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Environment

Epson's PaperLab brings office paper recycling in-house

Even with the efficiency of today's digital communications, the modern office still churns through its fair share of paper. The typical recycling process involves a lot of water and transporting of material to an off-site facility, but printer company Epson says it has a more efficient and manageable solution. Its newly-announced PaperLab machine breaks down workplace wastepaper and fashions it into fresh sheets on-site, while using only a tiny amount of water.Read More

Boeing may convert forestry waste into biofuel

If a recently-announced consortium of scientists and aviation companies is successful, you could one day be flying in jets powered by the remains of decay – otherwise known as biofuel from forest-industry waste. The project will be led by the University of British Columbia (UBC) and NORAM Engineering and Constructors, and includes aviation and related companies Boeing, Air Canada, WestJet, SkyNRG and Bombardier.Read More

High-tech camera allows us to see invisible methane gas

Although methane is one of the most potent of the greenhouses gases, scientists still aren't entirely clear on all of its ground-based sources. That's why researchers from Sweden's Linköping and Stockholm universities have created a camera that's capable of imaging methane in real time. They say that it could find use in monitoring sources such as sludge deposits, combustion processes, farms and lakes.Read More

Sponge made from layers of nanosheets shows promise in soaking up oil spills

Five years on and questions still remain over the Deepwater Horizons oil spill, where millions of gallons of crude oil were spewed into the Gulf of Mexico. Perhaps the most pressing is how oil might be best cleaned up should such an environmental catastrophe occur in the future. A team of Australian researchers claims to have found an answer, developing a special porous material that is claimed to soak up to 33 times its own weight in oil and organic solvents.Read More

New process produces hydrogen from methane, without emitting CO2

Natural gas accounts for over 28 percent of US energy consumption. Its main component, methane, is a widely-used fossil fuel but also a major contributor to rising CO2 levels, and thus climate change. To address this issue, researchers from the Institute of Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have developed a process that extracts the energy content of methane, in the form hydrogen, without producing carbon dioxide.Read More

New power cell taps into "blue-green" power source

Researchers from Concordia University in Montreal are looking to tap into what may be the most plentiful yet overlooked source of power in the world. The group has invented a power cell that harnesses the electricity created during the natural processes of photosynthesis and respiration in blue-green algae.Read More

New recycling process crafts unbelievable art out of plastic garbage

Industrial designer Carter Zufelt has created a new process for recycling discarded plastics. Unlike most current methods, his is able to transform garbage into uniquely-crafted art. Not only can the process be replicated in the comfort of one's own home, but through his sustainable project Müll, Zufelt is choosing to make it available to all those interested.Read More

Sunlight-activated nanoparticles could clean up oil sands pollution on the cheap

Last year around 2.3 million barrels of oil were pulled each day from tar sands in Alberta, Canada, the third largest oil reserve in the world. This mining process is hugely water-intensive, and though much of it is recycled, it still results in massive pools of polluted wastewater which are difficult to treat and pose a threat to the environment. Canadian researchers have developed a new approach to removing the contaminants using sunlight and nanoparticles, an approach they say will prove much more effective and cheaper than existing methods.Read More

New study maps Earth's hidden groundwater for the first time

A new study from the University of Victoria has, for the first time, estimated the total volume of groundwater present on the Earth. The results show that we're using up the water supply quicker than it can be naturally replaced, while future research will seek to determine exactly how long it will be until modern groundwater runs dry.Read More

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