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Environment - 28.12.2022
Skiing over the Christmas holidays no longer guaranteed - even with snow guns
Skiing over the Christmas holidays no longer guaranteed - even with snow guns
For many people in Switzerland, holidays in the snow are as much a part of the end of the year as Christmas trees and fireworks. As global warming progresses, however, white slopes are becoming increasingly rare. Researchers at the University of Basel have calculated how well one of Switzerland's largest ski resorts will remain snow reliable with technical snowmaking by the year 2100, and how much water this snow will consume.

Health - Environment - 21.12.2022
Acids help against airborne viruses
Acids help against airborne viruses
A new study by various Swiss universities shows that aerosols in indoor air can vary in acidity. This acidity determines how long viruses remain infectious in the air - with profound implications for virus transmission and strategies to contain it. Viruses such as SARS-CoV-2, influenza virus and others travel from person to person essentially by hitchhiking on aerosols.

Life Sciences - Environment - 20.12.2022
Polarity proteins shape efficient 'breathing' pores in grasses
Polarity proteins shape efficient ’breathing’ pores in grasses
A research group at the University of Bern is studying how plants "breathe". They have gained new insights into how grasses develop efficient "breathing pores" on their leaves. If important landmark components in this development process are missing, the gas exchange between plant and atmosphere is impaired.

Agronomy / Food Science - Environment - 19.12.2022
Producing fertiliser without carbon emissions
Producing fertiliser without carbon emissions
Researchers at ETH Zurich and the Carnegie Institution for Science have shown how nitrogen fertiliser could be produced more sustainably. This is necessary not only to protect the climate, but also to reduce dependence on imported natural gas and to increase food security. Intensive agriculture is possible only if the soil is fertilised with nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

Microtechnics - Environment - 19.12.2022
Winged robot that can land like a bird
Winged robot that can land like a bird
Researchers have developed a method that allows a flapping-wing robot to land autonomously on a horizontal perch using a claw-like mechanism. The innovation could significantly expand the scope of robot-assisted tasks. A bird landing on a branch makes the maneuver look like the easiest thing in the world, but in fact, the act of perching involves an extremely delicate balance of timing, high-impact forces, speed, and precision.

Environment - Innovation - 18.12.2022
UrbanTwin: seeing double for sustainability
A consortium of Swiss research institutes has begun working on UrbanTwin to make an AI driven, ecologically sensitive model of the energy, water and waste systems the town of Aigle to help boost sustainability. Twins are a fascinating phenomenon: observing how identical twins, even those separated at birth, can resemble each other in appearance, character, ability, and personal taste is astounding.

Environment - Life Sciences - 15.12.2022
Early green, early brown - climate change leads to earlier senescence in alpine plants
Early green, early brown - climate change leads to earlier senescence in alpine plants
Global warming is leading to longer growing seasons worldwide, with many plants growing earlier in spring and continuing longer in autumn thanks to warmer temperatures-so the general opinion. Now, however, plant ecologists at the University of Basel have been able to show that this is not the case for the most common type of alpine grassland in the European Alps, where an earlier start leads to earlier aging and leaves the grassland brown for months.

Materials Science - Environment - 14.12.2022
New process boosts efficiency of bifacial CIGS thin film solar cell
New process boosts efficiency of bifacial CIGS thin film solar cell
Bifacial thin film solar cells based on copper indium gallium diselenide or CIGS can collect solar energy from both their front and their rear side - and thus potentially yield more solar electricity than their conventional counterparts. So far, however, their fabrication has led to only modest energy conversion efficiencies.

Environment - 12.12.2022
Global Warming Causes Changes in Swiss Insect Fauna
Global Warming Causes Changes in Swiss Insect Fauna
How has the distribution of insects in Switzerland changed over the past 40 years? The range of many species has expanded, while that of a similar number has contracted. In particular, cold-adapted species have lost ground. These are the findings published in the journal -Nature Communications-. Various studies conducted in Switzerland and elsewhere give cause for concern that climateand land-use change are causing significant adverse effects to insect fauna (-insect decline-).

Computer Science - Environment - 12.12.2022
Urgent call to protect Madagascar's biodiversity through AI
Urgent call to protect Madagascar’s biodiversity through AI
A large-scale analysis of Madagascar's unique biodiversity has just been conducted with the participation of over 50 international organizations. Madagascar is one of the world's biodiversity hotspots, with 82% of its plant species and 90% of its vertebrates found nowhere else on Earth. The results of the study, which rely on AI-based tools developed by Daniele Silvestro of the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics and his team at the University of Fribourg, were published in two papers in the journal Science.

