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Environmental

MIT hopes to turn old lead batteries into new solar cells (Image: Christine Daniloff/MIT)

The world of modern technology is one of out with the old, in with the new. For battery technology, that means the expected demise of lead-acid batteries and replacement by a more efficient, cheaper, and environmentally-friendly alternative. This is good news, but leaves the problem of what to do with all the lead in the batteries currently in use when the time comes to dispose of them? Researchers at MIT have an answer – use it to make solar cells.  Read More

The Treehouse is a high-tech and green office building in Houston's Memorial City, US

Developer MetroNational has unveiled what might just be the coolest Treehouse in Texas. Although not an actual treehouse, it aims to fire the imagination of those inside in the way that a child's treehouse might. It's designed as a space for meetings, collaboration and stimulating ideas.  Read More

Boeing plans to harness South African farmers' knowledge of tobacco growing to produce sus...

As part of the aviation industry’s efforts to use biofuels to drive down its carbon footprint, Boeing has announced a collaboration with South African Airways and SkyNRG to produce aviation fuel from a new, virtually nicotine-free tobacco plant. Test farms are already up and running, with Boeing hoping to use local tobacco growing lands and expertise to produce sustainable biofuel without impacting food-bearing crops or encouraging smoking.  Read More

Fiber made from cellulose claimed to be as strong as steel

A team of researchers working at Stockholm's KTH Royal Institute of Technology claim to have developed a way to make cellulose fibers stronger than steel on a strength-to-weight basis. In what is touted as a world first, the team from the institute's Wallenberg Wood Science Center claim that the new fiber could be used as a biodegradable replacement for many filament materials made today from imperishable substances such as fiberglass, plastic, and metal. And all this from a substance that requires only water, wood cellulose, and common table salt to create it.  Read More

RemScan puts a self-contained soil analyzer in your hand (Photo: ZilteK)

Contamination of soil from petroleum spills is an ongoing problem that threatens to adversely affect the environment and the health of the people in it, so rapid testing of sites is a pressing issue. However, with laboratory samples and results requiring at least a number of days turn around, particularly in remote locations, rapid analysis is not usually possible. RemScan is a self-contained, hand-held hydrocarbon contamination testing device designed to address this problem. Recently released on the US market, the device is capable of testing many hundred samples a day, providing data on the spot, within seconds, and completely without the need of a laboratory.  Read More

EcoCAR 3 tasks students with updating the iconic Chevrolet Camaro muscle car into a hybrid...

For the past 26 years, the US Department of Energy (DOE), in partnership with the North American auto industry, has sponsored Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions (AVTCs) to provide the next generation of automotive engineers with a practical learning experience. The previous EcoCAR Challenge saw students convert and massage GM Malibus into super-efficient models, and this time for EcoCAR 3, teams are tasked with updating the iconic Chevrolet Camaro muscle car into a hybrid-electric vehicle.  Read More

The solar reactor that was used to turn water and CO2 into jet fuel

In a move that could help address our insatiable thirst for fuel while at the same time help cut CO2 emissions, scientists with the SOLAR-JET (Solar chemical reactor demonstration and Optimization for Long-term Availability of Renewable Jet fuel) project have recently shown that through a multi-step process, concentrated sunlight can be used to convert carbon dioxide into kerosene, which can then be used as jet fuel.  Read More

Sentinel-1 is the first satellite to be launched as part of Copernicus, an earth observati...

On April 15, just days after Copernicus' Sentinal-1 sent its first images back to earth, the Copernicus Masters opened its application process for its 4th annual competition that recognizes outstanding ideas, applications, and business concepts based on Earth observation data.  Read More

Heineken's David XL Green draught system won the Top Product of the Year Award at this yea...

While the quest for the perfect drop continues in breweries and back sheds all over the world, the people at Heineken realize that consumers are also thirsty for environmental responsibility. This has led to the development of the David XL Green draught system, a product that reduces the energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions associated with partaking in the amber fluid.  Read More

The Urubu app collects data on roadkill hotspots in order to make roads and railways safer...

In Brazil alone, officials estimate that some 475 million animals die from being struck on the nation's roads. That's around 15 animals per second, totaling more than twice the country’s human population. The Centro Brasileiro de Estudos em Ecologia de Estradas (CBEE) is working to reduce those grim statistics with the help of an app called Urubu (vulture in Portuguese), which uses the power of crowd-sourcing to identify roadkill hotspots across the country.  Read More

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