Scientists harvest the first ever Antarctic vegetables

April 5, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Scientists harvest the first ever Antarctic vegetables

Fresh, local produce might have seemed like an impossibility in Antarctica — until now. The experimental greenhouse EDEN-ISS at Alfred Wegener Institute ‘s Neumayer-Station III recently harvested their first crops: 18 cucumbers, 70 radishes, and nearly eight pounds of lettuce. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) described this achievement as the “first harvested Antarctic salad.” The EDEN-ISS indoor farm serves two purposes: first, to provide fresh produce for the Neumayer-Station III’s wintering crew. Second, to act as a test run for growing food in harsh climates, not just on Earth, but for missions to the Moon and Mars in the future. Scientists planted the seeds in the middle of February, and the first harvest was a success. Related: Arctic town grows fresh produce in shipping container vertical garden There’s no soil necessary in this indoor garden , where scientists grow plants with a closed water cycle and optimized light. DLR engineer Paul Zabel, one of the few people on Earth who can now add ‘Antarctic gardener’ to their resume, said they had to overcome some unexpected issues like minor system failures and the “strongest storm for more than a year,” but he was able to solve the problems and harvested the first crops. EDEN-ISS is around 1,312 feet away from Neumayer-Station III, and DLR said Zabel spends around three to four hours a day in the greenhouse . He’s also able to communicate with a DLR Institute for Space Systems control center, located in Bremen, which can remotely monitor plant growth — and can monitor it entirely on stormy days when Zabel can’t make it to the farm. DRL said this “bridging is possible for up to three days.” Scientists wintering at the station had used up their vegetables from their last delivery near February’s end, so they welcomed fresh produce from EDEN-ISS. Station manager Bernhard Gropp said in DLR’s statement, “It was special to have the first fresh salad of the Antarctic…it tasted as if we had harvested it fresh in the garden.” + EDEN-ISS + German Aerospace Center Images via DLR and DLR German Aerospace Center on Flickr ( 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 )

Go here to read the rest: 
Scientists harvest the first ever Antarctic vegetables

Agtech start-up Plenty plans to grow hydroponic peaches

March 19, 2018 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Agtech start-up Plenty plans to grow hydroponic peaches

San Francisco -based start-up Plenty is expanding the possibilities of what can be grown on indoor farms, with its sights set on peaches. Plenty uses a hydroponic growing system, which feeds crops through a steady flow of nutrient-rich water, to grow high-quality, local produce. This kind of system is typically used to grow annual crops, not perennial trees like peaches. Nonetheless, Plenty’s success has the company confident that it can break new ground. “[Plenty’s kale] is nothing like the tough, bitter leaf we’re used to,” Plenty CEO  Matt Barnard proudly stated to Wired . “It’s sweet and velvety. People say we should find another name for it.” Plenty grows its crops indoors thanks to light supplies by LEDs and vertically-aligned growing spaces. This allows for greater crop density, which best serves the urban environment in which Plenty farms. In addition to its environmental benefits, Plenty’s local harvest tastes better too. “Right now, produce often has to travel 3,000 miles from the farm to consumer,” said Barnard, “which is why so many farms grow iceberg lettuce , which tastes of nothing. Our salads are spicy and citrusy and sweet at the same time. People are amazed they can eat it without salad dressing.” Related: 6 places where soil-less farming is revolutionizing how we grow food The primary obstacle to greater success for operations like Plenty is cost. “Anyone can buy some shelves, some lights, irrigation,” said Barnard. “The challenge is to get your produce down from $40 per pound to $1. At the moment, for example, we have an expensive peach.” Plenty plans to incorporate data and machine learning capabilities into the system, so as to allow for algorithmic alterations based on plant needs. “Now we are having what I like to [call] a ‘Google moment,’” explained Barnard. “Just like Google benefited from the simultaneous combination of improved technology, better algorithms and masses of data, we are seeing the same.” Via Wired Images via Plenty and Depositphotos

More:
Agtech start-up Plenty plans to grow hydroponic peaches

Airbus wants to harpoon a satellite and bring it back to Earth

March 19, 2018 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Airbus wants to harpoon a satellite and bring it back to Earth

