A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

Enjoy our special posts in the fields of Earth & Planetary Sciences (EPS Blog) and Social Sciences & Arts (SSA Blog)

A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

Waste not, want watts – turning waste into energy

Credit: Gettyimages

There is no waste, there is energy

The race is on to reuse waste as energy in the most effective way possible. Combined heat and power is an old idea for saving fuel with a new imperative to slash emissions. Innovative furnaces based on biofuel systems will generate heat and power from waste materials with near-complete efficiency and very low emissions.

The old mantra of waste not, want not, goes for energy as well as food. The less energy we waste, the lower will be our carbon emissions.


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Method reduces plastic bottles to basic components suitable for reuse

Credit: Radulf del Maresme

Metal-organic framework used to degrade plastics

Discarded plastic bottles abound. Simple and effective methods to recycle, repurpose or reuse the omnipresent debris do not. Chemists at Northwestern University, partially supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation, have demonstrated that a new material referred to as a metal-organic framework -- or MOF -- can function as a stable and selective catalyst for breaking down polyester-based plastic into terephthalic acid, a chemical used in manufacturing. The method requires nothing more than the plastic debris, hydrogen and the MOF catalyst.

"We can do a lot better than starting from scratch when making plastic bottles," said Omar Farha, corresponding author of the study. "Our process is much cleaner."

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Water and sunlight convert single-use plastic bags into dissolved compounds

Credit: Water and sunlight convert single-use plastic bags into dissolved compounds, scientists discovered. Wikimedia Commons

Additives used in manufacturing accelerate breakdown

Researchers supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation studied how components in plastic bags decompose during exposure to sunlight while in water. Their findings are published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Once plastic pollution gets into the environment, its fate is still largely unknown, especially in aquatic ecosystems. Some plastic items, such as polyethylene shopping bags, float in water, which exposes them directly to the sun's rays.

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SSA Recent Posts

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Social Sciences & Arts (SSA)
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Social Sciences & Arts (SSA)
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