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Environment

— Environment

Ostara reactors harvest phosphorus from raw sewage

Here’s something rather important that you might not know: there may be a worldwide phosphorus shortage within the next few decades. The majority of the world’s phosphorus is currently mined from non-renewable phosphate rock deposits, and widely used in crop fertilizers. Scientists have begun to question just how much more phosphorus is left, and what the agriculture industry will do once it runs out. The answer – or some of it, at least – could be bobbing in a pool of raw sewage. Ostara, a Canadian nutrient recovery company, has developed a method for harvesting phosphorus from municipal wastewater and converting it to fertilizer. Read More
— Environment

Lower cost solar panels using plastic electronics

It seems that half the world’s R&D is involved in solar energy, which isn’t a bad thing considering the mess our reliance on traditional energy generation has got us into. Interestingly, engineers at Princeton University have developed a new technique for producing electricity-conducting plastics that could dramatically lower the cost of manufacturing solar panels, making alternative power within reach of more consumers and industry. Read More
— Environment

Drawing inspiration from Mother Nature in designing an ‘artifical leaf’

Producing an artificial leaf capable of harnessing Mother Nature’s ability to produce energy from sunlight and water via photosynthesis has been a long-sought goal for researchers aspiring to provide an environmentally-friendly way to free to world of its dependence on coal, oil, and other carbon-producing fuel sources. Now a group of Chinese scientists has presented a design strategy based on the chemistry and biology of natural leaves that could lead to working prototypes of an artificial leaf that captures solar energy and uses it efficiently to change water into hydrogen fuel. Read More
— Environment

Plasma technology offers clean fuel breakthrough

The same process that illuminates big-screen plasma TV’s can now create ultra-clean fuels, according to a scientific report presented earlier this week. According to Prof. Albin Czernichowski from France’s University of Orleans, a device called a GlidArc reactor has successfully been used to create clean fuels from waste materials, utilizing electrically-charged clouds of gas called “plasmas.” One of the fuels is a form of diesel that reportedly releases ten times less air pollution than conventional diesel. Read More
— Environment

Haircare ingredients could hold key to reducing CO2 emissions

New York-based scientists believe that materials closely resembling ingredients found in hair-conditioning shampoos and fabric softeners might be used to “scrub” carbon dioxide (CO2) from coal-burning emissions. These aminosilicones show potential as a less expensive and more efficient alternative to current technologies with tests resulting in removal of up more than 90 percent of CO2 from simulated flue gas. Read More
— Environment

EcoloCap claims its battery technology more than 98% efficient

A performance evaluation undertaken by Exponent Inc has revealed that EcoloCap’s Nano Lithium X Battery offers over 98 percent efficiency and has "the world’s highest energy density output per mass". Outperforming company expectations, the battery was also found to have the "fastest recharge time of any comparable commercial battery" together with the "lowest cost per energy output". Read More
— Environment

Tires could be on the road to a greener future

According to the American Chemical Society, seven gallons of crude oil go into each one of approximately a billion car tires that are produced every year worldwide. Today, however, scientists announced a development that could drastically reduce oil usage in tires. It involves isoprene, a hydrocarbon that is currently obtained as a by-product from refining crude oil, and that is a key ingredient in the production of synthetic rubber. Using sugars from renewable sources such as sugar cane, corn or switchgrass, the scientists have been able to create a “green” isoprene, trademarked as BioIsoprene. They expect it could start being used to produce tires within five years. Read More
— Environment

Ford to save over a million dollars by turning off computers

If companies and individuals still need an example of the economic and environmental benefits of switching off electrical equipment when not in use, here it is. Ford estimates it will save US$1.2 million annually on power costs alone and reduce its carbon footprint by an estimated 16,000 to 25,000 metric tons annually by implementing a new PC Power Management program. The new program will centrally control the power settings on Windows laptops and desktop PCs to enable a managed shutdown of computer systems not in use, especially overnight and on weekends. Read More
— Environment

Tropical frog inspires new way to convert solar energy to biofuel

Natural photosynthesis isn't as efficient as we would like it to be, and incorporating solar energy into useful products is the subject for much collective research. Engineering researchers from University of Cincinnati have found a way to artificially create a photosynthetic material from foam which uses plant, bacterial, frog and fungal enzymes to produce sugars from sunlight and carbon dioxide. Read More
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