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Environment

100MW concentrated solar power plant to be built in the UAE

The largest concentrated solar power (CSP) plant in the Middle East is to be built in Madinat Zayed, approximately 120 km (75 miles) southwest of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). When it becomes operational in 2012, the plant, dubbed Shams 1, will feature some 6,300,000 square-feet of solar parabolic collectors, cover 741 acres of desert and will produce enough electricity to power 62,000 households.Read More

Aerofarms urban agriculture system - less space, less water and no pesticides

With increasing pressure on global food supplies requiring ever more intelligent use of technology, urbanized vertical aeroponic methods are shaping up as a promising alternative to traditional farming. Aeroponics requires less space, less water and no pesticides and the AeroFarms system takes things further by using LEDs in stacked units to maximize efficiency and use of available space. Read More

Sequestering smokestack carbon into cash

Last week, Texas-based Skyonic Corporation was granted a U.S. patent on its SkyMine technology, which is said to remove CO2 from smoke stack emissions by mineralizing it into sodium bicarbonate. That bicarbonate (also known as baking soda) can then be sold for use in glass manufacturing, algae biofuel production, and other areas. Skyonic claims that not only will its process remove carbon and other harmful substances from flue gases, but also that companies using SkyMine will financially profit from the sale of bicarbonates.Read More

Niagara Stealth Toilet keeps noise and water on the 'down low'

First things first – yes, with a name like the Stealth Toilet, it should be matte black, not glossy white. It gets its name, however, from the fact that it flushes very quietly. More importantly, it could also be considered stealthy because conventional radar will barely be able to detect the amount of water it uses - at just 0.8 gallons per flush, it is touted as the world’s most efficient toilet. Read More

Insects to get luxury accommodations in London parks

A competition in London has designers vying for the attentions of a type of lodger not usually considered when drawing up the plans for a hotel: insects. British Land and the City of London Corporation chose to celebrate the year of biodiversity by holding a competition to see who could design the best "hotel" for insects. It's narrowed the list of entrants down to five finalists, with one winner to be selected by public vote and another to be selected by a panel of experts. Read More

Polymer based filter proposed for Gulf of Mexico clean up

With the damaged Deepwater Horizon oil well continuing to spew oil into the Gulf of Mexico there’s no shortage of suggestions coming from those concerned about the environmental disaster. We’ve already looked at a number of clean-up options, and now a University of Pittsburgh engineering professor has developed a technique that looks very promising. His filter for separating oil from water not only cleans the water, but also allows the oil to be recovered and stored for the use BP originally intended and the filter to be reused.Read More

PrISUm Team's Anthelion solar car to compete in American Solar Challenge

A team of Iowa State University students are busy putting the finishing touches to a solar-powered vehicle before setting off on a thousand mile race. Using computer-aided design and some novel engineering techniques, the students' three wheel craft weighs half that of previous creations and sports over 500 solar cells. Hopes are high for a winning result in the forthcoming American Solar Challenge.Read More

New materials could soak up carbon emissions

Imagine a material that appears to be the size of a sugar cube, but when you unfold it, you discover it has the surface area of a football field. Besides its unbelievable surface area, this substance can also be tweaked to absorb specific molecules. Such materials are called metal-organic frameworks, and could be ideal candidates for filtering the carbon out of smoke stack emissions. With that end in mind, a team of California chemists are now racing to create a metal-organic framework that can be used in an industrial carbon sponge. Because there are millions of possible molecular variations, the team is using development techniques that are up to 100 times faster than conventional methods.Read More

Gulf oil spill disaster: a closer look at the clean-up options

The damaged Deepwater Horizon oil well in the Gulf of Mexico is a huge environmental disaster that's said to be gushing anywhere from 5,000 to 100,000 barrels of crude oil into the ocean per day. BP has deployed a reported 2.5 million feet of oil booms in an effort to contain the slick, as well as bringing in over 1,100 vessels to skim it and even burning some of it off the water’s surface. One need only watch the news, however, to realize that some other ideas are needed. BP has received over 10,000 suggestions for dealing with the disaster and is looking into approximately 700. What follows is a look at some - but by no means all - of those products being touted as a solution, and what they would supposedly do to the oil.Read More

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