Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Environment

The Project ResQu mini helicopters offer a more effective way to hunt down invasive weeds ...

The sheer density of the rainforests in Australia's far-north creates a slight problem for local conservationists. With incursions by invasive plants posing a threat to the native flora, inaccessibility for people makes it a difficult and time-consuming task to monitor the region. Now researchers from the CSIRO have developed two mini helicopters capable of hunting down the dangerous weeds from the air, significantly reducing the resources needed to preserve local plant life.  Read More

By measuring a plastic item's fluorescence half-life, it's possible to tell what kind of p...

If you've ever had to separate different types of plastic for recycling, then you'll know how much it slows down the recycling process. Now, imagine how much harder it is for staff receiving huge amounts of unsorted plastic at municipal recycling plants. New technology developed at Ludwig Maximilians Universitat in Munich, however, identifies plastic types automatically.  Read More

Whoosh Innovations has developed a 'fish gun' to help salmon bypass man-made obstacles whe...

If you live in an area where salmon spawn, then summer treats you to a free nature drama as the fish battle against currents, fight through rapids, struggle up tiny streams, and leap up waterfalls to return to the calm pools where they were born. Unfortunately, however intrepid the odd salmon is, they weren't built to take on a 300-ft tall hydroelectric dam. That's why Whooshh Innovations has developed a system that sucks the fish up through a plastic tube and shoots them over obstacles low and tall like so many piscatorial projectiles.  Read More

A new study from Lund University asserts that regional climate is influenced by the sun (I...

In a new study that may greatly add to our understanding of the drivers behind climate change, researchers from Lund University in Sweden claim to have accurately reconstructed solar activity levels during the last ice age. By analyzing trace elements in ice core samples in Greenland and cave mineral formations in China, the scientists assert that regional climate is more influenced by the sun than previously thought.  Read More

The AirEnergy3D Project is an open source, 3D printed, portable wind turbine prototype

The AirEnergy3D is an open source, 3D-printed, portable wind turbine prototype whose creators claim will be able to generate up to 300 W of power. Designed to be easily assembled and disassembled without tools, the device is intended to be compact enough to be transported in a backpack, allowing it to be taken camping or anywhere else that there is a breeze and no access to the electricity grid.  Read More

MIT hopes to turn old lead batteries into new solar cells (Image: Christine Daniloff/MIT)

The world of modern technology is one of out with the old, in with the new. For battery technology, that means the expected demise of lead-acid batteries and replacement by a more efficient, cheaper, and environmentally-friendly alternative. This is good news, but leaves the problem of what to do with all the lead in the batteries currently in use when the time comes to dispose of them? Researchers at MIT have an answer – use it to make solar cells.  Read More

Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay would be the world’s first man-made energy-generating lagoon

Energy trade association RenewableUK calls the UK "the undisputed global leader in marine energy." If plans for a tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay go ahead, that claim will be reinforced. Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay would be the world’s first man-made energy-generating lagoon and could power over 155,000 homes.  Read More

Research from the Seoul National University suggests that discarded cigarette butts could ...

Billions of cigarette butts are discarded around the world each year and, even when disposed of properly, pose a threat to the environment by leaching arsenic, lead and other nasty chemicals into land and waterways. New research shows these butts could be set for a new lease on life, with a team of Korean scientists demonstrating that used cigarette filters could actually double as a highly-effective energy storage material.  Read More

Newcastle University prototype system provides cooling, heating, and electrical power usin...

A team of researchers led by Newcastle University has produced an all-in-one Biofuel Micro Trigeneration (BMT) prototype system fueled entirely by unprocessed plant oils that provides combined cooling, heating, and electrical power. This first-generation system is designed for use in homes, with the potential for up-scaling for larger commercial and industrial applications.  Read More

Researchers are using hydrogen created as a by-product in sodium chlorate production to po...

By-products are common to most industries. Some are harmless, some dangerous and others useless. Others are simply under-utilized. VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is using hydrogen generated as a by-product of the sodium chlorate production process in its pilot-scale power plant to produce electricity.  Read More

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