Sustainability Momentum Sdn Bhd

Tower to Harvest Drinking Water from Air

                                                                               Photo Credit: Architecture and Vision

Arturo Vittori, an Italian designer, has designed an innovative water-harvesting tower that could help provide clean water for villagers in the remote area of Ethiopia and other parts of Africa. This water-harvesting tower is able to harvest water from atmospheric water vapour using nylon and polypropylene fibres as the medium to condense water. The designer named his invention the ‘WarkaWater Tower’, inspired by the local Warka tree, a large native fig tree commonly used as a community gathering space. Vittori claims that the tower is designed to ensure long-term environmental, financial and social sustainability and estimates approximately 25 gallons of water can be collected from it per day.


Date & Source: April 5, 2014; Inhabitat

Genetically-Modified Trees Contribute to Cleaner Paper Production

Photo Credit: Martin Dee
Researchers have successfully designed genetically-engineered trees that require less energy and chemicals to break down and at the same time, produce fewer pollutants during paper production. The paper industry usually uses significant chemicals and energy to remove lignin, which is a polymer found in wood. By modifying the lignin using ester bonds, genetically-modified trees could clean up paper industry and also recover more wood carbohydrate than before. However, as with all genetically modified organisms, measures must be taken to prevent genes from spreading to natural forests. Prevention of cross-pollination, sterilizing of the plants and harvesting before maturity are techniques used as preventive measures. 


Date & Source: April 3, 2014, Science Daily

Microturbine Purifies Rainwater and Produces Electricity

Photo Credit: Technological University of Mexico

A group of students from Technological University of Mexico (UNITEC) has recently introduced ‘The Pluvia’, a microturbine that is able to purify rainwater and generate electricity at the same time. This device collects rainwater via a gutter on rooftop or sheeting. During the process, the collected rainwater passes through a primary filter, small turbine and a charcoal filter. An electrical pump is used to help water flow past a small turbine to generate electricity. The down side is that the pump inside the device demands more energy than the turbine can generate. However, more research is being conducted to increase generation and storage capacity. In addition, the rainwater produced at the end of the process is cleaner than Mexico City’s network supply water – where the device was originally tested.


Date & Source: April 3, 2014; Smart Planet

Kuala Lumpur’s New Subways Designed by BMW

Photo Credit: Inhabitat
BMW subsidiary, Designworks USA, has recently designed a new subway system with 58 luxury trains for Kuala Lumpur. The new metro system is expected to operate and serve citizens by 2017. The subway trains have been designed to include recyclable stainless steel cars, installed with blue LED lighting under the seats to create a feeling of spaciousness. It will also be equipped with a guiding light and beeping system in order to warn special needs passengers of opening and closing of the doors. By upgrading the subway system to be more visually pleasing and environmentally friendly, the local government hopes to increase public transit use amongst its citizens in the future. 


Date & Source: April 3, 2014, Inhabitat

Using Sugar to Produce Your Clothes in the Future!

Photo Credit: AFP

Researchers from the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) in Singapore have recently disclosed their new finding to produce adipic acid from sugar through a new catalytic process technology. Adipic acid is employed as an important chemical in the production of nylon and apparel, carpets and various consumer products. However, the current commercial production of adipic acid from petroleum-based chemicals releases nitrous oxides, a major greenhouse gas, as by-product. The newly developed green technology can convert mucic acid from fruit peels’ sugar into bio-based adipic acid with higher efficiency than existing processes.


Date & Source: April 2, 2014; Channel News Asia

The Food Cycler: Get Your Compost In Just 3 Hours!

Photo Credit: Food Cycle Science

Tired of turning your compost? Or can’t stand the odours of rotting food waste? Here is a quick solution to your problems. Food Cycle Science has recently introduced their small residential version of a food waste composter, called The Food Cycler Home. It claims to handle any type of food scraps and convert them into odourless compost without the use of drains, vents or additives, all in a 3‑hour cycle. The device uses a grinding and dehydrating process to produce nutrient-rich soil amendments from food waste. This invention has great potential and could replace traditional composting processes which take several months to complete.


Date & Source: March 31, 2014, Treehugger

IPCC: Climate Change Poses Threats to Food and Human Security

Photo Credit: Asif Hassan/AFP/Getty Images

The release of the latest report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has drawn global attention with its conclusion claiming that climate change is already on its way and poses threats to food and human security. Climate change could result in various catastrophic consequences such as significant reductions in crop yields and fish stocks, extreme weather events as well as political instability. The report also highlights that southern and eastern Asia will face problems related to sea level rise, while the rest of Asia will lack water to produce crops.


Dates & Sources: March 31, 2014; The Guardian

An Edible and Biodegradable Water Bottle!

Photo Credit: PSFK

Design students from London have introduced a new edible and biodegradable water bottle, named Ooho, which is made from a gelatinous membrane. This award-winning edible bottle, made from brown algae and calcium chloride, might help with humanity’s waste problem. The Ooho, which is inspired by egg yolks, is designed to hold water using a double-layered membrane that is created through a culinary technique known as spherification. The designers are now looking to produce the Ooho commercially as it could be a low-cost alternative to plastic packaging.


Date & Source: March 30, 2014; Inhabitat

Using Slime Mold to Build Computing Devices?

Photo Credit: UWE Bristol

A group of researchers have revealed their findings on using living slime molds to build logic units that could function as building blocks for computing devices and sensors. Study suggests that the growing pattern of the slime mold’s tube network can be exploited to transport dyes with magnetic nanoparticles and tiny fluorescent beads to produce a biological ‘lab-on-a-chip’ device. This could open up a new method to build microfluidic devices to test and analyse environmental or medical samples on small scale.


Date & Source: March 30, 2014; Science 2.0

A Floating Green School: Adapting to Rising Waters

Photo Credit: NLE

Designers from NLE have designed and built a flood-resistant floating school in a former fishing village of Makoko, Nigeria. The building, which is unaffected during flooding events that regularly occurs, provides a learning place for local students. The 3 storeys building is triangular in shape and is built with 16 wooden modules containing 16 recycled empty plastic barrels and locally-grown bamboo. It copes with tidal changes and varying water levels and remains stable and undamaged during frequent floods and storm surges. In addition, the design also incorporates the use of renewable energy, recycling of organic waste and harvesting of rainwater. 


Date & Source: March 28, 2014, Treehugger