Computational creativity and the future of AI

Environmental

The hull of the cargo ship Vindskip acts as a large wing sail (Image: Lade AS)

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

A commercial-scale plant to demonstrate a process for recovering metals from PAL packaging...

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

Diagram of the Acoustic Zoom system

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

Milkweed seeds and fibers ready for propagating (Photo: Pollinator, CC BY-SA 3.0)

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

Engineers at Penn State University have produced an ammonia-based battery that captures an...

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

The Eco-Safe Digester is a self-contained stainless steel unit that breaks down food waste...

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

The Faradair BEHA concept is intended to be one of the world’s quietest, most efficient an...

Touted as the world's first true hybrid aircraft, the Faradair BEHA (Bio-Electric-Hybrid-Aircraft) is a triple box-wing design concept that combines electric motors and a bio-diesel engine. Fitted with a range of energy conservation and recovery technologies, including solar panels on all flight surfaces and high-lift, low-speed flight capabilities, the BEHA is intended to be one of the world’s most environmentally friendly aircraft.  Read More

Professor Martin Tangney, director of the Biofuel Research Centre at Edinburgh Napier Univ...

If worries over the environment are keeping you from the local pub, then it’s time to raise a glass. Scottish start-up Celtic Renewables, based in Edinburgh, has achieved proof of concept in producing biofuel and other useful products from the waste by-products of the country’s £4.3 billion (US$6.8 billion) whisky industry.  Read More

The Ice Harbor Dam in Washington state where Sensor Fish testing is done

It’s a tough row to hoe for young salmon in the Pacific Northwest as they make their perilous journey from upriver to the ocean. Besides hungry birds and sea lions, the regions many hydroelectric dams and their swirling turbines produce manmade currents and other obstacles that make it challenging for the fish to navigate. But now with the help of an artificial Senor Fish created by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), existing larger dams and newer, smaller hydroelectric facilities can become more fish-friendly.  Read More

The planned Gate Residence will feature a host of energy-saving and generating technologie...

Plenty of new buildings are now being built with technologies to help minimize environmental impact. Few, however, do so to the extent that Cairo, Egypt's, upcoming Gate Residence will. The complex will feature windcatchers, geothermal cooling, solar panels, solar heater tubes and wind turbines.  Read More

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