Offshore wind farms to test business in deep water

Advocates of floating offshore wind platforms say they are cheaper to run and install, less disruptive to sea life, and have greater output than near-shore alternatives.

As wind turbines become increasingly familiar sights along shorelines, developers of offshore floating platforms, which harness the powerful winds further out to sea, are seeking to establish their technologies as a major viable source of clean energy. Bottom-fixed offshore wind turbines – with foundations in the seabed – face depth constraints and can only be … Read more

Hydrogen use doesn’t emit carbon but its production often does. That could soon change

Trucks on Orkney carry hydrogen produced by wind- and tide-powered electrolysis in special lightweight high pressure cylinders, designed to adhere to the low weight limit of the island roads.

Hydrogen can be used to power cars, supply electricity and heat homes, all with zero carbon emissions. The snag is that the vast majority of hydrogen itself is derived from fossil fuels – a fact that scientists are now hoping to change. They plan to clean up production to kickstart a dedicated economy – something that … Read more

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

Scientists want to use dirty nappies as a source of raw materials

The hardest part about recycling used nappies is opening them.

Thousands of soiled nappies that were destined to clog Italian landfill sites or incinerators are being redirected to a recycling plant that is turning them into streams of high quality raw materials, in a new process that it is hoped will be replicated around Europe. Every day, new parents find themselves sucked into the environmentally … 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

Sustainability is a ‘top priority’ for chemists

Greening chemical reactions includes cutting the amount of energy used and reducing the need for toxic solvents.

A group of chemicals known as bi-metallics could help the pharmaceutical industry become more environmentally friendly by cutting the amount of energy used to produce drugs, according to Professor Eva Hevia from the University of Strathclyde, UK, who says that sustainability is a top priority for chemists. She has been developing applications for mixed-metal chemicals, which combine … Read more