Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Environmental

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

'The major question is, why would we not eat insects?' (Photo: Shutterstock)

Jiminy Cricket may be able to do more than guide our consciences: he, or his kin, may also provide food security solutions for a growing and hungry world. However, the notion of insects-as-food struggles to find widespread traction amid problems with standardization of food safety standards, government disinterest and only a small body of research. So is there a future for cricket sushi or fried silk worms?  Read More

Mushrooms grown in used diapers help reduce waste volume by up to 80 percent

While the contents of a diaper could easily be considered an environmental hazard by many, disposable diapers themselves pose a more significant problem for the environment. According to the EPA, the average baby will work their way through 8,000 of them before the underwear makes its way to landfill, where it takes centuries to break down. In an effort to reduce the problem, scientists at Mexico's Autonomous Metropolitan University, Azcapotzalco (UAM-A), have turned used diapers to the task of growing mushrooms.  Read More

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

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