The aeronautics company Airbus is currently testing a three-foot harpoon they hope will catch the nonfunctional satellite Envisat and pull it back to Earth. This particular proposal may also address the rising problem of space debris. “If we can design a harpoon that can cope with Envisat, then it should be able to cope with all other types of spacecraft including the many rocket upper-stages that remain in orbit,” project engineer Alastair Wayman told the BBC . Prior to launch, the harpoons are being tested by being shot at high speeds into various materials that are used to build satellites. “The harpoon goes through these panels like a hot knife through butter ,” said Wayman. “Once the tip is inside, it has a set of barbs that open up and stop the harpoon from coming back out. We’d then de-tumble the satellite with a tether on the other end.” In the end, the ancient technology of the harpoon may prove more effective than robotic arms in space. “Many of these targets will be tumbling and if you were to use a robotic arm, say, that involves a lot of quite complex motions to follow your target,” explained Wayman.”Whereas, with the harpoon, all you have to do is sit a distance away, wait for the target to rotate underneath you, and at the right moment fire your harpoon. And because it’s a really quick event, it takes out a lot of the complexity.” Related: Space Scientists Develop Harpoon System to Capture Rogue Satellites and Clean up Space Junk Prior to its sudden death in 2012, Envisat, operated by the European Space Agency (ESA), was the world’s largest civilian Earth observation satellite. The ESA hopes to bring it back home, starting with a scaled-down harpoon expedition known as the RemoveDEBRIS Mission. The RemoveDEBRIS demo satellite will bring its own debris into space, then attempt to catch it. This experiment will also test a net-based system. Via BBC Images via European Space Agency and  RemoveDEBRIS Mission

The rest is here: 
Airbus wants to harpoon a satellite and bring it back to Earth

Scientists create protein-packed mats that fight pollution

March 19, 2018 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Scientists create protein-packed mats that fight pollution

Researchers have created a mat composed of active proteins that have the ability to absorb chemical pollution. In a study published in Science , scientists document how they successfully extracted an active protein from a cell without killing the former — a breakthrough that could pave the way to a new class of pollution-fighting technology. “We think we’ve cracked the code for interfacing natural and synthetic systems,” study author and professor at the University of California , Berkeley Ting Xu told Futurity . Previous attempts to remove proteins from their native environments without harming or killing them were marked by limited progress. The research team observed trends in sequences and surfaces before developing a synthetic polymer that is ideal for hosting proteins. “Proteins have very well-defined statistical pattern, so if you can mimic that pattern, then you can marry the synthetic and natural systems, which allows us to make these materials,” study first author  Brian Panganiban told Futurity . The team conducted advanced molecular simulations to ensure their polymer would effectively serve the protein’s needs. Related: Researchers shocked to discover protein that conducts electricity The experiment received funding from the United States Department of Defense, which is specifically interested in the technology’s bio-remediation potential against chemical pollution . The end result is capable of degrading insecticides and weaponized chemicals. Given its effectiveness, this bio-technology may soon be used in war zones and other contaminated areas to clean-up the mess that humanity has made. This technology can also be customized to meet the needs of a particular mess. Xu believes that his team’s approach could be used with other enzymes, which could someday lead to the creation of portable chemistry labs capable of responding effectively in the field to varied environmental challenges. Via Futurity Images via Deposit Photos , Christopher DelRe and Charley Huang/UC Berkeley

View original here: 
Scientists create protein-packed mats that fight pollution

Less fertilizer, greater crop yields, and more money: China’s agricultural breakthrough

March 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Less fertilizer, greater crop yields, and more money: China’s agricultural breakthrough

Nearly 21 million farmers in 452 counties across China have adopted recommendations from scientists in a 10-year agriculture sustainability study to reduce fertilizer use. According to a Nature news article , their efforts are paying off: all told, the farmers are now around $12.2 billion better off than they were before. 46 scientists, led by Cui Zhenling of China Agricultural University , were part of the landmark study aiming to cut fertilizer use. Chinese farmers use around four times the global average of nitrogen without lowering yields, which has myriad environmental consequences. The researchers conducted 13,123 field studies between 2005 and 2015 all across China at wheat, rice, and corn farms, testing “how yields varied with different crop varieties, planing times, planing densities, fertilizer, and water use. They also measured sunlight and the effect of the climate on farm production,” according to Nature . Related: China subverts pollution with contained vertical farms — and boosts yield The scientists came up with tailored advice for farmers depending on conditions in their location. Nature gave northeast China rice farms as an example: there the researchers suggested farmers cut overall nitrogen use by around 20 percent. They said farmers could plant seeds closer together and increase nitrogen applied late in a growing season. Between 2006 and 2015, millions of farmers adopted the suggestions, and the scientists held around 14,000 workshops and outreach programs. Cui said, “The [farmers] were skeptical, but we gained their trust, and then they depended on us — that was our greatest reward.” That trust seemed to pay off: according to the China Agricultural University’s press release , the practices “increased grain production by 33 million tons, reduced nitrogen fertilizer use by 1.2 million tons, and increased income by 79.3 billion yuan.” Some researchers think the lessons learned in the $54 million project may not translate easily in other countries. University of Leeds scientist Leslie Firbank told Nature , “It would clearly have benefits across sub-Saharan Africa, but an approach is needed that crosses borders, organizations, and funders.” Nature published the study online earlier in March. + Nature + China Agricultural University Via Nature News Images via Depositphotos and Wikimedia Commons

