Hitachi developing a new reactor that burns nuclear waste


Hitachi’s nuclear-waste burning reactor system

Nuclear waste is a problem because it needs to be stored for thousands of years before it is safe. Hitatchi has partnered with MIT, the University of Michigan, and the University of California, Berkeley, to make this situation a little more manageable. They are working on a new reactor design that uses transuranic nuclear waste for fuel; leaving behind only short-lived radioactive elements.



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New bricks fabricated out of junk we aren’t using


Millions of tons of waste from factories, building sites, and processing facilities are being turned into something besides landfill with a technology that has led researchers to fabricate bricks out of TVs, computers, paper waste, incinerator ash, rubble and other materials that were conventionally considered useless.



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Ending the global food crisis – we just need to make use of what we have

We could double our food supply just by making farming, shipping, and cooking more efficiently.

By 2075 the global population is set to hit 9.5 billion.  It is widely assumed the world will eventually run out of food. According to one UN study, we will need to increase agricultural production 70% by the middle of the century, if we’re to cater to all the expected bellies.



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Microbial home: fuelling the kitchen with methane from waste


Harnessing wast for power.

This concept design for a “microbial home” centered around a methane digester hub that feeds gas from your food into various appliances has a nice, bodgy, Rube Goldberg feel. We can call it methanepunk (not perfect, but better than “fartpunk”)…

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Over Half of Energy in the U.S. is Wasted


This flow chart shows the amount of energy (in quads) that is produced by different energy sources and consumed by different sectors.

This flow chart of the estimated US energy use in 2009, assembled by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), paints a pretty sobering picture of our energy situation. To begin with, it shows that more than half (58%) of the total energy produced in the US is wasted due to inefficiencies, such as waste heat from power plants, vehicles, and light bulbs. In other words, the US has an energy efficiency of 42%. And, despite the numerous reports of progress in solar, wind, and geothermal energy, those three energy sources combined provide just 1.2% of our total energy production. The vast majority of our energy still comes from petroleum (37%), natural gas (25%), and coal (21%).


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New York City’s New Plan to Turn Sewage Into Heat


When you consider that New York City disposes of more water as waste than nearly 70% of the countries in Africa (accounting for over 340 million people) consume, you would hope that they’re doing something useful with it. And they have been. With some of it.


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Super-Yeast Developed That Can Generate Ethanol from Energy Crops and Agricultural Waste


Super-yeast is a significant step toward developing ‘second generation’ biofuels.

A new type of baker’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) has been developed which can efficiently ferment pentose sugars, as found in agricultural waste and hardwoods. Researchers writing in BioMed Central’s open access journal Biotechnology for Biofuels describe the creation of the new S. cerevisiae strain, TMB3130, which demonstrated significantly improved aerobic growth rate and final biomass concentration on sugar media composed of two pentoses, xylose and arabinose.


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The Most Recycled Product in the U.S.


Most recycled product is not what you might expect.

What Can We Learn From This Success?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), only about 1/3 of all waste in the U.S. is recycled or reused. 2/3 are going to landfills or incinerators. Scientific American wondered what product was the most recycled: “It’s not aluminum cans–only half are recycled. Or even office paper, at more than 70 percent. It’s the lead acid batteries from your car. More than 99 percent of such batteries wind up recycled, keeping toxic lead out of landfills and waterways.” That’s a good thing, because there’s an estimated “2.6 million metric tons of lead can be found in the batteries of vehicles on the road today”!


16 Year Old High School Student Discovers Microbe That Eats Plastic

PhDs have been searching for a solution to the plastic waste problem, and this 16-year-old finds the answer.
It’s not your average science fair when the 16-year-old winner manages to solve a global waste crisis. But such was the case at last May’s Canadian Science Fair in Waterloo, Ontario, where Daniel Burd, a high school student at Waterloo Collegiate Institute, presented his research on microorganisms that can rapidly biodegrade plastic.