Coffee: it’s every workaholic’s go-to beverage and, astoundingly, perfect for manufacturing sportswear. Nowadays, it isn’t just perfect for a pick-me-up — it’s potentially fueling London’s signature double-decker buses.
“Instead of sending a tonne of waste coffee grounds to landfill where it degrades and releases methane and CO2, we collect it, recycle it and turn it into a renewable fuel which is then used to replace further conventional fuels – so it’s a double saving”, [said] Bio-bean founder Arthur Kay.
Among the heaviest Americano consumers, Londoners contribute up to 200,000 tons of coffee waste annually. To make the most out of discarded grounds, Bio-bean is extracting 6,000 liters of oil to mix into fuel. The final blend is of 20% biofuel, which will also help to reduce carbon emissions.
“We’re not saying that it’s going to totally replace fossil fuels overnight,” Kay said.
“The amount of diesel produced globally is always going to be more than the amount of coffee.”
Considering London buses run nearly 2 billion trips a year, Bio-bean’s initiative could encourage alternative energy use. Perhaps a beer fuel may even be in talks.
Following the success of solar power, developers have been harvesting clean energy from other sources. Now that we can accumulate electricity through passing vehicles and even cow excrement, nothing else seems far-fetched. Wind power may be nothing new, but these floating offshore turbines are the first of their kind.
The 30MW installation… will demonstrate that offshore wind energy can be harvested in deep waters… where installing giant turbines was once impractical or impossible. At peak capacity, the wind farm will produce enough electricity to power 20,000 Scottish homes.
The irony behind the nautical wind farm is its contractor — Statoil. The company is a corporate giant notorious for oil drilling. It’s somewhat of a paradox, but I’m a fan. Statoil claims that the wind farm’s offshore location is also beneficial.
The farther out you can place offshore turbines, the steadier and faster the wind is. It also comes with the added benefit of avoiding any community arguments over clean ocean views… [also] unimaginably large rotor components can be delivered by sea rather than by land, where roads have weight limits.
In the end, Statoil is living proof that you can easily give back what you take from nature. While we’d rather leave Mother Nature alone entirely, compensation is better than nothing.
Today, health buffs are all about living both longer and happier, which is why curry is all the craze. While “healthy mind, healthy body” is the catchphrase of the year, natural cosmetic remedies have yet to surface. Or perhaps we just haven’t noticed them. In perfect cinematic fashion, Japanese scientists revealed that McDonald’s fries may actually cure baldness. Now that’s a thought.
Researchers at Yokohama National University found that when they used the chemical dimethylpolysiloxane — found in silicone, which is added to oil to cook french fries at the fast-food restaurant… — they could mass produce hair follicles that could grow hair when transplanted into mice.
Despite the slew of regenerative products in every department store’s hair aisle, baldness is more troublesome than it seems. However, incorporating the substance into transplant procedures could solve the pesky problem. And no, binging on McDonald’s fries won’t actually help.
“This simple method is very robust and promising,” [professor Junji] Fukuda said. “We hope that this technique will improve human hair regenerative therapy to treat hair loss such as androgenic alopecia.”
If you were picking at your wallet and considering a pit stop at Mickey D’s, you may want to think twice. A splurge on fries was clearly too good to be true.
Though global efforts to counter climate change have been plentiful, greed remains on top of the food chain. Man has exploited nature to no end. While the earth is slowly recovering, not every starfish will save itself. Of the nations participating in oil explorations, little Belize has had enough. As the Trump administration opens more waters to drilling, Belize is placing a moratorium on its own.
“Belize is a small country making a mighty commitment to putting the environment first,” says Nadia Bood, a reef scientist with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
The developing country produces some 3,000 barrels of profitable oil per day, but its people know better. Despite a gleaming export income, the nation-that-could believes more in the value of its coral reefs.
“Ending oil activities will encourage other countries to follow suit and take the urgent action that is needed to protect our planet’s oceans,” says Chris Gee, a campaigner at WWF.
With a $200 million annual tourism cut that supports 190,000 livelihoods, banning excavations may not be a misstep after all.
