One of the challenges facing designers of traditional flat solar panels
is the fact that the sun doesn't conveniently stay in one place. This
means that in order for a panel to receive as much sunlight as possible,
it has to pan with the sun as it moves across the sky. While
there are motorized assemblies designed to do just that, they add
complexity, weight and expense to photovoltaic systems. Now, however,
University of Michigan scientists have developed a simpler alternative –
and it's based on the ancient Japanese cut-paper art of kirigami.
Sunlight can be used to generate electricity either through a
photovoltaic effect, or by harnessing the heat produced by the light.
There are already hybrid systems that combine both, but scientists at
Korea's Yonsei University have now developed a type of hybrid setup that
they claim works better.
Coffee grounds are not exactly noxious despoilers of the environment,
but many millions of tons of them are generated every year and simply
disposed of with other vegetable matter and food waste. Now, researchers
have devised a way to utilize this innocuous waste product to get rid of a much
more dangerous one. By modifying used coffee grounds into a
carbon capture material, the new product may provide a simple, inexpensive way to
remove a prolific
and harmful greenhouse gas from the atmosphere.
A recent study carried out by MIT has characterized the cleansing effect that raindrops have on our atmosphere in removing aerosol and other pollutants from the air. The results of the research could be instrumental in creating reliable forecasts for air quality, and creating more accurate models of climate change impact due to clouds.
Some day soon your obsolete gadgets could be as compostable as banana peels and spent coffee grounds. Researchers from the Young Investigator Network at Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT) in Germany are developing printed electronics from natural and compostable materials that could help make a dent in the millions of tons of electronic waste piling up worldwide each year.
If you've ever used tick medicine on your dog, then you're probably
aware of how toxic the stuff is. Well, it's used on cows too, and it can
end up in their meat, milk, or the surrounding environment.
Fortunately, however, scientists at the National University of Mexico
have developed a new type of tick treatment for cattle that is
reportedly much less toxic than what's currently used.
On Aug. 26, NASA held a media teleconference regarding current predictions on sea level rise, highlighting the risks to coastal populations in low-lying areas, and the inherent problems in creating reliable global models. A panel of experts from NASA's recently-founded Sea Level Change Teamtells us that ocean levels are inexorably on the rise, but gaps in our understanding and ability to survey risk regions mean we don't know just how fast the change will take place.
Lighter fluid may be useful for getting barbecue briquettes or campfires
lit, but it's not the most eco-friendly stuff in the world. It's often
made from crude oil, and gives off toxic fumes when it burns. A team of
scientists from Hong Kong and Hungary are developing what could be a
greener solution, however – cleaner-burning lighter fluid derived from
Algae is proving to be pretty darn useful – in recent years, it’s been used to produce oxygen, purify wastewater, provide light and serve as a source of biofuel. Now, bioplastics firm Algix and clean tech company Effekt are making flexible foam out of the stuff, too.
In May, the Ocean Cleanup project announced that its first deployment would be delivered in the Korea Strait next year. That will pave the way for its ultimate goal of cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. With that in mind, a research expedition at the Garbage Patch has just been completed.