Extremophiles could hold clues for climate change-tackling technologies

Microscopic organisms known as extremophiles inhabit some of the last places on Earth you might expect to find life, from the extreme pressures of the ocean floor to freezing ice caps. Understanding how these microbes survive by interacting with different metals and gases is opening up new knowledge about Earth’s elements and their potential uses. One … Read more

What is the bioeconomy and how could it help fight climate change?

A circular bioeconomy – which turns renewable biological resources and waste streams into new products – is at the heart of the EU’s efforts to slash its carbon emissions while also maintaining economic growth. But what does a bioeconomy look like and how do we get there? Horizon asked five young experts and activists what … Read more

Car parts, ski boots and boxes: How broken or used plastic is being given new life

Since the early 1950s, humans have produced more than 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic – the weight of around a billion elephants. About 60% of that plastic has ended up in a landfill or in the natural environment, according to the UN Environment Programme, but that pattern may start to change as repair and recycling technology gathers pace. ‘Worldwide, … Read more

Why scientists want to turn tree bark and compost into aircraft wings and plastic bags

Trees, crops and even organic waste can be transformed into a bewildering array of plastics to use in products ranging from single-use bags to heavy-duty aeroplane wings. These so-called biopolymers could play a vital role in weaning us off petroleum plastics – which will help cut greenhouse gas emissions, and ensure plastics come from a … Read more