Discarded waste could be a treasure trove of rare metals

Magnetic fields are among the techniques being developed to extract metal particles from slags (stony waste matter).

Miners could soon be scouring mounds of industrial waste to extract rare metals that are needed for products such as electronics, pacemakers, aircraft parts and bicycle gears. Researchers are attempting to figure out how to recover metals that are in limited supply in Europe from material that is often dumped or used in low-grade applications. They … Read more

Flat-pack homes and profit-sharing retrofits are making sustainable housing affordable

Solar panels help the SOLACE flat-pack houses produce more energy than needed.

Wealth-generating, flat-pack solar houses and a profit-sharing scheme that incentivises retrofitting are bringing sustainable living to people who would otherwise not be able to afford it. ‘One of the biggest problems that we see right now is (the creation of) a big gap between the lower and the middle classes. Everyone is talking about this … Read more

Plasma is the ‘hidden champion’ of industrial innovation – Prof. Christian Oehr

Plasma is the most common form of matter in the universe.

Plasma technologies are everywhere — and could soon be rendering hospital wastewater harmless, scrubbing toxins out of gas in factory smokestacks and stopping dangerous ice formation on aeroplanes and electrical infrastructure, according to Professor Christian Oehr, head of the interfacial engineering and materials science department at Fraunhofer IGB in Stuttgart, Germany. Can you help us … Read more

‘Radical collaboration’ is shaking up the pharmaceutical industry – Carlos Moedas

The Innovative Medicines Initiative was set up at a time when Europe was in danger of falling behind in pharmaceutical innovation.

by Frieda Klotz ‘Radical collaboration’ where multinational companies work together and share data instead of keeping it secret is helping to change the model of the pharmaceutical industry and solve problems more quickly, according to Carlos Moedas, the EU’s commissioner for research, science and innovation. He was speaking at an event in Brussels, Belgium, on … Read more

Urban mining to reduce environmental footprint of consumer goods

A machine that can disassemble two mobile phones per minute could help give raw materials a second life.

Mining isn’t the only way to extract valuable metals. Soon, they could increasingly be recovered from waste, reducing the need for new raw materials and helping Europe’s transition to a low-carbon economy. In the EU, many raw materials needed in industry, from car making to medical implants, are imported from abroad as they aren’t available … Read more