Edible Water Bottle

Edible Water Bottle

An edible and compostable membrane can be used as a packaging for water, replacing the highly pollutants plastic bottles currently used. The bubble can act as a standard replacement for plastic bottles, but has more specific applications as well. It can, for instance, be used in running events, replacing the usual paper-cuts handed to runners which create a lot of waste.

The membrane is made out of a double gelatinous membrane. When you get thirsty you simply have to break it and drink. If you want to you can then eat the membrane or throw it away, since it is made out of compostable elements.

This is the idea behind Ohoo, a concept created by 3 young designers based in London: Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez, Pierre Paslier and Guillaume Couche. They won the Lexus Design Award for their idea earlier on this year. Their inspiration comes from the way nature encapsulates liquids using membranes.

The technique consist in creating a double gelatinous membrane made out of sodium alginate (E401), coming from brown algae, and of calcium chloride (E509). The bubbles are then shaped using a molecular gastronomy inspired techniquespherification process: spherification. The water is frozen and encapsulated in the double gelatinous membrane. Thanks to this technique the costs of the capsules are very low, with an average of 2cts per piece.

The main idea of Ooho is that everyone could make them in their kitchen, modifying and innovating the recipe. Since the concept is really new, a detailed and complete DIY guide is not available yet. But it uses the basic concept of spherification and even though the ingredients are not the ones we usually find in one’s kitchen cabinet, it is not so difficult to find them

Useful links:

To make the water bubble at home you will need:Ohoo_Botellas_de_agua_comestibles_para_luchar_contra_el_plastico Edible Water Bottle Blogs

  • 1 g of sodium alginate (a natural substance derived from brown seaweed)

  • 5 g of food-grade calcium lactate (a type of salt that can be found commonly in cheese)

  • A bowl filled with 1 cup of drinking water

  • Another bowl filled with 4 cups of water

  • Another bowl filled with water for rinsing off the “bottles”

  • An immersion blender (you could also use a regular blender)

  • A deep spoon like a measuring spoon

Step1: Add 1 g of sodium alginate to 1 cup of water. Then use an immersion blender to dissolve the sodium alginate for about 3 minutes. Then set the mixture aside for 15 minutes to get rid of any air bubbles that may have formed during blending.

Step 2: Add 5 g of calcium lactate to 4 cups of water and mix well using a spoon.

Step3: Scoop up some of your sodium alginate solution using a deep spoon. Very carefully plop the sodium alginate into the calcium lactate bath. Repeat with the remaining sodium alginate but do not crowd the bath.

Step 4: Stir the sodium alginate bubbles very gently for 3 minutes.

Step 5: After 3 minutes, remove the “bottles” from the calcium lactate bath using a slotted spoon and transfer them to a water bath to stop the reaction.

And there you have it! Your edible water “bottles” are ready for drinking, er, eating, or whatever you want to call it.

Inspired from the: DIY VIDEO: How to Make an Edible Water “Bottle” | Inhabitat New York City

Fix walls with the floor

Neverland – Pallets Structure

Introduction

I have seen a lot of up-cycled projects with wood shipping pallets over the years, and more often than not they are ugly, but totally useful. Pallets are great for the “DIYer” because they are cheap and easy to work with, but you need to pay attention to what you are catching. At a glance, wood pallets are cheap wood that most people would not bother using for kindling, let alone make a table out of one. Oddly, that’s really the appeal of them. They’re essentially “Lego” for adults because they can be turned into just about anything with minimal effort.

It is also about up-cycling and using materials that are already out there for new and creative uses. You can usually grab them for free from old warehouses and shipping areas. Since most pallets are about the same size (Figure 1), you can find directions online and get to building something without really knowing anything about woodworking.

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First of all, you need to watch what you are doing with pallets because, they get exposed to everything such as harsh chemicals and bugs in their journeys, so it is important to pay attention to what you are looking for. That said, pallets are excellent for outdoor projects. If you can find pallets with a “HT” (heat treated) stamp on them that means they are free of bugs, but it also means the wood may have been treated with chemicals. The nicest pallets seem to come from dry goods industries. They’re usually shipping a lightweight, dry product, so there is no spillage or stains to worry about.

It is entirely possible to grab pallets that are safe, but it is just as likely you will grab one covered in chemicals. So, if you can trace the history you are better off. Picking up any reclaimed wood is going to come with a set of dangers, so be smart and keep your eyes out for signs of contaminants. Shipping pallets make for easy weekend projects for regardless of your skill, and when you choose the right ones they will last a surprisingly long time.

