Category: Technology

Sustainable Motorways: Driving Our Future

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Smart motorways are enhanced stretches of motorways which include dynamic hard shoulders, fluctuating speed limits, monitoring sensors, and cameras. Britain, for example is one of the leading innovators when it comes to road management, with their system known as active traffic management. Even though the UK and a few other countries are implementing advancements to their roads, there is still room for  improvement with technologies such as drones, smart LED road studs, eco-friendly lighting and built-in sensors.

But in today’s world is smart is enough. We need our motorways to be sustainable and support our ever more sustainable cars, to help restore our planet.

Sustainable Motorways

Solar roadways seem to be a match made in heaven for electric vehicles. Substituting standard tarmac roads with extra durable solar panels is the main idea behind this technology. The panels, that would act like screens, displaying road signs, warning about lane closures, would also harvest solar energy. This captured energy would then be used to power both road signs and in-car items.

Another way to make roads sustainable is to build more “electric”roads. These  motorways, for example, would be equipped with an inductive charging system, such as in a phone charger. Thanks to the wireless charging technology that would be installed below the surface, they would create an electromagnetic field, which would be then transferred to receivers, directly powering running vehicles.

Some charging panels placed at bus depots in Milton Keynes are an example of this technology as they power electric buses overnight. Similar projects are considered for parking lots – if used on a larger scale, this would significantly reduce carbon emissions in our environment.

Making motorway maintenance more sustainable is key to lowering the need for manual labor, financing and being more eco-friendly in general. Researchers at Cambridge, Bath and Cardiff Universities may have found a solution in the form of  ‘self-healing concrete’. It is a concrete blend with added bacteria which produces limestone. When moisture enters a slit in the concrete it seals the crack before it gets the chance to widen.

Unfortunately, most of these ideas are being criticised and only a few are being currently implemented. Hopefully more and more of these, and other technologies them will actually happen in the future. As for now, we can only try to reduce our carbon footprint by changing our means of transport to a more sustainable one, be it an EV, public transport or a bike.

Image source: https://www.oponeo.co.uk/tyre-article/motorways-in-europe-and-the-uk

Eco-Friendly Waste Disposal Methods

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Even the fastest growing economies often fail at effectively managing the massive quantities of waste generated. Whether you’re a homeowner cleaning up after a renovation project, or a construction company with ongoing site waste management requirements, it’s important that you’re familiar with eco-friendly ways of disposing of the waste. Let us have a quick glance at popular eco-friendly waste disposal methods.

Salvaging on site

It’s no secret that the construction industry is held accountable for a lion’s share of worldwide energy usage, but also generated waste material. However, many construction materials can be recycled and reused on site.

For example, by re-milling old timber and lumber, you can make new floors, panelling, doors and windows. Drywall scraps can be used for wall patches, but also mixed up with soil as a nutrient-rich food source for plants. Common metals like copper, aluminium and steel can be smelted and reformed into new products. Crushing concrete and masonry gives you extra material for pavements, roads and driveways, similarly to clay bricks, which have a lifespan of more than 200 years.

Reusing

Reusing the waste is directly related to generating less of it. For example, instead of throwing them away, you can still use your shopping bags. The same goes with relish and condiment jars, which can be used for storing items in your workshop.

Recycling

It starts with waste separation, as recyclable products are often mixed up with non-recyclable ones, or ones suitable for composting. Many people are already recycling, with communities showing their environmental initiative by providing separate bins for glass and PET, but are you up to date with what can be recycled nowadays?

Even with a high percentage of household waste being recyclable, the statistic are still discouraging. For example, in a developed country like Australia, where environmental awareness is high, only about 20% of all plastic packaging is recycled.

Professional removal

Separating your household waste into separate bins and disposing of daily rubbish responsibly is one thing, but when faced with a large amount of waste, such as from major remodelling project, downsizing, or moving house, most homeowners don’t know what to do.

Luckily, developed countries like Australia have an extensive network of commercial waste removal companies, like the one for professional junk removal in Sydney. It operates an efficient team for removing household rubbish, lawn trimmings, demolition, and e-waste, while the company’s policies ensure that whatever can be recycled, will be.

