Environment

  • Building the City of Tomorrow together

    Key Visual_Building the City of Tomorrow  BMBF

    Kick-off event marks start of the BMBF’s international campaign “Shaping the Future – Building the City of Tomorrow”. German research networks are looking for inter-national partners worldwide to join their projects for sustainable urban development.

    Bonn, 9 February 2017 Today there are already more people living in cities than in rural regions. This trend is set to continue.

  • Call for Paper – Panacea Green Infrastructure?

    ILS - Institut für Landes- und Stadtentwicklungsforschung

    The international conference addresses the multiple functions of green infrastructure in the sustainable transformation of cities. It aims to critically reflect the planning and implementation of green infrastructure in cities and regions across Europe. Particular attention is paid to the long-term management of green infrastructure against the background of recent economic trends in spatial development on the one hand, and new approaches of participation and empowerment on the other. Thus, the conference aims to introduce the concept of green infrastructure into political debates based on a critical review of conceptual discussions as well as planning practice.

  • Corrective glass for mass spectrometry imaging

    Custom-built laser source for mass spectrometry imaging: By means of the improved LAESI technique the surface of this coarse piece of savoy cabbage can now be chemically analyzed. Benjamin Bartels / Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology

    Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, have now improved mass spectrometry imaging in such a way that the distribution of molecules can also be visualized on rippled, hairy, bulgy or coarse surfaces. The source of the laser-based technique was custom-built to accommodate the topography of non-flat samples. By employing a distances sensor, a height profile of the surface is recorded before the actual chemical imaging. The new tool can be used for answering ecological questions from a new perspective.

  • Defense mechanism employed by algae can effectively inhibit marine fouling

    Illustration of the mode of action of bioinspired underwater paints: Like the natural enzyme vanadium bromoperoxidase cerium dioxide nanoparticles act as a catalyst for the formation of hypobromous acid from bromide ions (contained in sea water) and small amounts of hydrogen peroxide that are formed upon exposure to sun light yielding reduced biofilm formation. ill./©: Tremel research group, JGU

    Cerium dioxide nanoparticles block communication between bacteria and prevent the formation of biofilms

    Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) have developed a method that reliably hinders hazardous seawater fouling and is effective, affordable, and easy on the environment. Fouling can occur, for example, as the result of the growth of bacteria, algae, or mollusks in harbor facilities, on boat hulls, and aquaculture netting. The resultant damage and consequential costs can be significant. It is estimated that these are equivalent to 200 billion dollars annually in the shipping industry alone.

  • Faculty of Engineering is doing research for the energy transition

    Marius Langwasser, Marco Liserre and Giovanni De Carne work at the Chair of Power Electronics on the ENSURE research project.  Raissa Nickel/CAU

    600,000 Euro project started at Kiel University
    Nicolaus Copernicus established a new world view in the 16th century. Suddenly, the earth was no longer the centre of the universe. Similarly, the energy transition represents a paradigm shift for our society, not only nationally, as Federal Minister of Education and Research, Johanna Wanka emphasised on the occasion of the Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015: “It could establish itself internationally as the guiding principle for ending our use of energy produced from fossil fuels.”

  • Heating and cooling with environmental energy

    The technical centre “Gebäude G” at the Biberach University of Applied Sciences. Different types of TABS are built-in here. The building is used for research and teaching.   © Hochschule Biberach. Institut für Gebäude- und Energiesysteme, Stefan Sättele

    Environmental energy provides an efficient way to supply energy to non-residential buildings such as office and administration buildings, educational and recreational facilities as well as industrial sheds. The buildings can be efficiently heated and cooled using the combined use of thermo-active building systems and heat pumps. Across 24 pages, the new BINE-Themeninfo brochure entitled "Efficiently heating & cooling non-residential buildings" (II/2016) presents low-exergy concepts for these buildings.

  • Is it possible to overcome all the barriers to nanofluids market uptake?

    Copyright Nanouptake

    Overcoming Barriers to Nanofluids Market Uptake (COST Action CA15119) is creating a Europe-wide network of leading R+D+i institutions, and of key industries, to develop and foster the use of nanofluids as advanced heat transfer/thermal storage materials to increase the efficiency of heat exchange and storage systems.

    By developing of nanofluids up to higher Technological Readiness Levels (TRL) and overcoming commercial application barriers, Nanouptake will contribute to achieve the European Horizon 2020 Energy and Climate ambitious objectives.

  • Less fuel and lower CO2 emissions with POLYVEST® ST tires

    Less fuel and lower CO2 emissions with POLYVEST® ST tires. Evonik Industries AG

    • Evonik expands its range of rubber additives for tire applications
    • POLYVEST® ST can significantly reduce rolling resistance in tires

    Essen, Germany. Evonik is expanding its silica/silane system, and with it the technology of modern tire production. Newly developed POLYVEST® ST has the potential to further decrease rolling resistance in tires, thus significantly reducing the environmental impact and fuel consumption of vehicles. This has been confirmed in tests on natural rubber based rubber compounds.

