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Alternative

Lupin seed proteins are being used to create low-fat alternative ingredients for use in da...

There are definitely two schools of thought as to whether or not humans should have meat in their diet, but even many non-vegetarians claim that the production and consumption of animal protein could definitely stand to at least be scaled back, both for environmental and health reasons. It has been estimated that it takes 40 square meters (48 sq. yards) of land to produce one kilogram (2.2 lbs) of meat, while 120 kilograms (265 lbs) of carrots or 80 kilograms (176 lbs) of apples could be raised within that same space. Obesity and cardiovascular disease, meanwhile, have been linked to high-fat diets – diets which often include things like sausages and hamburgers. With concerns like these in mind, researchers from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging have developed food ingredients derived from lupin seed proteins, that can reportedly stand in quite convincingly for both milk and animal fat.  Read More

Tires could be made with much less crude oil, thanks to the development of BioIsoprene (Ph...

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

3D rendering of the EVOLUTE

Toilets use a lot of water. And once they’re done with that water, well, it’s very... used. So, any time anyone can suggest a way of limiting water usage in toilets, Mother Nature wants to hear about it. Recently, Australian inventors Tom Trainor and Mark Hutton came up with a product that they claim uses up to 90% less water than a regular toilet. The EVOLUTE’s patented new technology offers a greener, drier alternative to our current “swimming pool for your poop” model.  Read More

The AirMouse wearable mouse

It’s no secret... Studies have shown that excessive mouse usage can cause repetitive stress injuries. Unfortunately for most of us, “excessive” can mean anything more than a few hours a day. Fortunately, however, there are alternative styles of mice out there designed to be easier on the hands and arms. One of the more interesting ones to come along in a while is the AirMouse, made by Canadian firm Deanmark Ltd. What makes it unique is the fact that you wear it like a glove.  Read More

Biodegradable cups made from corn at Chubby's Tacos in Durham, North Carolina (Photo: Ilda...

In recent years, polylactic acid (PLA) has attracted attention as a replacement for petroleum-based plastics. It is made from corn-starch, or other starch-rich substances like maize, sugar or wheat, and is biodegradable – reverting in less than 60 days in ideal conditions. PLA is already used as a material for compost bags, food packaging, and disposable tableware, and also for a number of biomedical applications, such as sutures, stents, dialysis media and drug delivery devices. Although its price has been falling, PLA is still more expensive than most petroleum-derived commodity plastics, but now a team of researchers has succeeded in simplifying the production of PLA and making the process much cheaper, meaning we could soon see PLA used in a much wider variety of applications.  Read More

TV white spaces (old and unused TV channels) are being used to deliver broadband Internet ...

Discarded and left-for-dead, old TV broadcast channels (called “white spaces”) that have been freed up by the transition to digital TV in the U.S. are being given new life and used to wirelessly deliver high-speed Internet connectivity to business, education and community users. Under an experimental license granted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Spectrum Bridge designed and deployed a wireless TV white spaces network to distribute broadband Internet connectivity in Claudville, Virginia. To ensure the local residents make the most of this new high-speed connectivity, Dell, Microsoft and the TDF Foundation have contributed software and hardware to the local school and the town’s new computer center.  Read More

The Ultra Motor A2B Excel - electric scooter with 28mph top speed

Ultra Motor, known for its A2B electric assist bicycles has thrown out the pedals and replaced them with footrest platforms in its latest offering - the A2B Excel electric scooter. Weighing in at 90lb (41kg), the Excel uses an 800W hub motor at the rear wheel to achieve a range of around 28 miles (45km) and a top speed of 28mph (45kmh).  Read More

The Hybrid X Team from West Philadelphia High School Academy for Automotive and Mechanical...

The Automotive X Prize is a competition aiming to “inspire a new generation of viable, super – efficient vehicles that help break our addiction to oil and stem the effects of climate change”. With a $10 million prize pot and over 100 teams from 12 countries contributing entries, an unlikely contender has emerged in the form of West Philadelphia High School’s Hybrid X Team, which is applying its experience and knowledge to two entries including the Factory Five GT based EVX GT sports car.  Read More

The disc and roller system used in Torotrak's CVT and IVTs

Most of the efforts to produce more environmentally-friendly cars in recent years have focused on alternative fuels and more efficient engines. UK-based engineering company, Torotrak, has instead decided to turn its expertise to another vehicle component with the development of a new generation transmission that it claims can not only slash CO2 emissions and improve fuel efficiency, but also boost performance.  Read More

The ALICE-powered NASA rocket launched in Indiana this month

NASA and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) have successfully launched a nine-foot rocket to a height of 1,300ft using an environmentally-friendly propellant made from aluminum powder and water ice. The fuel, called ALICE, has the consistency of toothpaste with a high burn rate and achieved a maximum thrust of 650 pounds during this test.  Read More

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