3-D printed corals, new bioreactors to boost microalgae production for biofuels

The structure of coral polyps provide an ideal habitat for colonies of Symbiodinium sp. algae to grow. Image credit - Dr Wangpraseurt

by Fintan Burke Using light as an energy source, photosynthetic microalgae can be used to produce products like biofuels and cosmetics. But algae grown in a reactor block out the light on which they feed. New reactor designs could solve this problem and help the industry move forward. Photosynthetic algae – tiny algae that use light … Read more

Mushroom cultivation produces three times its weight in waste. It’s now being turned into burgers and fertiliser

Mushroom growing matter makes great compost but contains a lot of water, making it heavy and unprofitable to transport, so it currently goes to waste. Image credit - needpix.com//licenced under CC0

Cultivating mushrooms produces a lot of waste. For every kilogram of mushrooms produced, about three kilograms of soil-like material containing straw, manure and peat is left behind. In the EU, this results in more than 3 billion kilograms of waste per year. Managing this waste is a challenge. Although it is rich in organic matter, and therefore useful as … Read more

How hybrid electric and fuel aircraft could green air travel

Making aviation sustainable is critical if the EU is to reach its goal of becoming climate-neutral by 2050. Image credit - Nur Andi Ravsanjani Gusma/ Pexels, public domain

With air traffic set to increase 5% every year until 2030, scientists are looking at how to make aeroplanes more sustainable. But with current batteries making electric aircraft far too heavy, hybrid fuel and electric models could point the way forward for greener air travel – and could become airborne within 15 years. Aviation contributes … Read more

Cloud shapes and formations impact global warming – but we still don’t understand them

Tropical thunderstorm clouds are unique because they self-organise even when the conditions below and above them are uniform, and do so with 'memories' of past formations. Image credit - NASA Johnson Space Center

by Sarah Wild Above the Atlantic Ocean, puffy white clouds scud across the sky buffeted by invisible trade winds. They are not ‘particularly big, impressive or extended’, says Dr Sandrine Bony, a climatologist and research director at the French National Centre for Scientific Research. ‘But they are the most ubiquitous clouds on Earth.’ Clouds are one … Read more