Reporter’s notebook: Eco-friendly fashion in Argentina
July 7, 2009, 7:07 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

By Brian Byrnes

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (CNN) — Argentina’s economy is in a perpetual state of uncertainty. As a result, Argentines have learned to live with what they’ve got — and make things last.

This resilience and resourcefulness has resulted in a wonderfully creative culture, where innovation and ingenuity are ever-present.

In the wake of the country’s 2001-2002 economic crash, many Argentines couldn’t afford to travel abroad to forge new business relationships and absorb foreign ideas, so they did what they’ve always done — they looked within for inspiration. In particular, Argentine fashion and designs have come to the forefront in recent years and gained worldwide accolades.

These days, whenever I walk down the streets of Buenos Aires, especially in the trendy bohemian neighborhoods of Palermo and San Telmo, I see scores of boutique shops selling cool furnishings and hip clothing.

These are the places that always seem to attract the most attention from tourists; I don’t think they expect to find such cutting-edge goods here, and are pleasantly surprised when they do.

I’ve lived in Argentina since 2001, and witnessed the country struggle through the bad times and enjoy the subsequent recovery; in some sectors of society you could even call it a renaissance.

So it comes as no surprise to me that Argentine designers are now meshing technology and fashion in totally new, and in many cases, eco-friendly ways.

Living a “green” lifestyle is a relatively new concept in Argentina, and the country is definitely behind in regards to education and implementation of environmentally-friendly policies, but that has started to change in recent years, and as they are prone to do, many Argentines have embraced the idea with their typical gusto.

I wanted to find out more about some of these new designers, so I visited two businesses in Buenos Aires that are creating items that are both innovative and unique, especially for this region of the world. We’ll be featuring these two companies on CNN International’s special weeklong programming called “Going Green” this week.

The first place I went is Indarra DTX , housed in an enormous warehouse that also serves as a storage area for a supermarket. When I knocked on the non-descript gray metal door and passed through a loading dock area, I was thinking that I may have come to the wrong place.

But cameraman Eduardo Aragona and I were soon greeted by a cheerful receptionist, Agustina, who led us into the spacious workspace and then to a corner area reserved for fashion fittings and meetings. There we met Julieta Gayoso, the 37-year-old owner of Indarra DTX. She told me that Indarra is a Basque word that means “energy” and she named the company such because her objective is to mesh technology and fashion in a way that advances the functionality of clothing.

“We are with our clothes 24 hours a day, so I think they need to provide us with other services, and these new benefits have to do with technology,” says Gayoso.

Indarra makes sleek jackets from eco-friendly textiles, like bamboo fibers and Lyocell. One of their most intriguing products is the FV Module Jacket, which comes with a small solar panel attached to the back.

The panel absorbs sunlight and in turn can power your Ipod or charge your cell phone. I tried one on, and it was comfortable, practical — and stylish. Although I must say, I would be a bit concerned about garnering glances on the street because of the solar square. It’s not that noticeable, though, and it’s worth the funny looks to save a little energy. Every bit counts, right?

Next, we headed across town to the workshop and studio of Baumm, a self-proclaimed “Recycle and Design Company” housed on the second floor of a refurbished old home in the Villa Crespo neighborhood of Buenos Aires. Lukas Desimone, 29, and Rodrigo Chapero, 27, are the co-owners of the company, and when I first met them I thought they could easily be members of a skateboarding team.

Baumm — which means “tree” in German (they added an extra “m” so “it would look cooler,” according to Chapero) — creates hip messenger bags and wallets from the vinyl that is used in billboards.

When they first started, they would literally rip down the material from old street advertisements; now they have hired some people to bring the material to them. It’s a fantastic idea, because as Chapero told me, the material is not recyclable and is toxic if burned, so essentially, once an advertising campaign is over, the vinyl is rolled up, stored away, and never used again.
The Baumm guys saw the potential in this, and now make colorful, 100 percent original bags that retail for around $30 each. Every bag is hand-made, and literally one-of-a-kind. “We are giving new life to something we take out of the trash,” says Chapero.