Incineration

This method involves combusting waste as a means of removing their base components with extreme heat. It’s another way of destroying your waste while still being environmentally responsible. However, this doesn’t mean you can build a bonfire in your backyard and dump whatever will burn, meanwhile choking your entire neighbourhood with the noxious smoke. Municipalities often have strict policies and regulations for waste incineration, so you should look into these before it’s too late.

Waste to energy

Even after reusing and recycling, some waste still remains. Instead of burying organic waste, you can use it to generate energy. Plants that use anaerobic digestion can do a great deal of work here, as they take care of anything that rots and turn it into biogas and farm fertiliser.

A modern air pollution control system is essential for all MSW incineration facilities.

A country that has been doing a great job in generating energy from organic waste is Sweden. They convert 100% of their organic waste to clean energy, even going to extents of importing waste from neighbouring countries for energy production.

Conclusion

While waste can be disposed of in a number of ways, it’s always important to give a chance to eco-friendly methods, as they make less of an impact on the environment. Apart from helping the nature regenerate its sources, the disposal methods listed here are directly involved in creating a healthier environment for ourselves.

7 Top Tips To Follow While Caring For Your Printer

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Printers have touched our lives in one or the other way since we have been subjected to the use of it. A printer has numerous benefits for home user and businessmen. It makes work easier and helps in promoting our products and businesses. A printer is an investment that ought to last at least 5-10 years when used moderately. Printers have many brand and models manufactured by reputed companies from all across the world.

Even after purchasing a printer it will continue to cost you money since the high quality images will require a regular supply of ink, toners, cartridges, fusers, drums and other important parts which might suffer wear and tear in the course of the working of the printer.

For printers especially the branded ones ink/toner cartridge such as OKI 44469805 and Brother TN155BK compatible spare parts should be kept handy where they are being used no stop. All these printer accessories are expensive and need to be replaced after being in use for a long time. In simple words, after purchasing a printer one requires occasional maintenance and repairs. As a printer user we always try to save money on printer repairs. Proper care is the best idea to keep your printer in good condition.

Here are a few important printer caring tips that will help you to prolong your printer life and save your money on printer repairs.

Don’t use low quality paper

Avoid using cheap dusty paper because it is very harmful for your printer. It can damage your printer’s rollers because it is responsible to create unnecessary paper dust throughout your printer. In case you fail to use quality paper while getting the print outs you will need to spend a bit of money to service and replace the rollers of your printer. You can use plastic containers to protect your paper from humidity. It is important since humidity affect your prints results badly.

Choose the right cartridge

We all know that a printer cartridge can be quite expensive. That’s a good reason why many people will opt for low quality and low price cartridges. However it is not the right thing to do because a low quality cartridge not only gives you poor prints results but it can also damage your printer’s internal sensitive parts.

Therefore, choose right cartridge according your printer needs is very necessary to get high quality print results. It is also helpful to maintain your printer in a good condition for a long time.

Ensure regular use of printer

It is necessary for your printer to work perfectly that you use it regularly. If you have untouched your printer for many days then it might create many problems for your printer like dry ink and your printer might clog from the head. Regular use of the printer will keep it in great working conditions.

Avoid stand-bye mode

It is one of the most important tip to care for your printer however it is also one of the most ignored ones. Always remember when your printer is turned on, it generates a lot of hits which is a cause of dry ink and also clogs your printer head. That is why; it is a good idea to turn your printer off when you are not using it.

Clean the printer head

It is also very important to get the best prints results. Unclean printer head creates many problems, it can create marks on theprint out with white lines or images that have missing ink. Thus, you need to clean your printer head properly. First you need to remove the cartridge carefully and then clean it and after cleaning the printer head to dry completely before fixing it back.

Choosing the right location

Don’t keep your printer in direct sunlight and moist places because moisture can damage your printer’s electronic parts and over-heating can lead to slower output and malfunctions. When you keep your printer in your office and home then always leave a space of approximately 12 cm around the printer since it allows air to flow through the cooling and exhaust fans and it is very helpful to maintain your printer’s health.

