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Environment

— Environment

Buddhist singing bowls could inspire highly efficient solar cells

By - September 14, 2014 1 Picture
While the unique shape of Buddhist singing bowls is vital to the creation of their signature sound, a researcher from Australia National University (ANU) has used their design as the inspiration for a new breed of solar cells. In completing his PhD at the University of Cambridge, Dr Niraj Lal found that just as the bowls cause sound to resonate, miniaturized versions can be made to interact with light in much the same way, inspiring solar cells better able to capture sunlight. Read More
— Environment

Newly-discovered waste-eating bacteria could help in nuclear waste disposal

By - September 10, 2014 1 Picture
"Extremophile" bacteria have been found thriving in soil samples from a highly alkaline industrial site in Peak District of England. Although the site is not radioactive, the conditions are similar to the alkaline conditions expected to be found in cement-based radioactive waste sites. The researchers say the capability of the bacteria to thrive in such conditions and feed on isosaccharinic acid (ISA) make it a promising candidate for aiding in nuclear waste disposal. Read More
— Environment

Diaper-grown mushrooms to cut down waste

By - September 3, 2014 2 Pictures
While the contents of a diaper could easily be considered an environmental hazard by many, disposable diapers themselves pose a more significant problem for the environment. According to the EPA, the average baby will work their way through 8,000 of them before the underwear makes its way to landfill, where it takes centuries to break down. In an effort to reduce the problem, scientists at Mexico's Autonomous Metropolitan University, Azcapotzalco (UAM-A), have turned used diapers to the task of growing mushrooms. Read More
— Environment

Hitachi developing reactor that burns nuclear waste

By - September 3, 2014 2 Pictures
The problem with nuclear waste is that it needs to be stored for many thousands of years before it’s safe, which is a tricky commitment for even the most stable civilization. To make this situation a bit more manageable, Hitachi, in partnership with MIT, the University of Michigan, and the University of California, Berkeley, is working on new reactor designs that use transuranic nuclear waste for fuel; leaving behind only short-lived radioactive elements. Read More
— Environment

Nanoparticle coating cleans cashmere with light

By - September 2, 2014 1 Picture
Cashmere is a fine quality wool whose delicate nature generally means a trip to the dry cleaner is required to deal with any stains on an article of clothing made from the material. But now researchers at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) has developed a self-cleaning coating made up of nanoparticles that removes stains from cashmere by exposing the garment to light. Read More
— Environment

Air HES system to collect water and generate electricity from the clouds

By - August 27, 2014 7 Pictures
Using a tethered airship floating high up amongst the clouds, the Air HES concept claims to yield both clean water and electricity by harvesting and condensing water vapor which it uses to spin up an electric turbine generator to create power. According to the creators, they have built a prototype to test their theory and have also conducted feasibility studies into upping the scale of their device to produce economically viable levels of water and power. Read More
— Environment

Autonomous mini helicopters hunt down invasive weeds from the air

By - August 26, 2014 10 Pictures
The sheer density of the rainforests in Australia's far-north creates a slight problem for local conservationists. With incursions by invasive plants posing a threat to the native flora, inaccessibility for people makes it a difficult and time-consuming task to monitor the region. Now researchers from the CSIRO have developed two mini helicopters capable of hunting down the dangerous weeds from the air, significantly reducing the resources needed to preserve local plant life. Read More

New technique automates sorting of plastics for recycling

If you've ever had to separate different types of plastic for recycling, then you'll know how much it slows down the recycling process. Now, imagine how much harder it is for staff receiving huge amounts of unsorted plastic at municipal recycling plants. New technology developed at Ludwig Maximilians Universitat in Munich, however, identifies plastic types automatically. Read More
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