Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Waste

The Geneco Bio-Bus is powered by gas produced from human and food waste

One man's waste is another's man's bus fuel, so the saying might now go. Indeed, next time people in the UK go for a number two, they could be powering the number two bus. Geneco's new Bio-Bus is powered by gas generated via the treatment of sewage and food waste.  Read More

Sawdust can be converted into a fuel additive – among other things – using a new chemical ...

This is science at its best: Decades ago, the only practical use for sawdust was to soak up vomit, but thanks to scientists at a Belgian university who developed a new chemical process, that same sawdust could soon be used to create gasoline and other products normally derived from petroleum.  Read More

Pratap Pullammanappallil poses with an anaerobic digester used in a process that turns hum...

Flushing the human waste produced on space missions out an airlock isn't an option for astronauts. Currently its stored in containers before being loaded into cargo vehicles that burn up as they pass through Earth's atmosphere, but researchers at the University of Florida (UF) have found a better use for the material, by developing a process to turn it into rocket fuel.  Read More

Cigarette ash could now have another use besides ... well, nothing (Photo: Shutterstock)

In a perfect world, cigarette waste simply wouldn't exist. Given that it does, though, scientists have explored a number of methods of repurposing it – these have included using compounds from cigarette butts to store energy, make shipping pallets, and rust-proof steel. Now, researchers have shown that cigarette ash can be used as a low-cost means of filtering arsenic from water supplies. It's a little ironic, as cigarette smoke actually contains a dangerous amount of arsenic.  Read More

The Energy Tower is a new waste-to-power incinerator in Roskilde, Denmark

Incinerators can't often be described as beautiful, but a newly inaugurated incinerator in Roskilde, Denmark, is just that. The main purpose of the Energy Tower is to generate electricity and heat. At night-time, though, glowing lights can be seen beneath its perforated façade.  Read More

A bacteria found in England that can survive in harsh alkaline conditions could be used to...

"Extremophile" bacteria have been found thriving in soil samples from a highly alkaline industrial site in Peak District of England. Although the site is not radioactive, the conditions are similar to the alkaline conditions expected to be found in cement-based radioactive waste sites. The researchers say the capability of the bacteria to thrive in such conditions and feed on isosaccharinic acid (ISA) make it a promising candidate for aiding in nuclear waste disposal.  Read More

Mushrooms grown in used diapers help reduce waste volume by up to 80 percent

While the contents of a diaper could easily be considered an environmental hazard by many, disposable diapers themselves pose a more significant problem for the environment. According to the EPA, the average baby will work their way through 8,000 of them before the underwear makes its way to landfill, where it takes centuries to break down. In an effort to reduce the problem, scientists at Mexico's Autonomous Metropolitan University, Azcapotzalco (UAM-A), have turned used diapers to the task of growing mushrooms.  Read More

Waste like this should meet all of a UK grocery store's electrical needs (Photo: Shutterst...

It's an unfortunate fact that every day around the world, supermarkets throw out tons of food that has spoiled before it could be purchased. While it would be best if that spoilage could be avoided in the first place, British grocery chain Sainsbury's is taking what might be the next-best approach – it's about to start using that unsellable food to power one of its stores.  Read More

Martin Myerscough believes that little changes in the way coffee cups are produced could a...

Along with a timely hit of caffeine, takeaway coffee can deliver its fair share of environmental angst as the office trash can begins to brim with empty paper cups. But what if, instead of being carted off to landfill, these cups could be recycled up to seven times, much like newspapers and regular cardboard? According to UK-based inventor Martin Myerscough, a small difference in the way these cups are produced could significantly reduce the monumental waste generated by today's coffee-crazed society.  Read More

The Sangenic Nappy disposal system: when you're tired of dealing with other people's crap

Life can be cruel, folks. Just a few weeks ago I was road testing electric motorcycles, wind in my chest hair, livin' the dream. Then, in an instant, I became a dad – well, it was an instant for me, the missus might feel differently about it. Either way, here I am, reduced to writing a road test for a diaper bin. But a fine diaper bin it is, and I have resolved to attack this new topic with vigor and passion. Ladies and gentlemen, the nappy sausage machine.  Read More

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