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— Environment

Moth eyes inspire more efficient photoelectrochemical cells

By - July 17, 2014 3 Pictures
As nocturnal creatures, moths need to maximize how well they can see in the dark whilst remaining less visible to avoid predators. This ability to collect as much of the available light as possible and at the same time reflect as little as possible, has inspired Researchers at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa) to design a new type of photoelectrochemical cell using relatively low cost materials. Read More
— Environment

Net-zero energy test home ends year-long study with surplus energy

By - July 10, 2014 8 Pictures
Braving a harsh winter with snow-covered solar panels, the Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility (NZERTF) in Washington DC has come up trumps in a year-long study of its energy harvesting capabilities. Located on campus at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), researchers used computer simulation to replicate the energy consumption of a family of four. At the end of its first 12 months, there was a large enough surplus to power an electric car for 1,440 miles (2,317 km). Read More
— Environment

Recyclable coffee cup could save billions from ending up in landfill

By - July 3, 2014 1 Picture
Along with a timely hit of caffeine, takeaway coffee can deliver its fair share of environmental angst as the office trash can begins to brim with empty paper cups. But what if, instead of being carted off to landfill, these cups could be recycled up to seven times, much like newspapers and regular cardboard? According to UK-based inventor Martin Myerscough, a small difference in the way these cups are produced could significantly reduce the monumental waste generated by today's coffee-crazed society. Read More
— Environment

Solar-powered electrochemical cell used to produce formic acid from CO2

By - July 2, 2014 1 Picture
Rising atmospheric CO2 levels can generally be tackled in three ways: developing alternative energy sources with lower emissions; carbon capture and storage (CCS); and capturing carbon and repurposing it. Researchers at Princeton University are claiming to have developed a technique that ticks two of these three boxes by using solar power to convert CO2 into formic acid. Read More
— Environment

PowerCube pop-up solar generator provides relief to disaster-struck areas

By - July 1, 2014 15 Pictures
It was seven years ago that Ecosphere Technologies revealed its first iteration of a self-contained relief unit to provide power, water and shelter to disaster-struck areas. The company has since been busy refining the system's form and function and now announces the completion of what it says to be the world's largest deployable solar power generator. Capable of generating 15 kW of electricity, PowerCube is transported as a standard shipping container and can morph into a shelter, water treatment plant and communications base all with a push of a button. Read More
— Environment

Could great walls prevent tornadoes forming in the American Midwest?

By - June 30, 2014 1 Picture
The Great Wall of China was primarily built to keep out nomadic tribes, but a new study suggests constructing great walls in the American Midwest could keep out a different kind of threat – tornadoes. It might sound far-fetched, but a study conducted by Dr. Rongjia Tao from the Department of Physics at Philadelphia's Temple University suggests there is in fact some scientific merit to it. Strategically placed, 1,000 ft (300 m) high great walls could negate the forming of the destructive wind storms in Tornado Alley, and by extension, the destruction they leave in their wake. Read More
— Environment

CSP plants could run at 80 percent capacity (or better) throughout the year

By - June 24, 2014 1 Picture
Researchers at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) have conducted a study to examine the potential for solar power to provide reliable electricity around the clock, every day of the year. The team found that a large, distributed network of concentrated solar power (CSP) plants in the Mediterranean basin or the Kalahari desert in southern Africa would be able to consistently run at 80 percent of maximum capacity or more throughout the year regardless of time of day, season, or weather conditions. Read More
— Environment

Video: World's first industrial-scale waste-to-biofuels facility

By - June 20, 2014 12 Pictures
Thanks to its extensive composting and recycling facilities, the city of Edmonton, Canada is already diverting approximately 60 percent of its municipal waste from the landfill. That figure is expected to rise to 90 percent, however, once the city's new Waste-to-Biofuels and Chemicals Facility starts converting garbage (that can't be composted or recycled) into methanol and ethanol. It's the world's first such plant to operate on an industrial scale, and we recently got a guided tour of the place. Read More
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