Archive for the ‘sustainability’ category: Page 427

Jan 29, 2017

Choosing a New System Architecture

Posted by in categories: business, food, sustainability

The food retail, foodservice and industrial cooling industries are in the midst of a momentous transition in refrigeration system architectures. Regulations are driving the need to implement sustainable systems with options growing exponentially. Emerson’s natural refrigerant expert, Andre Patenaude, provides advice on the best alternatives to future proof your system.

To get to what many call the “end game” of achieving compliance and meeting corporate sustainability objectives, more businesses are looking at systems based on natural refrigerants to help them achieve these goals.

The term “natural refrigerant” refers to substances that naturally occur in the environment. Unlike the synthetic refrigerants that have commonly been used in refrigeration applications — including hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) — ammonia (NH3 or refrigerant name R-717), propane (refrigerant name R-290) and carbon dioxide (CO2 or refrigerant name R-744) are three naturally occurring refrigerants that pose very little threat to the environment.

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Jan 28, 2017

Who’s Responsible If An Open Source Software Powered Self-Driving Vehicle Kills Someone?

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, sustainability, transportation

Who is responsible if a self-driving car crashes and causes property damages, physical harm or even death? Autonomous vehicle legislation is still very much in its infancy though it will certainly be an evolutionary process over the years. Corporations such as Tesla and Volvo have publicly stated that they will take responsibility for any faults in their software. However,’s CEO George Hotz (geohot) has stated that he is not responsible for any accidents caused by those who download his free self-driving vehicle software.

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Jan 27, 2017

Vertical Farming Brings Fresh Produce to Cities

Posted by in categories: food, sustainability

You’ve never seen a farm like this.

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Jan 20, 2017

A Swedish Billionaire Will Award $5 Million For Reimagining Global Governance

Posted by in categories: climatology, governance, sustainability

Yes, you read that right. The Global Challenges Foundation, founded by the Swedish billionaire László Szombatfalvy, has launched an international competition in order to find a better system for world governance. As Szombatfalvy writes in a letter published on the Foundation’s website:

The greatest threats we face today transcend national boundaries; they therefore need to be addressed jointly by all countries based on an increased realization of our mutual dependence. […] Our current international system – including but not limited to the United Nations — was set up in another era following the Second World War. It is no longer fit for purpose to deal with 21st century risks that can affect people anywhere in the world. We urgently need fresh new thinking in order to address the scale and gravity of today’s global challenges, which have outgrown the present system’s ability to handle them.

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Jan 19, 2017

In Mumbai: 35.3% premature deaths were results of stroke because of air pollution

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience, sustainability

Most premature deaths in Mumbai and Delhi over two decades were caused by stroke (a medical condition that occurs when blood supply to the brain is cut off), due to inhalation of ultrafine suspended particles, revealed a study by the Indian Institute of Technology – Bombay (IITB).

The three-member IITB team attributed 35.3% premature deaths to cerebrovascular disease – arteries supplying blood to the brain is affected – as a result of being exposed to high levels of particulate matter of size less than 2.5 microns in diameter (PM2.5) between 1991 and 2015. Additionally, premature deaths due to ischemic heart disease (it falls under the group of cardiovascular diseases) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) stood at 33.3% and 22.9% during the same period.

A dangerous pollutant, PM2.5 can lodge deep into the lungs and cardiovascular system, giving rise to a host of problems from damage to lung tissue, sneezing, asthma attacks, migraines, headaches to even cancer and heart attacks. The elderly, children, and those with chronic lung disease, influenza, or asthma, are especially sensitive to the effects of PM2.5.

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Jan 19, 2017

ExxonMobil extends algae biofuels research using synthetic biology technologies

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, genetics, sustainability, transportation

After making significant progress in understanding algae genetics, growth characteristics and increasing oil production, Synthetic Genomics, Inc. and ExxonMobil said they would extended their joint research agreement into advanced algae biofuels.

The two companies have been researching and developing oil from algae for use as a renewable, lower-emission alternative to traditional transportation fuels since 2009. They are seeking to develop strains of algae that demonstrate significantly improved photosynthetic efficiency and oil production through selection and genetic engineering of higher-performance algae strains.

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Jan 18, 2017

A big nano boost for solar cells

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

Solar cells convert light into electricity. While the sun is one source of light, the burning of natural resources like oil and natural gas can also be harnessed.

However, solar cells do not convert all light to power equally, which has inspired a joint industry-academia effort to develop a potentially game-changing solution.

“Current solar cells are not good at converting visible light to electrical power. The best efficiency is only around 20%,” explains Kyoto University’s Takashi Asano, who uses optical technologies to improve energy production.

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Jan 17, 2017

Enhancing fuel cell performance with graphene

Posted by in categories: energy, engineering, sustainability

  • Exploiting the usage of 2 D crystals in methanol fuel cells

ChemEurpoe — Scientists from the School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science, in the University of Manchester have come up with a way to utilize 2D materials in an actual operating direct methanol fuel cell. They have shown that the addition of single layer graphene by Chemical vapour deposition, on to the membrane area has significantly reduced the methanol cross over at the same time obtaining negligible resistance to protons thereby enhancing the cell performance by 50%.

Fuel cells count as interesting energy technology of the near future, as they pave the way for the production of sustainable energy using simple hydrocarbons as fuels. They work by a simple operational mechanism with the fuel oxidation on one side, and oxidant reduction on other side, which liberates electrons used for electrical energy generation. A wide variety of fuels, short chain alcohols have been used so far. Methanol remains a favourable candidate due to its high energy density, ease of handling and other operational characteristics.

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Jan 17, 2017

Energy Dept. Seeks A Few Good (Really, Really Good) Seaweed Farmers

Posted by in categories: energy, food, sustainability

Attention all seaweed farmers! US DoE and DARPA wants you.

Did you know that the amount of commercially produced seaweed almost hit the mark of 25 million metric tons last year? China and Indonesia dominate the global seaweed-to-food market, and now the Department of Energy has been casting a hungry eye on the potential for the US to get in on the action, with a particular focus on converting seaweed to biofuel and other high value products.

Of course, there is a problem. Growing seaweed — aka macroalgae — for food is one thing. The algae-to-energy cycle is quite another thing entirely. That’s why the Energy Department has called upon its cutting edge funding division, ARPA-E, to put out a call for the super macroalgae farmer of the future.

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Jan 14, 2017

Why a New Group Aims to Elect More Scientists to the Government

Posted by in categories: climatology, education, government, mathematics, sustainability

Concerned that scientific views are not being properly represented in Washington, a new nonprofit group wants to get more scientists elected. 314 Action, named after the first three digits of pi, wants scientists to embrace the political process, running for all levels of government. The group’s aim is to get as many scientists elected as possible in the 2018 elections.

314 Action sees particular urgency for its work due to the rise of anti-science rhetoric on the Hill, especially from the right. The current Republican standard bearer President Trump has questioned the idea that climate change is caused by humans and seemingly encouraged debunked anti-vaccination opinions. With the appointments Trump made so far, it’s hard to believe his administration will advance scientific causes.

The 314 Action group describes its members as people who come from the STEM community whose goals are to increase communication between STEM community and elected officials, to actually elect STEM-trained candidates to public office, to increase presence of STEM ideas through the media, and to prevent the U.S. from falling further and further behind the rest of the world in math and science education.

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