Tag Archives: innovation

How Hemp (Cannabis) Could Be Used As A Biofuel


Biodiesel can be produced from a great variety of feedstocks but the choice for the best one depends largely on economics, geography and climate . According to The Guardian , hemp can be used to create biodiesel and bioethanol. Contrary to Popular Belief, Hemp Oil Products Are Not Marijuana.

For Biocarburanti.org , while cannabis and hemp both come from the same species, hemp contains negligible amounts of THC (the chemical that makes the marihuana plant a potent drug). Therefore, handling it, eating it or inhaling the gasses or smoke from it will not intoxicate you in any way. Although, if you eat it, you may feel full.

hemp chart biodiesel
Credit: Sites.psu.edu

The product is environmentally friendlier to produce compared to corn, palm oil or sugar beet. Hemp biodiesel is biodegradable therefore it will not contribute to environmental destruction.A major advantage of hemp is that it can grow in a wide range of climatic conditions, while leaving the soils around it in a better condition than when it was first planted.

Researchers at University of Connecticut have found that industrial hemp has properties that make it viable and even attractive as a raw material, or feedstock, for producing biodiesel. Hemp biodiesel has shown a high efficiency of conversion (97 percent) and has passed laboratory’s tests, even showing properties that suggest it could be used at lower temperatures than any biodiesel currently on the market. Continue reading How Hemp (Cannabis) Could Be Used As A Biofuel

Energy #Startup:This Paris Floating Gym Which Will Turn Your Sweat Into Electricity (en/fr)


  • (fr: Cette salle de sport flottante pourrait naviguer grâce à l’énergie des sportifs)

English: Italian firm Carlo Ratti Associati came up with a brilliant way to inspire people to exercise more. They designed a boat that uses human energy to sail down the Seine River in Paris.

This futuristic project tends to innovate the way of traditional fitness while trying to loose your extra kilos.Each of this floating gym machines is attached to a black box with wires running out of it. The box is a compact generator that converts the motion of the wheels into electricity, which is then fed into the power grid, offsetting some of the club’s energy use. For these gym-goers, it’s not just about their cardio fitness; their sweat is helping to make the planet a bit greener.The box is a compact generator that converts the motion of the wheels into electricity, which is then fed into the power grid, offsetting some of the club’s energy use. For these gym-goers, it’s not just about their cardio fitness; their sweat is helping to make the planet a bit greener.

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By adopting power-producing exercise machines in this way, gyms can promote themselves as environmentally friendly and also reduce their electric bills. This concept has started in the United States but “la Seine” is a more beautiful place to work out. At least three start-ups in the United States are now selling equipment to retrofit aerobic machines—stationary bicycles, elliptical trainers, and steppers—into electricity-generating gear. These companies have already converted several hundred machines at dozens of U.S. health clubs and university gyms.

In Paris, the boat is 65-feet-long (20-meter long) and holds up to 45 people. “The Paris Navigating Gym investigates the potential of harnessing human power,” Carlo Ratti said. “It’s fascinating to see how the energy generated by a workout at the gym can actually help to propel a boat. It provides one with a tangible experience of what lies behind the often abstract notion of ‘electric power’.” It’s still in development, but the designers estimate that it could be completed in 18 months.

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Credit: Carlo Ratti Associati

The Paris Navigating Gym works by converting the pedal power into utility grade electricity. However, if there won’t be enough passengers on-board to run the ship, it will be able to use renewable energy sources, like the photovoltaic cells on its roof.

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Credit; Carlo Ratti Associati

The Navigating Gym will allow Parisians to inhabit the river all year long. The augmented-reality screens installed on the boat will show guests both the quantity of energy sourced from the workout, and data about the Seine’s environmental conditions, tracked in real time by sensors incorporated on the vessel. Encased within a transparent glass covering, open in the summer, the gym allows an extraordinary view of the urban panorama. And at night, the boat can even be used for parties and celebrations.

One more reason to visit once again or for the first time Paris!

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Credit: Carlo Ratti Associati

Français:Cette salle de sport flottante pourrait naviguer grâce à l’énergie des sportifs

Si vous aimez flâner à Paris en faisant du sport, ce concept est parfaitement idéalise  pour vous. “Le Paris Navigating Gym” pourrait bien naviguer le long de la Seine en utilisant juste la sueur de votre front. Un concept inédit mêlant activité physique et écologie. Ça change des traditionnelles « salles de muscu ».

