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Environment

The European Space Agency (ESA) has successfully tested its Fluorescence Explorer mission (FLEX), which is vying for a spot on the organisation’s eight Earth Explorer satellite. The mission, which aims to create global maps of photosynthetic activity, will allow for the identification of vegetation suffering degrees of stress that simply aren’t visible to the human eye. It has the potential to significantly further our understanding of the global carbon cycle, and could have an impact on agricultural management. Read More

For many people, jellyfish are just an unwelcome addition to a day at the beach. But the gelatinous creatures can seriously affect commercial fishing ventures and even cause the shutdown of power stations when they form into giant "blooms" in the ocean. Researchers at Deakin University in Australia, might be on the way to a solution. Read More

"Fungus", "plastic", and "edible" are three words you probably wouldn't think would go together, but Austria-based Livin Studio is keen to make you think again. It is responsible for the Fungal Mutarium, a prototype terrarium that uses bioremediation techniques to destroy plastic while creating edible fungus creations in the form of little pods that can be flavored and filled. Read More
VTT Technical Centre of Finland is aiming to bring solar energy into the realm of interior design by developing a new method of printing both decorative graphics and functional components onto flexible organic solar panels. Read More
Carbon sequestration may not, according to researchers at MIT, be the panacea that some had hoped. A recent study, partially funded by the United States Department of Energy, has found that far less carbon dioxide than the ideal prediction of 90 percent may be turned into rock when sequestered. This means much might eventually escape back into the atmosphere. Read More

When the sap from plants such as sugar cane is extracted for commercial use, what's left over is a fibrous material known as bagasse. This is commonly used as biofuel, or is compressed into a wood substitute. Now, Mexican startup Plastinova is using agave bagasse from the tequila industry to make a wood-like material of its own, although it's also incorporating recycled plastic. Read More

A group of young entrepreneurs from Mexico has developed a system that converts PET bottles into mineral paper and which they claim will save up to 20 trees and 56,000 liters of water per ton of paper produced. The photodegradable, waterproof paper can be used to print books, boxes and general stationery. Read More
With the goal of shedding more light on a number of Earth system processes whose effect on our climate is incompletely understood, NASA will this year launch five new airborne field campaigns. These studies will look at long-range air pollution, warming ocean waters, melting Greenland glaciers, greenhouse gas sources, fires in Africa and clouds over the Atlantic, with the captured data to complement satellite- and surface-based observations to help provide a better understanding of the interconnected systems that affect our climate and how it is changing. Read More
A Mexican startup Ak Inovex has developed a new method of recycling plastic that does away with water and only consumes half the energy of previous systems. At the same time, it produces plastic pellets of equal or better quality,  resulting in an environmentally friendlier process that also promises to be significantly cheaper. Read More
Drinking clean water is something that many people in the world can't take for granted, as they rely on polluted sources and often have no access to purification systems. In response to that problem, Panasonic is developing a new technology that looks to the sun to clean water extracted from the ground. The company recently presented a system that uses sunlight and photocatalysts to purify polluted water at a high reaction rate, to improve access to clean water where it's needed. Read More
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