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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle *

The most effective way to reduce waste is to not create it in the first place. Making a new product requires a lot of materials and energy: raw materials must be extracted from the earth, and the product must be fabricated and then transported to wherever it will be sold. As a result, reduction and reuse are the most effective ways you can save natural resources, protect the environment, and save money.

Benefits of Reducing and Reusing:
* Prevents pollution caused by reducing the need to harvest new raw materials;
* Saves energy;
* Reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change;
* Helps sustain the environment for future generations;
* Saves money;
* Reduces the amount of waste that will need to be recycled or sent to landfills and incinerators;
* Allows products to be used to their fullest extent.

Monitoring Water Pollution With Robotic Fish

Soon, the water in Gijon, a harbor in Northern Spain will be monitored by robotic, battery-powered fish. These mechanical, articulating sea creatures were designed and tested by the Robotics Department at the University of Essex. At a cost of $3.6 million, through a European Union grant, these fish will test the water for oxygen levels, detect oil slicks and other contaminants pumped into the water. This is the first monitoring program of it’s kind, and the retrieved data could be very important, with implications for global warming and the state of our water sources.

Researchers at Essex have been testing out their fish prototypes in a special tank at the London Aquarium since 2005. Visitors have been wowed by the incredible ability of the robots to move just like a fish does. As Rory Doyle, a researcher on the project, says, “The design of fish which nature has produced is a very energy-efficient one. The fish’s efficiency is created by hundreds of millions of years’ of evolution. Submarines come nowhere near it.” This efficiency in movement will allow the robot to have a longer battery life and collect more data.

Solar systems (water heaters) - design and performance

Thermosyphon systems design and performance
The passive or thermosyphon systems rely on the natural circulation of water between the collector and the tank, or the heat exchanger in the tank. As passive systems do not rely on pumps and controllers, they do not require an electrical supply. They naturally modulate the circulation flow rate in phase with the radiation level, and are more reliable and have a longer life than pumped systems. Passive systems can also be built with inherent freeze resistance so they can be used in areas that are subject to extended periods at freezing temperatures.
A thermosyphon system relies on the natural circulation of water between the collector and the tank or heat exchanger. To achieve circulation during the day and to limit reverse circulation at night, the tank must be above the collector. As water in the collector is heated, it rises naturally into the tank, while cooler water in the tank flows down to the bottom of the collector, causing circulation throughout the system. Thermosyphonsystems can be designed with freeze protection devices ranging from dump valves or heaters in the bottom collector header for mild freeze areas, to inherent freeze resistance by using a natural circulation antifreeze closed loop, between the collector and the tank. Typical collector configurations include flat-plates (Figure 1), evacuated tubes (Figure 2) and concentrating collectors (Figure 3).

A Plug-in Emission Monitor For Vehicles

Using the EMO device from Logica, drivers can reduce their vehicle emissions by up to 15 per cent simply by improving the way they drive. Apart from reduced emissions, they also benefit from fuel savings since better driving habits lead to improved vehicle mileage

JULY 2012: Pollution, in particular, vehicular pollution, is a major concern today. There are over 600 million passenger vehicles in the world accounting for thousands of tonnes of carbon emission every single day. However, most of the solutions to combat vehicle pollution, such as electric cars and bio-fuels, require either drastic changes in social infrastructure or major investment from vehicle owners. As a result, their adoption is slow.

Solar Cells Developed From Trees; Can Be Recycled Too!

image from EFY
To date, organic solar cells have been typically fabricated on glass or plastic. Neither is easily recyclable, and petroleum-based substrates are not very eco-friendly.

We have reported about a lot of innovations surrounding solar cells but this one will surely take you by surprise. Georgia Institute of Technology and Purdue University researchers have developed efficient solar cells using natural substrates derived from plants such as trees. What makes the news even more exciting is that the researchers have managed to recycle them in water by fabricating them on cellulose nanocrystal (CNC) substrates. To date, organic solar cells have been typically fabricated on glass or plastic. Neither is easily recyclable, and petroleum-based substrates are not very eco-friendly.