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Archive for the ‘sustainability’ category

Jul 14, 2019

Tesla Roadster’s SpaceX thruster will be hidden behind the license plate, says Elon Musk

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, space travel, sustainability

Tesla’s new Roadster is going to come with an optional ‘SpaceX package’ that will include cold air thrusters to improve performance.

Now CEO Elon Musk says that the thruster will be hidden behind the license plate.

Continue reading “Tesla Roadster’s SpaceX thruster will be hidden behind the license plate, says Elon Musk” »

Jul 14, 2019

Bacteria Could Help Mass-Produce Wonder Material Graphene At Scale

Posted by in categories: particle physics, sustainability

There’s no doubting that graphene, a single layer of graphite with the atoms arranged in a honeycomb hexagonal pattern, is one of science’s most versatile new materials. Capable of doing everything from filtering the color out of whisky to creating body armor that’s stronger than diamonds, graphene exhibits some truly unique qualities. However, while some mainstream uses of graphene have emerged, its use remains limited due to the challenge of producing it at scale. The most common way to make graphene still involves using sticky tape to strip a layer of atoms off ordinary graphite.

That’s something that researchers from the University of Rochester and the Netherlands’ Delft University of Technology have been working to change. They’ve figured out a way to mass produce graphene by mixing oxidized graphite with bacteria. Their method is cost-efficient, time-efficient, and sustainable — and may just make graphene a whole lot more available in the process.

“In our research, we have used bacteria to produce graphene materials on a bulk scale, and we showed that our material is conductive, and both thinner and able to be stored longer than chemically produced graphene materials,” Anne Meyer, professor of biology at the University of Rochester, told Digital Trends. “These properties demonstrate that our bacterial graphene would be well suited for a variety of applications, such as electrical ink or lightweight biosensors. Our approach is also incredibly simple and environmentally friendly compared to chemical approaches. All we have to do is mix our bacteria with the graphene precursor material, and leave them sitting on the benchtop overnight.”

Jul 13, 2019

Giant batteries and cheap solar power are shoving fossil fuels off the grid

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

Cost of solar power has dropped by 76% since 2012.

Jul 11, 2019

Brain-eating amoeba found in Louisiana drinking water again

Posted by in categories: neuroscience, sustainability

They are found in many freshwater lakes.


A potentially deadly brain-eating amoeba has been detected in a Louisiana neighborhood’s drinking water — the third time the terrifying discovery has been made in the same parish since 2015, reports said.

Naegleria fowleri, which causes fatal brain swelling and tissue destruction, was found over the weekend in Terrebonne Parish, deep in the Louisiana bayou about an hour south of New Orleans, WWL-TV reported.

Jul 11, 2019

Op-ed | Graphene goes galactic

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, habitats, solar power, space travel, sustainability

This op-ed originally appeared in the June 10, 2019 issue of SpaceNews magazine.

If humanity is to ever settle new planets, we will need radically new technologies; this much is obvious. But we may already have the perfect material to step up and fill the role: graphene. It is easily transported, easily manipulated, and an abundance of carbon in the galaxy could bode well for graphene, which is a carbon-based material. Its strength and versatility could well become a crucial component in colonization. For instance, spacecraft filled with advanced, massive 3D printers could ferry intrepid settlers to new corners of the galaxy, supplying a near-endless supply of material and equipment, perhaps even being used to construct homes that can withstand the conditions of other worlds.

Graphene’s discovery in 2004 sparked the flame of endless possibility within the science and technology communities due to its astounding properties. Only a single atomic layer thick and constructed in a lattice, honeycomb-like formation, graphene is nearly 200 times stronger than steel and better at conducting electricity and heat than any other conductor. It’s flexible, allows 97 percent of white light to pass through it (making it perfect for solar energy), and the list of properties continues.

Jul 11, 2019

Utility-Scale Energy Storage Will Enable a Renewable Grid

Posted by in categories: energy, sustainability

A roadblock to sustainable energy solutions is coming unstuck.

  • By Andrea Thompson on July 1, 2019

Jul 11, 2019

Massive reforestation is key to averting a climate catastrophe

Posted by in categories: climatology, sustainability

The study also suggests that reforesting such a large area wouldn’t impact our capacity for growing and farming food.

Jul 11, 2019

A Chinese professor explains what air pollution does to your health

Posted by in categories: health, sustainability

Air pollution is a severe public health risk in many places around the world. At the forefront of the issue is China, which has made remarkable progress against poor air quality in recent years.

Jul 9, 2019

Laser “pinging” shows promise for fast and cheap water testing

Posted by in category: sustainability

Looking for impurities in drinking water or other liquids typically involves chemical analysis, which may be time-consuming. Now, however, scientists have created an inexpensive system in which light – that’s converted to sound – is used to instantly determine if water is safe to drink.

Jul 8, 2019

Antigravity water transport system inspired by trees

Posted by in categories: engineering, solar power, sustainability, transportation

Efficiently moving water upward against gravity is a major feat of human engineering, yet one that trees have mastered for hundreds of millions of years. In a new study, researchers have designed a tree-inspired water transport system that uses capillary forces to drive dirty water upward through a hierarchically structured aerogel, where it can then be converted into steam by solar energy to produce fresh, clean water.

The researchers, led by Aiping Liu at Zhejiang Sci-Tech University and Hao Bai at Zhejiang University, have published a paper on the new transport and solar steam generation method in a recent issue of ACS Nano. In the future, efficient water transport methods have in and desalination.

“Our preparation method is universal and can be industrialized,” Liu told Phys.org. “Our materials have excellent properties and good stability, and can be reused many times. This provides the possibility for large-scale desalination and in the future.”

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