Consumer Sovereignty and the Apocalypse-proof Dream

Dreaming tiny dreams has become a favorite pastime in the past five or 10 years.  The “tiny house movement” is gaining greater traction as ever more people choose to downsize for economic or ecological reasons. A small house, usually being defined as one offering less than 400 sq ft of space, offers a stimulating challenge about living … Read more

Biomass Fuels Breakthrough

Ethanol is but one of the products the bacterium can be taught to produce. Others include butanol and isobutanol (transportation fuels comparable to ethanol), as well as other fuels and chemicals-using biomass as an alternative to petroleum. Janet Westpheling, a professor in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences department of genetics, and her team … Read more

Biomass Conversion to Jet Fuel

Lignocellulose, a raw material in biomass, can be converted to biofuels and is often considered a long-term alternative to the diminishing supply of fossil fuels. The conversion process involves biomass pretreatment, hydrolysis of constituent carbohydrates and catalytic conversion of platform chemicals. Proposed strategies to convert lignocellulose to aviation fuels have underused components, preventing their commercialization. … Read more

Completely New Means of Generating Electricity

A new means of generating electricity, one that utilizes bacteria to harness the energy of evaporating water, has been created by researchers from the Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. The method could potentially be used to capture the energy released by ponds, harbors, and other bodies of water when the Sun … Read more

A Place of Warmth for a Continuously Productive Garden

An affordable and effective alternative to glass greenhouses is the walipini (an Aymara Indian word for a “place of warmth”). Also known as an underground or pit greenhouse, it was first developed over 20 years ago for the cold mountainous regions of South America, this method allows growers to maintain a productive garden year-round, even in … Read more

Seed Banking

The vault will have dual-blast proof doors, motion sensors, two airlocks, and walls reinforced with meter-thick concrete. Inside will be stored more than 3 million varieties of seed. The Norwegian government says the seeds are being stored, ‘so that crop diversity can be conserved for the future.’ Participating in this project, aside from the Norwegians, … Read more

Control Biodiversity — Control the Future of Food and Bio-fuels

Because of the insidious way in which it works, it has been sold as a relatively benign replacement for the devastating earlier dioxin-based herbicides. But a barrage of experimental data has now shown glyphosate and the GMO foods incorporating it to pose serious dangers to health. Compounding the risk is the toxicity of “inert” ingredients … Read more

Collapsable Photobioreactor

“We scaled up our novel photobioreactor design and conducted independent functionality tests that confirmed the unit’s robustness,” said Proterro CEO Kef Kasdin. “The modular photobioreactors, which are made from off-the-shelf materials, including polyethylene, can withstand category 1 hurricane winds,” she explained, adding, “Because of the materials used and the innovative design, we also have been … Read more

Gardens in Space

Sustaining Life with micro-algae and flat panel reactors. This is where so-called life-sustaining circulatory systems come into play. Already, on the International Space Station (ISS), researchers have started reconstituting all kinds of things. But the ISS has it easy: it’s relatively close to Earth. Several times a year it receives fresh provisions of food and … Read more

Building with Bioreactor Facade

An experimental apartment building in Hamburg, Germany is harnessing the power of the sun to generate power, but not in the way you expect. Photovoltaic cells are totally yesterdays news — the BIQ building gathers power using a bioreactor façade packed full of microalgae. Large clear panels on the front of the building are where … Read more