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Environment

— Environment

Artificial photosynthesis breakthrough turns CO2 emissions into plastics and biofuel

Scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley have created a hybrid system of bacteria and semiconducting nanowires that mimics photosynthesis. According to the researchers, their versatile, high-yield system can take water, sunlight and carbon dioxide and turn them into the building blocks of biodegradable plastics, pharmaceutical drugs and even biofuel. Read More
— Environment

Construction finishes on two floating mega-solar plants in Japan

Construction has been completed on two enormous floating solar power plants located in the Nishihira Pond and Higashihira Pond in Kato City, Japan. According to The Kyocera Corporation and the Century Tokyo Leasing Corporation, who partnered up to build the instillations, the combined output of the solar plants will be around 3,300 megawatt hours (MWh) per year, and provide electricity to an estimated 920 households. Read More
— Environment

GOCE gravity satellite data helps produce tool for geothermal energy development

ESA's Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) satellite might have burned up in Earth's atmosphere back in November 2013, but the wealth of data gathered by the probe before its demise is still being utilized to great effect. A team of scientists has used the readings to produce an online tool designed to make it easier than ever to locate potential geothermal energy extraction sites. Read More
— Environment

Acidic oceans triggered mass extinction over 250 million years ago

In order to better understand how climate change will unfold over the coming decades, some scientists are looking to the remote past and specific climatic catastrophes to help shed light the so-called Anthropocene and its consequences for life on Earth. Recently, researchers at the University of Utah looked into the so-called Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum for clues. Now, a study by the University of Edinburgh highlights evidence that the rapid acidification of oceans 252 million years ago caused the greatest extinction of all time. Read More
— Environment

Clay could be used for inexpensive carbon capture

In order to minimize the amount of human-produced greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere, numerous scientists have studied materials that could be used to capture excess carbon dioxide at one of its main sources – industrial smokestacks. Such substances have included metal-organic framework materials, ionic liquids, and even a sea urchin-inspired material. Unfortunately, however, not everything that's been suggested is inexpensive or easy to produce. That said, Norwegian researchers now believe that humble clay could do the job just fine. Read More
— Environment

Researchers produce hydrogen quickly and cheaply using plant waste

Hydrogen is the ideal gas for use in low-emissions combustion engine or fuel cell-powered vehicles, due to its almost non-existent greenhouse gas emissions. Production costs, however, are higher compared to gasoline and around 95 percent of it is currently produced, somewhat counter-intuitively, from fossil fuels. Now researchers at Virginia Tech claim to have created a method to produce hydrogen fuel using a biological technique that is not only cheaper and faster, but also produces hydrogen of a much higher quality ... and all from the leftover stalks, cobs, and husks of corn. Read More
— Environment

Algae could both provide biofuel and clean up wastewater

Algae may indeed be a potential source of biofuel, but it can also find use in things like nutritional supplements and cosmetics. When it's grown commercially, its growth is usually aided with chemical fertilizers. The cost of those chemicals cuts into the profits, however, plus the fertilizers are also needed for more traditional crops. That's why scientists from Houston's Rice University are looking into growing algae in municipal wastewater – the water would already contain its own free fertilizer, plus the algae would help clean it up. Read More
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