Powering motorcycles and stringing together running shoes, algae is the eco-material of the year. So far, it seems capable of almost anything. Taking the next step, Dutch designers are 3D printing the stuff in the hopes of replacing synthetic plastics.
“Our idea is that in the future there will be a shop on every street corner where you can ‘bake’ organic raw materials, just like fresh bread,” said [designer Eric] Klarenbeek.
If the concoction goes commercial, it can replace oils, which are vital in the production of bottles and containers. A complete cherry on top, algae is also highly absorbent of carbon dioxide, which makes production sustainable.
“In this relatively brief period, a vast amount of carbon dioxide has been released into the atmosphere, with damaging consequences. It is therefore important that we clean the CO2 from the atmosphere as quickly as possible and this can be done by binding the carbon to biomass.”
Along with partner Maartje Dros, Klarenbeek has been on a steady mission to create less wasteful industries. Why spend time on DIY furniture when you can simply grow them?
The rapidly increasing climate problem has many depending on carbon calculators and cooling white paint. While quick solutions beget temporary relief, temperatures continue to rise. Instead of working against fossil fuels, startup Net Power is attempting to work with it. The energy group is running a traditional factory that produces zero-emissions.
There are only 17 large-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) plants in operation today, and, annually, they stop less than 40 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. That’s less than 0.01% of the 40 billion metric tons we emit each year.
Despite the technique’s obvious success, it still lacks the financial backing it needs. So far, only two CCS fossil fuel plants are up and running in Canada and the United States. To offset its own carbon byproducts, Net Power is teaming up with various companies that benefit from CO2.
Net Power will also have customers for the carbon dioxide it captures: oil companies looking for enhanced oil recovery. To get the fossil fuel out of the ground, oil companies pump water into the fields to push out the oil.
Net Power’s pilot plant hardly surpasses the size of a football stadium, but will power up to 40,000 homes. Talk about tiny dynamite!
Developers have been doing everything to ensure the eco-friendliness of future vehicles. They are engineering sustainable commutes and even air-purifying bicycles. However, no one has gone as far as scientist Peter Mooij, whose brainchild is a wooden motorcycle powered by algae.
The single-sided swingarm is made with birch and oak, with an oiled cork/oak damper and a cork insert to provide a compression zone in the spring. The rear single-sided swingarm is made from solid oak, with some cork between the arm and the frame.
A fully functional wooden vehicle? I thought those were called wagons. As for the bike’s eco-fuel, microalgae produce oil, which is perfect for a diesel engine.
“Algae oil has some great advantages. Algae do photosynthesis and by this process algae convert CO2 from the atmosphere into oil. If this oil is burnt in Rits’ motorcycle CO2 is emitted, but the amount of CO2 emitted exactly equals the amount of CO2 the algae took up from the atmosphere.”
To put it simply, we lose nothing, which is pretty darn practical. Mooij is still working towards an enhanced model of the motorcycle. In the meantime, an extensive Google search on microalgae may be on my agenda.
Due to the scarcity of resources, we’re doing everything we can to minimize food waste. Restaurants in the Gulf Coast are returning empty oyster shells to depleting reefs. Apps are helping restaurants donate excess food to the needy. The current generation is making the most out of avocados — but throwing away its most valuable part. As it turns out, avocado husks are chock-full of beneficial compounds that can treat harmful diseases.
For the study, [chemistry lecturer Debasish] Bandyopadhyay and his researchers ground up 300 dried avocado seed husks into 21 ounces of powder. After undergoing additional processing, they were able to extract three teaspoons of seed husk oil and more than an ounce of seed husk wax from the powder.
The oil compounds were found to be useful in anti-viral drugs and decreasing the risk of stroke. The wax was also a medical jackpot, among other things.
58 per cent of the compounds in the wax are “very good” plasticizers, which are used in industrial products… while the compound heptacosane could be an effective anti-tumor treatment for lung, breast and colorectal cancer.
As amateur home cooks, we ought to leave the husks to professionals. But collecting them in a basket wouldn’t be a bad idea. Millennials do love their avocado toast.