Humanity's industrial processes have a huge impact on the and, releasing harmful substances such as mercury, arsenic and lead into the water. Chinese researchers are hoping that synthetic coral that mimics the ability of the real thing to collect harmful heavy metals from water could help in the clean up effort, with tests on the effectiveness of the aluminum oxide structure so far showing promising results.
Polylactic acid (PLA) is a biodegradable bioplastic that is already used to produce a variety of everyday items, such as cups, trays, bowls and vegetable wrapping foil. Unfortunately, the current PLA production process is expensive and produces waste. Researchers at the KU Leuven Centre for Surface Chemistry and Catalysis in Belgium have now developed a new production technique that is cheaper and greener and makes PLA a more attractive alternative to petroleum-based plastics.
If you're enjoying a serene natural area, you might not appreciate
seeing a very techy-looking pollution-hunting robot putting along the
surface. That's why scientists at the National University of Singapore
have developed an alternative – water-quality-monitoring robots that
look like swans.
It wasn't long ago that we heard about an effort to create synthetic rhino horn,
the low price of which could be used to put suppliers of real horn out
of business. Now, however, the Protect project is aiming at catching
poachers in the act. Amongst other things, it would involve putting
video cameras in the horns of living rhinos.
Asphalt covers more than 94 percent of the paved streets in the US, but have we gone down the wrong road with our choice of building material? Dutch firm VolkerWessels thinks so and has unveiled plans for roads crafted from recycled plastic, claiming the approach would significantly cut construction and maintenance time, as well as extend their expected lifespan.
Over the last few years, many possible explanations have been bandied about for the so-called pause in climate change, a plateau in global surface air temperatures that is out of step with rising greenhouse gas concentrations. But now an international research effort is laying responsibility at the feet of volcanic eruptions, whose particles it has found reflect twice as much solar radiation as previously believed, serving to temporarily cool the planet in the face of rising CO2 emissions.
Although wave energy-harvesting systems are often just presented as
concepts that may someday see actual use, one was recently deployed in
Hawaii to provide power to the municipal grid. Built by Northwest Energy
Innovations, the Azura device will remain in operation for a 12-month
assessment period, with an eye toward eventual commercialization.
The world’s oceans are in peril due to a combination of pollution, overfishing and climate change. Recently, the Alfred-Wegener-Institut, a German center for polar and marine research, sent out a strong warning about fundamental changes that are occurring in those ecosystems. But awareness is growing and the fight to preserve the oceans has found an ally in Adidas, which has teamed with conservation group Parley for the Oceans to create footwear made with trash harvested from the ocean.
If you've ever been to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, you may have been aware of two things; its magnificent grandeur, and the fact that it's an active supervolcano that, if it ever erupted again, would be worst event to hit the Earth since the dinosaur-killing asteroid. To help keep an eye out for this and similar events, a team at the University of Zurich have developed a means of monitoring volcanic events using atomic clocks.
Wind turbines might be common sight all around the world, but situating them in open fields or on breezy ridges isn't always a practical option. Ideas like placing turbines under bridges have been proposed, but is that a viable alternative? According to new research out of Europe, the answer is yes.