Check Out This New Invention: A Solar Canopy That Creates Shade and Filters Water Too

Screen capture ThinkPhi

By Derek Markham | Treehugger

A pair of Indian entrepreneurs have developed what they claim is “the most advanced integrated plug and play system” for shade, water, and energy.

Solar canopies and carports, which can provide shade underneath them while harvesting clean energy from the sunlight that hits them, can be a great asset in both public and private spaces, but the startup ThinkPhi goes one step further with its flagship product. The company’s model 1080 not only produces renewable electricity from the sun (and stores it in integrated batteries), but it can also collect and filter rainwater.

The product, which looks a bit like an inverted umbrella, features solar panels on the top surface, as well as a canopy to collect and funnel the rainwater into the filtration chamber, and integrates LED lighting underneath it. The largest of the models, the 1080XL, has a canopy measuring 20 meters by 20 meters and is said to be capable of producing a peak of 45kW while also collecting and filtering hundreds of thousands of gallons of water per year, depending on local rainfall amounts.

The company’s product, while uniquely suited to regions like India that have high solar exposure and seasonal monsoon rains, could be put to work for a number of different applications, ranging from carports to bus and train stops to outdoor seating for businesses. The smaller units appear to only have enough solar capacity to run the LED lighting, with shade and rainwater catchment being the primary benefits of the devices, but the tops of the higher capacity units look to be virtually covered in solar panels, which would generate electricity that could be stored for later use.


Scientists Just Found ‘Limitless’ Clean Water Reserves All Over Mars

By Anti-Media Team | The Anti-Media

(ANTIMEDIA) — The fanciful notion of human beings living on Mars grew one step closer to becoming a reality this week, as newly published images taken by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) show that thick deposits of clean water ice — more than 300 feet deep in some cases — are buried just below the Red Planet’s surface.

The images, part of a study published Thursday in the journal Science, reveal that erosion has formed steep cliffs at several locations along Mars’ equator, where temperatures are warmer. The layers of ice are exposed on the cliff slopes, allowing researchers to judge the deposits’ size and purity.

“It’s like having one of those ant farms where you can see through the glass on the side to learn about what’s usually hidden beneath the ground,” Shane Byrne, one of the study’s authors, told NBC News.

However, that water ice exists on Mars is no great revelation in itself. Scientists have long speculated as much, as National Geographic explained:

“In 2002, the NASA Odyssey mission scanned the planet from orbit and detected signs of shallow ground ice at high latitudes. In 2008, the NASA Phoenix mission dug up water ice at its landing site near the Martian north pole.

“And in late 2016, scientists using the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) found a buried ice sheet at Mars’s mid-latitudes that holds about as much water as Lake Superior.”

The truly exciting part of the discovery is that these relatively pure layers of ice are so close to the planet’s surface. In some instances, they are just a few feet down, which makes the almost limitlesswater very accessible to human beings.

“Astronauts could essentially just go there with a bucket and a shovel and get all the water they need,” said Byrne, who works out of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona.

As to where the ice originated, Colin Dundas, a planetary geologist at the U.S. Geological Survey and lead author of the study, says it has been hypothesized that “snow could have fallen within the last several million years during periods when Mars’ axis was more tilted than it is now.”

In addition to the discovery further opening the door to the idea of humans having access to a steady supply of water on Mars, study authors say analyzing the sediment trapped within the ice layers can offer insights into the Red Planet’s climate record.

“We’ve learned a lot about the ancient history in other ways,” Dundas said“This is preserving a record of what conditions have been like in relatively recent times — which is still quite interesting. It’s a different aspect of Mars science.”

There are, of course, issues to consider before rushing into celebration, as WIRED pointed out:

“The eight sites Dundas and his colleagues observed were all located at upper mid-latitudes, between 55 and 60 degrees north or south of the equator, where temperatures can drop extremely low. Most Mars missions, though, restrict their landing sites to within 30 degrees of the equator — as would future crewed missions to the planet’s surface, most likely.”

Speaking to WIRED, one NASA scientist put it another way. “If you wanna stay warm, it’s better to be in Hawaii than Alaska,” said Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Richard Zurek, who was not involved in the research.

