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Environmental


— Science

Carnegie scientists use airborne observatory to map the chemistry of the Amazon

By - May 26, 2015 3 Pictures

Researchers have used data collected by the Carnegie Airborne Observatory (CAO) to uncover chemical variation in plant life across the lowland Peruvian Amazon. Quite apart from giving rise to some of the most stunning scientific imagery we've seen of the region, the study provides key information for understanding the rainforest, and assessing our future impact on it.

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— Environment

Audi just created diesel fuel from air and water

By - April 26, 2015 7 Pictures
Audi is looking to fuel the future without fossil fuels. One of the company's pilot plants in Germany has just produced the first batches of a synthetic diesel made using only water and air. The company's pilot plant, which is operated by German startup Sunfire, produced its first batches of the "e-diesel" this month. German Federal Minister of Education and Research Johanna Wanka put a few liters of the fuel in her work car, an Audi A8, to commemorate the accomplishment. Read More
— Marine

New navigation module to help future freighters act as their own sails

By - January 18, 2015
In 2013, Norway's Lade AS unveiled designs for Vindskip, a "hybrid" merchant ship which aims to harness the wind courtesy of a specially-shaped hull, in the process taking the burden off of its natural-gas powered engines and saving fuel. Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute's Center for Maritime Logistics and Services (CML) have been working to help realize this goal by developing an algorithm that will allow the Vindskip's navigation system to use the combination of power and sail at its most economical. Read More
— Environment

Microwaves enable economical recycling of plastic-aluminum laminates

By - December 29, 2014 2 Pictures
You may not know what they're called, but odds are you've eaten or drunk something from them. I'm referring to plastic-aluminum laminate (PAL) packaging, which has long been used for toothpaste tubes and in recent years has gained popularity in food, drink and pet food packaging. Although it threatens to approach the ubiquity of the aluminum can or plastic bottle, PAL packaging lacks the familiar recyclable logo found on cans and bottles. But that could be set to change, with a process to recover the metals contained in PAL packaging, developed some 15 years ago by researchers at the University of Cambridge, now being demonstrated in a full commercial-scale plant. Read More
— Science

Acoustic Zoom could save dolphins' hearing while aiding geologists

By - December 27, 2014 2 Pictures
If you've ever been asleep on a yacht in harbor when a submarine tests its sonar, you know that underwater sound is anything but trivial – one ping can send you out of your bunk and across the room. Small wonder that the major navies spend a fortune studying the impact of naval and civilian sonar systems on sea animals such as whales and dolphins, who live in a world of sound. Scientists at the University of Bath have developed a more cetacean-friendly sonar system called Acoustic Zoom that is not only less disruptive to marine life, but also improves resolution beyond that of current methods. Read More
— Environment

One man’s (milk)weed is another’s natural solution to oil spills

By - December 9, 2014 4 Pictures
The humble milkweed may be a weed to most, but a company out of Granby, Quebec, is milking the plant for all it’s worth by developing a product for cleaning up oil slicks on land and water from milkweed fibers. Due to the fibers’ hollow shape – a unique feature in nature – and its naturally hydrophobic tendency, they repel water while absorbing more than four times more oil than the same amount of polypropylene materials currently used for spills. Read More
— Science

Ammonia-based battery system to convert low-grade waste heat into electricity

By - December 7, 2014 2 Pictures
As modern power generation methods are designed to squeeze the most power from the least amount of fuel, engineers are constantly looking at techniques to improve efficiency. One way to achieve this is to scavenge waste energy left over from the production process to capture and convert low-grade heat into usable energy. In pursuit of this goal, engineers at Pennsylvania State University have produced an ammonia-based battery that not only captures and converts waste heat economically and efficiently, but is claimed to do so at a greater capacity than other similar systems. Read More
— Environment

EcoSafe Digester: Big data, less waste

By - December 2, 2014 3 Pictures
The world produces a hell of a lot of waste and a great part of it is food waste. According to the United Nations Environment Program, around one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year is either lost or wasted. In an effort to deal with all this waste in a green way, New York-based BioHitech has developed a device that breaks food waste down into grey water and connects to a cloud system to allow the company to tap the power of big data to monitor and improve the performance of the units. Read More
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