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Pollution

— Environment

Sponges made from wood waste may soak up oil spills

By - May 6, 2014 5 Pictures
As the Deepwater Horizon incident showed us, oil spills can be huge environmental disasters. That said, there are also considerable challenges in dealing with the waste products generated by the forestry and agriculture industries. Now, scientists from Switzerland's Empa research group have come up with a method of addressing the one problem with the other – they've developed sponges made from cellulose waste, that can soak up 50 times their own weight in oil. Read More
— Environment

Air-purifying billboard does the work of 1,200 trees

By - May 6, 2014 1 Picture
Billboards could do more than just advertise, if scientists at the University of Engineering and Technology (UTEC) in Peru have their way. While UTEC's earlier billboard produced drinkable water, its latest creation scrubs the air free of pollutants. According to the team, a single billboard can do the work of 1,200 trees, purifying 100,000 cubic meters (3.5 million cubic feet) of air daily in crowded cities. Read More
— Science

Water-testing pills draw on breath-freshening tech

By - May 1, 2014 1 Picture
Wondering if it's safe to drink the water from your remote village's well? Typically, the only way of finding out involves sending a sample of that water off to a lab, or using testing agents that must be shipped in and kept on dry ice. Now, however, scientists from Canada's McMaster University have developed simple pills that can do the job – and they were inspired by breath-freshening strips. Read More
— Automotive

Audi Online traffic light system helps drivers hit the green lights

By - March 16, 2014 3 Pictures
One of life's small but satisfying pleasures is hitting the sweet spot while driving across town and catching all the green lights. At the moment, having that happen is a matter of luck, but Audi is developing a system that will make never getting caught by a red light an everyday thing as a way of speeding up traffic while improving fuel efficiency and cutting emissions. Read More
— Automotive

New catalytic converter could make cars cleaner, more fuel efficient and less expensive

By - January 28, 2014 1 Picture
By helping to minimize the hydrocarbons and other pollutants that are emitted in a car's exhaust, catalytic converters serve an important purpose. Because they contain precious metals such as platinum, however, they can also be expensive. Now, a British scientist has developed a new type of converter that should be cheaper, longer-lasting and more effective, plus it should boost the vehicle's fuel efficiency. Read More
— Environment

Cleanup Array concept aims to rid the oceans of plastic waste

By - September 23, 2013 5 Pictures
Boyan Slat, an aerospace engineering student at the Delft University of Technology, is working to combine environmentalism, technology, and his creative outlook to rid our oceans of plastic debris. His Ocean Cleanup Project aims to utilize the oceans’ natural gyres (five circular currents in the oceans around the world – two in the Atlantic, two in the Pacific, and one in the Indian) to collect plastic waste. Read More
— Environment

Camera system "sees" toxic emissions from individual vehicles in real time

By - September 17, 2013 2 Pictures
According to scientists at Spain's Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M), approximately five percent of vehicles on the road are responsible for about 90 percent of toxic vehicle emissions. Short of pulling each and every car over to analyze its tailpipe output, though, how does one go about identifying the offenders? Well, the UC3M researchers have helped design a system that images the emissions of individual vehicles in real time, on highways up to three lanes wide. Read More
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