Links

http://lifehacker.com/5992231/why-pallets-are-great-for-diying-when-you-pick-out-the-right-ones

How could be made

In order to build all the structure we need fourteen pallets, preferably EUR Pallets (see Figure 1) to have all of them with the same measures. If it is not possible to find all the same type, it could be problems how to manage them, but I believe the problems will be not very hard to solve. Secondly, all the project, I have made, is based on the European standard measures, then using a different type of pallets, it will change also the dimensions of the structure.

Among the fourteen pallets mentioned before, twelve of them should be disassembled, in fact, into pallets used for the walls, three pieces of wooden boards must to be take off to allow the air enters in the structure and moves the windmill inside (Figure 2;Figure 3).

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We will disassemble the pallets used in the walls and then fill the gaps of the pallets used for the floor and the roof of the structure. So the final result of them should be like the follow Figure 4. That is how pallets should be after filling them, like it was a stage. These full pallets will serve to make the structure floor and roof. If the surface of a single pallets is not enough we could join different pallets in order to obtain a large surface.

Schermafbeelding-2014-10-21-om-10.27.34 Neverland - Pallets Structure Blogs

To make the walls we must first join the pallets using the board obtain from other pallets and then adapting them to the structure. The next step is to place them in the floor to brace it and start to fixing it. Should be used some metal brackets and screws wherever you can (Figure 5). The same operation is used to join the walls with the roof. There will be also another part on the top of the roof to fix the solar panel, but we will discuss about it in the next chapters.

Schermafbeelding-2014-10-21-om-10.27.40 Neverland - Pallets Structure Blogs

Video

 

Transfer the trademark rights for Blue Economy to a foundation

Dear Reader

since launching the Blue Economy in 2010, we have seen an enormous growth in reach, interest and importance of our campaign. Right at the beginning of the project, Blue Economy was protected as a trademark to prevent any future “blue washing”. Due to the success achieved, greed is increasingly aroused.

Therefore, the founding agency Konvergenta has decided to transfer the trademark rights for Blue Economy to a foundation. The organisational and legal framework is currently being developed, after which a supervisory board will be appointed. In future, the foundation will have the task of supporting Blue Economy projects in developing countries. We look forward to your support in these activities.

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Don’t judge a fruit by its cover !

Background:

One of the core principle of the Blue Economy is to use the resources already available. Even though waste can be transformed into valuable products and innovations, avoiding excessive stream of waste, money and labor is the easiest step towards an optimum future.

One enormous source of waste all over the world is food waste. Food waste is a trending issue at the moments and many initiatives are currently undertaken, proof is: 2014 has been declared the European year against food waste.

In Europe about 90 million tonnes of food is wasted annually according to statistics from the European Commission. And about 40% of the food waste occurs at retail and consumer level, food is wasted throughout the whole food chain – from farmers to consumers.

This has many harmful results, obviously it is a great source of waste but also of greenhouse gases emissions: the unused fruits and vegetables are let to rot in landfills where they produce methane. In order to grow the vegetables, scare water and land resources are used for produce that will end up in landfills. Tackling the waste food issue could also be part of the answer on how to deal with a quickly growing world population. According to Tristam Stuart, an influential author on the subject, all the world’s nearly one billion hungry people could be lifted out of malnourishment just by using this wasted food.

5713956164_3ae9fbc72b_z Don't judge a fruit by its cover ! Blogs

There are many causes to food waste, but one of them is due to what is called « ugly » fruits and vegetables. These misshapen, blemished or bruised produces account for half of the previously stated 40% of food wasted.

First of all some of the food is wasted at the amount of the food chain, with products not even reaching the market.

In Europe, standards to sell fruits and vegetables exist. Those standards do not take into account the taste or the nutritional value, but are based on aesthetics criteria such as size, shape and skin finish Some of these standards have been largely mocked and criticised, such as the rule of banana which forbid bananas that were over-bendy or too straight.

This led to a relaxation of the Europeans standards in 2009 for 26 products, but 10 of the most popular fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, apples, lettuces and strawberries are still subjected to these standards. But these are not the only norms applying and the overwhelming majority of professionals still apply norms drawn up by United Nations body Unece. These specify for instance that brown stains on a apricot shouldn’t exceed 15 percent of its surface. And a zucchini has to be at least 7 centimeters long, as well as “free of cavities and splits”.

