One basic riddle in water splitting is why nature always uses manganese, a fact that is particularly surprising considering that manganese is rather inactive at neutral pH, which is how water is found in nature. Scientists have been able to devise many artificial manganese-based catalysts of their own, but have not been able to make them active at neutral pH. Now, researchers have reported the discovery of a mineral-based catalyst that can efficiently split water into oxygen and hydrogen ions (protons) at neutral pH.
Organic farming fosters biodiversity. At least that's the theory. In practice, however, the number of habitats on the land plays an important role alongside the type and intensity of farming practices. These are the findings of an international study that looked at 10 regions in Europe and two in Africa.
In a series of new studies, researchers examine unique groups of microorganisms, capable of converting hazardous chlorinated chemicals like trichloroetheene into ethene, a benign end product of microbial biodegradation.
Technologies that are discussed controversially today may be needed to keep the future risks and costs of climate change in check. Combining the production of energy from fossil fuels and biomass with capturing and storing the CO2 they emit (CCS) can be key to achieving current climate policy objectives such as limiting the rise of the global mean temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius.
Okayama University's Shinji Hiejima is looking for industrial partners to commercialize his experimentally proven and patented concept of the Hydro-VENUS system for converting tidal energy into electrical power.
If no further action is taken and global temperature increases by 3.5 C, climate damages in the EU could amount to at least ?190 billion, a net welfare loss of 1.8% of its current GDP. Several weather-related extremes could roughly double their average frequency. As a consequence, heat-related deaths could reach about 200 000, the cost of river flood damages could exceed EUR10 billion and 8000 km2 of forest could burn in southern Europe. The number of people affected by droughts could increase by a factor of seven and coastal damage, due to sea-level rise, could more than triple.
A first-of-its-kind study using snow during a Minnesota blizzard is giving researchers new insight into the airflow around large wind turbines. This research is essential to improving wind energy efficiency, especially in wind farms where airflows from many large wind turbines interact with each other.