Considering the number of annual deaths caused by pollution, it not only makes sense to cut emissions but to also improve air quality. All over the world, groups are working to make the atmosphere as breathable as possible. Bogota is erecting vertical gardens while China is manufacturing air-purifying bicycles. Not to be outdone, Iceland has set up the world’s first negative emissions power plant.
Climate startup Climeworks refitted a geothermal plant in Iceland to remove carbon dioxide from the air while also generating power for thousands of homes. This carbon dioxide is safely embedded in rock, where it will remain for millions of years.
The storage process, called carbon capture and storage, is keeping temperatures from rising to extreme levels. The facility is projected to remove 50 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere annually. It isn’t much — but it’s something! The procedure is also fairly straightforward.
Climeworks uses… [the] plant’s waste heat to run their own carbon capture tech, pulling carbon dioxide directly out of the air and feeding it into the existing Carbfix infrastructure, which deposits it in underground basalt. There, the carbon dioxide forms crystals within two years, and remains stable underground for millennia.
Limited to information from my high school physics class, I hardly knew trapping CO2 was possible. Either way, we should be over the moon to have chemical engineers.
From powering homes to treating cancer, the simple battery has come a long way. To up the ante of renewable energy sources, MIT has developed an air-breathing battery that stores energy at zero emissions.
“This battery literally inhales and exhales air, but it doesn’t exhale carbon dioxide, like humans — it exhales oxygen,” says Yet-Ming Chiang, the Kyocera Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT.
Cost of production is 1/30th that of regular lithium-ion batteries. Over five years, researchers experimented with various materials such as sulfur and potassium permanganate. While its impact was a priority, pricing was also heavily considered.
“It’s a creative and interesting new concept that could potentially be an ultra-low-cost solution for grid storage,”
In the end, the battery is definitely the first of its kind and is not only unique, but highly efficient.
Last year’s greatest catalog expansion was not that of your favorite shoes or sunglasses, but wheels. Yes, commercial car tires got the ultimate makeover in 2017, introducing anti-flat and airless masterpieces. But manufacturers haven’t run out of ideas yet, with Goodyear rolling out one of its most genius products yet. The rubber company is engineering a moss-covered tire that absorbs moisture and expels oxygen.
Goodyear says if a Paris-sized city, with around 2.5 million vehicles, used Oxygene tires then it would eliminate 4,000 tons of carbon dioxide every year while also producing more than 3,000 tons of oxygen.
With 80% of people residing in areas with dangerously high pollution levels, the roads could use a breather. The Oxygene is 3D-printed, shock-absorbent, and immune to perforations. Michelin might have to step its game up.
The tire also “harvests the energy generated during photosynthesis” to power an assortment of onboard sensors and electronics including a sidewall light strip and an artificial intelligence processing unit. The tire also has V2V and V2X technology which allows it to warn other vehicles about lane changes and other maneuvers.
Yep — if my wheels could keep me on time, wash my laundry remotely, and call my sister, I’d throw em on the shopping list.
With the rise of solar power comes a great hurdle — bringing it into households. While scientists at the University of Exeter have masterminded glass solar blocks, those at UC Berkeley are working down to the atom. To bring cheaper options to the table, UCLA research teams are testing a solar gadget that creates hydrogen and electricity.
Along with the usual positive and negative electrodes, the device has a third electrode that can either store energy electrically or use it to split water into its constituent hydrogen and oxygen atoms – a process called water electrolysis.
The pocket-fitting tool produces clean energy to power appliances and vehicles. It also incorporates nickel, iron, and cobalt into hydrogen production, replacing platinum, which is scarce.
“Hydrogen is a great fuel for vehicles: It is the cleanest fuel known, it’s cheap and it puts no pollutants into the air – just water,” says [study head Richard] Kaner.
With a lot of work, UCLA’s newest contraption could do wonders for infrastructure and hydrogen cars. It may even bring a little sunshine to rural communities.
While we might often associate it with regrettable nights, alcohol isn’t always the enemy we make it out to be. In fact, in some instances, it’s healthy and even necessary for survival — at least for goldfish. In order to survive a winter without oxygen, goldfish produce alcohol to keep their gills functioning.
When vertebrates run out of oxygen, their cells turn to anaerobic respiration to produce energy. However, it creates lactic acid as an end product. Too much lactic acid is dangerous. Goldfish can survive without oxygen because they take this lactic acid and convert it into ethanol which flows across their gills out into the water.
Blood alcohol concentrations in goldfish can exceed 50 mg per 100 milliliters, which would surprise even a breathalyzer. But not to fear — the fish are not intoxicated. Even more mind-blowing, it allows the fish to live up to 5 months without oxygen. But how does it work?
The fish have two sets of the proteins that direct carbs to get broken down, which is essential to produce energy. The first set is nothing special… However, the second is activated when there isn’t any oxygen and directs substances to produce ethanol outside the mitochondria.
Eventually, the genome duplicated and mutation occurred. Remember, kids, watch your limit — unless you’re a goldfish.
A tree is beneficial no matter where in the world it exists. This is why planting them, whether via dogs or drones, is always a plus for the environment. A new study has proven that trees are saving cities in an economical sense as well. To be exact, they boast a payoff of about $505 million a year.
To determine the economic impact of trees in the megacities, the researchers used a tree cover estimator called i-Tree, which requires analysis of 200 or more plots of trees within a city and then extrapolates economic benefit from there.
The monetary estimates are loose, but still provide us with a picture of why trees are so dang great. They hold the greatest impact on energy reduction, saving about $500 million annually. Trees also help lessen carbon emissions and air pollution.
Combined with the strong scientific evidence that trees are an ideal way to make life in cities better, the study shows that there’s a serious economic reason to invest in them.
Planting trees may not always be something you can do on a whim. But everything considered, there really isn’t a reason not to love them.