Eco innovations – April 2013
A hospital’s double skin that filters Air Pollution
Imagine a building that eats pollution in the air. Well a tower under construction in a Mexico City hospital claims to do just that. The Torre de Especialidades is shielded with a facade of Prosolve370e, a new type of tile whose special shape and chemical coating can help neutralize the chemicals that compose smog: up to the equivalent produced by 8,750 cars driving by each day. A chemical reaction occurs when UV light cuts through smoggy air and hits the titanium dioxide on the tiles. This breaks the smog down into small amounts of less harmful chemicals, including calcium nitrate (a salt used in fertilizers), carbon dioxide, and water.
Odor absorbing sports bras made from…coffee grounds
One cup or two shirts? Taiwanese company, Singtex Industrial Co., has developed a process to turn coffee fibers into a super-high tech eco-fabric. The process is apparently so efficient that “one medium cup of coffee can make two shirts,” or so says general manager Chen Kuo-chin. Not only does the S.Café material in this EMS sports bra give outstanding performance: quick-drying, odor-control, and UV-protection but the eco-credentials are leading edge. Apparently when manufacturing S.Café, the process “does not use any chemicals” and is free from “harmful materials commonly found in other yarns.” And by inventing a use for what was traditionally waste, the eco-fabric is expanding the life cycle of the coffee industry, making waste more valuable than ever.
Never ending eco showers
Many countries use grey water (wastewater generated from domestic activities such as laundry, dishwashing, and bathing) to water the garden, but how would you feel about showering in it? Time and time again? French manufacturers of the Geopure Shower have invented a shower that can collect and filter its own grey water in a constant cycle – up to 50 times. . When the shower is turned on, water from the top tank comes out of the showerhead and drains into a second lower tank, where it is filtered and pumped back up to the top tank. This cycle can happen up to 50 times before the water needs replacing. Oh, and the hot water used in the shower? It’s heated from the solar panels of course.
Hot drink coasters as mobile phone chargers
Double energy. We all look forward to that nice cuppa to recharge our batteries right? Well now, your hot drink can also recharge your phone battery too. The Epiphany onE Puck uses the energy from the heat conduction process to power a constant cycle of expanding fluids inside the coaster. This energy is then converted into electricity and the USB outlet lets you charge up your devices. Nice.
Using Facebook to light up the world
Getting social about solar. SunFunder is a solar crowdfunding platform which leverages Facebook to leapfrog the grid. It offers crowd-sourced funds for solar projects in developing countries for the over 2.5 billion people who lack full access to electricity. The platform is designed to make crowd-sourcing fun,easy and social. It includes a SunFunder dashboard that allows users to see the impact their networks of friends are making, and ask others to invest with them. And it auto-generates a unique video about every funding activity which funders can share with their friends.