Fuel From Waste? – ScienceNOW

“A team led by Jay Keasling, a bioengineer at the Joint BioEnergy Institute in Emeryville, California, worked to extend the strategy to make more commonly used fuels. They used Escherichia coli, a bacterium into which it’s relatively easy to insert new genes. They started by creating two strains of E. coli, inserting genes for breaking […]

Testing for Disease, for Under a Penny, Using Bits of Paper – NYTimes.com

“The diagnostic tests designed in Dr. Whitesides’s Harvard University chemistry laboratory fit on a postage stamp and cost less than a penny. His secret? Paper.” I’d read about this before. But glad to see that things are moving along well – funding, products, future. While diagnostics on paper is nothing new (pregnancy and diabetes test, […]

Waste Water + Bacteria = Clean Energy – ScienceNOW

“For the first time, researchers have sustainably produced hydrogen gas, a potential source of clean energy, using only water and bacteria. The challenge now, scientists say, is to scale up the process to provide large amounts of hydrogen for various purposes, such as fueling vehicles or small generators.” I keep thinking of how to extract […]

Device uses leaf technology to turn sunlight into power – The Boston Globe

“The thumb-size black strip looks like a thin magnet. But in reality, it is an artificial leaf, made of silicon and capable of using sunlight to split water into hydrogen and oxygen that can be fed into fuel cells to make power. “You drop it in a glass of water and you walk outside and […]

Power Walk, Gain a Watt – ScienceNOW

“If scaled up to the size that would fit in a typical shoe, this would enable the Wisconsin researchers to harvest 2 watts of power, they report today in Nature Communications. At that rate, a person could completely recharge a standard cell phone battery by going for a 2-hour stroll, Krupenkin says. Krupenkin and Taylor […]

Navy probe descends on bacteria power | SmartPlanet

“The U.S. Navy has enlisted some very tiny sailors to fuel their latest research vessel. Microorganisms are descending into the sea, enabling unmanned pods to gather data beneath the surface. Weeks later, (perhaps even years researchers say), the craft could emerge via power it had generated on board. No batteries required—just bacteria.” This is cool. […]

New battery design could give electric vehicles a jolt – MIT News Office

“The new semi-solid flow batteries pioneered by Chiang and colleagues overcome this limitation, providing a 10-fold improvement in energy density over present liquid flow-batteries, and lower-cost manufacturing than conventional lithium-ion batteries. Because the material has such a high energy density, it does not need to be pumped rapidly to deliver its power. “It kind of […]

Report: Current European Biofuel Policies ‘Unethical’ – ScienceInsider

“An E.U.-sponsored certification scheme should adhere to the following principles: * Biofuels development should not be at the expense of human rights * Biofuels should be environmentally sustainable * Biofuels should contribute to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions * Biofuels should adhere to fair-trade principles * Costs and benefits of biofuels should be distributed […]

Presentation: What’s In Your Trash – Michael Alexander

Great presentation on what it would take to get to zero waste. Michael was a great presenter as well. What’s really cool is that the US is hovering around 25% (35% for MA) waste diversion. And it wouldn’t take much to get to 50%. Indeed, this presentation shows examples of towns that have gone beyond […]

Presentation: A Closer Look at Our Garbage – Alan Kirschner

Great study commissioned by the state of MA to find out what was ending up at some of the state's big recycling centers. Already the raw data are starting discussions into new policies and behavioral modification. For example, carpets and clothing showed up in significant enough amount to get the state to consider how to […]