Remove dust and debris

Regular cleaning of dust and debris from your printer is very necessary because both are a major cause for a jammed printer, dry ink, lined pages and poor printouts. It also affects your work productivity. You can read the manufacturer’s instructions to clean dust and debris from your printer. Different brand printers recommend different materials to clean the dust and debris from your printer it is better to follow them instead of going with general cleaning material.

Conclusion

Remember every printer is perfect. Every printer just needs some care to keep it in good condition. By following all these tips you can easily keep your printer efficient, clean and well-maintained without spending too much money.

Waste Management at Army Installations

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Waste management at army installations demands an integrated framework based on the conventional waste management hierarchy of 4Rs – reduction, reuse, recycling and recovery (of energy). Waste reduction (or waste minimization) is the top-most solution to reduce waste generation at army bases which demands close cooperation among different departments, including procurement, technical services, housing, food service, personnel. Reducing office paper waste by implementing a policy to duplex all draft reports.

Army installations are unique due to more than one factor including strict discipline, high degree of motivation, good financial resources and skilled personnel. Usually army installations are one of the largest employers in and around the region where they are based and have a very good influence of the surrounding community, which is bound to have a positive impact on overall waste management strategies in the concerned region.

Waste disposal methods for army based is dependent on size of the population, location, local regulations, budgetary constraints and many other factors. It is imperative on base commanders to evaluate all possible options and develop a cost-effective and efficient waste management plan.

The key factors in the success of waste management plan in army bases are development of new technologies/practices, infrastructure building, participation of all departments, basic environmental education for personnel and development of a quality recycling program.

Due to large fraction of recyclables in the waste stream, recycling is an attractive proposition for the armed forces. However, environmental awareness, waste collection infrastructure, and modern equipment are essential for the success of any waste management strategy.

Food waste and yard waste (or green waste) can be subjected to anaerobic digestion or composting to increase landfill diversion rates and obtain energy-rich biogas (for cooking/heating) and nutrient-rich fertilizer (for landscaping and indoor gardening). For deployed forces, small-scale waste-to-energy systems, based on thermal technologies, can be an effective solution for disposal of combustible wastes, and for harnessing energy potential of wastes.

Landfill diversion is achieved when the waste is either not generated in the first place, or when the potential waste is recycled or re-used. As a result, the material never actually becomes a waste. Separation is a critical part of waste diversion. Separation is probably most efficiently conducted at the point of generation. However, post collection separation is also feasible.

Conclusion

With increasing militarization, more wars and frequent armed conflicts, protection of the environment has assumed greater significance for military in armed conflicts as well as peacetime operations. Sustainable management of trash is a good opportunity for armed forces to promote environmental stewardship, foster sustainable development and generate goodwill among the local population and beyond.

Turning Household Waste into Clean Fuel

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As more and more governments and businesses are racing to find efficient and reliable solutions for providing energy, the one option that is both widely achievable on a house-by-house basis, as well as tackling two major environmental issues is turning household waste into fuel.

We know there are already many organisations that are doing this on a large scale, collecting household waste from large areas and turning it into energy in Waste to Energy plants. However, arguably a better way to benefit from this is to produce energy on a household basis. In this article we explore some of the reasons why this is a good idea and how we can practically turn our own waste at home into energy.

Reduce Waste Transportation & Limit Landfill Use

Let’s take for example the UK, where they throw away 7 million tonnes of food and drink waste as a population every year. Every bit of this waste is collected by local council services and transported some distance, eventually disposed of at landfill sites across the country.

The impact on the environment is twofold in this case. Firstly, the heavy duty vehicles required to collect the household waste are less than environmentally friendly. On the surface this may seem like a minor point, however when you consider how heavy these vehicles are, how slowly they move and how long they spend idling, they contribute a large amount to traffic pollution.

In fact, recent figures show that the average efficiency of these vehicles is around 4.4 mpg. Transportation of waste obviously remains an issue even where commercial Waste to Energy plants are concerned, but can be remedied by turning waste to fuel at home.