Universal phone charger deal done
June 30, 2009, 7:36 am
Filed under: Telecommunication | Tags: , ,

The world’s leading mobile phone manufacturers have agreed a deal to create a universal charger.

Most manufacturers now produce chargers that only work with their own brand handsets.

From 2010, in EU countries, a universal charger fitted with a micro USB port will be available. The device will consume 50 per cent less stand-by energy than today’s models.

Major manufacturers signing up to the deal include; Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Apple, Motorola, Qualcom, Samsung and Texas Instruments.

Mobile phone makers have been under pressure from the European Commission to produce a standardised charger.

The EU industry commissioner Gunter Verheugen says as trhere are currently more than 30 different kinds of charger in use across the EU, the new charger will eliminate several thousand tonnes of waste each year.

Source: www.euronews.net

SkySails Using wind power profitably
June 24, 2009, 9:19 pm
Filed under: Wind | Tags: , ,

Using wind power profitably
It is a simple fact: Wind is cheaper than oil and the most economic and environmentally sound source of energy on the high seas. And yet, shipping companies are not taking advantage of this attractive savings potential at present – for a simple reason: So far no sail system has been able to meet the requirements of today’s maritime shipping industry.

SkySails is offering the only wind propulsion system which meets all these requirements.

Depending on the prevailing wind conditions, a ship’s average annual fuel costs can be reduced by 10 to 35% by using the SkySails-System. Under optimal wind conditions, fuel consumption can temporarily be cut by up to 50%.

The first pilot systems are in operation on board of cargo vessels. Currently, SkySails is offering towing kite propulsion systems for cargo vessels with an effective load* of between 8 and 16 tons. SkySails with an effective load* of 32 tons are planned to be available in 2011. The planned product program comprises towing kite propulsion systems with an effective load* of up to 130 tons.

Virtually all existing cargo vessels and new builds can be retro- or outfitted with the SkySails auxiliary wind propulsion system.

Fish trawlers and super yachts of over 30 meters in length can be retro- or outfitted with the SkySails auxiliary wind propulsion system as well.

FInd out more SkySails

Reforestation projects KlimaFa
June 24, 2009, 8:32 pm
Filed under: Forest | Tags: ,

KlimaFa Ltd. is a Hungarian based eco-restoration firm dedicated to
large-scale afforestation and reforestation projects in the European Union.

KlímaFa is a registered Hungarian company, owned by its management. KlímaFa has just established its first subsidiary in Bulgaria, and about to expand further in the region.

Over the next decade KlimaFa will restore upwards of 10,000 hectares of Hungarian lands to native mixed forests. These forests will help to regenerate and restore the natural forest grandeur and environmental health of Hungary and will be incorporated into the Ecological Network of the Hungarian National Park System as strictly protected lands.

Scientific planting patterns, species selection, and measurements of project area growth rates will allow KlimaFa to accurately calculate the total volume of forest biomass produced at any given time. This in turn will reveal the total quantity of sequestered CO2 available for trade or sale as carbon offsets. KlimaFa will earn revenue via the sale of these greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation credits on the European environmental marketplace.

Advantages of this enterprise include the creation of local employment opportunities, enhanced wildlife habitat, improved water quality, supply, and flood control, increased eco-tourism revenues, and substantial contributions to global atmospheric health. Given Hungary’s extensive land base, climate-protecting forest creation can generate a widely beneficial new eco-forest industry which will last for many decades and profit generations yet unborn.

For more info visit KlimaFa Ltd.

Solar Millennium
June 24, 2009, 5:48 am
Filed under: Electricity, Renewable energy | Tags:

Andasol 1, the first parabolic trough power plant in Europe, has started operation. This solar-thermal power plant is an important reference for Solar Millennium’s expertise in project development and technology. Andasol 1 will supply up to 200.000 people with climate-friendly electricity and save about 149,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year compared with a modern coal power plant.