Those aesthetics standards have two main consequences: produces that do not fit the standards are not even harvested by the farmers, since they know that they won’t sell them. Or produces are discarded by the supermarkets, who also fix certain standards of their own; individual chains require suppliers to meet stringent cosmetic standards.

Even though some of this rejected food is sent for processing or to feed animals, not all of it is accepted by the processors. Even them have standards and could, for instance, reject bend-shaped cucumbers, and not every vegetable can make it into processed food. Another solution would be to feed pigs with catering and home waste, but it has been forbidden across the European Union in 2003. Finally, it has been shown that consumers don’t buy the ugly vegetables, the misshapen might get sold but not the ones withes holes and bruises.

Potential

Many initiatives are currently undertaken to change the consumer’s and market’s behavior.

Less-than-perfect looking fruits and vegetables are gradually sold in supermarkets. The movement started in 2012 in the UK with big chains such as Tesco and Waitrose proposing misshapen produce at a really advantageous price. Sainsbury also did it in 2012 because it was a bad crop year for farmers. But since the weather was better in 2013, they did not reiterate.

In 2013 German supermarkets took over and Edeka and its discount branch Netto started selling ugly vegetables for a reduced price branded as “nobody is perfect”. Coop, the Swiss market leader did the same, calling them “Unique” and in Austria, Rewe has a line called “Wunderling”.

Even though we don’t always find those produces onto the shelves, those initiatives show the beginning of a change in the attitudes.

“Ugly fruit” is a campaign imagined by three german students of the University of Weimar (Giacomo Blume, 25, Moritz Glück, 29 and Daniel Plath, 26), it is aimed at getting those produce back into German household.

In addition to visual campaigns showing misshaped fruits and vegetables associated to suggestive slogans they also imagined « ugly fruits » supermarket: « stores that would focus exclusively on selling produce rejected by other chains ». Their project had$ a lot of attentions, and they already attracted proposals from potential partners and e-mails from future customers enquiring when the shop could be open.

They also thought about selling the deformed produce from the back of a garbage trucks at various local farmer’s market in order to shock Germans and to push them into rethinking their consumers habits. One of their argument was that it is not only sustainable but it also is a business opportunity to make profit out of this otherwise wasted food.

Culinary misfits is a Berlin based catering business that aims to turn ugly vegetables into gourmet meals and work of art-like pieces. « the company’s mission is to save misshapen produce by showing customer’s that they are an attractive choice.” It began as a crowd funding project, and now they are doing catering but are planning to open soon their own place in Kreuzberg. Additionally, it should be noted that it’s a good idea to use those kind of bruised veggies and fruits in restaurants, because most of them won’t be used whole anyways.

Other initiatives such as Feed the 5000 organise events with food that would otherwise have been wasted. It is A UK national gleaning network whose members harvest misshapen produce and donate it to charity. It also is a campaign that aims to empower and inspire the global community to enact positive solutions to the global issue of food waste. They hold events where 5000 members of the public are given a free lunch using only ingredients that otherwise would have been wasted. Those events have been held in London, but also internationally – including in Paris, Amsterdam and Dublin.

Do it yourself:

As a customer an easy step towards reducing food waste would simply consist in not picking the best looking fruits and vegetables at the supermarkets, to buy the misshapen produces when they are available and to support the aforementioned initiatives aiming at raising the awareness towards those produce and making consumers to accept them.

Useful links: to go further:

Food Waste:

Build your own wind turbine in 11 steps

Build your own wind turbine in 11 steps:

In this DIY video-guide, we learn how to make a wind turbine using neodymium magnets and copper coils. These step-by-step videos are in German but can be easily understood.

Step 1: Before you build a large generator, it is better to build a smaller one as a test.

Step 2: Measure the open circuit voltage and the short circuit current of the small test generator. It gives an indication of tells what you can do to improve the generator.

Step 3: DIY Windmill generator: the stator

Step 4: DIY Windmill generator: wrap the copper coils

Step 5: DIY Windmill generator: install the coils

Step 6: DIY Windmill generator: bathe in polyester resin

Step 7: DIY Windmill generator: test on vertical wind

Step 8: Here is the first part of the theory for Delon voltage doubler. You can increase the output voltage from the wind turbine.

Step 9: Second part of the theory for Delon voltage doubler.

