One squat multitasking robot can build semiconductors for solar cells on six-inch-square plates of glass, plastic or flexible metals in just over half an hour. Six of these tireless mechanical workers, chugging away at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Colorado, will allow private companies to come rapidly prototype and test their newest formulas for creating solar cells.
This month, an iceberg roughly the size of Luxembourg slammed into an Antarctic glacier known as the Mertz Ice Tongue. Then, last week, a Rhode Island-sized section of the Mertz Ice Tongue finally snapped off. Some scientists are excited about the new research opportunities this ice reconfiguration opens up, but others worry that the newly freed ice will significantly threaten life in the ocean.
Earth lacks a living neural network that connects all living things, as seen in Avatar's Pandora. But apparently some bacteria at least grow their own tendrils or nanowires to form a giant natural battery, Danish researchers report in this week's issue of the journal Nature.
Pollution and ravenous Asian carp may threaten the U.S. Great Lakes, but the Obama administration has now put forth a four-year, $475-million rescue plan that would clean up the huge lake ecosystem and institute a "zero tolerance policy" against future incursions by invasive species, AP reports.
With an unexpected lack of snow making skiers' lives miserable at this year's Olympics, Vancouver is smartly following the trend of going greener than the Olympics before it. Carbon offsets and recycling bins are as old school as a 720 on the snowboard half pipe, so the Canucks had to get a bit more creative to ensure the 2014 games in Russia take place in a world where snow still falls over Sochi in February.
Most houses require hundreds of feet of electrical wire to connect light switches to a main power source, but not my eco-friendly dream home. I’ve installed a wireless lighting system called Verve that uses radio waves instead of copper wiring to command all the lights and outlets in my house. The system not only saves copper (imagine the savings in a skyscraper) but also lets me put switches wherever I want—beside the kids’ beds, in my pocket or even on the dash of my car—without the need to pull out wires or rip up walls.
Figuring out how to recycle TPS reports and office printouts appears to have become a passion for Japanese engineers, as DigInfo News has discovered in recent days. If the "White Goat" machine that converts paper sheets into toilet paper failed to appeal, consider this supposedly eco-friendly printer that can erase old documents and reuse them up to 1,000 times per special page.
Today's symbolic but politically crucial move by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes greenhouse gases as a danger for humans and Earth alike. That would open the doors for new regulations on carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles, power plants and factories, according to the New York Times.
When it comes to harnessing the energy potential of the oceans, the Norwegians have no problem starting small. The world's first osmotic power plant opened today in Tofte, Norway, utilizing the properties of salty seawater to generate a whopping 4 kilowatts of electricity for the grid, or about enough to power a coffee maker. But the Norwegian company running the project, Statkraft, is a glass-half-full kind of company, claiming that eventually osmotic plants could draw half of Europe's electricity from the saltiness of the sea.