The Earth says thank you for these innovations

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How can all of us be more responsible in the treatment of our resources? Three designers have discovered their own surprising answers to this question. Find out how, in the future, you will be able to throw away a beverage bottle without a guilty conscience, how clean energy for laptops and smartphones is easily generated at the work station, and how any wall can become a wind-power Station.

The biodegradable water bottle

“Why do we use material that requires hundreds of years for nature to break it down if we only use it once and then throw it away?” Ari Jónsson, Produktdesign Student at the Island Academy of Arts asked himself this question. He began seeking a replacement for plastic. After a test phase with different materials he came across a powdered form of agar, which is produced from algae. Mixing the powder with water results in a jellylike substance. Jónsson gradually heats the material and fills it into a bottle-like mold. It is rotated in an ice bath until the liquid inside the mold has taken on the shape of a bottle. A short time later he takes the algae bottle out of the mold. As long as the algae bottle remains filled with water, it keeps its shape. But when it is empty, it begins to decompose. And if you like, you can the take a bite of the bottle; after all, it consists of 100% natural material. (© www.arijons.com)

 

A desk as energy source

Many of you have a charger for your mobile phone or iPad at your desk. But that wasn’t enough for Dutch designer Marjan van Aubel. Why can’t the desk itself be the source of energy? Her current table has a transparent orange glass surface and is equipped with two USB charging points. Each USB station is linked to solar modules in the glass surface and take about two hours to charge a mobile phone or iPad. In contrast to conventional solar cells, the energy table requires no direct sunlight. The glass is colored with a photosensitive substance made of natural pigments. The colored cells use the principle of photosynthesis, thereby bringing the maximum out of even diffuse light. If Marjan van Aubel has her way, we will soon be able to use the table at libraries, restaurant and coffee shops. (©www.marjanvanaubel.com)

 

Energy flutters right in

Charlotte Slingsby comes from South Africa, where power blackouts often paralyze public life. In the search for a solution to this problem she invented an entirely new way to generate energy from wind. Moya Power is a semi-transparent material which uses small amounts of wind to generate power. Flexible, thin foils made of polyvinylidene fluoride move with the wind. Using the piezoelectric effect they generate energy which is stored in a battery. If the material covers a large area, a significant amount of electricity can be generated. Moya Power is economical to manufacture and, thanks to its flexibility, can be used just about anywhere. Such as on buildings and bridges – as well as in a subway tunnel. Anywhere the wind blows. (© www.rca.ac.uk/students/charlotte-slingsby/)

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