Step 10: Solder the voltage doubler

Step 11: Test the voltage doubler –

Thanks to Chris Will Know who developed these great DIY instructions and made them available to all.

Aquaponics: Material flow aquarium

Aquaponics: Material flow aquarium

Background

An essential point of the Blue Economy is to interlace multiple material flows to create added value. In agriculture, it is possible to do so in the most natural way. It is hardly surprising that some of the most important „Blue“ projects are found in this area; these are called „Integrated Farming“.

Biodiversity and the use of different kingdoms of nature (plants, protists, bacteria, fungi and animals) are the main focus: a farm produces biogas, pigs, algea, fishes and different sorts of vegetables – all that on a pretty small area. 

tumblr_n5z9w1i1sv1r6gleso4_1280 Aquaponics: Material flow aquarium Blogs

Here it is how it works: 

Pigs are producing manure, from which biogas is produced. Biogas delivers the energy needed to make a various number of processes. On the remaining waste mushrooms are bred. 

The pig’s urine is used to grow seaweeds, and these seaweeds are used as a way to clean water. The clean water is then used as a base to breed fish. The water from the fish is also used as manure for the fields and for the vegetable production. This organic „waste“ is also used to grow the mushroom. Ultimately we have a high quality humus, filled with worms. And the worms are perfectly fit for feeding the fishes.

In those kinds of systems, it is possible to add a lot of elements: mulberries can be used both to produce silk and as a hedge; fish ponds can also be used as rice paddies; worms and maggots can compost waste and serve as food for the animals, and the list goes on.

If agriculture is considered this way, it can be free of almost every pesticides and genetically modified seeds – it builds up a biological system with a high biodiversity and high-yield crops.

In the 1960s and the 70s a first wave of „aquaponic-systems“ developed, in such systems fishes and plants are grown together in a greenhouse. Fishes are providing the plants with nutrients, especially nitrogen, and the plants are cleaning the water for fishes. The water is laid in a closed loop and the production can take place all year round thanks to the warmth of the greenhouse.

However, most of those systems are producing tomatoes and salads in monoculture in combination with tilapia to get a maximal yield. Until now, aquaponics is primarily developed in the USA and Australia. 

Do It Yourself

But even if you are not a farmer, you can apply the „blue principles“ of integrated farming and aquaponics at home. A little aquarium built with common materials is pretty to watch and useful at the same time. Basil, chives and tomatoes, functioning as a biological filter, can be easily grown in the system.

TopFarmers created a construction manual which is available on open-source and that you can find here: http://www.blueeconomy.eu/m/files/view/Mini-Aquaponics-Manual.

Potential

From this idea, BTTR Ventures, an american company, created an all in-one fish tank from which you can grow plants, the „AquaFarm“. It can be ordered online for 60$. The company used a kicksarter campaign to raise 250.000$ in order to produce the first kits. It may be then possible to sell seeds regularly to the customers, in the form of a monthly package for instance.

In any case, a aquaponic-aquarium is good to provide an understanding of how an ecosystem works, kids will especially understand it very quickly. It is nice way to use the principle of the Blue Economy in our every day life, at home – and at the same time, to always have fresh herbs and healthy greens at hand.

20 ingenious ways to produce your own energy

20 ingenious ways to produce your own energy

During the following weeks we will present you a large range of people who produce their own energy, based on do-it-yourself projects.

These can serve as an inspiration, and give you ideas on how you can experiment to generate energy.

4130014567_31edaf3330_z 20 ingenious ways to produce your own energy Blogs

The series provides real life applications of the Blue economy principles such as:

  • Substitute something with Nothing – question any ressource regarding its necessity for production.
  • Gravity is main source of energy, solar energy is the second renewable fuel.
  • Nature only works with what is locally available. Sustainable business evolves with respect not only for local ressources, but also for culture and tradition.
  • Solutions are first and foremost based on physics. Deciding factors are Pressure and Temperature as found on site.

1. Solar Water Heater DIY

The first idea is a guide to build a solar water heater by yourself

This is a really good video that eplains how to build a device that allows you to heat water through the power of the sun.

It gives you the main.

Even though the project can definitely be optimized, it clearly shows the amazing possibilities of the sun.