Still, study authors write that the discovery of such vast sheets of ice so close to Mars’ surface has given the scientific community a lot more to work with in unraveling the mysteries of the Red Planet:

“This ice is a critical target for science and exploration: it affects modern geomorphology, is expected to preserve a record of climate history, influences the planet’s habitability, and may be a potential resource for future exploration.”

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Read more great articles at The Anti-Media.

13-Year-Old Invents Cheap, Award-Winning Clean Energy Device


By Julie Fidler | Natural Society

On October 19, 13-year-old student Maanasa Mendu was awarded the grand prize in the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge for developing a cost-effective device that uses solar and wind power to create energy. [1]

Her “solar leaves” device earned her the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist,” as well as a $25,000 prize.

Mendu, a 9th grader at William Mason High School in Ohio, was inspired by a visit to India where she discovered that many people lacked basic life necessities such as clean water and lighting.

According to Water.org, World Bank estimates show most water sources in India are contaminated by sewage and agricultural runoff. Access to drinking water has improved somewhat, but about 21% of communicable diseases in that country are related to unsafe water. In India, diarrhea causes more than 1,600 deaths per day.

The student’s first design harnessed only wind energy when she entered the competition. The initial design secured her a place as a finalist in the challenge, and cost just $5 to make. Over the summer, Mendu participated in a mentorship program, along with 9 other finalists. [2]

During that time, Mendu worked with Margauz Mitera, a 3M senior product development engineer, in developing a more advanced system inspired by how plants function.

The “solar leaves” harness vibrational energy, gleaning energy from rain, wind, and the sun using a solar cell and piezoelectric material. This material is the part of the “leaf” that picks up on the vibrations, which are then transformed into usable energy. [3]



The device creates energy in virtually any type of weather.

Mendu would like to scale up her creation, dubbed HARVEST, for commercial distribution.


[1] EcoWatch

[2] Business Insider

[3] Inhabitat

About Julie Fidler:
Author Image

Julie Fidler is a freelance writer, legal blogger, and the author of Adventures in Holy Matrimony: For Better or the Absolute Worst. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two ridiculously spoiled cats. She occasionally pontificates on her blog.

Read more great articles at Natural Society.

How to Get Clean, Affordable Water and Eliminate Plastic Bottle Waste

You know those once-in-a-blue-moon experiences you have with a truly great company that makes you want to tell everyone about them? I’ve been having those with Aquasana for years now. I started using their water filtering system in 2009 and I wish I’d found them earlier. Since then, I’ve converted many of my friends and family over to their services simply because I’m always gushing about how much I love Aquasana.

I think it’s necessary to always be completely transparent, so I want you to know that CLN recently became an affiliate of Aquasana. So it may look like I’m being preferential toward them because of that, but actually, the causality is the other way around. Because I have been using their filters for years and love their products and service so much, I recently recommended that CLN become an affiliate. And we did.

Nothing has really changed. I’ve always raved about Aquasana, and now, I’m just continuing to do so in a bigger forum, with the hopes that more people like you can get turned onto drinking better water on a daily basis.

A little over five years ago, I started becoming more aware of how much the water we drink affects us. I saw the movie, “What the Bleep Do We Know?,” found out about Dr. Masaru Emoto’s research, and became aware that my body is mostly water. I know, I should have known that. A simple high school biology class would have made me aware of it about 35 years ago, but my school let me study rocks instead of humans, so I missed out on the whole “your body is mostly water” thing.

In any case, we humans are about 55-70% water. For this reason, the water we take in each day is a key factor – perhaps even one of the most important ones — in how we look and feel. I now live in Sedona, but at that time, I lived in Los Angeles, so I needed a powerful water filter.

I did my due diligence, and searched high and low for these qualities:

  • Affordable
  • Easy Installation
  • High Filtering Capacity
  • ~Good Customer Service

Aquasana was the only company I found that met all of these criteria with flying colors. I was a yoga teacher with very little discretionary income, so I needed my system to be affordable. Aquasana’s above sink system only cost me around $99 (with a six month filter included!), making it cheaper than any other option I found.

