Breakthrough polymer could lead to ‘infinitely’ recyclable plastics

April 27, 2018 by  
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Even though we’re aware of the environmentally damaging effects of plastic , many people still use the material because it’s long-lasting, convenient, and inexpensive – but plastic can only be recycled a few times. Four Colorado State University chemists just made a breakthrough that could allow for a plastic-like material that’s completely recyclable . They discovered a new polymer that could be infinitely recycled without intensive procedures in a laboratory or using toxic chemicals. The infinitely recyclable polymer is strong, heat-resistant, durable, and lightweight. Its discovery marks a major step towards materials that are sustainable and waste-free, according to Colorado State University — and could compete with polluting plastic in the future. Related: Scientists accidentally create mutant enzyme that chomps plastic for lunch Polymers are characterized by chains of chemically bonded molecules called monomers. The university said in this new research, which builds on a chemically recyclable polymer demonstrated by the laboratory of chemistry professor Eugene Chen in 2015, a monomer can be polymerized in environmentally friendly conditions: “solvent-free, at room temperature, with just a few minutes of reaction time and only a trace amount of catalyst.” The material created in this process possesses mechanical properties “that perform very much like a plastic.” The polymer can be recycled to its original state in what the university described as mild laboratory conditions, with a catalyst. With this breakthrough, published this week in the journal Science , the scientists envision a future with green plastics that can be “simply placed in a reactor and, in chemical parlance, de-polymerized to recover their value — not possible for today’s petroleum plastics.” This would bring the material back to its chemical starting point, so it could be utilized again and again and again. Chen said in the statement, “The polymers can be chemically recycled and reused, in principle, infinitely.” What’s next for the team? Chen emphasized this polymer technology has solely been demonstrated at the academic laboratory scale, and more research is necessary to polish the patent-pending processes of monomer and polymer production. The chemists do have a seed grant from CSU Ventures , and Chen said, “It would be our dream to see this chemically recyclable polymer technology materialize in the marketplace.” + Colorado State University + Science Images via Colorado State University and Depositphotos

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Breakthrough polymer could lead to ‘infinitely’ recyclable plastics

Google Street View cars are helping scientists spot methane leaks

March 23, 2017 by  
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The Google fleet has been mapping cities around the world for years, making navigation easier for travelers. Now they have an important new responsibility: Google Street View cars will seek out natural gas leaks in urban areas. The data will not only help cities protect citizens from potentially harmful gas leaks, but also help cut accidental greenhouse gas emissions. The project was outlined in a new paper published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology . It’s a collaborative effort between Colorado State University researchers, the Environmental Defense Fund , and Google that involves attaching methane sensors to Google Street View cars. Related: Google Street View takes you inside the fiery depths of an active volcano The cars have been outfitted with special infrared lasers that can detect the amount of methane in the surrounding air in real time. Experiments found that the sensors had a range of about 65 feet, more than enough to detect leaks in urban settings where pipelines run beneath or near public streets. So far, the cars have found that there may be many more methane leaks in America’s major cities than previously believed. Cities with more modern pipelines were far less likely to have leaks, while Boston —the worst offender—was found to have thousands of leaks, resulting in a loss of about 1,300 tons of gas per year. Related: House Republicans move to make methane pollution great again While these aren’t necessarily a threat to public health or safety as long as the leaks are outdoors and natural gas can’t build up to explosive levels, they can wreak havoc on the atmosphere. Methane is far more potent than carbon dioxide, and leaks could seriously accelerate climate change if they aren’t addressed. Via The Washington Post Images via Wikipedia

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Google Street View cars are helping scientists spot methane leaks

Poachers Killed 100,000 Elephants in 3 Years Due to Skyrocketing Ivory Demand

August 20, 2014 by  
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Africa is experiencing a huge spike in elephant deaths due rising demand for ivory in China and other Asian nations. A new study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals that poachers killed an estimated 100,000 elephants across Africa between 2010 and 2012. A decade ago 25% of all elephant deaths were due to illegal killings, however that figure has risen to 65% today – and if it continues it will lead to extinction of the species. Read the rest of Poachers Killed 100,000 Elephants in 3 Years Due to Skyrocketing Ivory Demand Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: botswana , china , china demand for ivory , chinese embassy in kenya , Colorado State University , East africa , elephant deaths , elephants , george wittemyer , iain douglas-hamilton , illegal ivory trade , illegally killing elephants , kenya , kenya wildlife service , liu xianfa , monitoring the illegal killings of elephants , poaching , Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , save the elephants , selous game reserve , South Africa , tanzania

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Poachers Killed 100,000 Elephants in 3 Years Due to Skyrocketing Ivory Demand

Weather Researchers Say Global Warming Could Point Future Superstorms Away From New York

September 4, 2013 by  
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Believe it or not, climate change could actually  save New York City from getting hit by another devastating superstorm like Hurricane Sandy . But that doesn’t mean that New York will be completely safe. Read on for more details on this double-edged sword and how researchers think global warming is going to impact future hurricane seasons on the east coast. READ MORE > Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Climate Change , Colorado State University , Columbia University , flooding , global warming , greenhouse gas , Hurricane Sandy , hurricanes , Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory , new york city , New York. , rising seas , Severe Weather Patters , storm surge , superstorms , Worsening environment        

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Weather Researchers Say Global Warming Could Point Future Superstorms Away From New York

Growing Trees from Seeds: Which Work, Which Won’t

September 4, 2013 by  
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If there are any trees in your area, you may have noticed that a couple of major changes come over them at the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. Branches end up laden with fruit, nuts, seed pods, and cones in preparation for seeding the next generation of trees. These majestic beings have been self-propagating for hundreds of thousands of years, but what if we’d like to harness some of that growing power to start our own food-bearing trees? Read the rest of Growing Trees from Seeds: Which Work, Which Won’t Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: apple , avocado , cherry , chestnut , food security , fruit , fruit trees , Gardening , hazelnut , lemon , moringa , moringa tree , nut trees , nuts , sustainable food , tree seeds , Trees , Urban Farming        

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Growing Trees from Seeds: Which Work, Which Won’t

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