Environmental Issues, Renewable Energy

It’s time to rethink misguided policies which promote biofuels

biodiesel 1

To my constant surprise and dislike, people continue to think of biofuels as a clean, renewable alternative for the future. People (and especially policy makers) need to rethink the idea of promoting biofuels to protect the climate, because it simply doesn’t work. EROEI Unless you’re working in the energy department (or perhaps marketing), the odds are you’re not familiar with

Health & Medicine, Renewable Energy

Wind Turbines are quieter than a heartbeat, study finds

Picture Source.

Among the criticism that wind energy gets, one main idea some people complain about is that wind turbines are noisy; some people have even went as far as to claim that even though most of the created noise is way below the range of human hearing (infrasounds), it can cause health problems, including heart issues and vertigo. Now, a study

Physics, Renewable Energy

World Record Solar Cell With 44.7% Efficiency

solar cell

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, Soitec, CEA-Leti and the Helmholtz Center Berlin jointly announced today having achieved a new world record for solar cell efficiency: 44.7% That means that 44.7% of all solar energy (from the Ultraviolet to the Infrared) is gathered and transformed into electricity. After going into research just three years ago, they managed to

Climate, World Problems

America’s first climate change refugees: Hundreds forced to flee their Alaska village before it goes underwater

kivalina1

It’s hard to find Kivalina on the map as it is, but soon it will be impossible – the place is quickly disappearing. Kivalina is a small Alaskan village whose inhabitants have relied on the sea for many generations. But due to a huge retreat of Arctic ice which left it very vulnerable to erosion and rising sea levels, Kivalin

Environment, Geology, Research

Sahara might have been crossed by three large rivers the size of the Nile 100,000 years ago

Simulated probability of surface water during the last interglacial. (c) PLOS ONE

When the Sahara comes to mind, lush greenery and gorgeous, fast flowing waters might be the last scenery that crosses you. Not too long ago (geological frame), however, the region known today as the Sahara may have been crossed by three giant rivers the size of the Nile, according to a recent palaeohydrological model made by researchers at Hull University,

Environmental Issues, World Problems

How electronics waste is causing a global ecological time bomb

An e-waste dump in Nigeria.

Some 50 million tones of hazardous e-waste, various electronics that have long met their life cycle and now need to be disposed, are being generated each year. The figure has risen dramatically compared to previous years and will continue to do so in the future as well, in part because manufacturers have constantly lowered their product’s life cycles, from five

Animals, Research, Science

Panda poop might help biofuel production take a turn for the better

The same organisms that make pandas effective at digesting bamboo may help turn plant waste into biofuels, according to researchers. (c) Keren Su, Corbis

Biofuels are very ‘hot’ at the moment, as they’ve started to gain traction. Production as increased about 400% since 2000, and that’s a good thing. Right? After all, anything that can replace fossil fuels is a better option. Well, not necessarily. A while ago, I wrote a piece for ZME Science in which listed some of reason why biofuels aren’t

Animals

Animal files: the Dhole

dhole

Though at a first glance it may look like a fox, it doesn’t take much to see that it isn’t. This cutesy animal is a dhole (Cuon alpinus) – also called the Asiatic wild dog or Indian wild dog. Interestingly enough, this animal is not a dog – it is the last existing member of the genus Cuon, related to

Animals

Navy admits training exercises will likely kill dolphins and whales in large numbers

CC BY 2.0 Official U.S. Navy Imagery.

According to a post in the Navy Times, training and testing will likely “inadvertently” kill hundreds of whales and dolphins and wound thousands in the next five years. Most of the damage will be done by explosives, though some might come from testing sonar or animals being hit by ships. Rear Adm. Kevin Slates, the Navy’s energy and environmental readiness

Eco tips, Environment, Environmental Issues

Growing the World’s Tallest Vertical Garden in Sydney

Plans for One Central Park: a vertical garden.

Patrick Blanc is a French botanist, typically wrongly credited as the inventor of the vertical garden (aka. Green Wall, Botanical Brick), a title which belongs to Professor Stanley Hart White at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (1938). Still, Patrick Blanc is certainly modern innovator of the green wall – a wall, either free-standing or part of a building, that is