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— Space

Synthetic biology could be the key to manned space missions

The secret to pulling off long-term manned space missions is biomanufacturing – at least, that's the argument presented by scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) who have used synthetic biology to produce sustainable alternatives to fuel and anti-malaria drugs. Their theory rests on the idea that biological production processes and harnessing of materials at the mission destination could dramatically reduce mass (and hence cost) requirements. Read More
— Environment

Using 'dirty silicon' to cut the cost of solar cells

Most everyone not vested in oil and gas agrees that renewable energies such as solar are a more sustainable option, but cost remains an issue. To make solar more competitive by addressing the high cost of solar cell production, researchers out of Norway have developed a method that could bring down the amount of silicon used per unit area by as much as 90 percent. The price of silicon is a major driver in the cost of solar panels. Read More
— 3D Printing

Wasp's 3D printers produce low-cost houses made from mud

A need to address a lack of housing for the globe's growing population has turned up some eye-catching efforts, blending creative architecture with new, sustainable technologies. And it is increasingly looking like 3D printing could have a role to play. Italian firm Wasp is the latest to explore the potential of additive manufacturing in this area, developing a super-sized 3D printer capable of producing low-cost housing made from mud. Read More
— Architecture

Cambodia's Sleuk Rith Institute to be Zaha Hadid's first large-scale wooden project

Zaha Hadid is best known for producing flowing structures made from modern materials like concrete, but the Iraqi-British architect has unveiled her first large-scale wooden project. If the end result lives up to the promise shown by the early renders Hadid's office has made available to the press, Cambodia's Sleuk Rith Institute may well end up being rated amongst the architect's finest work to date. Read More
— Architecture

ZEB Pilot House generates much more electricity than it needs

International architecture firm Snøhetta has partnered with Norway's Research Center on Zero Emission Buildings (ZEB), to design and build a remarkable experimental house that helps move the development of very efficient buildings forward. The ZEB Pilot House is claimed to generate almost three times the amount of electricity it requires, with the significant surplus available to help run an electric car, for example. Read More
— Aircraft

Boeing begins program to produce aviation biofuel from hybrid tobacco plants

As part of the aviation industry’s efforts to use biofuels to drive down its carbon footprint, Boeing has announced a collaboration with South African Airways and SkyNRG to produce aviation fuel from a new, virtually nicotine-free tobacco plant. Test farms are already up and running, with Boeing hoping to use local tobacco growing lands and expertise to produce sustainable biofuel without impacting food-bearing crops or encouraging smoking. Read More