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Mon12222014

Technology

Solar desalination technology could solve India’s drinking water woes

A solar powered desalination technology known as electrodialysis could be the key to providing clean, palatable drinking water in rural India. Around 60 percent of India is underlain by salty ground water and, according to an analysis from researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, electrodialysis could make it available for human used. According to M.I.T. graduate student Natasha Wright and Amos Winter, the Robert N. Noyce...

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Carbon capture membrane developed at Kyoto University

Researchers in Japan have developed a special membrane that can catch greenhouse gases. Easan Sivaniah, an associate professor at Kyoto University’s Institute for Integrated Cell-Materials Sciences, led an international team of researchers to create a membrane referred to as PIM-1. PIM-1 is embedded with a network of channels and cavities less than 2 nanometers in diameter that can trap greenhouse gases once they enter. Greenhouse gases...

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Burning trash still major global contributor to air pollution

Around 40 percent of the world’s garbage is still being disposed of by burning, affecting both human health and climate change. According to a study by the National Center for Atmospheric Research, unregulated trash burning across the globe is resulting in harmful greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere. “Air pollution across the globe is significantly underestimated because...

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300 billion tons of carbon dioxide to continue to spew from existing power plants

Existing power plants around the world are expected to pump out more than 300 billion tons of carbon dioxide over their lifetime. According to University of California-Irvine and Princeton University scientists, existing power plants are and will continue to be a major cause of increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Assuming these existing power plants will operate for 40 years, the power plants constructed globally in 2012 alone will produce...

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Waste tires produce better anode for lithium-ion batteries

Used tires could become a key component in lithium-ion batteries, according to researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. By modifying the microstructural characteristics of carbon black, a substance recovered from discarded tires, O.R.N.L. researchers led by Parans Paranthaman and Amit Naskar have developed a better anode for lithium-ion batteries. Lithium-ion batteries, with their high energy storage capacity, are...

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Water “dirtying” the biofuel production process

Water is well known as a cleansing agent but – when it comes to biofuel production – too much water is dirtying up the process. Researchers from the United States Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have found that water helps form an impurity which slows down key chemical reaction in the biofuel process. The study examined the conversion of biomass into bio-oil for transportation fuel. The researchers used computer simulations to...

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Solar with a view – transparent solar material developed at M.S.U.

A new transparent solar concentrator developed at Michigan State University is offering building owners the opportunity to enjoy solar power with a view. The transparent luminescent solar concentrator can be placed on any clear surface, such as the windows of buildings or even cellphone displays, to allow the creation of solar energy.While the production of energy from solar cells placed around luminescent plastic-like materials is not new, previous...

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Used car batteries: Out of the landfills, into perovskite-based solar panels

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a way to improve solar panels using recycled materials from discarded car batteries. Professors Angela M. Belcher and Paula T. Hammod led a team that developed high-performing solar cells using a compound called perovskite and recycled lead from old car batteries. Perovskite is considered a promising solar material, with one drawback: perovskite-based solar cells need lead. As lead and its...

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From used to useful – cigarette butts used to store energy

Used cigarette butts could go from unsightly trash to key materials for the next generation of energy storage devices. It’s estimated that as many as 5.6 trillion used cigarettes or 766,571 metric ton of cigarette butts are disposed of worldwide every year. Now, a group of South Korean scientists are working to use these discarded butts in the place of carbon, graphene and carbon nanotubes. “Our study has shown that used cigarette filters can be transformed...

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Copper foam producing useful chemicals from harmful carbon dioxide

Scientists at Brown University are working with copper foam to develop catalysts that could convert captured carbon dioxide into useful industrial chemicals. Copper foam is made by depositing the metal copper onto a surface in the presence of hydrogen and a strong electric current. Hydrogen bubbles cause the copper to be deposited in an arrangement of pores and channels of varying sizes, creating sponge-like “foam.” The rough surface of copper foam could...

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