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Environment

You want flies with that? Mealworms on a pigeon burger at Rentokil's pop-up 'pestaurant' (...

By 2050, the UN expects that there will be almost 10 billion people on the Earth. This poses some serious practical questions, not least among which is how we'll put food into 2.5 billion or so extra tummies (especially given that we don't adequately fill all of the 7-plus billion we already have). If you're yet to hear alarming phrases like "food security" and "sustainable intensification" you've probably been living under a rock. Which is apt, actually, because that's exactly where you might find one of the proposed answers: insects. A pop-up kitchen in London on Thursday served up a variety of bug-based bites to passers by, and Gizmag arrived soon after it opened to sample the wares on offer.  Read More

The Fraxinus game (Image: The Sainsbury Laboratory)

Playing video games and feeling virtuous may seem almost like a contradiction in terms, but the Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich, UK has turned gaming into a way to advance science and help protect the environment. The Fraxinus game is a Facebook app that uses player participation to figure out the structure of a fungus genome, as part of a crowdsourcing effort to combat a disease that threatens Britain and Europe’s ash trees.  Read More

Would partly black turbines be safer for birds? (Photo: Shutterstock)

Four turbines at the Smøla wind farm in Norway are to have one rotor blade painted black to see whether increasing the visual contrast of the turbine against its background might help to reduce bird strikes.  Read More

Cactus needles draw moisture to the plant, just like the new material draws in oil droplet...

When an oil spill occurs at sea, there are already a number of possible options for gathering the oil that floats in a layer on the water’s surface. Some of the oil also forms into tiny suspended droplets, however, which have proven much more difficult to gather. Now, Chinese scientists have developed what could be a solution – and it owes a debt to the humble cactus needle.  Read More

Does water hold the key to more efficient windows? (Photo: Nathan Larkin)

Researchers at the University of Toronto say they can improve the energy of efficiency buildings by fitting window panes with tiny channels of water. The scientists says that these channels, inspired by vascular systems in nature such as the network of blood vessels in the human body, can provide 7º to 9º C of cooling in the summer, and reduce heat loss during winter.  Read More

Metabolix is genetically engineering switchgrass to produce bioplastic and chemicals.

Petroleum-based plastic may be fantastic, but due to the durability that makes the material so popular it may take hundreds of years to break down. Plastic made from renewable biomass, known as bioplastic, is a biodegradable alternative to fossil fuel versions. A company called Metabolix, based in Cambridge (MA), has been working on a technology to genetically engineer plants such as switchgrass to create a biodegradable polymer that can be extracted directly from the plant.  Read More

Phytokinetic is a green roof concept for public transport vehicles to bring a touch of nat...

In an effort to bring a dash of green to gray concrete jungles, Catalan landscape artist Marc Grañén teamed up with green wall and roof designer Alex Puig.Grañén to perfect his Phytokinetic concept. Similar to the bus-top garden concept dreamed up by NYU graduate student Marco Castro Cosio, Phytokinetic is a mobile garden designed to be installed atop public transport vehicles.  Read More

The primary niche is to clip the generator to the top of existing solar panels in large ar...

Crowdfunding has come to the small wind generation field with an Indiegogo campaign intended for an interesting target niche: a small wind generator designed to be clipped onto solar panels. According to his pitch, Michael Ring has not only created a prototype, but calculated possible energy returns, targeted a price point and lined up suppliers for initial deliveries and has turned to Indeigogo to get his small startup off the launch pad.  Read More

The Nyngan solar PV plant will be the largest in the Southern Hemisphere

With plenty of sun-drenched, wide open spaces, Australia is an obvious place for large-scale solar power plants. It would seem that large reserves of coal, oil and natural gas, have on the other hand made it difficult for the country to wean itself off fossil fuels. But renewable energy is getting a boost down-under with the announcement of two solar projects, one of which will be the largest solar photovoltaic (PV) plant in the Southern Hemisphere.  Read More

The battery is designed to even out power from renewable sources such as wind (Photo: Jon ...

Europe's largest battery is to undergo testing in the UK, where it will be used to store and regulate energy generated from renewable sources such as wind and solar power, The Guardian reports. The lithium manganese battery, developed by S&C Electric Europe, Samsung SDI and Younicos, will be capable of storing up to 10 MWh of energy.  Read More

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