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Environment - 15.07.2019
A new technique to concentrate a fertilizer produced from wastewater
A new technique to concentrate a fertilizer produced from wastewater
Two EPFL Master's in Environmental Engineering students have developed a novel method for recovering nitrogen from wastewater. For their semester project, they adapted a system typically used to concentrate fruit juice and tested it out at the Yverdon-les-Bains wastewater treatment plant in Vaud.  For their semester project, Océane Hames and Lucas Ott, two Master's students in Environmental Engineering at EPFL, chose to focus on the Yverdon-les-Bains wastewater treatment plant.

Environment - Materials Science - 12.07.2019
5000 tons of plastic released into the environment every year
5000 tons of plastic released into the environment every year
In order to estimate for the first time the exact extent of plastic pollution in Switzerland, the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) has mandated Empa researchers to calculate how much plastic gets into the environment. Empa has analyzed the seven most frequently used types of plastic. According to the study, more than 5000 tons of plastic are discharged into the environment every year.

Environment - 04.07.2019
How trees could save the climate
How trees could save the climate
Around 0.9 billion hectares of land worldwide would be suitable for reforestation, which could ultimately capture two thirds of human-made carbon emissions. The Crowther Lab of ETH Zurich has published a study in the journal Science that shows this would be the most effective method to combat climate change.

Innovation / Technology - Environment - 04.07.2019
The future energy system and
The future energy system and "Power-to-X"
In a joint research project involving five Swiss Competence Centers for Energy Research (SCCERs), scientists from the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), Empa, ETH Zurich, the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), the Rapperswil University of Applied Sciences (HSR), the University of Geneva and the University of Lucerne have drawn up a White Paper entitled "Power-to-X" for the Swiss Federal Energy Research Commission (CORE).

Environment - Politics - 04.07.2019
Trade agreements only partly shift environmental burden onto poorer countries
Trade agreements only partly shift environmental burden onto poorer countries
Is trade liberalisation shifting environmental burden from industrialised countries to poorer ones' This question was investigated by a research team at ETH Zurich led by Thomas Bernauer. In particular, they analysed whether, and if so how, commerce driven by free trade agreements is transferring environmental impacts from industrialised countries to poorer ones.

Environment - Innovation / Technology - 03.07.2019
The energy system of the future and Power-to-X
The energy system of the future and Power-to-X
In a joint research project of five Swiss competence centres for energy research, scientists have prepared a white paper on "Power-to-X" for consideration by the Swiss Federal Energy Research Commission (CORE). The goal of the white paper is to gather together the most important insights available on Power-to-X technologies.

Environment - Life Sciences - 03.07.2019
Influence in absentia
Influence in absentia
The preferred food of pike in shallow lakes in Denmark and Sweden is roach. Seven in ten fish found by researchers in the stomachs of pike were roach - and the numbers tended to be even higher in wintertime. The roach that pike ate in lakes with tributary or outflowing rivers were, admittedly, smaller during the winter, and became somewhat thinner as winter went on.

Environment - Civil Engineering - 03.07.2019
AI-designed heat pumps consume less energy
AI-designed heat pumps consume less energy
Researchers at EPFL have developed a method that uses artificial intelligence to design next-generation heat-pump compressors. Their method can cut the pumps' power requirement by around 25%. In Switzerland, 50-60% of new homes are equipped with heat pumps. These systems draw in thermal energy from the surrounding environment - such as from the ground, air, or a nearby lake or river - and turn it into heat for buildings.

Environment - Innovation / Technology - 25.06.2019
Engineering heat out of metro tunnels
Engineering heat out of metro tunnels
Researchers at EPFL have precisely quantified convection heat transfer in rail tunnels. Using the new model, they estimated how much energy Lausanne could save by fitting the future M3 metro line with a geothermal heat-recovery system, in what would be a world first. Heat transfer happens in various ways in rail tunnels.

Materials Science - Environment - 21.06.2019
Perovskite solar cells tested for real-world performance - in the lab
Perovskite solar cells tested for real-world performance - in the lab
Researchers bring diurnal and seasonal variations into the lab to test the performance of perovskite solar cells under realistic conditions. It was only ten years ago that metal-halide perovskites were discovered to be photovoltaic materials. Today, perovskite solar cells made are almost as efficient as the best conventional silicon ones, and there is much hope that they will become a highly efficient and low-cost alternative, as they can be manufactured by rather simple and fast methods like printing.