The second and arguably more obvious impact of the traditional waste disposal process is that it requires a vast amount of land. Quite simply, by using home waste to generate energy we are able to limit the amount of rubbish currently going to landfill sites.

Anaerobic Digestion

Up until now it has been technically difficult to create usable gas from household waste such as food leftovers. However, recent developments have made it easier than ever to produce energy from these wasted items. This has been made possible by a start-up that has created a user-friendly unit that can be used to collect left over food waste and turn it into biogas using the anaerobic digestion process. This biogas can then be used directly in the connected house for cooking, heating and even lighting.

For those with the ambition and technical experience, it is possible to produce biofuels and build your own biogas generator at home. Practically this is much easier in a tropical climate where the environment makes perfect conditions for the production of biogas from a wide variety of organic wastes. However, with the right equipment and insulation it is possible to do this in other climates.

Car Fuel from Household Waste

We are going to see a continuing rise in fuel prices across the globe. This fact is seeing a trend for eco car manufacturers to develop alternatives for traditional fuels, ranging from solar power through to electric. One alternative is fuelling your car on used vegetable oil. Practically, most diesel cars can be run off used vegetable oil with some minor alterations. This can be done by a specialist, but equally can be also achieved at home by those mechanically-inclined with specialist kits.

Arguably this may not be the most environmentally friendly option for fuelling cars as burning the oil for energy is comparable to diesel in terms of emissions. However, vegetable oil based fuels are carbon neutral due to absorbed carbon during the plants growing process. Also, when we consider the global issues with waste management, running our cars on vegetable oil is a smart solution.

Using household waste may not be as negative for the environment as media often paints it out to be. By limiting landfill and the harmful emissions generated during the waste disposal process we are able to create environmental benefits. We have also explored some of the practical ways you can use home waste to generate fuel for use in your home and for your car.

Our Digital Carbon Footprint: A Cause for Concern

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The number of Internet users reaches record highs every year, but did you know that for every tweet, comment, email and google search, a small amount of CO2 is emitted? This is our digital carbon footprint. For one person, the numbers aren’t too impressive, but when you factor in every person on planet earth who’s using the internet, those small numbers suddenly look ginormous, and worrying.

What is Digital Carbon Footprint?

When you think of the destructive causes that contribute to the breakdown of the ozone layer, sitting behind a desk on your computer or flicking through your phone probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. However, thanks to the colossal number of data centres that are now needed to feed planet earth’s internet obsession, the online world is now beginning to damage the real world.

Here are some internet and social media stats per second and the resulting CO2 emitted.

Google Searches

In the modern world, Google is our gateway to any answer we’re looking for. As a result, there are over 60,000 searches made on Google every second. Combine that with the fact that the average search produces around 0.2g of CO2 and the quantity of emissions is quite remarkable.

Sending Emails

According to ‘internet live stats’, there are more than 2.5 million emails sent every second with a “everyday” email emitting 4g of CO2. That is quite astonishing. Especially when they also say that around 67% off all emails are spam. Anti-virus specialists, McAfee, say that this number is even higher, reporting that a remarkable 78% of all incoming emails are spam and that approximately 62 trillion spam messages are sent every year.

Facebook

Facebook’s growth is the perfect example of how things have escalated over the last 10 years or so when it comes to internet usage. According to their sustainability report, in 2004 one million people were using Facebook, fast forward to 2016 and you need to replace the word million with billion and then some.

Facebook say that their annual per-user carbon emissions is 299g of CO2, which is less than making 1 latte or boiling 1 pot of tea. This is quite an achievement, but when there are so many people using the site, it still adds up to a lot of emissions.

Twitter

Raffi Krikorian, a developer at Twitter once stated that each tweet consumes around 90 joules, equalling 0.02g of CO2 emissions. Hardly anything right? Correct, however there are approximately 8,000 tweets written and published every single second.

