Researchers from China's Anhui Jianzhu University have developed a synthetic substance that mimics coral's ability to collect harmful heavy metals from water. Tests on the effectiveness of the aluminum oxide structure have so far shown promising results.
The European Union met 8 percent of its electricity demand with wind power last year, up from roughly 7 percent in 2012, according to a report by the Joint Research Center, the European Commission's in-house science service. That's equal to the combined total electricity consumption of Belgium, Ireland, Greece, and the Netherlands, the report notes, and it is a heartening sign for the E.U. wind power sector, which had seen turbine installations decline in 2013. Denmark generated enough wind power to meet 40 percent of its electricity demand, and in Ireland, Portugal, and Spain, wind's share made up between 19 and 25 percent of final consumption. Fifteen other E.U. nations generated 4 percent or more of their electricity from wind. By 2020, wind energy will provide at least 12 percent of Europe's electricity, the analysis says. Globally, wind power has grown dramatically over the last two decades, soaring from 3.5 gigawatts in 1994 to roughly 370 gigawatts by the end of 2014. Global installed wind capacity increased 48 percent over 2013, the report says.
Chinese researchers have constructed a type of synthetic coral that could help remove toxic heavy metals like mercury from the ocean, according to a report in the Journal of Colloid and Interface Science. Mercury can be especially toxic to corals because they very efficiently adsorb heavy metals, the scientists note. They took advantage of that ability to create a synthetic coral that can bind and remove mercury pollution in water. The coral-like structure is covered with self-curling nanoplates made of aluminum oxide — a chemical compound that can collect heavy metals. The scientists found that the synthetic coral structure could bind mercury 2.5 times more efficiently than aluminum oxide particles alone. According to the World Health Organization, up to 17 in every thousand children living in areas relying on subsistence fishing showed cognitive declines caused by eating mercury-contaminated fish.
Sustainability with a local or precinct flavour is of growing interest, but what exactly is a precinct? Murray Hogarth, one of the founders of the Total Environment Centre’s Smart Locale, found this was a critical question in establishing the new group
Flora Moon's insight:
Good insights about the importance of establishing common definitions.
Toyota and Hino Motors have begun testing a jointly-developed fuel cell bus in Tokyo, Japan. The brief test, which is taking place on public roads in the central and waterfront areas of the city, is designed to will help Toyota improve the technology ahead of a possible market launch.
We should price nature to protect it. That was the topic up for debate at the IQ2 event that attracted several hundred people in Sydney on July 21. “Price” and “nature” were the moving targets in this debate hosted by The Ethics Centre. It seemed to be successful however in changing people’s minds, but why?
At the outset some 53 per cent of attendees were on the affirmative side of the debate but only 36 per cent retained their view at the conclusion. Some 20 per cent took the negative position initially but this rose to 51 per cent, with many from the “undecided” category joining their ranks.
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