  • Recipe from the nanoworld for cleaner drinking water

    First step in tailoring the structural and chemical properties of polyoxometalates. © Ulrich Kortz, Jacobs University. Source: Vimeo.com

    Too much manure, too much fertilizer: In many places in Germany, intensive agriculture is endangering water quality. The nitrate levels in groundwater are too high. A research team at Jacobs University led by the Chemistry Professor Ulrich Kortz has now discovered a new way in the lab to reduce nitrate contamination in water – with the help of so-called polyoxometalates, in short: POMs. POMs are creatures of the nanoworld. These are molecular metal-oxygen compounds that are created in the lab by reacting various substances in water, usually under surprisingly simple conditions. The Chemistry professor Ulrich Kortz and his team are world experts in the synthesis of novel POMs. Kortz speaks of discovering the “magic recipe” when trying to prepare a new POM which is robust and displays solution stability.

  • Solar cells: Optimised growth and sawing of crystals

    The produced wafers are ready for the next steps on the path to the module.  © SolarWorld GmbH

    The market for photovoltaic systems is highly competitive. In order to achieve higher efficiency and reduce costs, manufacturers are continuously optimising the production processes. The new BINE-Projektinfo brochure "Cheaper production of solar cells" (02/2017) presents two improved production processes. The first makes it possible to produce quasi-monocrystalline silicon with a significantly lower energy requirement and at the same time obtain a very pure, high-quality silicon. The second reduces the material losses when the silicon ingots are sawn into many thin slices (wafers). The new sawing technology will enable more wafers to be obtained from the same amount of silicon.

  • Summer heat for the winter

    Benjamin Fumey at his test facility in the lab © Emma

    Can thermal solar energy be stored until wintertime? Within a European research consortium Empa scientists and their colleagues have spent four years studying this question by pitting three different techniques against each other.

    We are still a far cry from a sustainable energy supply: in 2014, 71 percent of all privately-owned apartments and houses in Switzerland were heated with fossil fuels, and 60 percent of the hot water consumed in private households is generated in this way. In other words, a considerable amount of fossil energy could be saved if we were able to store heat from sunny summer days until wintertime and retrieve it at the flick of a switch. Is there a way to do this? It certainly looks like it. Since autumn of 2016, following several years of research, Empa has a plant on a lab scale in operation that works reliably and is able to store heat in the long term. But the road to get there was long and winding.

  • Tackling remaining cost drivers in wind energy

    Expected reductions in electricity generation costs of wind energy 2020, 2030 and 2050; median of the “Best Guess" scenario from the expert survey Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory / IEA Wind Task 26

    Scientists at Fraunhofer IWES in Kassel aim to contribute to further cost reductions in wind energy use. They will present results of an large scale expert survey on future cost reduction potential, a simulation model on the failure characteristics of wind turbines and recommended practices for reliability data including an own seminar at the Wind Europe Summit 2016 in Hamburg, the world's largest wind energy event.

  • Tailor-Made Membranes for the Environment

    Transmission electron microscope image of the membrane, provided by the Ernst Ruska-Centre. The two phases for proton and electron conduction are marked in colour. Forschungszentrum Jülich

    Jülich, 30 November 2016 – The combustion of fossil energy carriers in coal and gas power plants produces waste gases that are harmful to the environment. Jülich researchers are working on methods to not only reduce such gases, but also utilize them. They are developing ceramic membranes with which pure hydrogen can be separated from carbon dioxide and water vapour. The hydrogen can then be used as a clean energy carrier, for example in fuel cells. The researchers have now been able to increase the efficiency of these membranes to an unprecedented level. Their research results were published in Scientific Reports.

  • The energy-saving data glasses

    Fraunhofer researchers have developed an energy-saving display that reduces the power consumption to a fraction. © Fraunhofer FEP, Photographer: Anna Schroll

    Data glasses mirror information to the eye without interfering with the wearer‘s vision. However, the battery runs down quickly, because the electronics consume a great amount of electricity while playing back the images. Fraunhofer researchers have developed an energy-saving display that reduces the power consumption to a fraction. The new display will be presented at the electronica trade fair in Munich from November 08-11, 2016.

  • Worrying traces of resistant bacteria in air

    Two photos taken in the same location in Beijing in August 2005. The photograph on the left was taken after it had rained for two days. The right photograph shows smog covering Beijing in what would otherwise be a sunny day.

    Polluted city air has now been identified as a possible means of transmission for resistant bacteria. Researchers in Gothenburg have shown that air samples from Beijing contain DNA from genes that make bacteria resistant to the most powerful antibiotics we have. “This may be a more important means of transmission than previously thought,” says Joakim Larsson, a professor at Sahlgrenska Academy and director of the Centre for Antibiotic Resistance Research at the University of Gothenburg.