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Environment - Materials Science - 04.03.2021
Energy house-keeping
Energy house-keeping
Energy management in a house with a solar system is becoming increasingly complex: When do I turn on the heating so that it is nice and cosy in the evening? How much electricity can the hot water tank hold? Will there still be enough energy for the electric car? Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help solve the problem: Researchers at Empa developed an AI control system that can learn all these tasks - and save more than 25 percent energy in the process.

Environment - Life Sciences - 04.03.2021
Invasiveness facilitated by a large gene pool
Invasiveness facilitated by a large gene pool
In Lake Constance, sticklebacks are occupying increasingly varied habitat types - in recent years even including the open and deep waters of the lake. In an Eawag review undertaken as part of the "SeeWandel" project, these uniquely diverse ecological adaptations are explained in terms of renewed contact between three stickleback lineages - including one originating from the Baltic region, whose genetic material is as yet rarely observed in other Swiss lakes.

Materials Science - Environment - 03.03.2021
Graphene filter makes carbon capture more efficient and cheaper
Graphene filter makes carbon capture more efficient and cheaper
Chemical engineers at EPFL have developed a graphene filter for carbon capture that surpasses the efficiency of commercial capture technologies, and can reduce the cost carbon capture down to $30 per ton of carbon dioxide. One of the main culprits of global warming is the vast amount of carbon dioxide pumped out into the atmosphere mostly from burning fossil fuels and the production of steel and cement.

Environment - Psychology - 02.03.2021
Follow the emotions to fight climate change
Follow the emotions to fight climate change
A researcher from the University of Geneva has compiled the scientific literature of the last five years linking emotion and climate change, highlighting the main levers that will make it possible to strengthen behaviour in favour of sustainable development. Emotions are often the victim of their bad reputation, as they are considered "irrational", but they play a major role in helping us assess the world and guide our behaviour.

Astronomy / Space Science - Environment - 01.03.2021
Extinct atom reveals the long-kept secrets of the solar system
Extinct atom reveals the long-kept secrets of the solar system
Using the extinct niobium-92 atom, ETH researchers have been able to date events in the early solar system with greater precision than before. The study concludes that supernova explosions must have taken place in the birth environment of our sun. If an atom of a chemical element has a surplus of protons or neutrons, it becomes unstable.

Environment - Chemistry - 25.02.2021
Green fuels for aviation
Green fuels for aviation
Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI and the partner institute Empa have started a joint initiative called SynFuels. The goal is to develop a process for producing kerosene from renewable resources. In this way liquid fuel mixtures of the highest quality, which would allow the most residue-free combustion possible and thus be suitable for aircraft propulsion, should be obtainable using carbon dioxide and hydrogen from renewable resources.

Environment - 25.02.2021
Copepods can find mates even in turbulent conditions
Copepods can find mates even in turbulent conditions
Copepods (minute crustaceans with paddle-like feet) can differentiate between disturbances in water generated by nearby organisms and turbulence caused by wind or waves - an ability which helps them to find mates. It had previously been assumed that turbulent conditions would impede the quest for mates.

Environment - Chemistry - 24.02.2021
Warmer and wetter climates amplify carbon release
Warmer and wetter climates amplify carbon release
Terrestrial ecosystems help mitigate climate change by absorbing large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere. A new study now confirms that changing climate conditions could reduce this effect because in warmer and wetter areas, carbon stored in the soil is released back into the atmosphere more quickly.

Computer Science - Environment - 23.02.2021
Scientists begin building highly accurate digital twin of our planet
Scientists begin building highly accurate digital twin of our planet
A digital twin of our planet is to simulate the Earth system in future. It is intended to support policy-makers in taking appropriate measures to better prepare for extreme events. A new strategy paper by European scientists and ETH Zurich computer scientists shows how this can be achieved. To become climate neutral by 2050, the European Union launched two ambitious programmes: " Green Deal " and " DigitalStrategy ".

Environment - Earth Sciences - 18.02.2021
Human impact on solar radiation levels for decades
Based on the long-term Potsdam radiation time series, ETH Professor Martin Wild and his collaborators have shown that variations in the intensity of sunlight over decades are down to ultra-fine, man-made dirt particles in the atmosphere. In the late 1980s and 1990s, researchers at ETH Zurich discovered the first indications that the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth's surface had been steadily declining since the 1950s.