It was also super easy to install. The reason I say “super easy “is because I did it myself and I am about as far from a handy man (or woman) as a person can be.

Aquasana systems filter out: chlorine, lead, pesticides, cysts, and asbestos. I know, those icky things shouldn’t be in our water in the first place, but they usually are, so I’m glad I’m no longer drinking them.

Soon after I started buying Aquasana, I became a “Water For Life” customer so I wouldn’t have to keep track of when to reorder my filters and I would also get a discount. I’ve had to call them a few times when I’ve moved over the years, and their customer service reps have always been stellar. Recently, I moved (again) and a filter got shipped to my old address. Aquasana immediately sent another filter to my new address at no extra charge. That kind of service always impresses me.

And the best part of all of this is that once I got my Aquasana system set up, I experienced one surprising benefit I hadn’t really expected: my water actually tasted better. I give Aquasana five stars out of five for affordability, ease, effectiveness, customer service and taste. Don’t spend another minute lugging gallons of spring water from the grocery store (as those plastic bottles end up in landfill), and definitely don’t plop down hundreds (or thousands) of dollars for a fancy water filteration system. Just check out Aquasana by clicking on the above image. You’ll thank me later.

Vicki Howie, MA, CHtVicki Howie is an Editor for Conscious Life News, as well as a Yoga Teacher, Life Coach and Creator of Chakra Boosters Healing Tattoos™. She has dozens of free chakra items: articles, videos, music and even an introductory course on her website: chakraboosters.com.

Win for Clean Water as Polluting Dams Forced Into Accountability

Max Ocean| Commondreams

The Bonneville Dam in the Columbia River, seen from 3000 feet. (Credit: flickr/cc/Eric Prado)

The Bonneville Dam in the Columbia River, seen from 3000 feet. (Credit: flickr/cc/Eric Prado)

Settlement reached between US Army Corps of Engineers and Columbia Riverkeeper over 8 dams in Pacific Northwest will bring ‘end to toxic spills and chronic seepage of pollutants.’

In a groundbreaking settlement (pdf) reached on Monday in a response to a suit brought by Columbia Riverkeeper, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers agreed to finally be subject to federal oversight by the Environmental Protection Agency and to disclose the details of the pollutants it releases into two rivers in the Pacific Northwest.

“This is a huge day for clean water,” said Brett VandenHeuvel, Columbia Riverkeeper’s executive director. “For years, the dams have discharged harmful oil pollution into the Columbia and Snake rivers, and finally that will stop. With the dams coming into compliance with the Clean Water Act, hopefully we will see an end to toxic spills and chronic seepage of pollutants that have been harming our community.”

The settlement could potentially impact how federal oversight of Army Corps dams is performed nationwide.

“Columbia Riverkeeper’s settlement has implications for dams operating without pollution permits across the country,” stated Melissa Powers, environmental law professor at Lewis and Clark Law School and expert in the federal Clean Water Act.  “Like any industrial facility, dams are prohibited from discharging pollution until they obtain pollution permits.”

While the Corps was already required to report spills that occurred, before the ruling it was not required to track the amount of oil going into the water as part of its regular operations, nor did it give information to outside groups concerning how much oil was generally going into the water.

The Corps had previously claimed in letters to state agencies that the EPA did not have the authority to regulate it.

According to the AP “the EPA had the authority to regulate the dams’ pollution before the settlement, but it could not compel the Corps to file for a pollution permit.”

Now the Corps will regularly notify Columbia Riverkeeper concerning daily discharges from a total of eight dams into both the Snake River and the Columbia River, and is required to apply for EPA pollution permits within the year. The settlement will also “require the Corps to use environmentally-friendly oils, such as biodegradable oils, if it’s feasible,” according to VandenHeuvel.

In 2009 the EPA found a number of harmful toxins in fish in the Columbia River, most notably PCBs, a potentially carcinogenic synthetic that was banned from production in the U.S. in 1979.

The Army Corps of Engineers is the largest owner-operator of dams in the country.

Riverkeeper’s VandenHeuvel explains the importance of the victory in the video below:

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