YouTube

An article in the Guardian revealed that 1g of CO2 was emitted for every 10 minutes of YouTube watched or 0.0017g per second. That’s right, so the next time you’re up late at night watching funny cat videos, remember that those adorable, cute and cuddly fur balls mean you are contributing to the breakdown of the ozone layer.

Google’s Strive For Carbon Neutrality

10 years ago, Google vowed to be carbon neutral by 2017, a goal which they’ve met. In 2016 Google’s gross greenhouse gas emissions were 2.9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), but thanks to $2.5 billion of investment into solar and wind projects, carbon offset programs and renewable energy, their net operational carbon emissions are now zero.

 

Abattoir Waste Disposal via Anaerobic Digestion

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Abattoir waste disposal is a major environmental challenge in all parts of the world. The chemical properties of abattoir wastes are similar to that of municipal sewage, however the former is highly concentrated wastewater with 45% soluble and 55% suspended organic composition. Blood has a very high COD of around 375,000 mg/L and is one of the major dissolved pollutants in abattoir wastewater.

In developing countries, there is no organized strategy for disposal of solid as well as liquid wastes generated in abattoirs. The solid abattoir waste is collected and dumped in landfills or open areas while the liquid waste is sent to municipal sewerage system or water bodies, thus endangering public health as well as terrestrial and aquatic life.

Wastewater from abattoirs is notorious for causing sharp increase in the BOD, COD, total solids, pH, temperature and turbidity, and may even cause deoxygenation of water bodies.

Anaerobic Digestion of Abattoir Wastes

Anaerobic digestion is one of the best options for abattoir waste management which leads to production of high calorific value biogas, reduction in GHGs emissions and effective pollution control in abattoirs. Anaerobic digestion can achieve a high degree of COD and BOD removal from abattoir effluent at a significantly lower cost than comparable aerobic systems.

Abattoir waste disposal is a major environmental challenge in developing countries of Asia and Africa

The biogas potential of slaughterhouse waste is higher than other organic wastes such as animal manure, and is in the range of 120-160 m3 biogas per ton of wastes. However the carbon-nitrogen ratio of abattoir waste is quite low (4:1) which demands its co-digestion with high C:N substrates like animal manure, food waste, crop residues, poultry litter etc.

Abattoir effluent has high COD, high BOD, and high moisture content which make it well-suited for biogas production. Abattoir wastewater also contains high concentrations of suspended organic solids including pieces of fat, grease, hair, feathers, manure, grit, and undigested feed which will contribute the slowly biodegradable of organic matter. Amongst anaerobic treatment processes, the up-flow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) process is widely used for anaerobic digestion of abattoir wastes.

Abattoir waste is a protein-rich substrate and may result in sulfide formation during anaerobic degradation. The increased concentration of sulfides in the digester can lead to higher concentrations of hydrogen sulfide in the biogas which may inhibit methanogens. In addition to sulfides, ammonia is also formed during the anaerobic digestion process which may increase the pH in the digester (>8.0) which can be growth limiting for some VFA-consuming methanogens.

Key Technologies for Medical Waste Treatment

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The growing quantum of medical wastes (also known as biomedical wastes or healthcare wastes) is posing significant public health and environmental challenges across the world. The situation is alarming in developing countries due to improper disposal methods, insufficient physical resources, and lack of research on medical waste management. The key technologies for medical waste treatment include steam sterilization, advanced steam sterilization, microwave treatment, dry heat sterilization, alkaline hydrolysis, biological treatment and plasma gasification.

Steam sterilization

Steam sterilization (or autoclaving) is the most common alternative treatment method. Steam sterilization is done in closed chambers where both heat and pressure are applied over a period of time to destroy all microorganisms that may be present in healthcare waste before landfill disposal. Among alternative systems, autoclaving has the lowest capital costs and can be used to process up to 90% of medical waste, and are easily scaled to meet the needs of any medical organization.

Advanced autoclaves

Advanced autoclaves or advanced steam treatment technologies combine steam treatment with vacuuming, internal mixing or fragmentation, internal shredding, drying, and compaction thus leading to as much as 90% volume reduction. Advanced steam systems have higher capital costs than standard autoclaves of the same size. However, rigorous waste segregation is important in steam sterilization in order to exclude hazardous materials and chemicals from the waste stream.

