Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Pollution

In a new non-toxic process, cinnamon has been used to render nanoparticles from gold salts...

Gold nanoparticles, while showing great promise in fields such as electronics, medical imaging and cancer treatment, nonetheless involve a fairly environmentally-unfriendly production process. Typically, they are produced via liquid chemical methods that involve the use of various noxious substances, such as chlorauric acid. As the field of nanotechnology grows, so do concerns over the consequences for the Earth. University of Missouri scientist Kattesh Katti has found a new method for producing gold nanoparticles that does away with almost all of the toxic agents... and replaces them with cinnamon.  Read More

A boll of cotton matures in the field  (Texas AgriLife Research photo by Kathleen Phillips...

Cotton has held an important significance for mankind for thousands of years. Not only are all parts of the cotton plant economically useful, but the multitude of uses and processes it can be put to make it America's number one value-added crop. Over the years we have crushed and extruded and woven cotton into many forms, but even today scientists and entrepreneurs are transforming the way we use cotton; from reducing pollution, insulating homes, and cleaning up oil spills to feeding the hungry. Here's a look at seven new companies being championed for their sustainability by Cotton Incorporated.  Read More

Activated carbon cloth could find its way into a variety of filtration applications

Researchers have discovered that activated carbon cloth is very effective at filtering harmful compounds out of air and liquids. The material was first developed in the 1980s, to protect British soldiers from chemical attacks. It is still in use today, in chemical, biological and radiological warfare suits for the military. This recent study, however, indicates that it could have a number of other uses.  Read More

From Left to right: The North Sea Edition, The Indian Ocean Edition, The Mediterranean Sea...

Since announcing the Vac from the sea initiative in June, Electrolux has been busy working with environmental organizations and concerned individuals to collect plastic debris from marine environments around the globe. Now the company has announced the creation of five one-off vacuum cleaner creations manufactured using waste collected from key areas, including Hawaii, the North Sea and the Mediterranean.  Read More

The filter being treated with silver and CNTs (B,C), and SEM images of the cotton, silver ...

Yi Cui, an Assistant Professor of Material Science and Engineering at Stanford University, has invented quite the water filter. It’s inexpensive, is very resistant to clogging, and uses much less electricity than systems that require the water to be pumped through them. It also kills bacteria, as opposed to just trapping them, which is all that many existing systems do.  Read More

The bauxite residue container pond spill near Kolontar, Hungary

It might sound like fighting fire with fire, but geologist Chen Zhu proposes the application of another industrial waste to the Hungarian bauxite residue spill, with the aim of reducing toxicity via a technique called carbon sequestration. While he says it wouldn't render the residue completely harmless, it would at least minimize the environmental damage.  Read More

The University of Copenhagen's Prof. Matthew Johnson, inventor of the Cleanair system

According to the University of Copenhagen’s Prof. Matthew Johnson, approximately one-sixth of the energy consumed in the world is used for heating, cooling and dehumidifying air in buildings. Because that air accumulates toxins and pathogens, he explains, it must constantly be expelled and replaced with new air that’s drawn in from outside. That new air must then be heated, cooled and/or dehumidified all over again. If only the air already in buildings could be cleaned up and reused, far less energy would be used on continuously conditioning fresh air. That’s why Johnson has invented the Cleanair system.  Read More

The insecticidal protein Cry1Ab has been shown to leach from corn debris into adjacent str...

A new study by Indiana’s University of Notre Dame has revealed that streams across the U.S. Midwest contain insecticides from adjacent fields of genetically engineered corn, even well after harvest. The transgenic maize (GE corn) in question has been engineered to produce the insecticidal protein Cry1Ab. Pollen, leaves and cobs from those plants enter streams bordering on the cornfields, where they are said to release Cry1Ab into the water.  Read More

The 'tea bag' in place near the mouth of the special water bottle

Stellenbosch University's Hope Project has produced a disposable water filter shaped like a tea bag. When placed in the neck of a water bottle, the bag removes all harmful chemicals and microbes. Each bag cleans one liter (1.06 quarts) of water, so a lot will be needed to make any significant impact on water-related health issues globally. However, when compared to competition such as the LifeStraw or LifeSaver, it would seem to be a cost effective solution. The product is currently being tested by the South Africa Bureau of Standards.  Read More

A new Android app analyzes air pollution in its user's vicinity (Photo: Wurstsalat)

Is it actually smoggy outside today, or is it just you? If you have the Visibility app on your Android smartphone, you can find out. Just take a picture of the sky, and you will receive a message detailing how polluted the air is at your location. Not only will you know if you should take shelter indoors, but you will also be contributing to the scientific understanding of local air pollution.  Read More

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