urbanus vulgaris

urban life & culture / ideas & insights / innovation & development

Category: science

New generation wind energy collector from TU Delft

by gailiute


TU Delft not only claims to be one of the leading engineering universities – it really offers great inventions. One of them – new way of collecting wind power without any drawbacks that ‘traditional’ wind turbine has – no  moving parts, no sound, less vibration – it looks really promising. And the best part is that this new wind energy collector could be made in many different forms – easier to fit it in the urban environment :) well, of course it is still a project, but I hope it will evolve into real product.

About the project:

“TU Delft researchers Johan Smit and Dhiradj Djairam developed the EWICON (Electrostatic Windenergy CONvertor), a windenergy convertor that transforms windenergy into electricity without mechanical moving parts. This animation shows how it works and can be deployed. Do you want to know more? Read the entire thesis here: http://repository.tudelft.nl/view/ir/uuid%3Ae1cfdada-85ea-45c4-b6e4-b798abf5917e/ ”

The only issue that I see here is: this electricity generator needs water. Constantly. I try to imagine water tank nearby :)



A self-healing asphalt

by gailiute

Paved roads are nice to look at, but they’re easily damaged and costly to repair. Erik Schlangen demos a new type of porous asphalt made of simple materials with an astonishing feature: When cracked, it can be “healed” by induction heating. (Filmed at TEDxDelft.)

Jeremy Rifkin: A New Era of Capitalism

by vytasvulgaris

Jeremy Rifkin about the current global development trends and “the third  industrial revolution”. About the emerging new political order, about the new generations of social entrepreneurs, about survival of human race etc.

Some more of Rifkin’s quite fascinating anthropological concept – Empathic Civilization (RSA Animate)

New/old good ways of producing electricity

by gailiute

This video is about Gemasolar, near Seville, Spain – the first Concentrated Solar Thermal Power plus molten salt storage (CSP+) plant to produce energy 24 hours per day. This power tower plant produces 20MW, enough to power 25,000 homes. Just look how amazingly the tower shines!

The secret behind this lies in the fact, that solar energy is gathered by mirrors to light the top of the tower, which subsequently heats the salt. Salt storage works as a giant thermal battery that provides heat to move steam engine. Smart.

However, I see one issue here: the size that has to be occupied by this plant. It is quite huge considering the fact that electricity is being provided to 25000 homes..

Just to compare I put two areas that shows approximate needed space for this kind of plant and 25 000 houses.

A novel idea for cleaning up oil spills

by gailiute

When TED Senior Fellow Cesar Harada heard about the devastating effects of the BP Oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, he quit his dream job and moved to New Orleans to develop a more efficient way to soak up the oil. He designed a highly maneuverable, flexible boat capable of cleaning large tracts quickly. But rather than turn a profit, he has opted to open-source the design.



Six Degrees of Separation (a 2009 BBC documentary)

by vytasvulgaris

“Documentary unfolding the science behind the idea of six degrees of separation. Originally thought to be an urban myth, it now appears that anyone on the planet can be connected in just a few steps of association. Six degrees of separation is also at the heart of a major scientific breakthrough; that there might be a law which nature uses to organize itself and that now promises to solve some of its deepest mysteries (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00kdtvv).

Powers of Ten™ (1977)

by vytasvulgaris


Some old but still quite amazing conceptual film from the late 70’s by Charles and Ray Eames (yes- the same famous designers of the Eames lounge). Every 10 seconds zooming in/out10 times.The funny thing is that 10-11 and 1024 looks quite alike.

It is also nice to know that since the 70’s we moved (at least in some (theoretical) extent) deeper both ways from 10-16  to 10-35 and from to 1024 to 1027. Anyway here on earth we are doing some spatial planning already on the scale larger than the diameter of some planets (good to see that, thanks to Cary Huang)… isn’t that scary enough…

Do you know what is the scale of the universe?

by justina

Click here to go to Cary Huang’s website The scale of the universe

Do you know what is the scale of the universe? Do you know what objects are 1024 size? Or 10-16 size? What is the size of the largest virus, or of the triangulum galaxy, or the size of the Planck? Overall, what is that Planck?

Cary Huang created a website  The scale of the universe  where you can zoom from the edge of the universe to the quantum foam of spacetime and learn the scale of things along the way.

The website looks good, sounds good and is super interesting to explore.  Amazing that some things are so big, and at the same time so small.

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