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Environment

Winds are stronger and steadier at higher altitudes, that’s why the Buoyant Air Turbine (BAT) from Altaeros is pushing to be the highest wind turbine in history. Already tested to 500 feet off the ground in 45 mph winds, this helium-filled shell with a wind turbine in the middle is soon shooting for a world record 1,000 ft float. Packing down into a shipping container for transport, the BAT is being proposed as a quickly deployable tethered power source for remote areas and emergency zones. Read More
The rooftops of automotive manufacturing plants have proven fertile ground for solar arrays with Audi, Ferrari and Renault installing extensive fields of solar panels at their respective facilities. Now Jaguar Land Rover has got on board with the largest rooftop solar panel array in the UK sprouting from its new Engine Manufacturing Centre in South Staffordshire. Read More
An international team of researchers has discovered a potential new use for discarded toilets, along with other ceramic waste such as basins, stoneware and bricks. It turns out that they can be made into a more eco-friendly form of cement. Read More
Back in 2011, Festo created a natural-flight mimicking bionic seagull with flapping wings dubbed SmartBird. The company is now looking to apply similar principles in order to convert wind power into electricity with its DualWingGenerator system. Read More
With homes and light-vehicles accounting for roughly 44 percent of total greenhouse gases emitted in the US, neutralizing these emissions would certainly go a long way towards a clean energy future. What if these sources of pollution could not only be nullified, but play an active role in reducing our environmental footprint? Such is the thinking behind the Honda Smart Home US unveiled last week, which generates enough solar energy to power both car and home, with a little left over to feed back into the grid. Read More
The dusty desert environments where many solar plants are located can make their photovoltaic arrays dirty and reduce their effectiveness. Cleaning the panels can be a time-consuming and expensive process. An Israeli solar plant is now said to be the first to have fully-automated cleaning in place. Read More

Phosphorus is a mineral that's widely used in fertilizer, which itself has an unfortunate tendency to leach out of farmers' fields and into our waterways. Now, researchers from Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research have devised a method of retrieving some of that phosphorus from the water – thus both reducing pollution, and providing a source of reclaimed phosphorus. Read More

When we complain about the rain, other people will often say "Yeah, but it's good for the plants." Well, thanks to a microturbine-based system created by three students from the Technological University of Mexico, it's now also being used to generate electricity for use in low-income homes. Read More

In 2010, Stanford University researchers reported harnessing energy directly from chloroplasts, the cellular "power plants" within plants where photosynthesis takes place. Now, by embedding different types of carbon nanotubes into these chloroplasts, a team at MIT has boosted plants' ability to capture light energy. As well as opening up the possibility of creating "bionic plants" with enhanced energy production, the same approach could be used to create plants with environmental monitoring capabilities. Read More
Insulating your home may help the environment by lowering your energy usage, but unfortunately the petroleum-based foam that's typically used as insulation isn't all that eco-friendly itself. Researchers at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research, however, have developed a reportedly greener alternative that they claim works just as well – it's foam made from wood. Read More
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