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Plants

Sugarcane grows like crazy, so if it could be used as a source of biofuel, well ... not only might it produce higher yields than other crops, but it could conceivably do so using less land. With that in mind, scientists from the University of Illinois are creating a strain of the plant that produces more oil, gets more energy from the sun, and can be grown in colder climates. Read More
If you live in a big city, then there are doubtless alleyways or alcoves you know of that always smell like pee. While it might help to install public urinals in these places, doing so involves a lot of work and expense. Porta Potties are one alternative, although Oakland, California-based Hyphae Design Laboratory has developed a more eco-friendly solution known as the PPlanter. It's a self-contained modular system, that uses bamboo to process the pee. Read More
Whenever the topic of plant-derived biofuels is raised, the issue of turning valuable arable land over to the task of growing feedstock is generally not far behind. A discovery by the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium (SRBC) that desert plants fed by seawater can produce biofuel more efficiently than other well-known feedstocks could help alleviate such concerns. Read More
Many claim that talking to plants helps them grow faster. But what if the plants could talk back? That’s what the EU-funded PLants Employed As SEnsing Devices (PLEASED) project is hoping to achieve by creating plant cyborgs, or "plant-borgs." While this technology won't allow green thumbs to carry on a conversation with their plants, it will provide feedback on their environment by enabling the plants to act as biosensors. Read More
A vertical garden covering 1492m2 has been created in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. The garden, which adorns the the Palacio de Congresos Europa (Palace of Congresses Europe) and incorporates over 33,000 individual plants, was designed by Alicante-based sustainable architecture firm Urbanarbolismo. Read More
Researchers have discovered a new way to increase plant growth by suppressing the natural response to environmental stress. The scientists have found a modifier protein that can be used to interfere with the plant's growth repression proteins independently of the previously identified hormone Gibberellin. They believe this will lead to higher crop yields, even in unfavorable conditions. Read More

Ever thought the glowing forests from the movie Avatar were pretty cool and wanted one yourself? Bioglow is the latest company to attempt to put such autoluminscent plants in homes with its aptly named Starlight Avatar. Read More

Researchers at Ruhr-Universitat Bochum have created a bio-based solar cell capable of generating a continuous electrical current of several nanowatts per sq cm. The new approach avoids damage to the tapped photosynthetic cells, an issue that has plagued previous attempts to harness nature's "power plant." Read More
Home aquaponics kits, which combine fish and plants in a symbiotic relationship, are becoming more and more popular. One of them, the Fishy Farm, is a fairly large setup. The Home Aquaponics Kit, on the other hand, is pretty small, while the ECO-Cycle is designed to sit on top of an existing aquarium. The latest arrival on the scene, the Aqualibrium Garden, manages to carve out yet another niche for itself. Read More
Huge green walls like the installation at Edmonton Airport are certainly more visually arresting than a succession of dreary old framed prints, and are claimed to improve air quality, too. LivePicture from New York-based Suite Plants takes this living wall idea and downsizes it to fit in a frame that hangs on a wall like a painting. Read More
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