C’est  le cabinet de design italien Carlo Ratti Associati qui a imaginé une salle de sports à donner envie, même au pire flemmard des sportifs, de se dépenser à fond en regardant la Seine. Plus besoin de prendre un bateau mouche pour faire le tour de la capitale française. Surtout si vous   Équipée de grandes baies vitrées avec vue imprenable sur Paris, cette salle flottante de 20 mètres de long, baptisée «Paris Navigating Gym», pourra accueillir jusqu’à 45 cyclistes. En s’activant pour perdre des calories, les sportifs produiront l’énergie nécessaire pour faire avancer le navire sur la Seine et prendre des passagers sur les rives de la capitale.

Car cette salle flottante serait, en partie, propulsée par l’énergie que fourniront les sportifs en se défoulant sur les vélos installés sur la plate-forme. “Il est fascinant de voir comment l’énergie générée par une séance d’entraînement à la salle de gym peut effectivement aider à propulser un bateau. Il fournit à l’individu une expérience tangible de ce qui se cache derrière la notion souvent abstraite de puissance électrique”, explique Carlo Ratti sur le site Designboom .

En cas de manque d’affluence dans la salle ou bien de coups de pédale un peu trop mous, des panneaux solaires offriront la source d’énergie complémentaire. Ce projet a été développé en partenariat avec Technogym, qui commercialise des équipements sportifs nouvelle génération permettant déjà de récupérer l’énergie produite, et Terreform One, une organisation qui a déjà proposé un premier projet de gymnase flottant en 2008.

Inspirée des mythiques bateaux-mouches, la salle de sport flottante intégrera à ses grandes baies vitrées, des écrans indiquant la quantité d’énergie produite au cours de la séance, des données en temps réel sur la Seine ou encore des informations constantes sur le bateau. Le bateau est prévu pour mesurer 20m de long et accueillir 45 personnes. De quoi envoyer du nœud et profiter à fond de l’expérience.

*More info and image credit: carloratti.com Other Sources: Le Figaro, Daily Mail, Bored Panda, BFMtv.fr

#startup: Des Sea Bubbles, une voiture taxi qui va voler au-dessus de la Seine à Paris en 2017 (En/Fr)


  • Venice may have the gondola, but Paris will soon have its own water-based transport fit for the future.

Sea Bubbles are futuristic pods that float on stilts 2ft above the water and can travel up to 30km/h. There are the creation of French yachtsman Alain Thébault and Swedish windsurfer Anders Bringdal and are due to be tried out in the French capital next spring at the request of the environmentally conscious city hall.

Sea Bubbles may help reduce Paris’s road traffic problem. There are a sort of “funny” electic boats held to a standard of “zero emissions, zero waves and zero noise” which rise above the water ensured and performed by the four thin wing structure which remains in contact with the water while moving. Thanks to Thébault’s Hydroptère technology, when the service transports passengers across the water, the vehicle won’t float on the surface like a boat. 

 

The brainchild of French yachtsman Alain Thébault and Swedish windsurfer Anders Bringdal, the first five prototypes of the Sea Bubbles will arrive on the Seine in 2017, pitched as an environmentally-friendly alternative for commuters.

If the vessels are granted licences to ply their trade on the Seine, the plan is to build specially designed docking stations where passengers can hop on or off and which would also serve as charging stations.

Sea Bubble’s intention, after Paris launch is to spread this mode of transport to cities around the world as New York, Hong-Kong, London or Miami.

 

Sources, The Telegraph, Huff Post (en/fr), BfmTv.fr, the Mirror, Sea Bubbles site

Credit Photo: @SeaBubbles-Alain Thébault

 

 

Biofuels… from Prickly Pears


(Fr: Biocarburants produits de figues de barbarie)

Biofuels are a great idea, but making them mostly from corn is a bad idea. Corn is a water-intensive crop, and dedicating hundred of thousands of acres to growing fuel instead of food isn’t the smartest use of resources for a planet that is low on both fresh water and food.There’re a lot of start-ups nowadays which are specialized more and more in clean energy, biomass waste, wind power from photovoltaics etc. We wrote last year about how biofuels from coffee grounds could help to power London or  even how to produce fuel from whisky residues. Continue reading Biofuels… from Prickly Pears