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Environment

Air-purifying filter made from peanut shells

There are a lot of peanuts grown in Mexico. Needless to say, the processing of them results in a lot of discarded peanut shells, which are generally considered to be a worthless byproduct. That could be about to change, however. Led by biotech expert Raul Pineda Olmedo, a team from the National University of Mexico and the Research Center of Advanced Studies has developed an air-purifying filter that utilizes the shells.Read More

Cheap, waterless toilet that turns waste into clean water and power to be trialed in Africa

A cheap, easy to maintain, "green" toilet that uses no water and turns human waste into electricity and clean water will be trialed in 2016, possibly in Ghana. Dubbed the "Nano Membrane Toilet" by its creators from Cranfield University, UK, this new approach to managing waste could help some of the world's 2.3 billion people who have no access to safe, hygienic toilets.


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Ocean Cleanup project to test its first trash-catching barriers in Dutch waters

Scooping up all the plastic waste in the world's oceans would be a massive undertaking given that scientists estimate there's around 5 trillion pieces of it currently bobbing about in the water. But the Ocean Cleanup project believes it is up to the challenge and has today announced plans for the first real-world test of its rubbish collection barriers off the coast of The Netherlands.Read More

Researchers develop fermentation process to produce biofuels from waste biomass

Imagine a world where vehicles run on beer. Some might think of this as a devastating waste of good hops, but a University of Maryland (UMD) team sees a lot of promise for the idea. The team has been awarded a patent for a process that uses natural microorganisms to ferment biomass or gases into hydrocarbons. In short, they've figured out how to brew gasoline naturally.Read More

SmartFin gathers ocean data while users surf

When it comes to assessing the health of the oceans, scientists already utilize buoys and autonomous vehicles that monitor the deep waters. What they're lacking, however, is information on the waters close to shore – it's an area that's too shallow and/or turbulent for the usual tools. That's why SmartFin was created. It's a surfboard fin, that will allow surfers to gather oceanographic data for scientists.Read More

Arctic winter observations show higher-than-expected methane emissions

A new study led by researchers from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and San Diego State University (SDSU) has examined the amount of methane gas escaping from the Arctic – a key component of global warming. The results go against conventional theory, finding that a much larger amount of the gas escapes during the Arctic winter than previously thought.Read More

Ocean-friendly Seabin sucks up surrounding sea trash

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.Read More

Metal makes for a promising alternative to fossil fuels

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.Read More

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