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Environment

New desalination technique pushes salt to one side with shockwaves

As access to clean water continues to be an issue throughout the developing world, there's an increased demand for easier ways to turn contaminated and salty water into something you can drink. Researchers at MIT may have found a solution using a method they are calling shock electrodialysis. It uses electric shock waves to separate contaminated or salty water into two separate streams, with a natural barrier between each one. Read More

World’s first floating wind farm to be built off Scottish coast

In a deal between the Scottish government and Norwegian oil company Statoil, five wind turbines with a capacity of six megawatts each will be set on floating structures some 15 miles (25 km) off the northeast coast of Scotland near Peterhead. The Hywind pilot park, as it's named, is claimed to be the first floating wind farm in the world, and will generate enough power for 20,000 homes with operations expected to start in late 2017.Read More

Claimed darkening of ice sheet could actually be down to aging satellite sensors

In recent years, satellite photos of Greenland's ice sheet have shown what appears to be a darkening of the ice's surface. A number of scientists have suggested that this could be due to settled soot particles from fossil fuel production and/or forest fires, and that their presence could result in accelerated melting of the ice. Now, however, researchers from Dartmouth College believe that the ice may still still be relatively clean, and that its darkness in the photos could just be due to faulty sensors on the satellites.Read More

Conductive ink significiantly improves the efficiency of solar water heating

Researchers at the Technological Institute of the Lagoon (ITL), Mexico, have created a nanoparticle-rich, superconducting ink that they have used to coat pipes of solar water heaters to increase their efficiency by up to 70 percent. The new coating was recently proven on the solar heating of a Mexican city sports complex swimming pool, where 2 million cubic meters (70.6 million cubic feet) of water were heated from 26 °C to 37 °C (79 °F to 98°F).Read More

Bumblebees used for targeted pesticide deliveries

Chemical pesticides are generally a bad thing for the environment and pollinators like bees that our agriculture relies on. Now a company out of Vancouver, Canada, called Bee Vectoring Technology (BVT) has brought the two together in a system that uses bees to deliver tiny amounts of natural pesticides and beneficial fungi while pollinating crops.Read More

Deep-sea bacteria could help neutralize carbon dioxide

Scientists have discovered that a bacterium called Thiomicrospira crunogena can produce carbonic anhydrase, an enzyme that can convert carbon dioxide into bicarbonate. In a new study, scientists from the University of Florida highlight how the bacterium, found in deep-sea regions, could play a role in the race to find solutions to sequester industrial CO2 from the atmosphere.
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Dutch solar-racing powerhouse takes out thrilling World Solar Challenge

Five wearying days after setting off from Darwin, the Nuon Solar Team has beaten Dutch compatriot Solar Team Twente to claim its sixth World Solar Challenge. The two teams have been neck-and-neck over the mammoth solar-powered journey, and remarkably finished only minutes apart after covering some 3,000 km (1,864 mi) through the Australian outback. Read More

New material created from orange peel cleans up mercury pollution

Since the beginning of the industrial age, mercury pollution has increased steadily in our environment, particularly in rivers and oceans. As a result, high-level predators in our waterways often contain very high levels of mercury, and eating fish containing this neurotoxin can lead to serious health issues. Now Australian scientists working at Flinders University have discovered a simple and efficient way to remove mercury from the environment by using a material made from recycled waste citrus peel.
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Cheap, simple technique turns seawater into drinking water​

Researchers from the University of Alexandria have developed a cheaper, simpler and potentially cleaner way to turn seawater into drinking water than conventional methods. The breakthrough, which could have a huge impact on rural areas of the Middle East and North Africa, improves on an existing method of separating liquids and solids known as pervaporation by using a new salt-attracting membrane embedded with cellulose acetate powder.Read More

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