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Environment

French team smashes five year efficiency record in eco-marathon

A five year Shell Eco Marathon fuel efficiency record has been smashed by a team of French students. Team Polyjoule broke the record on the first day of the event by recording an astounding result of 4,414 kilometers on the equivalent of one liter of fuel (that's 10,382 mpg). The team then went on to break its own record by a further 482 kilometers. But the students still expect even more from their hydrogen fueled vehicle and are already looking toward next year's Marathon.Read More

Move over Nessie - new wave power system sighted at Loch Ness

Solar power might be stealing the limelight when it comes to the subject of renewable energy, but ocean waves are also seen as a great, largely untapped source of clean power. The latest news surrounding attempts to mine this potentially limitless energy source comes from Scottish marine energy technology developer, AWS Ocean Energy, which has started testing its new wave energy device in Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands. Read More

The dissolvable wedding dress

Aiming to address the issue of “throwaway fashion” and its impact on the environment as landfill, students at Sheffield Hallam University have combined fashion design with engineering to create a dissolvable wedding dress. This truly "wear once" garment can be converted into five different fashion pieces before being dissolved in water leaving no environmental footprint.Read More

Want to safely break down eco-unfriendly plastic? Try fungus

Bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA, isn’t something you want leaching into the environment. It’s the compound in polycarbonate plastic that has been suspected of causing health problems since the 1930’s, and that more recently got people all over the world throwing out their plastic water bottles. When polycarb is broken down in the recycling process, or even when it’s just left in the dump, its BPA content is released. Where it ends up is a question that has a lot of people worried. A new study, however, indicates that fungus could be used to keep BPA at bay.Read More

Virtually silent, fully enclosed, bladeless wind turbines on the way

A wind turbine that uses boundary layers instead of blades to generate power has been patented by Solar Aero, a New Hampshire based not-for-profit scientific research organization. Modeled on the 1913 Tesla steam turbine, the Fuller turbine is virtually silent and completely enclosed, which avoids many of the drawbacks of bladed turbines such as noise, radar interference, visual pollution and wildlife injuries.Read More

Storing surplus green energy as natural gas

The use of environmentally friendly wind and solar energy is on the rise throughout the world, but the problem with such energy sources is their unreliability. Depending on the weather or time of day (or more specifically, night) the amount of electricity generated may be deficient or surplus to current requirements. Storing surplus energy in batteries for later use is one solution, but now researchers are developing a way to store surplus renewable electricity as natural gas. Read More

The chilling power of sunlight

The sun is already being used to power air-conditioning systems so it seems a natural progression to apply it to refrigerate perishable foodstuffs - a huge consumer of fossil fuel-based energy. Scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Freiburg, Germany, are taking this task to heart with two solar refrigeration trials in the Mediterranean region – one at a Tunisian winery and the other at a dairy in Morocco. Read More

Paper Mate launches biodegradable pens and pencils

According to the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association (WIMA) over three billion retractable ball point pens and over 500 million mechanical pencils were shipped in the US in 2007. Many have since been lost – try looking down the back of the sofa – and will probably find their way into landfill. To address this problem Paper Mate has introduced a line of biodegradable pens and pencils that feature components that break down in soil or home compost in the space of a year.Read More

The DBA compostable potato pen

There are many pens on the market today that claim to be biodegradable, or ecologically sound – but are they really? DBA in New York wanted to produce a responsible alternative to the vast numbers of wasteful and toxic pens we use and dispose of unethically every day, and claims to have designed not only a pen that looks good and writes well, but is also the world's only 98% biodegradable pen. Read More

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