Earth and Energy - New Discoveries, Research, Studies And Breakthroughs

Curious to find out about recent discoveries and breakthroughs related to the earth, our atmosphere, the oceans and our universe?   Interested in the latest research findings on the development and conservation of energy and our natural resources?  Take a look here for the latest news and updates on our earth, the environment and all of its resources.

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Plane Flies From Japan To Hawaii Without Carrying Any Fuel

Swiss aviators Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg are flying around the world in a plane using only solar power, and they have just completed the most challenging leg of the journey. The 4,480 mile trip over the Pacific Ocean required 117 hours and 52 minutes of flying time and broke records in both distance and duration of solar-powered flight.

An Unexpected New Source Of Sustainable Energy: Humidity

Scientists at Columbia University have shown that changes in atmospheric humidity can actually be used to generate minor amounts of electricity – enough to power small gadgets like children’s toys or environmental sensors. The system relies on bacterial spores that swell and shrink in response to changes in moisture. Adhering these spores to a polymer sheet produces what amounts to an artificial muscle that expands and contracts, much like animal muscle, as the moisture in its environment is cycled.

How Do You Contain A Material So Hot It Vaporizes Everything It Touches?

That question is one of the major challenges facing proponents of fusion energy. Fusion power generation attempts to mimic the processes occurring in center of stars by heating atoms to incredibly high temperatures and pressures such that they slam together with enough force to fuse, thereby releasing energy. The problem is that the temperature required to achieve such a reaction is on the order of 150 million degrees Celsius, ten times hotter than the center of the sun and a heat level that no material on Earth can withstand.

Superhydrophobic Surfaces Make Cleaning A Task Of The Past

Have you ever seen a drop of water strike a lotus leaf? It immediately beads up and runs off, taking any dirt particles with it. This self-cleaning functionality is known as the Lotus Effect and is a coveted property for many man-made materials as well. Recently, scientists have reported a new manufacturing technique that allows glass surfaces to be easily endowed with this function. Solar panels are just one example of a technology that will greatly benefit from this discovery.

Much Buzz About Timberland, Pharrell Williams and Bee-Inspired Boots

Boot giant, Timberland and music mogul, Pharrell Williams, have collaborated on the creation of boots inspired by bees. These cool boots are comprised of eco-friendly textiles and recycled plastic bottles. Read on to learn more about this amazng innovative footwear.

Geoengineering Might Be The Last Chance For Coral Reefs

We are all aware of many of the myriad effects of climate change – higher temperatures, rising sea levels, more extreme weather events, but coral bleaching has tended to escape notice despite being one of the most acute problems facing our oceans right now. New research resulting from a worldwide collaboration suggests that we have reached a tipping point and a geoengineering technique called Solar Radiation Management may be the only way to save coral reefs from mass bleaching.

Could Bionic Plants Be The New Solar Cell?

Photosynthesis – the means by which plants are able to convert sunlight and carbon dioxide to useable chemical energy -- is one of the more remarkable natural feats. Scientists have long sought to exploit the process as a method of more efficiently harvesting solar energy, but have so far been thwarted by relatively low efficiencies. Now a research team has found a nanobioengineering technique using carbon nanotubes to dramatically increase light absorption and enhance energy generation by nearly 50%.

Black Silicon Solar Cells Smash Efficiency Record

Scientists in Finland have achieved record-breaking 22.1% photovoltaic efficiency using a nanostructured material known as black silicon. In a field known for progressing in minute steps, this result, which is a full 4% higher than any previous black silicon cell is particularly remarkable and brings this new photovoltaic material very suddenly into the mainstream.

The Joinery of South Africa: Fashion Activism Takes Hold

The Joinery fashion brand stands for sustainable fashion and the belief that everyone can do something to make this a better, greener world. Read on for more on this revoltuionary new program.

Ethical Rainwear For Singing, Dancing and Caring In the Rain

Ghosts of Gene Kelly singing and dancing in the rain no doubt  flutter in Copenhagen, Denmark, where fashion designer, Emma Jorn, has created a line of feminine and bike-friendly rainwear from recycled polyester perfect for life in rainy cities. Read on for more  on this sustainable and fashionable innovation.