Scientists make biodegradable plastic from sugar and carbon dioxide

Scientists make biodegradable plastic from sugar and carbon dioxide

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Plastic has turned into the scourge of the environment, and companies are tripling their efforts to find viable environmentally friendly alternatives.   Society is producing more waste plastic than ever before and it’s polluting our oceans and contaminating our drinking water. By all accounts by...

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Scientists produce smart windows that generate their own electricity

Scientists produce smart windows that generate their own electricity

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF The use of glass is increasing around the world and scientists are trying to find new ways to enhance its properties.   Recently we saw new research that lets windows turn into mirrors at the flick of a switch, and now researchers from the Institute...

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Scientists use electro-charged nanoparticles to create liquid mirrors

Scientists use electro-charged nanoparticles to create liquid mirrors

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Being able to apply new properties to glass, such as liquid mirrors, could help companies reduce their air conditioning bill and help homeowners improve their privacy.   Researchers from Imperial College London in the UK have developed a new material that can turn a transparent surface into a...

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Biodegradable plastics made from “Tree glue” could hit the shelves in five years

Biodegradable plastics made from “Tree glue” could hit the shelves in five years

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Today plastics are the scourge of the environment so now companies around the world are racing to create environmentally friendly alternatives, and plastics made from true glue could be near the top of the list.   Plastic’s fall from grace in the past couple of...

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New omniphobic material reduces maritime fuel consumption by upto 80 percent

New omniphobic material reduces maritime fuel consumption by upto 80 percent

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Today’s ships use huge amounts of energy and fuel to move through the water because of the amount of drag on their hulls, this new coating could reduce fuel use by between 40 and 80 percent.   Shipping is one of the most polluting industries...

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Milk and dairy products without the cow, Perfect Day re-invents dairy

Milk and dairy products without the cow, Perfect Day re-invents dairy

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF The way we produce food today is, for the most part, hugely wasteful and has a huge impact on the environment, vertical farms, clean meat, and now other “animal free” products are starting to disrupt the status quo.   Over the past year we’ve seen...

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One in a billion enzyme that breaks down plastic found in Japanese dump

One in a billion enzyme that breaks down plastic found in Japanese dump

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF When they were developed plastics were a wonder material, but their environmental legacy is proving devastating, now a fluke discovery is giving people hope that today’s plastic scourge can efficiently be broken down and recycled.   We’re increasingly being told that plastic is a horrible,...

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Google reportedly mulls investing in a hypersonic tunnelling boring company

Google reportedly mulls investing in a hypersonic tunnelling boring company

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF There is a race on to increase the speed of boring tunnels by at least ten fold, and if it can be achieved it will change the economics of energy generation and transportation.   Google announced recently, quietly, very quietly, that it’s carrying out research...

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Chinese scientists unveil a new material that heals itself like human skin

Chinese scientists unveil a new material that heals itself like human skin

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Up until now most self-healing materials have either been hard, or soft, and that narrows their number of applications, this new material is the first to have the best of both worlds.   Imagine a smartphone, or window, that can heal from cuts and scratches...

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ORNL’s new super fast ultrasonic dryer uses 70 percent less energy

ORNL’s new super fast ultrasonic dryer uses 70 percent less energy

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Tumble dryers account for more than 4 percent of the world’s energy consumption, so cutting that figure by 70 percent could be a big deal.   Forget heat, drying laundry in the future is all about cranking up the volume. At least, that’s how the folks at...

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China launches the world’s first fully electric cargo ship

China launches the world’s first fully electric cargo ship

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Cargo ships are by far the most polluting types of “vehicles” on the planet, all be the fact they carry huge weights of cargo, but now the industry is starting to electrify and the result will be an environmental revolution.   Ground transport, closely followed...

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World first as scientists manage to make carbon fiber using plants, not oil

World first as scientists manage to make carbon fiber using plants, not oil

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF The knock on impact of being able to produce cheap carbon fiber at scale could help us create stronger, lighter  drones, prosthetics and robots, as well as improve the fuel economy of all manner of vehicles, from aircraft to cars.   Carbon fiber is the...

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Washing machines get a whole lot greener thanks to new Xeros polymer bead system

Washing machines get a whole lot greener thanks to new Xeros polymer bead system

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Doing the laundry uses lots of detergent, energy and water, and creates grey water by product, but Xeros’ new polymer bead washing system cuts this down by over 80 percent.   Sometimes it’s easy to forget that products we take for granted, and use every...

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New solid state coolant could spell the end of exploding batteries

New solid state coolant could spell the end of exploding batteries

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF The world has an insatiable thirst for cooling, whether it’s cool fridges and freezers, or as a way to cool our gadgets increasingly powerful batteries and electronics, now solid state cooling could put an end to things that go boom in the night.   There...

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Futurist keynote, Paris: The Future of Sustainable Cities, ChangeNOW Summit

Futurist keynote, Paris: The Future of Sustainable Cities, ChangeNOW Summit

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF The effect that climate change and pollution is having on our society and wellbeing is well documented but it’s clear from this summit that for every problem we face there are hundreds of innovative solutions.   Firstly, a big thanks to the wonderful team, lead...

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GE’s 3D printed engine sets new 3D printing record

GE’s 3D printed engine sets new 3D printing record

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF As the quality and durability of 3D printed parts increases it is inevitable that more organisations will embrace the technology and reap the benefits.   While many people might think that we should have been able to 3D print entire engines, and other industrial equipment,...

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From line to plate, Tuna gets its own blockchain

From line to plate, Tuna gets its own blockchain

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Tuna becomes the world’s first fish to get its own blockchain to track it’s provenance from net to plate.   Most people have heard of bitcoin but fewer people are familiar with blockchain, the revolutionary technology that underpins it. And now this technology, which ostensibly began life in the...

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The end of fossil fuels, Asia and Europe draw up a Global Energy Grid

The end of fossil fuels, Asia and Europe draw up a Global Energy Grid

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF As renewable energy becomes more reliable countries around the world are seriously exploring connecting their energy grids together to form a Global Super Grid.   Northeast Asia, the region encompassing China, South Korea, and Japan, has not yet gotten around to connecting its electricity grids...

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