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Environment

By exploiting pressure at the seabed, researchers hope to create stores of energy at the o...

"Imagine opening a hatch in a submarine under water. The water will flow into the submarine with enormous force. It is precisely this energy potential we want to utilize." This is how German engineer Rainer Schramm describes his idea for storing energy under the sea. By using surplus energy to pump water out of a tank at the seabed, the water is simply let back in again when there's an energy shortfall, driving turbines as it rushes in. The deeper the tank, the more power is generated.  Read More

New water-purifying synthetic nanoscavengers can be removed from water magnetically (Photo...

According to a joint World Health Organization/UNICEF report issued this week, an estimated 768 million people relied on unimproved drinking-water sources in 2011, with 185 million of these relying on surface water to meet their daily drinking-water needs. WHO and UNICEF have set a 2030 target for everyone to have access to a safe drinking-water supply and new water-purifying “nanoscavengers” developed by researchers at Stanford University could help achieve this goal.  Read More

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

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