Some 380 million tonnes of construction and demolition waste are generated every year and most of it ends up in landfills. Re-using and recycling components and materials is good for the environment and saves money, but industry has been less than enthusiastic. An EU-funded research project has laid the foundations for change - it is promoting concrete, ceramics, gypsum and plastics recycling around Europe.
This innovative engine integrates the traditional electric motor with the air-con compressor, typically two separate units. This novel, space-saving design allows the use of bigger batteries, which can increase the range of electric vehicles by an additional 15 to 20 per cent.
Present-day lithium batteries are efficient but involve a range of resource and environmental problems. Using materials from alfalfa (lucerne seed) and pine resin and a clever recycling strategy, researchers have now come up with a highly interesting alternative.
The 'Internet of Energy' is defined as the networking of relatively autonomous electricity producers and consumers, who determine and cover the energy demand among themselves. Such an infrastructure will become necessary when large numbers of electric vehicles have to be supplied with energy in the future.
Researchers have developed a modular device based on paraffins that allows thermal energy to be stored, thus reducing the total volume of the system by 50 percent with respect to storage by means of water, traditionally used in buildings.
Scientists have scoured cow rumens and termite guts for microbes that can efficiently break down plant cell walls for the production of next-generation biofuels, but some of the best microbial candidates actually may reside in the human lower intestine, researchers report.
Climate change is a fact, and most of the warming is caused by human activity. The Arctic is now so warm that the extent of sea ice has decreased by about 30 percent in summer and in winter, sea ice is getting thinner. New research has shown that sea ice removes CO2 from the atmosphere. If Arctic sea ice is reduced, we may therefore be facing an increase of atmospheric concentration of CO2, researchers warn.
Researchers identified a new polymer that improved the efficiency of solar cells. They also determined the method by which the polymer improved the cells' efficiency. The polymer allows electrical charges to move more easily throughout the cell, boosting the production of electricity - a mechanism never before demonstrated in such devices.
ARPA-E has awarded $2,540,000 to develop dual-junction solar cells that can operate efficiently at extreme temperatures above 750 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition to converting a portion of the sunlight directly into electricity, the solar cells will use the remainder of the light to heat high-temperature fluids that can drive a steam turbine or be stored for later use.