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Sewage

Environment

Algae could both provide biofuel and clean up wastewater

Algae may indeed be a potential source of biofuel, but it can also find use in things like nutritional supplements and cosmetics. When it's grown commercially, its growth is usually aided with chemical fertilizers. The cost of those chemicals cuts into the profits, however, plus the fertilizers are also needed for more traditional crops. That's why scientists from Houston's Rice University are looking into growing algae in municipal wastewater – the water would already contain its own free fertilizer, plus the algae would help clean it up. Read More

Environment

Gold and other valuable metals may be harvested from sewage

Mining operations tend not be very good for the environment, nor does the disposal of treated solid waste that still contains potentially-toxic metals. Now, however, scientists are looking into taking that waste and harvesting its trace amounts of metals such as gold, silver and platinum. Doing so could ultimately reduce the need for mining and decrease the amount of metals entering the environment, while also turning sewage into a source of revenue. Read More

Good Thinking

Waste-cooking solar toilet unveiled in India

A toilet project that addresses environmental and health concerns was unveiled in Delhi, India this month. Around 2.5 billion people in the world lack proper sanitation, and it’s with those people in mind that a team at the University of Colorado Boulder has designed a self-contained, solar-powered, waterless toilet. It was made possible with a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Read More

Good Thinking

Blue Diversion toilet is flushed with success

Two years ago, an off-grid closed-system toilet known as the Diversion won an award at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's "Reinventing the Toilet" fair. Created by the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) and now called the Blue Diversion, it recently also won the title of Most Innovative Project (Europe/West Asia), as bestowed by the International Water Association. So, what makes it so special? Well, for one thing, the same water that flushes it is subsequently used in its hand-washing sink. Read More

Architecture

Studio Octopi proposes River Thames swimming pools

London architecture firm Studio Octopi has designed concepts for the creation of natural swimming pools in the River Thames. The designs were a response to "London As It Could Be Now," an open call ideas project developed by The Architecture Foundation with Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and the Royal Academy of Arts. Participants were asked explore ideas that raised awareness of the Thames and increased people’s interaction with it. Read More

Science

Sensors in sewers could locate bomb-makers

When people make improvised explosive devices (IEDs), many of the waste products end up simply going down the drain. With that in mind, the European Union-funded EMPHASIS consortium is now developing technology to track those chemicals within the waste stream, so that their point of origin can be located. Read More

Science

Old CDs to gain new lease of life in ... sewage treatment?

A team of Taiwanese researchers is to demonstrate a method of treating sewage using old optical disks such as CDs. The disks are used as a platform to grow minuscule nanorods of zinc oxide, a known photocatalyst capable of breaking down organic matter. By spinning the disks, sewage water spreads into a thin layer through which light can pass, exciting the nanorods into action.Read More

Environment

Wastewater treatment process may keep fish off antidepressants

While some people may wonder about the possible side-effects of antidepressants on the people who are taking them, here’s another thing to consider ... what happens when the residue from those drugs passes through the user’s urine and into the sewage system? As it turns out, it can enter local waterways and affect the fish. Now, researchers from KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm have developed technology to keep that from happening. Read More

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