New materials to make ships more sustainable and less noisy for marine life

Ships have a significant environmental impact during building, operation and when they’re scrapped, but new approaches and composite materials to replace steel – still popular due to its strength and low cost – could make vessels more sustainable, recyclable, and less noisy for marine animals. Using ships to transport goods contributes significantly to global greenhouse … Read more

How to repurpose a factory in a crisis

Medical suppliers must change how they manage their supply chains, and factories need to be able to rapidly pivot to manufacturing different products, in order to respond quickly to the next major crisis and avoid shortages of vital medical goods, experts say. Lack of PPE and ventilators at the start of the coronavirus pandemic occurred partly … Read more

They can capture more carbon than they emit. So why aren’t wooden buildings mainstream?

Four storeys high and made almost entirely of wood, the ZEB Lab building in Trondheim, Norway, had, even before it existed, sucked as much carbon from the atmosphere as it would probably produce in construction. Now, thanks to its arboreal origins, as well as to the sleek expanse of solar panels on its roof and … Read more

Buildings, tunnels and bridges could soon repair themselves

Stone and concrete structures with the ability to heal themselves in a similar way to living organisms when damaged could help to make buildings safer and last longer. Over time the weather, vibration, ground movements and general wear and tear can take their toll on the masonry and concrete used in buildings. But keeping buildings in … Read more

Why future homes could be made of living fungus

In the summer of 2014 a strange building began to take shape just outside MoMA PS1, a contemporary art centre in New York City. It looked like someone had started building an igloo and then got carried away, so that the ice-white bricks rose into huge towers. It was a captivating sight, but the truly impressive thing about this building … Read more

Carrot cement: How root vegetables and ash could make concrete more sustainable

Concrete has become our building material of choice for countless structures such as bridges, towers and dams. But it also has a huge environmental footprint mostly due to carbon dioxide emissions from the production of cement – one of its main constituents. Researchers are now experimenting with root vegetables and recycled plastic in concrete to … Read more