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Environment - Transport - 23.12.2019
Capturing CO2 from trucks and reducing their emissions by 90%
Capturing CO2 from trucks and reducing their emissions by 90%
Researchers at EPFL have patented a new concept that could cut trucks' CO2 emissions by almost 90%. It involves capturing CO2 within the exhaust system, converting it into a liquid and storing it on the vehicle. The liquid CO2 would then be delivered to a service station and where it will be turned back into fuel using renewable energy.

Life Sciences - Environment - 20.12.2019
From rocket builders to tree planters
From rocket builders to tree planters
The year 2019 has certainly been a busy one at ETH. A new president took office and the second Sci-Tech Oscar was awarded, along with other major prizes, but there were also plenty of inventions and topics for discussion. The new year also ushered in a new era at ETH. The former director of PSI, Jol Mesot, took over the reins of the Executive Board as the new President of ETH Zurich with a sense of "great elation, drive and enthusiasm for this venerable institution".

Environment - Life Sciences - 17.12.2019
Rare species organize themselves into ghettos to survive
Rare species organize themselves into ghettos to survive
Researchers from UNIGE and Um show that to resist stronger species, rare animal and plant species group together in ghettos to help each other, maintaining biodiversity. How can you survive when your species has few representatives' An international team of researchers, led by the Universities of Ume (Sweden) and Geneva (UNIGE, Switzerland), demonstrates that animal and plant communities are organized into ethnic neighbourhoods, where species in low abundance come together to strengthen their persistence against more competitive species.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 12.12.2019
Ecotoxicological effects of pesticides in stream sediments
Ecotoxicological effects of pesticides in stream sediments
In small watercourses in Swiss agricultural catchments, pesticides pose an ecotoxicological risk. This was demonstrated by studies carried out in 2015 and 2017 under the National Surface Water Quality Monitoring Programme (NAWA SPEZ), where pesticide concentrations exceeded environmental quality standards for most of the study period.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 12.12.2019
Ecotoxicological effects of pesticides in stream sediments
Ecotoxicological effects of pesticides in stream sediments
In small watercourses in Swiss agricultural catchments, pesticides pose an ecotoxicological risk. This was demonstrated by studies carried out in 2015 and 2017 under the National Surface Water Quality Monitoring Programme (NAWA SPEZ), where pesticide concentrations exceeded environmental quality standards for most of the study period.

Environment - Chemistry - 11.12.2019
New material design tops carbon-capture from wet flue gases
New material design tops carbon-capture from wet flue gases
Chemical engineers at EPFL have designed a material that can capture carbon dioxide from wet flue gasses better than current commercial materials. Generally speaking, "flue gas" refers to any gas coming out of a pipe, exhaust, chimney etc. as a product of combustion in a fireplace, oven, furnace, boiler, or steam generator.

Environment - Life Sciences - 05.12.2019
Hybrids increase fish biodiversity in lakes of East Africa
Hybrids increase fish biodiversity in lakes of East Africa
When two individuals from different species mate, the offspring is known as a hybrid. As a result of the genomes being mixed, sometimes phenotypes are produced that deal with new environmental conditions better than the two parent species. Very often, hybrids are not able to reproduce, but there are quite a number of exceptions to this, including the cichlids.

Environment - Social Sciences - 02.12.2019
Improved health check for running waters
Improved health check for running waters
If one turns a stone over in a river or stream, it swarms with tiny animals: caddisflies, water beetles, freshwater shrimp, and snails. The invertebrates living on the beds of water bodies that can be seen with the naked eye, called macroinvertebrates, are rather unimposing, but for science and the protection of surface waters they are of great importance.

Environment - Politics - 02.12.2019
What's driving erosion worldwide?
What’s driving erosion worldwide?
ETH Zurich researchers are reexamining the causes of soil erosion around the world - and have found that countries themselves have a surprisingly strong influence on their soil. This country effect was previously undetected. Soil erosion is a global problem that threatens food security and the functioning of ecosystems.

Environment - 20.11.2019
When grown right, palm oil can be sustainable
When grown right, palm oil can be sustainable
Turning an abandoned pasture into a palm tree plantation can be carbon neutral, according to a new study by EPFL and the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL).