Environment - Life Sciences - 20.06.2019
Software to protect the world's most endangered species
Software to protect the world's most endangered species
By combining genetic and environmental databases, researchers at EPFL are seeking to help biologists identify more accurately the animal and plant species most exposed to climate change, in order to develop appropriate conservation methods. Northern Morocco is home to a type of sheep that has a specific gene, developed over thousands of years of evolution.

Environment - Transport - 20.06.2019
Record efficiency for a gas engine
Record efficiency for a gas engine
At the end of May, the final meeting of the "Horizon 2020" project "GasOn" with the EU Commission took place in Brussels. The aim of this EU project was the further development of gas engines for cars and vans. Around 20 partners participated, including ETH Zurich and Empa as well as four European automobile manufacturers and well-known suppliers.

Environment - 19.06.2019
What role can households play in the energy transition?
What role can households play in the energy transition?
Researchers set up the ENERGISE project designed to help households reduce their energy consumption without compromising their levels of comfort. What role can households play in the energy transition? Can changes to everyday practices make a difference? The European ENERGISE project, led by the University of Geneva (UNIGE), in Switzerland, carried out an experiment to reduce energy consumption in 300 households in eight countries.

Chemistry - Environment - 13.06.2019
Carbon-neutral fuels move a step closer
Carbon-neutral fuels move a step closer
Chemists at EPFL have developed an efficient process for converting carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide, a key ingredient of synthetic fuels and materials. The carbon dioxide (CO2) produced when fossil fuels are burned is normally released into the atmosphere. Researchers working on synthetic fuels - also known as carbon-neutral fuels - are exploring ways to capture and recycle that CO2.

Environment - Innovation / Technology - 13.06.2019
Carbon-neutral fuel made from sunlight and air
Carbon-neutral fuel made from sunlight and air
Researchers from ETH Zurich have developed a novel technology that produces liquid hydrocarbon fuels exclusively from sunlight and air. For the first time worldwide they demonstrate the entire thermochemical process chain under real field conditions. The new solar mini-refinery is located on the roof of ETH's Machine Laboratory building in Zurich.

Life Sciences - Environment - 13.06.2019
Neurotoxins damage aquatic organisms differently than expected
Neurotoxins damage aquatic organisms differently than expected
The insecticide imidacloprid is one of the strongest insect toxins and belongs to the group of neonicotinoids. Since 2019, the use of imidacloprid, along with two other substances in this group, is only allowed in greenhouses, as this substance is one of those responsible for the death of bees. Imidacloprid is also very toxic for aquatic organisms; as is stated in the manufacturer's certification reports.

Environment - Innovation / Technology - 06.06.2019
Four Scientific Institutions will Monitor Switzerland from Space
Four Scientific Institutions will Monitor Switzerland from Space
The Swiss Data Cube (SDC) is an innovative technology that gathers all available satellite images from the American Landsat program and the European Sentinel 1 and 2. UNEP/GRID-Geneva, the University of Geneva (UNIGE), the University of Zurich (UZH) and the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) have entered a new cooperation agreement to foster the use of Earth Observation data for environmental monitoring at national scale.

Environment - 05.06.2019
Extreme heat to hit one third of the african urban population
Extreme heat to hit one third of the african urban population
An international team of researchers has combined demographic projections and climate scenarios across Africa for the first time. Their results reveal the number of people who will potentially be exposed to extreme temperatures. Climate change, population growth and urbanisation are instrumental in increasing exposure to extreme temperatures.

Environment - Agronomy / Food Science - 04.06.2019
A combination of insecticides and mite weakens honeybees
A combination of insecticides and mite weakens honeybees
Today, scientists of the Institute of Bee Health of the University of Bern and the honeybee research association COLOSS have published an article in the peer-reviewed journal Scientific Reports that shows a synergistic time-lag interaction between the parasitic mite Varroa destructor and neonicotinoid insecticides reducing survival of winter honeybees, Apis mellifera.

Environment - Chemistry - 04.06.2019
Floating power plants
Floating power plants
Huge floating solar islands on the ocean that produce enough energy to enable CO2-neutral global freight traffic - what sounds like "science fiction" researchers from ETH Zurich, the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), Empa, the Universities of Zurich and Bern and the Nowegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim have now calculated for the first time, as they write in the latest issue of the journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences" (PNAS).
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