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Environment

Is Asia's water supply in trouble?

Based on a series of simulations ran through sophisticated computer models, researchers from MIT are highlighting the possibility that a significant percentage of the population of Asia could suffer severe water shortages by the year 2050. As a basis for the study, the team made use of a pre-existing MIT-generated computer model designed to simulate Asia's complex economic, climate, and growth characteristics. A detailed water-use model known as a Water Resource System was then introduced, and the team ran a number of simulations aiming to cover the widest range of potential scenarios.Read More

Hybrid system could clean up coal power

Even though 2015 saw the biggest decline in coal usage around the world on record according to Greenpeace, the use of the material is still thriving globally. In fact, according to the US Energy Information Administration, global coal consumption was at about eight billion short tons in 2012 (around 7.2 billion tonnes), the most recent year for which the agency provides statistics. So if coal isn't going away any time soon, what is there to do about the fuel source that is often blamed for pollution and global warming due to carbon emissions? Make it more efficient. And that's exactly what a new hybrid energy system out of MIT could do.Read More

Caribbean’s largest solar array goes online

A 33.4 MW photovoltaic solar array in the Dominican Republic has gone live this week. The installation at the Monte Plata solar facility is claimed to be the largest in the Caribbean and a planned second phase of the project is expected to take it to a capacity of 67 MW.Read More

Great Barrier Reef suffers through worst coral bleaching event on record

Scientists have warned that global warming is hurting Australia's Great Barrier Reef, but a new study has brought to light just how far along the damage might already be. An aerial survey of more than 500 coral reefs making up the system has revealed that almost all have suffered severe bleaching, with the researchers labeling it the worst mass bleaching event in the World Heritage Site's history.Read More

Waste tomatoes tapped as source of electricity

The tomato is a very versatile fruit. It can be juiced, made into cold soup, used as sauce or just eaten raw in a salad. It is a true food icon and now its usefulness could be expanding to an unexpected area as a US team is experimenting with the fruit as a source of electricity. A pilot project developed by researchers based in several American institutions involves a biological-based fuel cell that uses tomato waste from harvests in Florida, giving a new lease of life to organic material that would otherwise end up in landfills.Read More

Eggs to help bring bioplastics out of their shell

Confucious say, "the green reed which bends in the wind is stronger than the mighty oak which breaks in a storm." The same concept applies to packaging materials, which must protect their contents from the rough and tumble of transport without breaking. Petroleum-based plastics that can take centuries to break down remain the go-to material for such applications, but researchers have found that adding broken eggshells to a bioplastic mix results in a biodegradable material with the strength and flexibility required for packaging purposes.Read More

Backpack-wearing pigeons tweet London air quality readings

Wondering what the air quality is like in London? Well, over the next three days, you can ask a pigeon. More specifically, you can tweet your location to 10 pigeons located throughout the city, each one of which is equipped with a lightweight backpack that monitors ozone, nitrogen dioxide and volatile compounds. You'll receive a tweet back, letting you know just how safe it is to breathe the air in your region.Read More

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