The Future of Water & Waste
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Carbon emissions are 'too high'

Carbon emissions are 'too high' | The Future of Water & Waste | Scoop.it
It is increasingly unlikely that global warming will be kept below an increase of 2C (3.6F) above pre-industrial levels, a study suggests.
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5 Charts About Climate Change That Should Have You Very, Very Worried

5 Charts About Climate Change That Should Have You Very, Very Worried | The Future of Water & Waste | Scoop.it

Two major organizations released climate change reports this month warning of doom and gloom if we stick to our current course and fail to take more aggressive measures. A World Bank report imagines a world 4 degrees warmer, the temperature predicted by century's end barring changes, and says it aims to shock people into action by sharing devastating scenarios of flood, famine, drought and cyclones. Meanwhile, a report from the US National Research Council, commissioned by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and other intelligence agencies, says the consequences of climate change--rising sea levels, severe flooding, droughts, fires, and insect infestations--pose threats greater than those from terrorism ranging from massive food shortages to a rise in armed conflicts.

Here are some of the more alarming graphic images from the reports.

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Need to filter water? Fight infection? Just open package, mix polymers

Need to filter water? Fight infection? Just open package, mix polymers | The Future of Water & Waste | Scoop.it

Working in the lab for the last few years, three generations of University of Akron polymer scientists say their mutual and passionate curiosity about science has led to their discovery of a first-of-its-kind, easily adaptable biocompatible polymer structure able to fight infection, filter water and perform a host of other functions. Darrell Reneker, 82, distinguished professor of polymer science; Matthew Becker, 37, associate professor of polymer science; and Jukuan Zheng, a 25-year-old graduate student, developed what they call a one-size-fits-all polymer system that can be fabricated and then specialized to perform healing functions ranging from fighting infection to wound healing. The research, "Post-Assembly Derivatization of Electrospun Nanofibers via Strain-Promoted Azide Alkyne Cycloaddition," is published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Material can be adapted to the need The researchers devised a way to attach bioactive molecules to an electrospun polymer fiber mat, without compromising their biological functions. The possibilities for application should pique interest among developers and clinicians, say the scientists. Consider, for instance, Teflon-based vascular grafts used for aneurysm surgery since WWII being replaced by a strong, durable polymer structure with surface proteins that function as healthy blood vessels.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-11-filter-infection-package-polymers.html#jCp

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Alternative Fuels’ Long-Delayed Promise Might Be Near Fruition

Alternative Fuels’ Long-Delayed Promise Might Be Near Fruition | The Future of Water & Waste | Scoop.it
Large-scale commercial production would be a major renewable energy milestone, and plants in Florida and Mississippi say they are near that point.
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Recyclable electronics: just add hot water | ZeitNews

Recyclable electronics: just add hot water | ZeitNews | The Future of Water & Waste | Scoop.it
The Challenge The electronics industry has a waste problem - currently over 100 million electronic units are discarded annually in the UK alone, making it one of the fastest growing waste streams.
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Water scarcity defines rural way of life | Globalization | DW.DE | 05.11.2012

Water scarcity defines rural way of life | Globalization | DW.DE | 05.11.2012 | The Future of Water & Waste | Scoop.it
Families living in rural areas of China need to conserve every drop of water in order to survive. The scarcity of this precious resource defines the way the people in the northwest do everything from farming, to cooking.
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Illegal waste sites identified

Illegal waste sites identified | The Future of Water & Waste | Scoop.it
The Environment Agency says a new taskforce has led to a sharp increase in identifying illegal waste sites.
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Public or Private: The Fight Over the Future of Water | Wired Science | Wired.com

Public or Private: The Fight Over the Future of Water | Wired Science | Wired.com | The Future of Water & Waste | Scoop.it
All around the world, from the Himalayas to the Great Plains, fresh water is starting to run low. It’s shaping up to be one of the 21st century’s great environmental and humanitarian challenges: People use water faster than nature can replenish it.

Some people argue that privatization is the answer to the water crisis. But others, including food journalist Frederick Kaufman, say that’s a recipe for disaster. The author of Bet the Farm: How Food Stopped Being Food, published in October by Wiley, Kaufman points to the recent history of food prices as an example of the dangers posed by modern finance.

In the last five years, food prices have gone haywire, rising steadily while spiking three times, causing global food shortages and social unrest. Many economists and some scientists blame food prices on speculation. Once the province of farmers and agriculture industry insiders looking to hedge their risks, food markets were opened in the 1990s to the financial industry. The market soon stopped working like it’s supposed to.

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Ames Laboratory improving process to recycle rare-earth materials

Ames Laboratory improving process to recycle rare-earth materials | The Future of Water & Waste | Scoop.it
Recycling keeps paper, plastics, and even jeans out of landfills. Could recycling rare-earth magnets do the same? Perhaps, if the recycling process can be improved.
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Big, Smart and Green: A Revolutionary Vision for Modern Farming | Wired Science | Wired.com

Big, Smart and Green: A Revolutionary Vision for Modern Farming | Wired Science | Wired.com | The Future of Water & Waste | Scoop.it
What they're doing on Marsden Farm isn't organic. It's not industrial, either. It's a hybrid of the two, an alternative version of agriculture for the 21st century: Smart, green and powerful.
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More recycling not the solution to reducing aluminum's carbon footprint

More recycling not the solution to reducing aluminum's carbon footprint | The Future of Water & Waste | Scoop.it
Aluminum cycle accounts for just over 1% of global greenhouse emissions.
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Ocean Acidification Can Mess with a Fish's Mind: Scientific American

Ocean Acidification Can Mess with a Fish's Mind: Scientific American | The Future of Water & Waste | Scoop.it
In more acidic waters clown fish wander too far from safety, sea snails fail to avoid prey...
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What Will Ice-Free Arctic Summers Bring?: Scientific American

What Will Ice-Free Arctic Summers Bring?: Scientific American | The Future of Water & Waste | Scoop.it
This summer's record melt suggests the Arctic may lose its ice cap seasonally sooner than expected. What impacts can we expect?
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A 3D printer to turn waste plastic into composting toilets, rainwater harvesting systems | KurzweilAI

A 3D printer to turn waste plastic into composting toilets, rainwater harvesting systems | KurzweilAI | The Future of Water & Waste | Scoop.it

A University of Washington team claimed a $100,000 prize in the first 3D4D Challenge, an international contest to use 3-D printing for social benefit in the developing world.

