl, Screenshot: 80dr.com)

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September 15, 2015

Full solar jacket for Wadden Sea walkers

Filed under: Fashion,Nature,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 9:55 pm

Solar-Parka

Arnhem-based fashion designer Pauline van Dongen has created a parka for workers of the Wadden Sea World Heritage site, an association that has campaigned to protect the coastal area known for its sea walks.

The ‘solar parka’, an oversized jacket with a hood, was created for typical Dutch weather conditions and features detachable solar panels on the pockets for charging your electronics.

A thin waterproof and flexible solar panel created by specialist company AltaDevices is attached to one of the front pockets using buttons, and can generate enough energy to fully charge a smartphone after two hours of exposure to sunlight.

The coat’s fabric was created using yarn made from recycled denim that was unravelled and rewoven to make it more dense.

Van Dongen has also designed the phototrope shirt for running at night and a cardigan that helps with patient rehabilitation.

(Link and photo: www.dezeen.com)

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September 14, 2015

Dutch engineers create huge artificial waves

Filed under: Sustainability,Technology by Orangemaster @ 5:37 pm

Delta works

Engineers at Deltares Research Institute, an independent institute for applied research in water and subsurface near Delft, South Holland are claiming to have created the largest artificial waves in the world.

Created in a huge concrete tank called the Delta Flume, the waves measure five metres high. The engineers say they can get even bigger waves. The tank holds nine million litres of water, pumped in from a reservoir at 1,000 litres a second. This new facility cost 26 million euro and took two years to build.

What’s the actual use of this facility? To be able to create waves to test life-size water defences. We’re always told that two-thirds of the Netherlands could be flooded, and back in 1953 it was heavily flooded, making water defences essential. Generating bigger waves is the only way to find out if flood defences can cope with rising tides.

(Link: www.bbc.com, Photo of Delta Works by Coanri/Rita, some rights reserved)

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August 31, 2015

Dutch trains to run on 100% wind energy by 2018

Filed under: Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 3:04 pm

windturbines

As of 2016 Dutch Rail claims that 50% of all electric trains in the country will run on wind energy. In 2017 that figure should be 95% and in 2018 it would go up to 100%. If successful, it will mean a serious decrease Dutch Rail’s CO2 footprint, something it says is important to passengers.

Some 50% of the wind power needed to run the trains will be generated by new wind parks that will gradually be put into operation in the Netherlands, while the other 50% will come from wind parks in Norway, Sweden and Belgium, managed by power company Eneco and VIVENS, an energy procurement cooperative. “Drawing upon sources outside the Netherlands to source the railways means they avoid decreasing availability and also avoid increasing prices of green power for other parties.”

A total of 1.4 TWh of electricity for the rail system, equivalent to the amount of power used by all households in Amsterdam, needs to be generated.

(Links: techxplore.com, www.dekoepel.org)

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August 24, 2015

Den Bosch tests noise barrier made of solar panels

Filed under: Automobiles,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 11:06 am

solar_noise_barrier.jpg.662x0_q70_crop-scale

Boffins at the Eindhoven University of Technology have designed motorway noise barriers that are colourful instead of dingy and that also collect solar energy instead of just cutting down on noise and being dingy. Sonobs (Solar Noise Barriers) can be made cheaply, made resistant to vandalism and come in many colours.

The special panels built to make the barriers are made of luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs), coloured panels that receive light and direct it to the edges of the panels where traditional solar cells collect the solar energy.

“A year-long test project was launched on June 18 on two sections of noise barriers, each 5 metres wide and 4.5 metres high. The barriers are partially covered in the LSCs and partially covered in semi-transparent panels holding conventional solar cells, so that they can compare the performances of the two technologies.”

Initial research shows that a kilometre of the solar noise barriers can generate enough electricity to power 50 Dutch homes.

(Links and photo: www.treehugger.com, www.tue.nl)

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