Neverland

Neverland

“Most of our industries generate massive amounts of waste. For every tone of municipal solid waste, there are 71 tonnes produces from mining, manufacturing, and product distribution. We have nuclear waste, soil laced with heavy metals, chromium-contaminated groundwater, landfills bursting with cast-off plastic containers. The residues of our consumption are buried in highly centralised areas and are burned when the volume accumulates”.

The problem of waste disposal is becoming one of the main problems on the environmental: landfills, incinerator and indiscriminate abandonment of waste are real social and environmental emergency. A really serious problem that cannot remain indifferent.

Since this moment I have never heard about the concept “Blue Economy”. A week ago I started an intership in the “Blue Economy Solutions” in Berlin, then I read some articles about innovations and, as citied before, the Blue Economy’s book. I am very surprised, the ideologies behind the acting are simple: try to produce less waste and pollution as much as possible, trough the inspiration of Nature with own hands.

I have a Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering, furthermore my background taught me how it is important that everybody collaborate to change the world, then I found this kind of approach very clever. Now I would like to share my idea in order to have advices from somebodies more specialized then me.

As mentioned in the title my idea is a station with a vertical axis windmill and two solar panel on top. There is not nothing new about the idea, but I believe the most important aspect is: we can do the station in mode “do it yourself”, with recycled materials or, in the worst case, with second-hand items. The structure could be made with pallets, the windmill with a used tanks and the energy solar system with “diy” solar panel. Could be interesting because everybody can make a station like this and have a “free” energy which can be used to charge electric cars, a lawn-mower or simply a computer when you want use it in garden. I enclose a simple image of my idea.

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In conclusion, this is a prototype and of course it needs a modification to work well. So I am very happy if somebody is interested in to develop the project. I am working in it, thus I will update you with new ideas and modification.

Fishing nets: dangers and opportunities

Fishing nets: dangers and opportunities

Background:

Ghost nets are lost or intentionally discarded fishing net floating in the sea. Doing so, they entangle fish, dolphins, se turtles, whales, seals and other marine creatures, and birds as well. This result in restricting movement, causing starvation, laceration, infection and ultimately the death of thousands animals a year.

Recently, estimates by the United Nations suggest that up to 10% of the trash collected in our oceans is now comprised of this debris. Fishing nets are made out of nylon, a really resistant material. They can stay for hundreds of year in the sea, a true danger for marine species. They also create a navigational hazard for boats and pile upon beaches.

Potential:

In 2013 Interface launched its Net Effect project. This carpet tile collection by InterfaceFLOR (the residential collection of Interface) is inspired by the ocean not only in its design but most importantly in the material it is made of.

Discarded fisher nets are collected by local communities in the Philippines and recycled. In addition to providing an income for the population, the project helps cleaning the environment. The fisher nets, which are a big threat to the coral reef, are removed from the sea and from the beaches where they have been staying for years. Indeed, nylon, the material used for both nets and carpet comes out of mineral oil and takes hundred of years to degrade. By recycling it, Interface lowers its energy-use and help to restore a fragile environment Carpet making is a pollution intensive industry, but Interface is making business in the most sustainable way possibles since 1995. They only use recycled or bio-produced materials and their Misson Zero goal was set in order to achieve zero environmental footprint by 2020.

Another firm using discarded fishing net is Bureo, who makes skateboards out of nets collected along the Chilean coast. The two young californian founder of Bureo are currently raising money on kickstarter to be able to launch the product for good.

Do it Yourself:

A derived DIY from this project consist in upcycling nets used to package lemons, onions and so on. Other DIYs inspired from the Net effect project are rugs woven out of plastic bags.

Useful links:

Self-Made Microsolar Cells - Cheaper, Faster, More Efficient

Self-Made Microsolar Cells – Cheaper, Faster, More Efficient

Micro solar cells fit into any pocket and are able to power small devices such as cellphones or MP3 players. Unfortunately they are often slow, inaccurate and produced manually at high costs in remote countries.

The “Solar Pocket Factory” introduced by the inventors Shawn Frayne (known from Case 12 and 79) and his colleague Alex Hornstein are able to produce more efficient and lasting micro solar cells in less time. They are so much cheaper that they can be also implemented in poorer countries. The production unit is small and simple and therefore it can be set up everywhere in the world, which makes expensive importation innecessary.

A prototype has been produced. Now the inventors are planning the financing of their device by crowd funding. As a return service they offer experimental kits and publish weekly insights of their work which will be collected in a book. They also offer some of their technologies on the internet open source.

Get more information here.