The three undergraduates won to form a company that will work with partners in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Matthew Rogge, a mechanical engineering grad student, proposed to use giant 3-D printers to create composting latrines that are lightweight and use less energy to manufacture than concrete toilets.

The machine would also make rainwater catchment components that are specifically designed to fit to rain barrels, unlike current systems where joining available plumbing parts cause leaks and frequent failures.

Judges also were impressed by research the students conducted to prove their concept. In July the students printed a boat from more than 250 milk jugs and then entered it in a Seattle race. That proved they could create objects from recycled plastic and was a test run for their custom-built giant printer, also built from salvaged parts.

“With small-scale printers, the extruders can clog easily,” said Brandon Bowman, who also attended the competition. The huge printer that the students built, named “Big Red,” can not only create larger objects, but it also allows them to print with materials that are not perfectly clean.

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Steam From Sunlight - With No Boiling Water

Steam From Sunlight - With No Boiling Water | The Future of Water & Waste | Scoop.it
Researchers have unveiled a new way to use sunlight to produce steam and other vapors without heating an entire container of fluid to the boiling point. The research could lead to inexpensive, compact devices for purification of drinking water, sterilization of medical instruments and sanitizing sewage.

Metallic nanoparticles - so small that 1,000 would fit across the width of a human hair - absorb large amounts of light, resulting in a dramatic rise in their temperature. That ability to generate heat has fostered interest among scientists in using nanoparticles in a range of applications. These include photothermal treatment of certain forms of cancer, laser-induced drug release and nanoparticle-enhanced bioimaging.

In the past, researchers also explored the use of nanoparticles in solar energy applications. However, that research focused mainly on using nanoparticles to improve the ability of fluids to conduct heat. Until now, scientists had not reported on the use of nanoparticles, mixed into fluids, to capture sunlight, heat up and change the fluid into steam or other vapor.

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Climate change: drought benchmark is flawed, study says

Climate change: drought benchmark is flawed, study says | The Future of Water & Waste | Scoop.it
A scientific method used in a landmark UN report that said warming was intensifying global drought is badly flawed, a study published on Wednesday said.
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MRSA superbug found in wastewater plants

MRSA superbug found in wastewater plants | The Future of Water & Waste | Scoop.it
The tenacious bacteria have moved out of confinement and into the wider community.
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Is biofuel from algae ‘green’ enough yet?

Is biofuel from algae ‘green’ enough yet? | The Future of Water & Waste | Scoop.it

"Our report brings awareness to address the concerns of making production not only commercially viable but environmentally sustainable," says report co-author Joel Cuello. "In my opinion, you can't divorce the two. As a matter of fact, most efforts aiming at lowering the production costs is to make the process more sustainable in terms of energy, water, and nutrient use.”.

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Sucking CO2 from the skies with artificial trees

Sucking CO2 from the skies with artificial trees | The Future of Water & Waste | Scoop.it
Scientists are looking at ways to lower the global temperature by removing greenhouse gases from the air. Could super-absorbent fake leaves be the answer?
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Biofuels Companies Drop Biomass and Turn to Natural Gas | MIT Technology Review

Biofuels Companies Drop Biomass and Turn to Natural Gas | MIT Technology Review | The Future of Water & Waste | Scoop.it
The high cost of making biofuel from cellulosic sources is prompting a new strategy.

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Calysta Energy, a recently unveiled startup based in Menlo Park, California, plans to make diesel fuel that costs half as much as conventional diesel. It says it has demonstrated, at a small scale, that microorganisms that naturally feed on natural gas can be engineered to make diesel and other chemicals, and it projects that the process will be far cheaper than conventional thermochemical methods for making liquid fuels from natural gas.

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Plastic trash invades Arctic seafloor

Plastic trash invades Arctic seafloor | The Future of Water & Waste | Scoop.it
Study: Almost 70 percent of the litter on the ocean floor was in contact with deep-sea organisms.
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How to Make CO2 Better at Extracting Oil: Scientific American

How to Make CO2 Better at Extracting Oil: Scientific American | The Future of Water & Waste | Scoop.it
So-called enhanced oil recovery using CO2 might seed a market for captured greenhouse gas emissions in future...
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Coral reefs and food security: Study shows nations at risk

Coral reefs and food security: Study shows nations at risk | The Future of Water & Waste | Scoop.it
A new study co-authored by the Wildlife Conservation Society identifies countries most vulnerable to declining coral reef fisheries from a food-security perspective while providing a framework to plan for alternative protein sources needed to...
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Software Calculates City-Specific Carbon Footprint : NPR

Software Calculates City-Specific Carbon Footprint : NPR | The Future of Water & Waste | Scoop.it
Reducing carbon dioxide emissions is tough if you don't know exactly where those gases are coming from. Scientists at Arizona State University have invented a new way to pinpoint those sources — down to individual buildings and highways.
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The energy-water nexus Part I

The energy-water nexus Part I | The Future of Water & Waste | Scoop.it
Water and energy are intimately related in what has been termed the Energy-Water Nexus.
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