In a zero-waste society, people will need to share and repair

Recycling can be inefficient when parts such as dashboards from cars are too hard to dismantle, says Felipe Maya.

Businesses and consumers need to stop thinking of products as things to own and move towards a culture of sharing and repairing if we are to fulfil the ambition of creating a circular economy, according to Felipe Maya, project and innovation manager at sustainable engineering firm Exergy, headquartered in Coventry, UK. Maya and his colleagues … Read more

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

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