December 22, 2015
Researchers at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in South Africa have developed a new fuel, known as Coalgae. Made from a combination of algae and coal dust, the latter of which is a waste product, the fuel could have a significant positive impact on the environment.
Five years on and questions still remain over the Deepwater Horizons oil spill, where millions of gallons of crude oil were spewed into the Gulf of Mexico. Perhaps the most pressing is how oil might be best cleaned up should such an environmental catastrophe occur in the future. A team of Australian researchers claims to have found an answer, developing a special porous material that is claimed to soak up to 33 times its own weight in oil and organic solvents.
Last year around 2.3 million barrels of oil were pulled each day from tar sands in Alberta, Canada, the third largest oil reserve in the world. This mining process is hugely water-intensive, and though much of it is recycled, it still results in massive pools of polluted wastewater which are difficult to treat and pose a threat to the environment. Canadian researchers have developed a new approach to removing the contaminants using sunlight and nanoparticles, an approach they say will prove much more effective and cheaper than existing methods.
developed for ESA's next generation of ExoMars rover could soon be put
to work saving lives in a more terrestrial setting. GMV, an ESA
partner in rover development, is designing a robot to be used in the
gas and oil industry. It's a move which could mitigate some of the
human risk inherent with labor in the sector.