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Pollution


— Environment

“Nano-velcro” traps and detects heavy metals in contaminated waterways

By - September 11, 2012 1 Picture
While progress has been made in reducing the amount of heavy metal pollution, the very nature of heavy metal contamination means it continues to be a problem in waterways around the world. Conventional heavy metal contamination detection methods require sending samples off to a lab for analysis on expensive equipment. Now a Swiss-American team has developed a cheap way to immediately ascertain the levels of heavy metals in lakes and rivers and the fish pulled out of them. Read More

Glycerol additive makes cruise ships greener

The bunker fuel used in cruise liners and freighters is some of the cheapest, crudest fuel available. It’s also among the dirtiest. Scientists from the Maine Maritime Academy and SeaChange Group LLC led by George N. Harakas, Ph.D announced at the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society that they have developed what they call "Bunker Green" fuel. This fuel uses an ingredient commonly used in food and medicine to reduce sulfur and other emissions in ocean vessels. Read More
— Environment

Panansonic develops world's most efficient artificial photosynthesis system

By - August 2, 2012 3 Pictures
Panasonic has recently developed an artificial photosynthesis system that, using a simple and straightforward process, can convert carbon dioxide into clean organic materials with what it says record efficiency. This development may lead to the creation of a compact way of capturing pollution from incinerators and electric power plants and converting them into harmless – even useful – compounds. Read More
— Environment

Device determines how much pollution its wearer is breathing in

By - April 18, 2012 4 Pictures
For decades now, scientists have been monitoring air pollution in order to better understand how atmospheric contaminants affect our health. The gathered data can tell us the amount and type of pollutants that are in the air, which can in turn sometimes be linked to health problems in the area. What that data doesn’t tell us, however, is the effect that different types of physical activities can have on the amount of pollutants that are breathed in – if a smog warning is issued, for instance, does that mean we shouldn’t go outside at all, or just that we shouldn’t go jogging outside? A new personal exposure monitoring device, known as the MicroPEM, has been designed to answer such questions. Read More
— Science

Tiny new air samplers could aid in climate research

By - April 11, 2012 1 Picture
The monitoring of air quality can be a tricky business. Gases may be blown into the sampling site from another area, they may leak out of an air sample before it can be analyzed, or the sampling container itself may introduce compounds, emitted through off-gassing. If samples are being gathered in remote areas, it can also be difficult getting bulky equipment to and from the sampling site. Now, scientists from Sandia National Laboratories have announced a tiny new type of air sampler, that addresses these and other challenges. Read More
— Environment

New magnetic soap could be used to clean up oil spills

By - January 24, 2012 2 Pictures
When oil gets spilled in a waterway, clean-up crews will often introduce a solution known as a surfactant. This is a detergent that lessens the surface tension between the water and the overlaying oil slick, causing the oil to form into individual droplets which then sink or get dispersed by wave action. Unfortunately, such detergents aren’t entirely environmentally-friendly themselves, so the use of them on oil spills has been criticized as simply replacing one pollutant with another. Now, however, scientists from the University of Bristol have created a magnetic soap, that could be removed from the water once it had done its job. Read More
— Environment

New material shown to remove CO2 from smokestack effluent and other sources

By - January 5, 2012 1 Picture
In recent years, worries over global climate change caused by excess atmospheric carbon dioxide have led to a number of technologies all aimed at the same thing – capturing human-generated CO2 at the source. These have included the use of things such as edible sponges, molten salts and bacteria, to name just a few. Now, a group of scientists are claiming success with a process that has achieved “some of the highest carbon dioxide removal rates ever reported for humid air” ... and it uses a common and inexpensive polymer. Read More
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