Astronomy / Space Science - Environment - 17.02.2021
On the quest for other earths
On the quest for other earths
An international research team with members from ETH has developed a new method for directly imaging smaller planets in the habitable zone of a neighbouring star system. This opens up new possibilities in the search for extraterrestrial life. In the search for planets capable of sustaining life, an international research team with members from ETH has taken a significant step forward.

Environment - Life Sciences - 12.02.2021
Enigmatic blooms in the depths of Lake Tanganyika
Enigmatic blooms in the depths of Lake Tanganyika
A community of sulfur bacteria grows in the northern basin of Lake Tanganyika and plays a key role in the lake's nitrogen cycle. With climate change, the deep blooms could expand southward, a new study shows. This could have drastic consequences for regional fisheries. Lake Tanganyika in Africa is one of the largest freshwater lakes on earth and provides a critical source of fish to millions of people in the surrounding region.

Environment - Computer Science - 12.02.2021
Digital sobriety is now a top priority at EPFL
An independent report commissioned by EPFL's upper management recommends drastic measures and more comprehensive carbon accounting in order to reduce the substantial environmental impact caused by the use of digital technology at the School. A recent assessment of EPFL's digital-technology carbon footprint found that the use of computer equipment by staff and students accounts for 25% of the School's total greenhouse gas emissions.

Environment - 11.02.2021
Towards more fish-friendly hydropower plants
Towards more fish-friendly hydropower plants
Over the course of the EU project "FIThydro", research and industry partners studied the ecological impact of hydropower plants. ETH Zurich's Laboratory of Hydraulics, Hydrology and Glaciology (VAW) has developed a protection and guidance system that can help migratory fish to safely bypass hydropower turbines.

Environment - Innovation - 10.02.2021
How cities can grow sustainably
A new five-year research collaboration between ETH Zurich and three Singapore universities will see scientists from both countries come together to develop solutions to help cities and their surrounding regions achieve sustainable growth.The collaborative venture launched on 1 December 2020. According to a United Nations report, two-thirds of the world's population will be living in cities by 2050.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 09.02.2021
Streams in agricultural areas benefit from beavers
Streams in agricultural areas benefit from beavers
Beavers are master builders that reshape aquatic landscapes with their dams and lodges. The environments they inhabit experience an increase in the biodiversity of aquatic organisms, for example. Now, for the first time, an Eawag study from the wine-growing region known as "Zürcher Weinland" has shown that this is also true for streams in areas given over largely to agriculture.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 09.02.2021
Emissions of banned ozone-depleting substance back on decline
Emissions of banned ozone-depleting substance back on decline
After a mysterious and sharp increase between 2012 and 2017 that could be traced to eastern China global emissions of a potent (and banned) substance notorious for depleting the Earth's ozone layer - the protective barrier that absorbs the Sun's harmful UV rays - have fallen rapidly in recent years and are now as low as never before since measurements began in this region in 2008, according to new atmospheric analyses published in "Nature" today.

Health - Environment - 04.02.2021
Geospatial data helps to better understand Parkinson's disease
Geospatial data helps to better understand Parkinson's disease
In a new paper, a team of EPFL spatial-analysis experts and neurologists from Geneva University Hospital (HUG) show that the probability of developing Parkinson's disease is higher in the canton of Geneva's urban centers than in its rural areas. This constitutes an important contribution to the study of the causes of this neurodegenerative disease, which are still poorly understood.

Chemistry - Environment - 29.01.2021
Replacing toxic chlorine and bromine
Replacing toxic chlorine and bromine
Researchers at ETH Zurich and the University of Mainz developed a new method to replace molecular chlorine and bromine in chemical synthesis with less toxic molecules. The technology helps to make chemical processes safer and more sustainable and to remediate contaminated soils. Chlorine and bromine in their molecular form (as Cl2 and Br2 molecules) are notoriously toxic and corrosive chemicals.

Environment - Innovation - 29.01.2021
Testing the Blue Diversion Autarky toilet in situ
Testing the Blue Diversion Autarky toilet in situ
For three months, an extended family in South Africa tested the standalone Autarky toilet cubicle. Everyone was very happy with the quiet hideout. "I am really proud of our technology and can see huge potential in it", says Eva Reynaert, who was involved in the project and was one of the advisors during the field testing.