Read more here:
Less fertilizer, greater crop yields, and more money: China’s agricultural breakthrough

Conservationists rid Florida of invasive iguanas by smashing their heads

March 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Conservationists rid Florida of invasive iguanas by smashing their heads

Invasive iguana populations have soared in Florida , and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission launched a $63,000 research project to figure out the best way to get rid of the lizards . But the Sun Sentinel and Gizmodo reported some people are taking issue with one method: that of smashing in the iguanas’ heads. Iguanas can impact native wildlife and plants and irritate homeowners, according to commission spokesperson Carli Segelson. Gizmodo said many residents of Florida consider the reptiles pests, akin to rats. A 15-person University of Florida team, whose work is part of the commission’s project, is tackling the problem with methods like a captive bolt gun or bashing the reptiles’ heads against solid objects, including a boat and truck they’re traveling in to track the creatures down, according to the Sun Sentinel. Wildlife biologist Jenny Ketterlin said their methods are compatible with Florida’s anti-cruelty laws, and that destroying the iguanas’ brains rapidly is the most humane method of killing them. The team has taken out 249 iguanas near a canal over three months, and have spurned other extermination techniques on the grounds they’re inefficient, not safe, unproven, or crueler. Related: It’s so cold that frozen iguanas are falling off trees in Florida Some people don’t like the sound of smashing in iguanas’ heads. The Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy executive director Lori Marino described the method as appalling; veterinarian Susan Kelleher said it’s cruel and a kinder method of killing the iguanas would be sedating and euthanizing them. Gizmodo said this is a complicated situation. They spoke with iguana expert Joe Wasilewski who said he did cringe when he heard about iguana heads bashed in, but that this method is one of the better options we have. “In less than a second these lizards go from being cognizant to completely dead. Is that cruel?” he told Gizmodo. “Look, we kill millions upon millions of rats and cockroaches every year. The last thing I want to do is harm one. I’ve spent my whole career trying to improve their island habitats, but the sheer number of iguanas is exploding — it’s a situation that’s not getting better any time soon.” Via the Sun Sentinel and Gizmodo Images via Depositphotos and Skye am i/Wikimedia Commons

See original here: 
Conservationists rid Florida of invasive iguanas by smashing their heads

Simple genetic modification causes crops to need 25% less water

March 9, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Simple genetic modification causes crops to need 25% less water

Scientists have discovered that a simple genetic modification may result in crops needing up to 25 percent less water than unaltered plants to produce the same yield. An international team led by scientists at the University of Illinois identified a specific protein called Photosystem II Subunit S (PsbS), which can be altered to encourage a plant to partially close its stomata, the small pores that facilitate gas exchange between plants and their environment. The scientists hypothesized that the closing of stomata would allow plants to retain more water without sacrificing its need for carbon dioxide, the atmospheric concentration of which has increased by 25 percent in less than a century. Stephen Long, study co-author and director of Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE), the international research project behind the study, said in a statement: “Evolution has not kept pace with this rapid change, so scientists have given it a helping hand”. As the world adapts to climate change , less water-intensive crops could be a game changer. “This is a major breakthrough,” explained Long. “Crop yields have steadily improved over the past 60 years, but the amount of water required to produce one ton of grain remains unchanged—which led most to assume that this factor could not change. Proving that our theory works in practice should open the door to much more research and development to achieve this all-important goal for the future.” Related: How fungi made Earth’s atmosphere livable – new study Approximately 90 percent of the world’s freshwater supply is used for agricultural purposes. As populations grow and resources become strained, more efficient plants could be a simple yet effective tool to sustain healthy communities. The research team published their positive results on the modification of a tobacco plant; their next step is to do the same for food crops. “Making crop plants more water-use efficient is arguably the greatest challenge for current and future plant scientists,” said study co-author Johannes Kromdijk in a statement . “Our results show that increased PsbS expression allows crop plants to be more conservative with water use, which we think will help to better distribute available water resources over the duration of the growing season and keep the crop more productive during dry spells .” Via New Atlas Images via University of Illinois

View original post here: 
Simple genetic modification causes crops to need 25% less water

World’s first rechargeable proton battery requires zero lithium

March 9, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on World’s first rechargeable proton battery requires zero lithium