Schematic for disposal of medical wastes in sanitary landfills

Microwaves

Microwave treatment is a promising technology in which treatment occurs through the introduction of moist heat and steam generated by microwave energy. A typical microwave treatment system consists of a treatment chamber into which microwave energy is directed from a microwave generator. Microwave units generally have higher capital costs than autoclaves, and can be batch or semi-continuous.

Chemical processes

Chemical processes use disinfectants, such as lime or peracetic acid, to treat waste. Alkaline digestion is a unique type of chemical process that uses heated alkali to digest tissues, pathological waste, anatomical parts, or animal carcasses in heated stainless steel tanks. Biological processes, like composting and vermicomposting, can also be used to degrade organic matter in healthcare waste such as kitchen/food waste and placenta.

Plasma gasification

Plasma gasification is an emerging and promising solution for medical waste management. A plasma gasifier is an oxygen-starved reactor that is operated at the very high temperatures which results in the breakdown of wastes into hydrogen, carbon monoxide, water etc. The main product of a plasma gasification plant is energy-rich syngas which can be converted into heat, electricity and liquids fuels. Inorganic components in medical wastes, like metals and glass, get converted into a glassy aggregate.

For more information, please email Salman Zafar on salman@cleantechloops.com or salman@ecomena.org.

Renewable Energy in the United Kingdom: A Data-Driven Infographic

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Renewable energy generation in the United Kingdom has increased by 230% since 2009, according to a series of new reports by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial. The future looks promising for renewable energy in the UK, which now accounts for almost a third of the total electricity generation in the UK.

The steady growth of renewable energy in the United Kingdom is related, to some extent, to the increasing concerns about climate change among the UK population. A survey conducted by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy reveals that 71% of the respondents are concerned about climate change in 2017 compared to 66% in 2013. Furthermore, 79% of the respondents support renewable energy in 2017 compared to 74% in 2016.

The biggest source of renewable energy in the UK is wind, which accounts for 13.8% of the total renewable electricity generation in the UK. Infact, UK is the best location for wind power in Europe.

In terms of electricity generation by country, Scotland generates most of its electricity from renewable resources (42.92%), followed by Northern Ireland (25.33%), England (23.15%) and Wales (12.33%).

While renewable energy is gaining ground in the United Kingdom, coal is being used less and less as an electricity source. By generating more and more renewable electricity, the UK is spearheading the sustainability movement in Europe.

Greenmatch.co.uk has created a data-driven infographic titled ‘Renewable Energy in the United Kingdom’ that visualises the main findings of the reports.

 

Cleantech Trends Worth Watching

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Cleantech promises to play a vital role in fostering sustainable development world. Access to clean, reliable and relatively cheap energy from renewable resources, especially solar power, will usher in a new era in developing countries like India, Bangladesh, Kenya, Rwanda and Peru. Off-grid (also known as microgrid or standalone) renewable power systems are already making a meaningful difference in the lives of millions of people in the developing world, especially in rural areas. Apart from solar, wind and biomass energy will also play a key role in improving the living conditions in impoverished parts of the world.

Advancements in battery energy storage have pushed this particular sector into media as well as public spotlight. With big industry names like Tesla and Nissan leading from the front, energy storage technologies are expected to make great contribution in transition to green grid powered by intermittent energy sources like solar PV, CSP, wind and biomass.

In recent years, the concept of Zero Waste has transformed our perception about garbage. The concept of Zero Waste has led to the development of a new waste management hierarchy involving 7Rs – Reduce, Replace, Reuse, Recycle, Recover, Refuse and Rethink. Zero Waste movement is fast spreading worldwide and many communities are making serious efforts to reduce waste generation and to make the best use of trash. In the coming years, advancements in recycling systems, treatment methods and eco-design will not only help in waste diversion from landfills but also help in smooth transition to a circular economy.

 

For more information, please email Salman Zafar on salman@cleantechloops.com or salman@ecomena.org

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