Seaweed-powered trucks – hope or hype?

The infrastructure for turning seaweed into a sustainable alternative for livestock feed, chemicals and energy is still in its infancy.

Seaweed has long been touted for its potential as a sustainable ingredient for biofuels, green chemicals and biodegradable materials, but scaling up production to industrial levels in a way that maintains its environmental credentials is proving a real challenge for scientists. ‘The potential is there, all the data points to it,’ said Dr Jaap van … Read more

Memory-jogging robot to keep people sharp in ‘smart’ retirement homes

Sensors placed throughout a retirement home helped the ENRICHME robot to keep track of the movements and activities of residents taking part in the project’s trial.

A robot that reminds older people where they have put things and helps them exercise has been used by residents in three retirement homes in a trial to combat cognitive decline in later age. Almost a fifth of the European population are over 65 years old, but while quality of life for this age bracket is … Read more

Recharging soils with carbon could make farms more productive

Agriculture should be a good example of a circular economy, but modern farming practices and international markets have changed that.

Turning crop waste and discarded paper into a material called biochar could help to capture carbon from the atmosphere and store it in the soil while also helping to enrich farmland. Agriculture has historically been a circular industry where crops use nutrients in the soil to grow which are then replaced through compost or manure. But globalisation … Read more

Artificial forest air and light-based chemical reactions tackle indoor pollution

In an office environment, the air could contain over 300 chemicals, according to NAAVA founder Niko Järvinen. Image credit-NAAVA

The air in our offices and homes can contain a higher mix of chemicals than outdoors, but next-generation purifiers are aiming to absorb the harmful particles and let us all breathe a bit easier. Detergents, tobacco, cosmetics, new furniture, paints, printers and even pets – all these release different chemicals that millions of people breathe … Read more

Tapping into water’s therapeutic power to cut health costs

Spending time near water has even greater health benefits than visiting a forest or park, according to researchers. Image credit — Frederica Diamanta/ Unsplash

Living close to bodies of water such as a river or even a fountain could help people be healthier while also reducing medical costs for governments, according to researchers. There is growing evidence that spending time in the natural environment can translate into important mental and physical health benefits, which can prevent illness and reduce … Read more

Global heatwave: Climate change is no longer a two-way debate – Dr Peter Stott

With the EUPHEME project, Prof. Stott is linking extreme heatwaves and resulting wildfires to climate change.

The pattern of heatwaves causing record breaking temperatures across the northern hemisphere would not be seen without climate change, and they have firmly focused the conversation on what we can do about it rather than whether it’s happening, according to Peter Stott, professor of detection and attribution of climate change at the University of Exeter, UK. … Read more