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Environment

Honda estimates its smart home will generate a surplus of 2.6 MWh of electricity

With homes and light-vehicles accounting for roughly 44 percent of total greenhouse gases emitted in the US, neutralizing these emissions would certainly go a long way towards a clean energy future. What if these sources of pollution could not only be nullified, but play an active role in reducing our environmental footprint? Such is the thinking behind the Honda Smart Home US unveiled last week, which generates enough solar energy to power both car and home, with a little left over to feed back into the grid.  Read More

The panels at the Ketura Sun solar plant in Israel are now cleaned autonomously by E4 robo...

The dusty desert environments where many solar plants are located can make their photovoltaic arrays dirty and reduce their effectiveness. Cleaning the panels can be a time-consuming and expensive process. An Israeli solar plant is now said to be the first to have fully-automated cleaning in place.  Read More

A demonstration of how the phosphorus-laden particles can be removed from water using a ma...

Phosphorus is a mineral that's widely used in fertilizer, which itself has an unfortunate tendency to leach out of farmers' fields and into our waterways. Now, researchers from Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research have devised a method of retrieving some of that phosphorus from the water – thus both reducing pollution, and providing a source of reclaimed phosphorus.  Read More

The three young inventors of the Pluvia system, which uses rainwater runoff to generate el...

When we complain about the rain, other people will often say "Yeah, but it's good for the plants." Well, thanks to a microturbine-based system created by three students from the Technological University of Mexico, it's now also being used to generate electricity for use in low-income homes.  Read More

By infusing the leaves of an Arabidopsis thaliana plant with nanoparticles, MIT researcher...

In 2010, Stanford University researchers reported harnessing energy directly from chloroplasts, the cellular "power plants" within plants where photosynthesis takes place. Now, by embedding different types of carbon nanotubes into these chloroplasts, a team at MIT has boosted plants' ability to capture light energy. As well as opening up the possibility of creating "bionic plants" with enhanced energy production, the same approach could be used to create plants with environmental monitoring capabilities.  Read More

Samples of Fraunhofer's wood foam insulation

Insulating your home may help the environment by lowering your energy usage, but unfortunately the petroleum-based foam that's typically used as insulation isn't all that eco-friendly itself. Researchers at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research, however, have developed a reportedly greener alternative that they claim works just as well – it's foam made from wood.  Read More

The green network is designed to encourage outdoor activities along with mitigating the im...

Its hard to imagine a major metropolis devoid of cars in any country, let alone in the home of celebrated brands like Mercedes-Benz and BMW. Germany's affection for all things automotive may be in for a shake up however, with the city of Hamburg setting the wheels in motion for its "Green Network," a bold plan make cars an optional mode of transport in the city within 15-20 years.  Read More

Don't throw those eggshells away – they could be made into ceramics (Photo: Shutterstock)

According to the US Department of Agriculture, every year approximately 455,000 tons (412,769 tonnes) of discarded eggshells must be transported and disposed of in the US alone. Now, however, scientists at the University of Aveiro in Portugal have developed a method of using such eggshell waste in the production of ceramic goods.  Read More

The Global Forest Watch platform launched this month

According to World Wildlife Fund data, we are losing 12 to 15 million hectares (46,332 to 57,915 square miles) of the world's forests every year. Deforestation is a major contributor to climate change, as it accounts for 15 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, besides killing biodiversity, depleting natural resources, compromising water sources, causing soil erosion and other environmental problems. Efforts to fight deforestation require fast information that could help authorities and NGOs take action before the worst damage is done. Global Forest Watch is a new initiative offering the possibility to do just that. It monitors deforestation activity across the globe, in near real time.  Read More

A rubber mat forms the 'carpet,' and sits atop a grid of hydraulic actuators, cylinders an...

Many organizations around the world are looking at ways to harness the power of waves as a renewable energy source, but none are covering quite the same ground as a team of engineers from the University of California (UC), Berkeley. The seafloor carpet, a system inspired by the wave absorbing abilities of a muddy seabed, has taken exploring the potential of wave power to some intriguing new depths.  Read More

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