Low-cost urine-powered fuel cell could power electronic devices

Cell phones of the future could be pee-powered. Using renewable sources such as solar and wind to power the batteries of electronic devices isn’t anything new, but some scientists are taking their green energy research beyond conventional renewable resources and are looking into using less common types of clean sources of power like urine. Recently, a team of researchers from the University of Bath in England announced in a newly published study that they have developed a cheap urine-powered fuel cell that is able to run mobile phones and other…

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New study shows over half of Londoners want diesel vehicles banned

A recent poll revealed that more than half of London’s residents want to ban diesel buses from the city center. With toxic air pollution becoming a growing problem in England’s capital, Londoners want to see efforts being made to help clean the air and a recent YouGov survey found that diesel vehicles are blamed as being one of the city’s biggest polluters. The survey revealed that 55% of adults in the city would support a crackdown on diesel buses, which experts blame for the largest percentage of nitrogen dioxide fumes…

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New solar power facility launched at Walt Disney World

The solar panels have been designed in the shape of Mickey Mouse ears. Duke Energy, the largest electric power holding company in the United States, has launched a new solar power facility at the Walt Disney World Resort in an effort to expand renewable energy in central Florida. What makes this particular solar facility so unique is that it has been designed in the shape of Disney’s iconic Mickey Mouse ears, which is fitting since the facility will be helping to provide power to the world-famous resort. The 5 MW…

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Hydroelectric dams in the U.S. to be torn down to restore river

Officials signed unusual agreement to remove four hydropower dams on the Klamath River. Last week, U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell signed agreements with the governors of California (Governor Jerry Brown) and Oregon (Governor Kate Brown), which plans to remove four hydroelectric dams from the Klamath River by 2020. The river spans 263 miles and is located in both states. Jewell said that if the plan is successful it will result in one of the largest river restoration projects in the history of America. Endangered salmon are expected to be able…

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Google aims to bring more green energy to Asia

The internet giant has announced its plans to provide seed funding to a non-profit that promotes renewable energy. Google has already made a long-term commitment to power 100% of its operations with green energy sourced from renewables. To date, the company has purchased over 2 gigawatts (GW) of clean power, which has made it the world’s current largest non-utility purchaser of renewables. Now, according to the company’s official Asia Pacific blog, Google is aiming to boost its green power efforts in Asia by providing seed funding to the Center for…

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Scientists identify plant enzyme that could lead to mass-production of biofuels

Researchers may have found an enzyme that could enable any plant to product fuel. In their quest to find the next best environmentally friendly fuel, a team of international researchers have announced that they have successfully isolated an enzyme with lycopaoctaene synthase activity in common algae known as Botryococcus braunii. This enzyme is responsible for hydrocarbon oil production and the scientists are investigating how to use the enzyme to mass-produce biofuels. This discovery could be a breakthrough for the alternative fuel industry. Although not as clean as other forms of…

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Tesla Model 3 preorders reach extraordinary numbers

The opening weekend for Tesla’s new lower-priced EV was a massive success spawning over 270,000 preorders. The company’s CEO Elon Musk revealed in a tweet that he posted on Sunday that the number of global preorders for the Tesla Model 3 reached 276,000 by the end of Saturday of its opening weekend. While this is a huge number, it’s not entirely surprising because on the Thursday evening when the highly anticipated lower-cost electric vehicle (EV) was first unveiled in Los Angeles, California, the number of deposits then had already surpassed…

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Scientists may have found a solution to plastic pollution

Japanese scientists have discovered bacteria that eat old plastic. Microbiologists in Japan have found a plastic-eating species of bacteria, which they uncovered after skimming through waste and soil samples at a plastic recycling plant. The newly discovered microbe eats one kind of plastic called polyethylene terephthalate, better known as PET. This form of plastic is the most abundant on Earth and is most commonly used in water and soda bottles, but can also be found in carpet, clothing fibers such as fleece, plastic jars, potato chip bags, and so on.…

