The mounting plastic waste in the world's oceans has been the subject of of some pretty bold environmental undertakings, perhaps none more so than the Ocean Cleanup Project aiming to eradicate the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The Seabin Project represents a smaller-scale approach, but it is noble in its aspirations all the same. Installation in ports and marinas sees this ocean-friendly trash can suck up the surrounding debris and even remove oil from the water.
A new study has brought together more than 25 years of satellite data, combined with ground measurements, to assess the state of Earth's lakes. The results show a troubling rise in temperature that the researchers claim could have a big impact on our environment.
We've seen XPrize competitions to get to the Moon and create a real life Star Trek Tricorder, among other goals. Now the latest competition is taking to the ocean depths with the Shell Ocean Discovery XPrize announced on Monday offering a total of US$7 million in prizes to encourage development of new technologies for unmanned exploration of the world's oceans.
Clean fuels come in many forms, but burning iron or aluminum seems to be stretching the definition – unless you ask a team of scientists led by McGill University, who see a low-carbon future that runs on metal. The team is studying the combustion characteristics of metal powders to determine whether such powders could provide a cleaner, more viable alternative to fossil fuels than hydrogen, biofuels, or electric batteries.
A join team of researchers from Belgium's KU Leuven and from Utrecht University in the Netherlands has examined the fuel production process, developing a new method that allows for cleaner diesel. According to the team, the technique could easily be scaled up to industrial levels for use within the next decade.
While world leaders meet in Paris to discuss reducing carbon emissions believed to contribute to climate change, the government of Gibraltar is putting its own renewable energy plan into action. The iconic British territory has inked a deal with Eco Wave Power to install a 5-megawatt wave energy power station to harvest electricity from the rising and falling waters of the Mediterranean.
Even with the efficiency of today's digital communications, the modern office still churns through its fair share of paper. The typical recycling process involves a lot of water and transporting of material to an off-site facility, but printer company Epson says it has a more efficient and manageable solution. Its newly-announced PaperLab machine breaks down workplace wastepaper and fashions it into fresh sheets on-site, while using only a tiny amount of water.
If a recently-announced consortium of scientists and aviation companies is successful, you could one day be flying in jets powered by the remains of decay – otherwise known as biofuel from forest-industry waste. The project will be led by the University of British Columbia (UBC) and NORAM Engineering and Constructors, and includes aviation and related companies Boeing, Air Canada, WestJet, SkyNRG and Bombardier.
Although methane is one of the most potent of the greenhouses gases, scientists still aren't entirely clear on all of its ground-based sources. That's why researchers from Sweden's Linköping and Stockholm universities have created a camera that's capable of imaging methane in real time. They say that it could find use in monitoring sources such as sludge deposits, combustion processes, farms and lakes.
Five years on and questions still remain over the Deepwater Horizons oil spill, where millions of gallons of crude oil were spewed into the Gulf of Mexico. Perhaps the most pressing is how oil might be best cleaned up should such an environmental catastrophe occur in the future. A team of Australian researchers claims to have found an answer, developing a special porous material that is claimed to soak up to 33 times its own weight in oil and organic solvents.