Environment - Innovation - 15.11.2019
EPFL creates a solar cooker with solid potential in Switzerland
EPFL creates a solar cooker with solid potential in Switzerland
EPFL scientists have developed a glass-paneled solar cooker that delivers exceptional performance. Their patented design can operate an average of 155 days a year in Switzerland's cloudiest regions and up to 240 days in its sunniest. Solar cookers - or solar-powered ovens - can be used to cook foods at low temperatures (60-120C) for anywhere from 30 minutes up to four hours.

Health - Environment - 15.11.2019
During epidemics, access to GPS data from smartphones can be crucial
During epidemics, access to GPS data from smartphones can be crucial
A new EPFL and MIT study into the interplay between mobility and the 2013 and 2014 dengue outbreaks in Singapore has uncovered a legal void around access to mobile phone data - information that can prove vital in preventing the spread of infectious diseases. Researchers from EPFL and MIT have shown that human mobility is a major factor in the spread of vector-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue even over short intra-city distances.

Life Sciences - Environment - 14.11.2019
Unevenly distributed plankton activity
Unevenly distributed plankton activity
An international research consortium with ETH participation demonstrates that marine plankton is more diverse in warm oceans than in polar seas, both in terms of species count and the biological activities of the plankton communities. Climate change could lead to a redistribution of plankton in the world's oceans.

Environment - 14.11.2019
Rubber in the environment
Rubber in the environment
The tread on the tyre is worn out, new tyres are needed. Everyday life for many drivers. But where do these lost centimetres of tyre tread "disappear" to? As micro-rubbers, they mainly end up in soil and water and, to a small extent, in the air. And the amount of these particles in our environment is anything but small, as Empa researchers have now calculated.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 13.11.2019
Large storage potential in future ice-free glacier basins
Large storage potential in future ice-free glacier basins
Glaciologists at ETH Zurich and WSL assessed the global water storage and hydropower potential that could be freed up in future as glaciers melt in response to climate change. Global warming will cause substantial glacier retreat for the majority of the world's glaciers over the next few decades. This will not only spell the end for some magnificent natural monuments, but also importantly affect the water cycle.

Life Sciences - Environment - 13.11.2019
Opportunity makes species
Opportunity makes species
"The people who live around the Eqaluit River in the south-west of Greenland do know that there are char living in the river and its lakes", explains the evolutionary and fish biologist Carmela Dnz. "But they prefer to eat sea fish and take very little notice of the fish stocks in fresh water - which is one of the reasons why the fish appear to have little fear of people." Outside the region, the rivers and lakes along the coastline created by the retreating Greenland glaciers after the last ice age remain largely unknown.

Environment - Chemistry - 11.11.2019
Nitrous oxide emissions set to rise in the Pacific Ocean
Nitrous oxide emissions set to rise in the Pacific Ocean
The acidification of the Pacific Ocean in northern Japan is increasing the natural production rate of N2O, an ozone-depleting greenhouse gas. That's the finding of a study carried out jointly by scientists at EPFL, Tokyo Institute of Technology and Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology and appearing recently.

Life Sciences - Environment - 11.11.2019
"Without Bacteria and Fungi, the Earth Would Look Like Mars"
Our soils filter drinking water and produces food. Soils only carry out these services, because they harbour thousands fungal and bacteria species which work together like the wheels in a clock mechanism. These are the conclusions reached by a study published in the renowned by researchers from Agroscope and the University of Zurich.

Environment - Chemistry - 04.11.2019
Homing in on pyrethroids
Homing in on pyrethroids
Very low concentrations of pyrethroid and organophosphate insecticides are effective in controlling pests on crops such as oilseed rape. However, if they enter surface waters, they also pose a high risk to aquatic organisms. In water quality monitoring, they have so far slipped through the net, since not only sample collection but also analytical procedures have to be specifically tailored to these compounds.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 25.10.2019
Mountain streams emit a surprising amount of CO2
Mountain streams emit a surprising amount of CO2
For the first time, an EPFL-led team of scientists has measured the total amount of CO2 emissions from mountain streams worldwide. This research builds on findings issued in February 2019 and shows how important it is to include mountain streams in assessments of the global carbon cycle. Mountains cover 25% of the Earth's surface, and the streams draining these mountains account for more than a third of the global runoff.
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