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Methane

— Around The Home

Philips Bio-light concept lights the home using bacteria

By - November 27, 2011 6 Pictures
The search for greener, more power-efficient lighting systems won't stop with compact fluorescents and LED systems if Dutch electronics giant Philips has anything to say about it. In an effort to embrace a truly natural approach to lighting, the company took a cue from fireflies and deep-sea creatures to create a (literally) green light powered not by electricity or sunlight, but by glowing bioluminescent bacteria. Read More
— Environment

Cheap, simple composting toilet concept receives funding from Gates Foundation

By - November 8, 2011 2 Pictures
Whatever you call it - lavatory, privy, latrine, crapper, loo or dunny - most of us take the humble toilet for granted. But in many parts of the world the absence of sanitary waste disposal is not just inconvenient, it can cause deadly diseases such as hepatitis, dysentery, trachoma, typhoid and cholera. Enter Marc Deshusses, a Duke University environmental engineer who has envisioned an innovative yet simple waste disposal system designed specifically for Third World countries that can be constructed from everyday items. Now, as part of a broad ranging project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Deshusses has received $100,000 to perfect and test the system in the laboratory before producing a prototype to field-test in 18 months time. Read More
— Environment

Study questions the eco-friendliness of biodegradable products

By - May 31, 2011 1 Picture
As tons of plastic items continue to take up space in landfills, and the floating Great Pacific Garbage Patch continues to grow, environmentally-conscious consumers are understandably becoming more interested in biodegradable alternatives to traditional plastic. Whether it's because they share these concerns, or are just trying to cash in on an "eco-fad," many companies have responded by producing biodegradable versions of formerly near-eternal plastic products. While biodegradable products are designed to reduce the amount of trash clogging up our waterways and spoiling our parks, at least one scientist believes they may ultimately be doing more harm than good. Read More
— Good Thinking

'Dry water' could be used to store carbon dioxide

By - August 25, 2010 1 Picture
You know, I’m pretty sure I remember a Far Side cartoon or something, where someone was selling powdered water – “Just add water!” Well, dry water isn’t quite the same thing. It’s 95 percent liquid water, but that water takes the form of tiny droplets each encased in a tiny globe of silica. The resultant substance is dry and granular. It first came to light in 1968, and was used in cosmetics. More recently, a University of Liverpool research team has been looking into other potential uses for the substance. They have found several, but most interesting is its ability to store gases such as carbon dioxide. Read More
— Science

Researchers use rocket science for sustainable waste treatment process

By - August 16, 2010 2 Pictures
Rocket engines are generally not thought of as being environmentally-friendly, but thanks to a newly-developed process, we may someday see them neutralizing the emissions from wastewater treatment plants. The same process would also see those plants generating their own power, thus meaning they would be both energy-neutral and emissions-free. Developed by two engineers at Stanford University, the system starts with the formation of nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane gas - something that treatment plants traditionally try to avoid. Read More
— Space

ESA and NASA pack their bags for Mars

By - August 4, 2010 3 Pictures
The first joint mission between the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA that will study the chemical makeup of the martian atmosphere is scheduled for 2016. The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter marks an unprecedented alliance between the two agencies for future ventures to Mars and is the first in a planned series of joint missions leading to the return of a sample from the surface of the Red Planet. Scientists worldwide were invited to propose the spacecraft’s instruments and the ESA and NASA have now made their selections. Read More
— Pets

BokashiPetCycle puts your pet poop to use

By - May 15, 2010 2 Pictures
What do you do with your dog or cat poop? Toss it in the garbage? Put it in your compost heap? Hurl it at your noisy neighbors? Well, according to Seattle researcher Lawrence Green, you shouldn’t be doing any of those things. Feces can contain wonderful things like toxoplasma parasites, E. coli, and salmonella bacteria, which can get into the groundwater. In plastic bags in landfills, it generates methane gas and attracts vermin. To that end, Green developed a product called the BokashiPetCycle Fermenting System. It allows you to pickle your pet’s poop, turning it into a harmless plant fertilizer. Read More
— Science

Methane levels may point to life on Mars

By - December 13, 2009 2 Pictures
New research has strengthened the possibility that biological life may exist beneath the surface of Mars. Scientists from Imperial College London have shown that the level of methane on the Red Planet can't be explained by meteorites in the atmosphere. This leaves the theory that microorganisms are producing methane gas as a by-product of their metabolic processes as one of the remaining possible explanations. Read More
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