carbon dioxide
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Converting excess carbon dioxide into organic molecules

Converting excess carbon dioxide into organic molecules

 

Since the Industrial Revolution, CO2 emissions have been consistently rising with analysts estimating that total global carbon dioxide emissions reached 40.6 billion tonnes in 2022. Scientists and engineers are not only looking for green alternatives to help reduce emissions, but also ways to utilise the excess carbon dioxide available. A team of researchers from Cornell University has used electrochemistry to convert carbon dioxide into a series of organic molecules that are vital to pharmaceutical development. More…

biodegradable circuit boards
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The fight against electronic waste: Biodegradable circuit boards

The fight against electronic waste: Biodegradable circuit boards

With electronics being such an integral part of modern society, the problem of how to properly dispose of or recycle these needs to be addressed. E-waste often comprises of products with a battery or plug and features toxic substances such as mercury, posing severe risks to human and environmental health. Researchers have been exploring ways to make various electronics and their components more eco-friendly. One team of researchers funded by the National Science Foundation and published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, has innovated ground-breaking biodegradable circuit boards that hope to solve the growing problem of e-waste and pave the way for future, fully disposable electronics. More…

body heat energy
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Body heat: The latest source of renewable energy?

Body heat: The latest source of renewable energy?

 

The COP27 in Egypt is well underway bringing with it an important reminder of the growing necessity to reduce CO2 emissions to help tackle climate change. Renewable Energy isn’t a new topic; however, the energy crisis seems to have pushed people and businesses to think of more innovative ways to foster clean energy, move away from fossil fuels and reduce CO2 emissions. One music venue in Glasgow, SWG3, has recently switched on a system that creates renewable energy from the body heat of people on its dancefloor. Using body heat as an energy source isn’t a new concept but this is the first time it has been implemented to power a building using solely clean energy. More…

crab shell
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Renewable battery from crustacean shells

Renewable battery from crustacean shells

 

As the world transitions towards deploying green energy solutions and electric vehicles, batteries are becoming a vital storage tool, necessary to facilitate the energy transition. However, the chemicals used in conventional batteries such as lithium-ion can take hundreds or thousands of years to break down and are often corrosive and flammable. Consumer gadget batteries have been known to catch fire on aircrafts or caused fires in waste and recycling sites. Moving away from fossil fuels isn’t enough, the batteries used for green technology also need to be eco-friendly. To solve this problem, a team of researchers from the University of Maryland’s Center for Materials Innovation, led by Liangbing Hu, have developed a renewable zinc battery that uses an electrolyte extracted from crustacean shells. More…

solar panels
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Transparent solar panels: The future of solar energy?

Transparent solar panels: The future of solar energy?

Energy is the pulse of our day-to-day life and how we create and use it is changing rapidly. One thing is certain, to limit global warming we need to move away from fossil fuels altogether and embrace sustainable energy sources. Solar power technologies have been developing for decades, and modern solar power could now become a viable alternative to fossil fuels, but it doesn’t come without its flaws. Solar panels can only be placed at certain angles on buildings, significantly reducing the amount that can be installed in towns and cities. There are also concerns that solar farms can affect biodiversity and farmland and natural habitats need to be safeguarded. But what if these limitations in built up areas were removed? Scientists have been developing transparent solar panels that could be the answer to these issues...  More…

air pollution
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Innovations helping to tackle air pollution

Innovations helping to tackle air pollution

 

In 2019, the United Nations General Assembly designated the 7th of September as the International Day of Clean Air for blue skies. The aim is to stress the importance of and urgent need to raise public awareness and to promote and facilitate actions to improve air quality. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) 99% of the world’s population is now breathing polluted air, 7 million people die each year due to air pollution and it is one of the main avoidable causes of death and disease globally. To tackle this, innovators have been developing technologies to help improve the air we breathe. More…

plant-based food
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Top plant-based food innovations

Top plant-based food innovations

 

With the rise of veganism and evidence that meat and animal products significantly contribute to CO2 emissions, consumers are demanding more and more plant-based products. Plant-based food innovations have exploded in recent years, diversifying the range of products already available, improving their quality and providing consumers with more choice. In this infographic we explore some of the top plant-based innovations already available to consumers and those that are still under development. You can view the relevant patents mentioned in PatBase by clicking here. More…

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Can patents help save the environment?

Can patents help save the environment?

 

Ever since 1421 when the very first patent was recorded in Florence, patents and their protected inventions have helped shape the modern world we live in today. Patents protect inventions, granting their owners exclusive rights over them for a period of time and allowing them to reap financial rewards. They have supported technological and economical advancements, as well as helping to solve problems through innovation. More…

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Green hydrogen: the future of energy?

Green hydrogen: the future of energy?

 

Modern society relies heavily on electricity and requires an increasing number of watts to function. The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicted in their 2019 report that global energy demand will increase between 25% and 30% by 2040. Considering how reliant we are on oil and coal, this would increase CO2 emissions thus exacerbating climate change. With this in mind, innovators are turning their attention to more sustainable and environmentally friendly solutions such as green hydrogen. The new German Ambassador to the UK, Miguel Berger, who was previously the State Secretary of the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin, stated at the Hydrogen for Life 2022 conference that it is crucial we speed up the efficiency of renewable energy, including hydrogen in order to move away from fossil fuels. He also spoke about the potential for Germany and the UK to work together in this area to develop and implement new, innovative solutions more quickly. Let’s take a closer look at what green hydrogen is and the different areas of innovation. More…

blockchain
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The blockchain boom: A cause for
celebration or concern?

Since its conception in 2008, blockchain technology has developed consistently over the years. This is especially true in recent years with a record 9,973 global patents related to blockchain filed in the past year, up from 3,810 two years earlier according to new research carried out by law firm Mathys & Squire*. This fast development has raised growing concerns over the sustainability of blockchain technology due to the amount of energy needed to operate the servers, as well as the significant amount of electronic waste (e-waste) generated. The rush to secure new commercial applications of blockchain has pushed R&D in this space, with a particular focus on new uses for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and attempts to make the technology less carbon intensive. So, what are the environmental concerns that surround blockchain and what can be done to address these? Are there other possible applications for blockchain technology that could help eliminate ethical and sustainability issues in other industries? More…