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Environment

A new aerodynamic device has the potential to reduce the energy consumption of supermarket refrigerators by up to 41.5 percent. The product, currently being developed by Williams Advanced Engineering in collaboration with Aerofoil Energy, can be clipped onto existing cabinets, making it easy for companies to upgrade their stores. Read More
The UK's Crossrail project is said to be Europe's largest construction project. What's more, the earth excavated to construct its tunnels is being used to develop one of Europe's largest nature reserves. Wallasea Island in Essex has recently received its final shipment of Crossrail earth. Read More
Trees may be a renewable resource, but the rate of this renewal may not meet the increasing demand for plant biomass. But now researchers at the University of Manchester have potentially found a way to boost tree stocks by using gene manipulation to increase the size and growth rate of trees. Read More
Scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley have created a hybrid system of bacteria and semiconducting nanowires that mimics photosynthesis. According to the researchers, their versatile, high-yield system can take water, sunlight and carbon dioxide and turn them into the building blocks of biodegradable plastics, pharmaceutical drugs and even biofuel. Read More
Construction has been completed on two enormous floating solar power plants located in the Nishihira Pond and Higashihira Pond in Kato City, Japan. According to The Kyocera Corporation and the Century Tokyo Leasing Corporation, who partnered up to build the instillations, the combined output of the solar plants will be around 3,300 megawatt hours (MWh) per year, and provide electricity to an estimated 920 households. Read More
ESA's Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) satellite might have burned up in Earth's atmosphere back in November 2013, but the wealth of data gathered by the probe before its demise is still being utilized to great effect. A team of scientists has used the readings to produce an online tool designed to make it easier than ever to locate potential geothermal energy extraction sites. Read More
As we approach the fifth anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, scientists are still trying to develop better ways of removing oil from water. Now, researchers at The Ohio State University believe that they may be onto something. They've developed a stainless steel mesh that allows water to pass through, but that stops oil. Read More
In order to better understand how climate change will unfold over the coming decades, some scientists are looking to the remote past and specific climatic catastrophes to help shed light the so-called Anthropocene and its consequences for life on Earth. Recently, researchers at the University of Utah looked into the so-called Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum for clues. Now, a study by the University of Edinburgh highlights evidence that the rapid acidification of oceans 252 million years ago caused the greatest extinction of all time. Read More
In order to minimize the amount of human-produced greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere, numerous scientists have studied materials that could be used to capture excess carbon dioxide at one of its main sources – industrial smokestacks. Such substances have included metal-organic framework materials, ionic liquids, and even a sea urchin-inspired material. Unfortunately, however, not everything that's been suggested is inexpensive or easy to produce. That said, Norwegian researchers now believe that humble clay could do the job just fine. Read More
Algae may indeed be a potential source of biofuel, but it can also find use in things like nutritional supplements and cosmetics. When it's grown commercially, its growth is usually aided with chemical fertilizers. The cost of those chemicals cuts into the profits, however, plus the fertilizers are also needed for more traditional crops. That's why scientists from Houston's Rice University are looking into growing algae in municipal wastewater – the water would already contain its own free fertilizer, plus the algae would help clean it up. Read More
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