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Environment

A Thames Water employee clearing fat from beneath London's Leicester Square

East London is set to play host to the world's biggest power station to run solely on fat, which will provide a much-needed use for the discarded fat which can block the city's sewer system. The station will generate 130 gigawatt-hours of electricity per year, enough to power about 39,000 houses.  Read More

A newly-developed process gives gold mines an alternative to using cyanide for extracting ...

In the gold-mining process, the precious metal is often extracted from low-grade ore in a technique known as gold cyanidation. As its name suggests, the process utilizes highly-poisonous cyanide, some of which ends up entering the environment in the mines’ tailings. That’s not so good. Scientists at Illinois’ Northwestern University, however, recently announced their discovery of a new gold recovery process that’s based on a non-toxic component of corn starch.  Read More

SheerWind's Invelox wind power generation unit is said to increase energy output by 600 pe...

SheerWind, a wind power company from Minnesota, USA, has announced the results of tests it has carried out with its new Invelox wind power generation technology. The company says that during tests its turbine could generate six times more energy than the amount produced by traditional turbines mounted on towers. Besides, the costs of producing wind energy with Invelox are lower, delivering electricity with prices that can compete with natural gas and hydropower.  Read More

New technology out of the University of Georgia allows energy generated by plants through ...

Millions of years of evolution has resulted in plants being the most efficient harvesters of solar energy on the planet. Much research is underway into ways to artificially mimic photosynthesis in devices like artificial leaves, but researchers at the University of Georgia (UGA) are working on a different approach that gives new meaning to the term “power plant.” Their technology harvests energy generated through photosynthesis before the plants can make use of it, allowing the energy to instead be used to run low-powered electrical devices.  Read More

ESA's Biomass Earth Explorer mission will map and measure the amount of biomass and carbon...

Kicking off with the Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE), which was launched in March 2009, the European Space Agency’s Earth Explorer missions are intended to provide a greater understanding of the Earth and the interactions between various natural Earth processes. “Biomass” is the seventh Earth Explorer satellite to get the nod and will provide and accurate picture of the amount of biomass and carbon stored in the world’s forests.  Read More

Research at UNSW increases the conversion efficiency of solar cells made using lower-cost,...

While we wait for affordable multi-junction solar cells that are pushing past the 40 percent conversion efficiency mark to make it out of the lab and onto our roofs, we have to make do with standard commercial silicon cells that currently max out at around 19 percent. A team from the University of New South Wales in Australia has found a way to improve the quality of low-grade silicon, enabling higher efficiency solar cells to be produced from cheaper, low-grade silicon.  Read More

Sunflower seed husks seem to be a viable aggregate for certain uses (Photo: Phil Hawkswort...

Ordinarily seen as a waste product, the husks of sunflower seeds could be used to make concrete, according to research out of Turkey. Not only are the husks a sustainable source of aggregate, it's claimed that the resulting concrete is more resistant to cracking during post-freeze thaws.  Read More

L'Uritonnoir is a portable, composting urinal for large festivals that reduces a bale of h...

Festivals can be great fun, but aren't always so friendly to the local environment. Gathering that many people in one place tends to produce a large amount of waste, but it's the human waste that can be the hardest to dispose of cleanly. That's why French design group Faltazi has produced L'Uritonnoir, a portable, composting urinal for large festivals that helps to turn a bale of hay into usable fertilizer.  Read More

A new system being developed at MIT would store excess energy in concrete spheres on the s...

The intermittent nature of wind and solar power generation is one of the biggest challenges facing these renewable energy sources. But this isn’t likely to remain a problem for much longer with everything from flywheels to liquid air systems being developed to provide a cheaper form of energy storage than batteries for times when the wind is blowing or the sun isn’t shining. A new concept out of MIT can now be added to the the list of potential solutions. Aimed specifically at offshore wind turbines, the concept would see energy stored in huge concrete spheres that would sit on the seafloor and also function as anchors for the turbines.  Read More

The Hotchkiss School's new biomass building (Photo: Centerbrook)

A US school has cut a six-figure sum from its winter energy bill by replacing its oil-burning boiler with woodchip biomass ones. The switch has reduced the school's carbon footprint by between 35 and 45 percent. The boilers are housed in a brand new green-roofed building which has become only the third LEED-certified power facility in the US.  Read More

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