Sci/tech

Take biofuel crops off the land and grow them at sea
June 6, 2008 09:47 AM - , SciDevNet

The environmental and social costs of producing biofuels on land can be avoided by farming seaweed, says Ricardo Radulovich. The dream of tackling climate change with biofuels has been tarnished by the rush to produce them on land.

Toyota develops improved hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle
June 6, 2008 08:49 AM - Reuters

Toyota Motor Corp said on Friday it has developed an advanced fuel-cell vehicle that can run for 830 km (516 miles) on a single tank of hydrogen and in temperatures as low as 30 degrees Celsius below freezing (-22 F). The zero-emission FCHV-adv will be leased to government agencies, among other possible users, in Japan starting later this year, a spokeswoman said.

Th!nk City: "The iPod Car for the Google Generation"
June 5, 2008 09:45 AM - , Triple Pundit

As the cost of oil continues to soar, and as big names like GM and Ford plan to focus production on smaller, more fuel-efficient cars, Norway’s Th!nk City car couldn’t be entering the US at a more opportune time. The Th!nk City is a compact, electric car capable of going up to 100 km/hr (approx 62 mph) and travel 180 km (approx 112 mi) on a single charge.

GMOs Will Only Make the Global Food Crisis Worse
June 5, 2008 09:30 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

In 1994, I met some of the most remarkable leaders in the Third World: Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabher (Institute of Sustainable Development, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia), Martin Khor (Third World Network, Penang, Malaysia), and Vandana Shiva (Navdanya, New Delhi, India), who persuaded me to look into genetically modified organisms (GMOs), especially GM crops, which they rightly saw as a special threat to small family farmers.

New wireless sensor network keeps tabs on the environment
June 5, 2008 09:24 AM - University of Alberta

Have you ever wondered what happens in the rainforest when no one is looking? Research in the University of Alberta's Faculty of Science may soon be able to answer that question. The departments of computing science and earth and atmospheric science have been working together to create a Wireless Sensor Network that allows for the clandestine data collection of environmental factors in remote locations and its monitoring from anywhere in the world where the Internet is available.

Flying High on Algae - KLM Tests Algae-Based Kerosene for Airplane Fuel
June 5, 2008 09:07 AM - , Triple Pundit

Dovetailing nicely into my post last week about the work GreenFuel is doing with algae and their emissions-to-fuel process, air carrier KLM reported last week their intention to begin testing airplanes that run on an algae-based fuel. In a pilot program with AlgaeLink, a Netherlands-based global manufacturer of algae growing equipment and “earth-to-engine” technology, KLM expects to conduct test flights this fall. AlgaeLink will also open two plants this year in the Netherlands and Spain.

Electricity from the exhaust pipe
June 4, 2008 10:02 AM - fraunhofer.de

Researchers are working on a thermoelectric generator that converts the heat from car exhaust fumes into electricity. The module feeds the energy into the car’s electronic systems. This cuts fuel consumption and helps reduce the CO2 emissions from motor vehicles.

New Zealand Bird Outwits Alien Predators
June 4, 2008 09:39 AM - Public Library of Science

New research led by Dr Melanie Massaro and Dr Jim Briskie at the University of Canterbury, which found that the New Zealand bellbird is capable of changing its nesting behaviour to protect itself from predators, could be good news for island birds around the world at risk of extinction.

A new satellite remote sensing tool for improving agricultural land use observation
June 4, 2008 09:31 AM - Institut de Recherche Pour le Developpement

FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) data indicate that annually 2500 km3 of freshwater are used for agricultural production, which amounts to 70% of the water resources the whole of humanity consumes in a year. With the global population continuing to grow at a high pace, it is essential to optimize the use of water resources and to increase agricultural production in view of the prospect of having to feed 8 billion humans in 2030. Scientists have for many years been using remote-sensing satellite observations to improve water balance and farming yield assessment on large geographical scales (at the level of irrigated agriculture areas, catchment basins and so on).

Climate change could impact vital functions of microbes
June 3, 2008 09:12 AM - American Society for Microbiology

Global climate change will not only impact plants and animals but will also affect bacteria, fungi and other microbial populations that perform a myriad of functions important to life on earth. It is not entirely certain what those effects will be, but they could be significant and will probably not be good, say researchers today at a scientific meeting in Boston.

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