Solarclave Sterilizes Medical Equipment In Remote Areas Using Sunlight.

Solarclave from MIT's Little Devices groupIn hospitals, an autoclave is an electric-powered device that is used to sterilize medical equipment and supplies. The Solarclave, designed by MIT’s Little Devices group, is an autoclave that is solar-powered and can be used cheaply and repaired easily by remote clinics in developing countries. Here’s a description of the Solarclave from the Little Devices group:

“With a bucket, a pressure cooker, and 140 pocket-sized mirrors, IIH researchers have invented a device that uses sunshine to sterilize surgical tools. Solarclave provides reliable surgical sterilization for rural clinics outside of the grid – enabling healthcare workers to provide basic, life-saving services for patients.”

And here’s how it works (SmartPlanet):

“Under a clear sky, the system takes 45 to 60 minutes to heat up to a sterilizing temperature (250 degrees Fahrenheit) and then 20 minutes to carry out the sterilization cycle.”

The final design of the Solarclave was modified based on feedback from rural users in Nicaragua. [SmartPlanet]

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Clotheslines Season Is Around The Corner. Check Out The Clotheslines Of 1930’s New York.

Clotheslines on laundry day in 1930's New YorkBuzzfeed posted “Monday, Laundry Day, New York City” and it was a nice reminder that clothesline season is almost here. My indoor clothesline has been working overtime this winter. I wash and hang a load on plastic coat hangers in the morning and then repeat the wash and hang process one more time in the evening.

Clotheslines on laundry day in 1930's New York

If you’re chomping at the bit and can’t wait for clothesline season, hang-dry your clothes indoors by purchasing an adjustable closet rod and a pair of wall brackets to hang your laundry over your washer/dryer. Your bathroom shower rod will work too.

Clotheslines on laundry day in 1930's New York

If you’re an anxious planner and can’t wait to get your outdoor clothesline set up, you can invest in an outdoor umbrella clothesline or get real old school and tie a rope/phone cord between to posts/trees.

Clotheslines on laundry day in 1930's New York

From my experience, wooden clothespins work the best on outdoor clothesline. Plastic clothespins become brittle from the temperature change of daytime heat and cool evenings.

Clotheslines on laundry day in 1930's New York

Good luck with clothesline season. Remember: clotheslines are the easy-to-install, affordable solar panel system. [Buzzfeed]

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Waste Solution For Not-Recycling Houston: One Trash Bin For All Waste.

Landfill
Laura Spanjian - City of Houston Sustainability DirectorHow do you get a city with a low 14% recycling rate and no enforceable recycling laws to start separating their trash and divert it from landfills?

You don’t…. you bring in some garbage sorting technology and let it do the work. The City of Houston knew it would be tough to educate and motivate their residents to separate their trash so they went out and found companies that process it for them. Spearheading the effort is Laura Spanjian, Houston’s sustainability director. From Fast Co.Exist:

“Spanjian’s dream system combines many of these technologies: It would take everyone’s trash in one bin and send it to a facility that pulls out every piece of recyclable material and separates out food waste. Recyclable commodities would be sold, and food waste would be turned into compost or put in an anaerobic digester to power facilities or trucks. Another portion of the waste would be turned into gasoline.”

Brilliant – put all the trash in one bin and let the specialized machines sort it. Much better than the alternative of sending all of the trash to landfills.

Here are some of the companies Ms. Spanjian found that can divert and reuse/recycle Houston’s trash:

“One company cited by Spanjian, Organic Energy Corporation, offers a one-bin waste sorting solution. A company called BHS operates a material recovery facility in San Jose, California–but it doesn’t deal with food waste. ZeroWaste can take care of that; the company operates anaerobic digesters to deal with food waste in the city. And CRI Catalyst Company–a Houston-based company–offers a technology that turn biomass into gasoline or diesel.”

Not all cities are like San Francisco – which diverts 80% of their trash from landfills. If Ms. Spanjian’s model is successful, other low recycling rate cities can copy and implement a scaled version of her system. Dog wags tail. [Fast Co.Exist]

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Wee-Wee Is Partially Powering A Float At Carnival In Rio. Power To The PEE-ple!

Electric Pee float at Carnival in Rio
Power to the pee-pleThis will only take a second.

Poopcycle, you’ve got competition. During this year’s Carnival in Rio, the AfroReggae float is going to be partially powered by pee-pee / urine / wiz. From JWT Brazil:

“JWT Brazil and NGO AfroReggae teamed up this year to do something about it. The result is the ‘Electric Pee’ project — a unique urinal designed to generate electric energy from urine. Using a process similar to a hydroelectric power plant, which uses flowing water to generate energy, the energy created from each use will help generate power for AfroReggae’s float at Carnival.”

Told you it wouldn’t take long to relieve ourselves of this story. [JWT via Treehugger]

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Solar Impulse Solar-Powered Airplane Is In America – Wants To Fly Across It. World, You’re Next!

Solar Impulse in flight.The 100% solar-powered Solar Impulse airplane arrived in the US on February 21 and is in the process of being reassembled for its transcontinental solar flight from San Francisco to Washington DC with a final leg to New York. Its powered by four 10 horsepower electric engines and has a cruising speed of 50 mph.

Led by Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, the Solar Impulse will not be the first plane to cross the US powered by solar – that feat was first accomplished in 1990 by Eric Raymond’s Sunseeker solar power airplane. Mr. Raymond’s transcontinental trip required 21 separate flights over 121 hours to cross the country. The Solar Impulse’s transcontinental trips will be broken down into 20 hour flights with stops along the way to raise awareness about solar power.

Below is a video of the Solar Impulse being disassembled and shipped to San Francisco. [Wired]


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China Is Moving Forward With A Carbon Tax. US Politicians Who Oppose Carbon Tax Lose An Ally.

Wait Until China Acts on Climate. What? They Are!? - Climate DeskThe whole childish “you go first” between the US and China on carbon taxes might be coming to an end soon. According to a report in China’s state-run Xinhua news website, taxing carbon emissions is on the agenda for the Ministry of Finance (MOF). From Xinhua:

“The [Chinese] government will collect the environmental protection tax instead of pollutant discharge fees, as well as levy a tax on carbon dioxide emissions, Jia Chen, head of the ministry’s tax policy division, wrote in an article published on the MOF’s website.

It will be the local taxation authority, rather than the environmental protection department, that will collect the taxes.

The government is also looking into the possibility of taxing energy-intensive products such as batteries, as well as luxury goods such as aircraft that are not used for public transportation, according to Jia.

To conserve natural resources, the government will push forward resource tax reforms by taxing coal based on prices instead of sales volume, as well as raising coal taxes. A resource tax will also be levied on water.”

As consumers of $400 billion worth of Chinese goods (2011), the US deserves an assist for China’s pollution problem. I never quite understood how carbon tax opposing US politicians could pass so much blame on China for their lack of pollution controls when our consumption of their goods is driving it. At least the Inhofes, Rubios and Bachmanns will still have India to blame and do the “you go first” carbon tax dance with. [Mother Jones]


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