IKEA to Start Selling Air-Purifying Curtains to Help People Breathe Easier

In recent years, IKEA has become more health and environmentally-conscious, removing Styrofoam from packaging, reducing plastic use, and even planning to use only renewable and recycled materials in its products by 2030. The company launched products perfect for city-dwellers wanting to get in touch with nature, including a sustainable DIY indoor garden, as well as a hydroponic gardening system that goes in your very own kitchen. Now, IKEA plans on helping buyers breathe easier with air-purifying curtains.

The new Gundrid curtains employ some pretty high-tech ways of purifying the air. They don’t use any special filters or electricity. Instead, the curtains contain a mineral-based photocatalyst activated by both indoor and outdoor light that works a lot like photosynthesis.

Read: IKEA may Nix Use of Environmentally-Destructive Styrofoam

Once activated, the Gundrid curtains filter out common indoor air pollutants, including formaldehyde.

An IKEA representative explained:

“Successful laboratory tests have been carried out to ensure that the photocatalyst coating works and that it is safe. The next step is chamber tests and home tests to confirm that Gundrid efficiently removes volatile organic compounds in a room.”

Mauricio Affonso, Product Developer at IKEA Range & Supply, said in a press release:

Source: Ikea

“For me, it’s important to work on products that solve actual problems and are relevant to people. Textiles are used across homes, and by enabling a curtain to purify the air, we are creating an affordable and space-saving air purifying solution that also makes the homes more beautiful.”

IKEA noted in the press release that 91% of the world’s population is exposed to air pollution, according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guidelines for health and safety.

Read: IKEA Launches Sustainable DIY Indoor Garden

Lena Pripp-Kovac, Head of Sustainability at Inter IKEA Group, added:

“Besides enabling people to breathe better air at home, we hope that Gundrid will increase people’s awareness of indoor air pollution, inspiring behavioral changes that contribute to a world of clean air.

Gundrid is the first product to use the technology, but the development will give us opportunities for further applications on other textiles.”

Source:

[1] Bustle

Reuters

Featured image source: Ikea

Chernobyl Nuke Site in Ukraine is Transformed into Solar Farm

It has been more than 3 decades since the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine melted down, causing the worst nuclear accident in history and claiming the lives of thousands over the years. Now, the site has been transformed into a massive solar farm.

The farm stands some 300 feet from the power plant’s remains, which are housed under a massive sarcophagus slid into place in 2016 to contain toxic leaks and radiation. It will be another 24,000 years (the half-life of plutonium) before humans can inhabit the surrounding 1,000 square miles surrounding Chernobyl, but the ghost town has a new purpose.

Source: Gizmodo

Evhen Variagin, the chief executive of Solar Chernobyl LLC, said: [2]

“It’s not just another solar power plant. It’s really hard to underestimate the symbolism of this particular project.”

Launched October 5, Solar Chernobyl can power roughly 2,000 homes. The entire project cost a mere $1.2 million to complete. Land prices offered by the Ukrainian government are a steal, and the government will shell out as much as 50% above the European average for power generated there. [1]

Chernobyl continued to crank out nuclear power until it was officially shut down in 2000. This is the first time power has been produced at the site since the turn of the millennium.

Stage 1 of the project encompasses about 4 acres, but authorities have offered up to 6,000 acres (10 square miles) for solar farms. Eventually, as much as 100 megawatts of solar power could be constructed. The site has connections to the power grid, which could one day transmit up to 4,000 megawatts of power.

Investors have until July 2019 to cash in on the subsidy scheme, at which time parliament will vote on whether or not to scrap it. [2]

Yulia Kovaliv, who heads the Office of the National Investment Council of Ukraine, said:

“Investors expect that in the renewable energy sector, facilities launched before 2019 will operate on the current (beneficial) system of green tariffs. And that is why want to buy ready-to-build projects in order to complete construction before that time.”

Sources:

[1] Fortune

[2] Reuters (featured image source) Solar panels are seen through barbed wire at a solar power plant built on the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster, Chernobyl, Ukraine October 5, 2018. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Gizmodo