Grassland studies, radar-tracked bumblebees offer clues for protecting pollinators

It's not just crops that rely on bumblebees; wild plants do too. Image credit - Anthony King

Scientists used a radar to track a bumblebee from its maiden flight until death for the first time as part of wider research racing to understand the impact and needs of declining bee populations, including on Europe’s fragmented biodiversity hotspots – grasslands. Wild bees are major pollinators of crops in Europe such as peas, beans and … Read more

Flying high: how drones on cables are expanding the scope of wind energy

Skypull's prototype designs are being tested in Switzerland to prove that the concept works before they build a full-size version. Image credit - Skypull

by Tom Cassauwers By harnessing the power of strong winds at higher altitude than turbines reach, airborne wind energy could be another key source of renewable energy, but it will need a combination of successful designs, more robust software and good storytelling to really take off. The square drone shakes in the wind with the Swiss … Read more

The fight to save Europe’s olive trees from disease

The discovery of Xyella fastidiosa in European olive trees in 2013 caught European researchers off-guard. Image credit - Sjor/Wikimedia commons, licenced under CC BY-SA 4.0

by Fintan Burke A plant disease spread by sap-sucking insects has been devastating olive and fruit orchards across southern Europe, but scientists are inching closer to halting its spread with the help of insect repelling clays, vegetative barriers and genetic analysis.  In the late summer harvest of 2013, olive farmers in the Puglia region of … Read more

Why raising the alcohol content of Europe’s fuels could reduce carbon emissions

E20 fuel would double the amount of ethanol in petrol and could reduce the EU's emissions from gasoline by 8.2%. Image credit - Piqsels, licenced under CCO

by Richard Gray By 2030, a fifth of the fuel that motorists put into the petrol tanks of their cars could be alcohol, according to research concluding that new petrol and ethanol blends can reduce carbon emissions from Europe’s transport sector with little additional cost to consumers. Labels that carry a single letter followed by a … Read more