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Huge biofuels pilot plant announced in Australia

The development of renewable energy in Queensland would help to address climate change. Queensland, the second largest and third most populous state in Australia, is improving its renewable energy efforts by establishing a biofuels pilot plant. The state government has secured the $16 million facility for Gladstone in central Queensland. If the project is successful it could result in the state establishing a large-scale alternative fuel industry. The development of renewable energy in Queensland will also help to protect the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef is located off…

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Tidal energy study examines environmental effects

Research looks at environmental effects of tidal project in the Bay of Fundy. A $500,000 enhanced environmental effects monitoring program, for the tidal energy project at the FORCE site in the Bay of Fundy near Parrsboro, has been announced by the Offshore Energy Research Association (OREA), the Nova Scotia Department of Energy and Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE). The program has been designed to determine the effects of in-stream tidal turbines deployed and operational in 2016, and seeks to discover the impact these devices have on the marine…

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New geothermal energy plant could come to the Salton Sea

Hopes could be raised for Salton Sea green energy advocates and those who support the lake’s restoration. Controlled Thermal Resources (CTR), a multi-faceted Electricity Generation and Mineral Extraction Corporation, is interested in developing a huge geothermal energy plant by the Salton Sea; the shallow, saline, endorheic rift lake that sits on the San Andreas Fault and is mostly located in California’s Coachella and Imperial Valleys. The lake is home to one of world’s strongest geothermal reservoirs and the development of more renewable resources in the area is welcome by many…

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Australian researchers granted funding to study the effects of wind farms on human health

New studies seek to determine if “wind turbine sickness” exists. The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Australia’s leading medical funding body, has awarded a total of $3.3 million to two researchers who will investigate whether the proximity to wind turbines causes harmful health effects in humans. Additional research was recommended after a year-long study into “wind turbine sickness” by the NHMRC found that there was no direct evidence that showed exposure to noise from wind farms affects mental or physical health. Residents who live close to turbines have…

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Apple unveils new recycling technology for iPhones

Apple has revealed a new robotic system that can recover valuable materials from wasted iPhones. and recovering valuable materials, such as silver and tungsten, which can be recycled. The new recycling technology system is called Liam. The new recycling system can take apart one iPhone 6 every 11 seconds. According to a report from Reuters, Liam has been under development for almost three years. While Apple does intend to expand the system so it can handle different devices and recover more resources, currently the machine has been designed to specifically…

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New project using solar power to bring food to desert in Tunisia

The Tunisian government has approved a project that aims to grow food in the Sahara. Growing food in the desert isn’t easy, which is a problem for Tunisia, considering 75% of the country is covered in desert. However, a new cutting-edge agriculture project that is funded by the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, is working on building a $30 million facility, which will use solar power and desalination technology to grow food in the Sahara Desert. The Sahara Forest Project aims to grow 10 hectares of food in the desert. The Sahara…

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Global warming could be worsened by cleaner air

New studies reveal that cleaner air could actually accelerate the warming of the planet. Two new studies, both recently released in the journal Natural Geoscience, have analyzed the powerful influence that aerosols have on the climate and suggest that as countries around the world make efforts to lower this type of pollution, global warming is worsening, because the elimination of this pollution appears to be resulting in more rapid warming than anticipated. Certain aerosols have a temporary cooling effect on the atmosphere. Although aerosols are definitely hazardous to the environment…

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United Airlines powers regularly scheduled flights with biofuel

According to the major American airline, it is the first to use sustainable fuel on a regular route. Although United Airlines is not the first to have tested biofuel in its jets, it claims that it is the first to use the green fuel on a regular route. Its Boeing 737 jet that flies the Los Angeles to San Francisco route, four to five times daily, will be fueled by a mixture of 30% biofuel and 70% petroleum fuel, reported the Los Angeles Times. The first flight took off on…

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