Scientists have created the world’s first working rechargeable proton battery . Designed as an environmentally friendly alternative to lithium ion batteries , it could even store more energy — with further development. Lead researcher John Andrews, professor at RMIT University , said in a statement , “Our latest advance is a crucial step towards cheap, sustainable proton batteries that can help meet our future energy needs without further damaging our already fragile environment .” The proton battery relies on water and carbon, instead of lithium. According to The Guardian , it’s a small-scale prototype that has potential to compete with lithium ion batteries that help us use renewable energy to power homes and cars. RMIT also said when scaled up, proton battery technology could be utilized for “medium-scale storage on electricity grids ,” pointing specifically to the giant South Australia energy storage project as an example. Related: New paper batteries can be discarded with zero ecological impact The working prototype utilizes “a carbon electrode as a hydrogen store, coupled with a reversible fuel cell to produce electricity ,” according to RMIT. Proton batteries could be more environmentally friendly, cheaper, and store more energy than lithium ion ones thanks to the carbon electrode and protons from water, according to Andrews. He told The Guardian this new technology, which could be commercially available in five to 10 years, would potentially compete with Tesla’s Powerwall . He said in the statement, “Future work will now focus on further improving performance and energy density through use of atomically-thin layered carbon-based materials such as graphene , with the target of a proton battery that is truly competitive with lithium ion batteries firmly in sight.” The International Journal of Hydrogen Energy made the corrected proof of an article on the research available online earlier this month. Along with three scientists from RMIT, an engineer from Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology in India contributed. + RMIT University + International Journal of Hydrogen Energy Via The Guardian Images via RMIT University

Here is the original post: 
World’s first rechargeable proton battery requires zero lithium

EvoWheel converts almost any bicycle into an electric bike in just 30 seconds

March 9, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on EvoWheel converts almost any bicycle into an electric bike in just 30 seconds

Ready to give your old cruiser a swanky electric makeover? The innovative EvoWheel turns almost any old regular bike into a speedy e-bike in under 30 seconds. The brilliant design, which just launched a fund-raising campaign on Indiegogo, is an app-controlled wheel that gives regular bikes a speed boost up to 20 mph. The EvoWheel design is incredibly user-friendly in terms of installation. With just a wrench, bicyclists just have to replace the bike’s regular front wheel with EvoWheel. Available in six different sizes (20, 24, 26, 27.5, 29 and 700C) the EvoWheel’s various models fit over 95% of all bikes. Related: Swap-in wheel converts any bike into an electric within 60 seconds The wheel weighs 16 pounds and comes with an application that lets you customize your riding style. There are various riding modes that can be used to optimize your workout or commute, or just to get a more enjoyable ride while cruising around the park. The wheel’s built-in algorithm takes into consideration rider’s weight, speed, and bike size to ensure the smoothest experience possible. The app also records riding habits and can make adjustments on the fly. For those that want to ride without looking at their phones , the setup comes with a bike-mountable display monitor that is Bluetooth compatible. The display shows riding speed, power output, battery level as well as total riding distance and time. + EvoWheel Indiegogo Images via EvoWheel

Read more:
EvoWheel converts almost any bicycle into an electric bike in just 30 seconds

Two men build a floating "Fatberg" in Amsterdam

March 9, 2018 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Two men build a floating "Fatberg" in Amsterdam

Friends Mike Thompson and Arne Hendriks have created a floating island made of fat, a “ Fatberg ” as they call it. With a current weight of over a metric ton, the car-sized Fatberg began as one drop of fat in a glass of water in 2014. Today, the Amsterdam sight is one to behold, and Thompson and Hendriks hope to someday pull it to the North Pole. Why? The Fatberg is part art-project, part political-statement, part ridiculous-human-experiment. “Basically we’re doing this because fat is a very interesting material—it’s probably the most iconic material of time,” Hendriks told Gizmodo . “It’s organic, but it speaks about energy. It speaks about health. It speaks about over-consumption. It speaks about beauty.” The Fatberg in Amsterdam is not related to the fatberg discovered clogging the sewers beneath the streets of London in 2013. London’s fatberg was a product of improper waste disposal, with fat and grease congealing in the underworld. Amsterdam’s Fatberg is a deliberate creation, composed of various animal and plant-based fats. Its creators hope to someday add human fat, sourced from post-liposuction donations, though this remains an artist’s dream at the moment. Related: Boston man crosses harbor in a pumpkin boat To create the Fatberg, Thompson and Hendriks cut their collected solid fat, boil it into a sludge, then pour it on their creation, which floats at its own dock. Although it is not yet strong enough to carry a human, it does seem to have provided a habitat and food source for seagulls. To this end, Thompson sees the Fatberg as serving a practical purpose. “We’re talking about a floating energy reserve,” Thompson said. “We can maybe replace these melting icebergs with this floating energy reserve that allows us to store energy for times ahead. Because who knows what the future holds.” Via Gizmodo Images via Fatberg

Original post:
Two men build a floating "Fatberg" in Amsterdam

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 4120 access attempts in the last 7 days.