Scientists at Northwestern University and the U.S. Department of Energy have found that perovskite cells, one of the most promising solar technologies of recent years, can repay their energy cost over 10 times faster than traditional silicon-based solar cells. The finding confirms that, once issues related to cell longevity are ironed out, perovskite cells could soon bring us solar energy on the cheap, and do so with less impact on the environment over their lifetime.
Nobody knows exactly how climate change will play out in the coming decades, but the Poles are already being affected as ice melts away. Man-made sites in the region are also under threat as ice vanishes and, because of this, a Canadian researcher is on a mission to visually record one place that could soon become just a memory.
Smog affects many major cities around the world and can cause health problems for those breathing it in. To highlight this issue, Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde is building what he calls the world's largest air purifier. The Smog Free Tower is designed to allow people to breathe clean air in a city ... plus it also turns the smog into jewelry.
Google has teamed up with Aclima to incorporate environmental sensors into its Street View cars. Initially tested on three vehicles in the Denver metro area, the partnership should lead to a better understanding of overall air quality in urban environments.
Vertical farms present an efficient, cost-effective and sustainable means of producing food in the face of growing worldwide population. A see-through, mobile vertical farm project called Isabel is aiming to take this message on the road.
A community space, garden and kitchen in the King's Cross area of London
is feeding its customers with food grown in skips (aka dumpsters). The Skip Garden is
designed to be easily moved around unused development spaces. It is
built with recycled materials and employs organic farming techniques.
Humanity's industrial processes have a huge impact on the and, releasing harmful substances such as mercury, arsenic and lead into the water. Chinese researchers are hoping that synthetic coral that mimics the ability of the real thing to collect harmful heavy metals from water could help in the clean up effort, with tests on the effectiveness of the aluminum oxide structure so far showing promising results.
Polylactic acid (PLA) is a biodegradable bioplastic that is already used to produce a variety of everyday items, such as cups, trays, bowls and vegetable wrapping foil. Unfortunately, the current PLA production process is expensive and produces waste. Researchers at the KU Leuven Centre for Surface Chemistry and Catalysis in Belgium have now developed a new production technique that is cheaper and greener and makes PLA a more attractive alternative to petroleum-based plastics.
If you're enjoying a serene natural area, you might not appreciate
seeing a very techy-looking pollution-hunting robot putting along the
surface. That's why scientists at the National University of Singapore
have developed an alternative – water-quality-monitoring robots that
look like swans.
It wasn't long ago that we heard about an effort to create synthetic rhino horn,
the low price of which could be used to put suppliers of real horn out
of business. Now, however, the Protect project is aiming at catching
poachers in the act. Amongst other things, it would involve putting
video cameras in the horns of living rhinos.