Environment - 06.12.2022
Remove micropollutants with granulated activated carbon
Remove micropollutants with granulated activated carbon
Currently, the first Swiss wastewater treatment plants are being upgraded with an additional treatment stage for the removal of micropollutants using granulated activated carbon (GAC), including the WWTP at Muri.

Environment - Innovation - 05.12.2022
Ready for sustainable growth
Ready for sustainable growth
Founded in February 2018 as an Empa spin-off, the start-up company "MIRO Analytical" received one of the coveted "Innosuisse Certificates" in October. The certificate reflects the remarkable progress the young company made during the funding agency's coaching program and confirms that the start-up is ready for sustainable growth.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 05.12.2022
Chip lets scientists study biocement formation in real-time
Chip lets scientists study biocement formation in real-time
Scientists from EPFL and the University of Lausanne have used a chip that was originally designed for environmental science to study the properties of biocement formation. This material has the potential to replace traditional cement binders in certain civil engineering applications. The chip has the size of a credit card and its surface is engraved with a flow channel measuring one meter from end to end and as thick as a human hair.

Environment - 30.11.2022
Reliable planning tool for the emissions path to achieving the Paris temperature goal
Reliable planning tool for the emissions path to achieving the Paris temperature goal
Researchers at the University of Bern have developed a new method for the successive calculation of the emission reductions which are necessary for achieving temperature targets, such as the 2C goal. The calculation method is based solely on observation rather than models and scenarios. According to the study, international climate policy has to become even more ambitious.

Economics - Environment - 24.11.2022
Smartphone banks compete with traditional banks for business
Smartphone banks compete with traditional banks for business
One in ten people in Switzerland already uses a smartphone bank. Although such neo-banks have so far only been used as secondary and third-party banks, they could also challenge the established banks' status as principal bankers in the future. This is the result of a study by the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts on the Swiss retail banking market.

Environment - 24.11.2022
Pollution of the Glatt by trace substances is decreasing
Pollution of the Glatt by trace substances is decreasing
Together with the Canton of St. Gallen, Eawag has been investigating the impact of the expansion of the wastewater treatment plant at Flawil to include a stage for the removal of micropollutants on water quality in the River Glatt. Initial results now show a very positive picture. The expansion of the Oberglatt WWTP in Flawil with an additional treatment stage to remove micropollutants is having an effect.

Environment - Chemistry - 24.11.2022
Unraveling the secrets of microplastics released by tires
Unraveling the secrets of microplastics released by tires
In Switzerland, tire and road wear particles are one of the biggest sources of microplastics released into the environment, yet the chemical compounds contained in those particles - and their effects - remain largely a mystery. To remedy that knowledge gap, scientists at EPFL and two other Swiss research institutes are conducting a study of the toxicity of tire-particle compounds and how readily they're absorbed by living organisms.

Chemistry - Environment - 22.11.2022
Chemicals could undercut global plastics treaty
Chemicals could undercut global plastics treaty
Next week the UN intergovernmental negotiating committee (INC) on plastic pollution will meet in Uruguay to develop an international legally binding instrument against plastic pollution. There is concern among scientists that the negotiations will overlook the diversity and complexity of chemicals present in plastics.

Innovation - Environment - 22.11.2022
The Swiss water turnaround: wait and see or take a proactive approach?
The Swiss water turnaround: wait and see or take a proactive approach?
New technologies in the water sector can contribute to the flexible and sustainable development of urban water management and the sustainable utilisation of water as a resource. In a recent article in the journal Aqua & Gas, a team of researchers from the aquatic research institute Eawag shows what opportunities and risks are associated with this.

Environment - Transport - 16.11.2022
Lake Geneva consumers surveyed as part of a study on climate change
Lake Geneva consumers surveyed as part of a study on climate change
Over 10,000 people in both the French and Swiss parts of the Lake Geneva region have been surveyed on their transportation habits, as the first element of a broader EPFL study on consumer lifestyles and behavior. The study is being spearheaded by EPFL's School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering (ENAC), working in association with the Canton of Vaud, the Canton of Geneva and Greater Geneva.
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