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Pollution

Scientists have discovered that graphene oxide flakes are very effective at removing radio...

Removing radioactive material from contaminated water, such as that in Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plants, could be getting a little easier. Scientists from Houston’s Rice University and Lomonosov Moscow State University have discovered that when flakes of graphene oxide are added to such water, it causes the radionuclides to condense into clumps. Those clumps can then be separated and disposed of.  Read More

York Minster (Image: Andy Barrett/Wikipedia)

York Minster is one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in Northern Europe and one of the great monuments of medieval architecture. Built in the city of York, UK between 1220 and 1472, it has suffered looting, vandalism, arson and a devastating fire after a lightning strike in 1984. Despite decades of restoration costing millions of pounds, the Minster still faces an implacable enemy, the air itself. In hopes of protecting the Minster from rotting away due to air pollution, Dr. Karen Wilson and Prof. Adam Lee of the Cardiff School of Chemistry, Cardiff University along with researchers at the University of Iowa have discovered that the key to saving the church may lie in olive oil.  Read More

The CitiSense sensor provides smartphone users with real-time air quality readings for the...

Air quality is one of those things that many of us should be more concerned about, but aren’t. According to some people, this is because we’re not easily able to know how clean the air around us really is – we just assume it’s “clean enough.” Computer scientists at the University of California, San Diego have set out to change that. They’re developing a compact, portable air pollution sensor that communicates with the user’s smartphone, to provide real-time air quality readings for their immediate surroundings.  Read More

Onion and garlic waste might be utilized to mop-up heavy metal pollutants (Photo: Shutters...

They may taste great on a pizza, but could onions and garlic be used to help clean up hazardous heavy metals? Research conducted at GGS Indraprastha University in Delhi, India, suggests this is indeed the case.  Read More

Edmonton International Airports Living Wall

Edmonton International Airports Living Wall has been greeting passengers now since May of this year and continues the success of Vancouver based design company Green over Grey in the trend of living vertical installations. The 1,420 square feet (132 sq m) vertical canvas consists of over 8000 plants and includes several species identified by NASA as being more efficient than mechanical filters at purifying the air of toxins.  Read More

Hestia is a software system that shows building-by-building CO2 emissions

As the old adage goes, knowledge is power. Following this principle, Arizona State University researchers have developed a computer program called Hestia, that is capable of estimating the greenhouse gas emissions of specific roads and even buildings. With its high level level of detail and accuracy, the software can help cities make more precise calculations about their GHG footprint as well as more informed decisions related to carbon mitigation efforts.  Read More

A newly-developed polymer might find use in the clean-up of oil spills  (Photo: Shuttersto...

As the Deepwater Horizon disaster showed us, we need to develop better ways of cleaning up oil spills. While many ideas have been put forth, scientists from Pennsylvania State University have come up with something that particularly shows promise – a polymer that soaks up 40 times its weight in oil.  Read More

Clothing treated with the CatClo laundry additive can remove nitrogen oxides from the air

A laundry additive created by researchers from the University of Sheffield and the London College of Fashion turns clothing into a photocatalytic material that can help remove nitrogen oxides (NOx) from the air. One of the most prominent air pollutants, nitrogen oxides are emitted from the exhausts of ICE-powered vehicles and aggravate asthma and other respiratory diseases. The researchers claim one person getting around town in clothing treated with the additive for a day would be able to remove roughly the same amount of nitrogen oxides produced by the average family car each day.  Read More

Drought bites deeply – this year's corn crop in Missouri Valley, Iowa (Photo: USDA and Dav...

Recently, drought seems to be a fact of life. As the lead photograph poignantly illustrates, most of the U.S. has been struggling with serious levels of drought for the past several years. Worldwide, drought affected areas include Europe, India and Pakistan, Russia, much of Africa, South America – the list goes on. But when the rains start again, everyone expresses great relief, not realizing that long-term depletion of groundwater reserves is part of the price for surviving drought. It was with this in mind that GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment), a joint U.S. and German space project, was designed a decade ago.  Read More

The oil and water separation technique uses permanent magnets immersed in a reservoir cont...

Possibly the only good thing to come out of the Deepwater Horizon disaster is the subsequent increase in research into finding more effective ways to clean up oil spills, including such initiatives as the X PRIZE Foundation's Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE. Joining the list is a new method devised by researchers at MIT who propose separating oil and water using magnets. The new technique would allow the oil to be recovered to help offset the costs of the cleanup operation.  Read More

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