"What we know from history is that [we] need a really small group of innovators ... that can demonstrate how to do things differently and once that gets mainstreamed, change happens really quickly." - Edgar Pieters Urbanized
Future Clothes Washing Technology
Award: $20,000 USD
Deadline: January 11, 2014
Conventional washing machines cause excessive damage and wrinkling to clothes primarily during the water removal step. With the introduction of high efficiency washers, not only has cleansing performance been improved, but water and energy consumption has also decreased. What if you were able to clean your clothes at home without using any water? The Seeker desires to revolutionize the laundry process with a novel technology that uses no liquid, creates no wrinkles, and does not damage clothes.
This Challenge requires only a written proposal. The Seeker may consider further collaboration with Solver(s) who receive an award for this Challenge.
GlobalCarbonProject.org posted data for the 2013 Global Carbon Budget on November 20, 2013. Key findings are listed here: - Global emissions due to fossil fuel alone are set to grow in 2013 at a slightly lower pace of 2.1% than the average 3.1% since 2000, reaching a level that is 61% above emissions in 1990
1) Growth rates for major emitter countries in 2012 were 5.9% (China), −3.7% (USA), −1.3% (EU28), and 7.7% (India).
2) The 2012 carbon dioxide emissions breakdown is coal (43%), oil (33%), gas (18%), cement (5.3%) and gas flaring (0.6%).
3) Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels increased in 2012 at a faster rate than the average over the past 10 years because of a combination of continuing growth in emissions and a decrease in land carbon sinks from very high levels in the previous two years.
4) Dr. Mike Raupach of CSIRO: "A continuation of the emissions growth trends observed since 2000 would place the world on a path to reach 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times in 30 years"
Sources: GlobalCarbonBudget.org CDIAC 2013 Global Carbon Budget
Can we build happiness into a city via urban planning?
"The pursuit of happiness may be an unalienable right, but are the technologies we are designing really helping its users to be happy? Take the simple example of a web map. It usually gives us the shortest walking direction to destination. But what if it would give us the small street, full of trees, parallel to the shortest path, which would make us happier? As more and more of us share these city streets, what will keep us happy as they become more crowded?"
"In 2003 jeffery S. Dukes, who at the time was a postdoctoral fellow in biology at the University of Utah, calculated that every gallon of gas we burn today represents the transformed remnants of almost a hundred tons of prehistoric plant material -- roughly the same quantity of biomass to be found in a forty-acre wheat field, including the stems, leaves and roots." Green Metropolis p. 68 David Owen
"The US is the world's leading consumer of oil. We use over 350,000,000 gallons of gasoline every day.
It's very important that the number of fossil BTUs that go into a gallon of fuel be significantly less than the number of renewable BTUs that come out of that gallon. If it's not -- let's not do it.
We have about 133,000 BTUs worth of energy in every gallon of biodiesel. When you add up all our inputs we need to end up being less than 133,000 BTUs, or we probably shouldn't be making that gallon. (1 BTU ~ the amount of energy in one wooden matchstick)."
Our main sources of energy are still petroleum, coal and natural gas. With global energy consumption predicted to increase 56 percent by 2040 the continued use of non-renewable fossil fuels comes at a great cost to the environment and to our health." QUEST: America's Energy Future
Infographic on composting courtesy of PBS's Nature