Since the beginning of the industrial age, mercury pollution has
increased steadily in our environment, particularly in rivers and
oceans. As a result, high-level predators in our waterways often contain
very high levels of mercury, and eating fish containing this neurotoxin
can lead to serious health issues. Now Australian scientists working at
Flinders University have discovered a simple and efficient way to remove
mercury from the environment by using a material made from recycled
waste citrus peel.
Researchers from the University of Alexandria have developed a cheaper, simpler and potentially cleaner way to turn seawater into drinking water than conventional methods. The breakthrough, which could have a huge impact on rural areas of the Middle East and North Africa, improves on an existing method of separating liquids and solids known as pervaporation by using a new salt-attracting membrane embedded with cellulose acetate powder.
Offshore wind farms have been creating electricity off the coast of Denmark since 1991 and England, Germany and other countries on mainland Europe have followed suit, as have China, South Korea and Japan. It's a different story in the US, where until recently there were no offshore wind farms in operation or even under construction. That changed recently with the start of construction of a small wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island.
If you're looking to bring together the world's brightest budding engineers to push solar technology to its very limits, then there may be no better backdrop than the dusty, sun-drenched expanses of central Australia. The biennial World Solar Challenge will kick off this Sunday, with competitors set to cover a monster 3,000 km (1,864 mi) journey from Darwin, Northern Territory to Adelaide, South Australia in cars powered purely by the sun. As hopefuls from all over the globe ready their rides for the ultimate in solar-powered endurance racing, here's a quick look at some of the interesting vehicle designs, who's new to the party and a few that have been around the block before.
We've previously heard about air-purifying clothing, so perhaps it shouldn't come as a surprise to find out that scientists have now developed the aquatic equivalent – a bikini top that filters pollutants out of the water around the wearer. And yes, the technology could have other uses.
That morning cup of joe ahead of your daily commute may end up providing more than just the refreshing boost needed to tackle the day ahead. London-based company, Bio-bean, hopes to turn left-over coffee grounds into biodiesel for vehicles and biomass pellets to heat buildings.
Humans, it seems, are worse than a nuclear disaster. A long-term study of animal populations around Chernobyl has found wildlife to be flourishing in the absence of human activity. A team of scientists surveyed the human exclusion zone surrounding the site, observing large animals like deer and elk to be in abundance despite lingering radiation.
You would think that the more sunlight that hits a solar panel, the better. When it comes to efficiency though, that's not the case – as photovoltaic cells heat up their efficiency decreases. To capture that heat and put it to good use, a team of scientists from Brunel University London has created a hybrid system that turns the whole roof into a solar generator.
In a bid to help bring greater access to clean drinking water to the developing world, WaterStillar has created a solar-distillation system designed to produce clean drinking water from almost any source. Conceived as a cheap, efficient, modular system that can be scaled up to produce thousands of liters per day, Water Works is installed with no upfront costs and requires minimal maintenance or training to operate.
If you've ever kept mealworms as food for a pet reptile or frog, then you probably fed them fruits or vegetables. What you likely didn't know, however, was that the insects can also survive quite nicely on a diet of Styrofoam. With that in mind, scientists at Stanford University have now determined that mealworms can break the difficult-to-recycle plastic foam down into a biodegradable waste product.