Together with its subsidiaries, Solar Millennium is specialised in parabolic trough power plants, a proven and future-oriented technology, in which the Group holds a globally leading position. Besides Andasol 1 and the sister projects Andasol 2 and 3 in Spain, various further projects with an overall capacity of more than 2,000 Megawatts worldwide are in the planning phase with focus on Spain, USA, China and North-Africa.

For more info visit Solar Millennium

Nanosolar seven areas of innovation
June 24, 2009, 5:45 am
Filed under: Electricity, Renewable energy | Tags:

At Nanosolar, we have taken the highest-performance and most durable photovoltaic thin-film semiconductor, called CIGS (for “Copper Indium Gallium Diselenide”), and innovated on all seven critical areas necessary to reach a breakthrough cost reduction in solar cells, panels, and systems.

As opposed to using slow and expensive high-vacuum based thin-film deposition processes, we developed a proprietary ink (1) to allow us to use much simpler and higher-yield printing (2) for depositing the solar cell’s semiconductor.

We use a highly conductive yet low-cost foil as a substrate (3), which allows us to avoid the need to separately deposit an expensive bottom electrode layer (as required for a non-conductive substrate such as glass).

The foil furthermore allows us to
apply the superior economics of high-yield continuous roll-to-roll processing (4),

achieve a lower-cost high-performance top electrode (5),

assemble cells by individually matched electrical characteristics (6), and

develop high-power high-current panels (7) with lower balance-of-system cost.
The result sets the standard for cost-efficient solar electricity.

For more info visit Nanosolar Inc.

June 23, 2009, 7:52 am
Filed under: Construction | Tags:

Today, more and more of the worlds tropical forest is to meet our growing demand for hard wood. In a atempt to stop this process, Accsys Technology found a way of adding strenght to soft wood.

Wood acetylation This is the process which attaches additional ‘acetyl’ molecules to wood to increase its durability, dimensional stability and colour stability. The process enables widely available, fast-growing softwoods and non-durable hardwoods to be modified to reach or exceed the performance of the best tropical hardwoods. Since all wood naturally contains acetyl (which is derived from acetic acid – vinegar), wood that is modified by this process not only delivers exceptional performance but also avoids the environmental impact associated with normal wood preservatives, which use toxic chemicals to improve performance. Consumers now have the opportunity to choose a new wood that is both non-toxic and derived entirely from environmentally managed, sustainable forests in place of treated woods and tropical hardwoods.

High temperature cracking is the process by which lower-value, heavier molecular structures are broken down into higher value, shorter molecules. This process is not unique to Accsys and is common across the chemical industry (e.g. the process by which crude oil is converted to say, petrol or aviation fuel). Accsys’ process is based around the niche area of dehydrogenation reaction technology and is expected to offer significant benefits to users of the process.

Cellulose modification. This involves reacting certain types of chemical with cellulose usually derived from wood or cotton pulp. ICC’s technology has been particularly applied to the reaction of cellulose with acetic anhydride, a process called acetylation, and produces a non-toxic material which is used in a variety of applications, such as film coatings.

For more info visit Accsys Technologies PLC

June 23, 2009, 7:27 am
Filed under: Electricity | Tags: , ,

Enfucell has developed a printed power source, which is flexible and thin primary battery made of low cost industrial environmentally friendly materials. The main active components used in the power source are zinc, manganese dioxide and zinc chloride as an electrolyte. The company owns the technology for the battery formula and manufacture thereof.

The power source is manufactured in roll form for easy adaptation into current production lines and easy integration into the various applications. The manufacturing process makes a wide range of sizes and shapes possible from one square of centimeter. The power source can be applied into low power applications, which requires flexible and thin properties for work.

For more info visit enfucell

Hello world!
June 23, 2009, 7:16 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

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