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— Outdoors

Glad Tent doubles as a giant garbage bag

Outdoor music festivals are notorious for a lot of things, one of the biggest being the amount of garbage left behind by the concert-goers. In an effort to get music fans to clean up after themselves, while also providing them with half-decent temporary shelter, the Glad Company recently experimented with a combination tent/big garbage bag, known as the Glad Tent. Read More
— Good Thinking

New system could put dead seaweed to use as a source of power

When it’s alive and in the ocean, seaweed serves as a habitat, spawning ground and food source for marine life. Once it gets washed ashore, however, it pretty much just rots. Typically, along beaches in tourist areas, that dead seaweed is simply gathered and taken to a landfill. Now, however, researchers from Spain’s University of Alicante have conceived of a new seaweed-removal system that has less environmental impact, and that allows the seaweed to be used as an energy source. Read More

Sunflower seed husks provide concrete alternative

Ordinarily seen as a waste product, the husks of sunflower seeds could be used to make concrete, according to research out of Turkey. Not only are the husks a sustainable source of aggregate, it's claimed that the resulting concrete is more resistant to cracking during post-freeze thaws. Read More
— Science

Sulfur-based polymers open door to a new class of battery

Whether sulfur is a by-product or a waste product of oil refinement and coal combustion depends on how you slice it. Certainly, some of that sulfur can be put to use producing sulfuric acid, fertilizer and other chemicals, but much of it is accumulating into stockpiles that are expensive to maintain (due to the need to neutralize acidic run-off). Researchers at the University of Arizona think more of that sulfur could be put to use thanks to a new chemical process that uses sulfur to make plastics that may one day be used to make a new generation of lighter, more efficient lithium-sulfur batteries. Read More
— Environment

Printed thermoelectric generators could capture energy from waste heat

Thermoelectric materials, putting it simply, are able to generate electricity via differences in temperature. If thermoelectric felt were used to make a jacket, for instance, it could generate a current using the temperature gradient between the warm interior and cold exterior of the garment. Like many such promising technologies, however, the cost of thermoelectrics is something of an issue ... although thanks to a new process developed at Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology, that might not be the case for much longer. Read More
— Science

High-efficiency solar energy tech turns water into steam

A team of researchers at Rice University has developed a new technology that uses light-absorbing nanoparticles to convert solar energy directly into steam. Even though it is already significantly more efficient than solar panels at producing electricity, the technology will likely find its first applications in low-cost sanitation, water purification and human waste treatment for the developing world. Read More
— Good Thinking

Prototype product dispenser is designed to squeeze every last drop out

Does it bother you that you can’t get all of the liquid out of the bottom of a hand-pump-equipped container? Well, the folks at Pack Flow Concepts think that it should. According to them, such containers don’t dispense up to 15 percent of the ketchup, shampoo, soap or other liquid stored inside of them. That’s why Pack Flow is developing the Zero Waste Twist Dispenser. Read More

Cheese-powered dragster sets speed record for vehicle of its class

A cheese-powered dragster designed by researchers at Utah State University (USU) set a new speed record for a vehicle of its type, reaching a shade over 65 mph (104 km/h) at the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association's 2012 World of Speed event in September. No prize Stilton was wasted in the pursuit of glory however, as the vehicle runs on yeast biodiesel derived from the industrial waste of cheese production. Read More