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Materials Science - Environment - 05.07.2021
A jacket from a jacket from a jacket
A jacket from a jacket from a jacket
Manufacture, wear, wash, incinerate: This typical life cycle of garments, which pollutes the environment, is to be changed in the future - towards principles of circular economy with recycling at its core. Using an outdoor jacket made from PET bottles and recycled materials, researchers have investigated whether the product actually delivers what the idea promises.

Civil Engineering - Environment - 02.07.2021
Better planning can reduce the urban heat island effect
Better planning can reduce the urban heat island effect
In his PhD thesis, EPFL researcher Martí Bosch proposes a method for spatially quantifying the impact of mitigation measures - planting green spaces and using different building materials - on the urban heat island effect. During hot weather, cities are warmer than the surrounding rural areas. This well-known phenomenon - known as the urban heat island effect - is particularly acute at night when concrete and asphalt release the heat stored up during the day.

Environment - Life Sciences - 29.06.2021
Aquatic life underground
Aquatic life underground
Groundwater is also an ecosystem, but little is known about the biodiversity underground. researchers have now documented the diversity of life in Swiss groundwater in a pilot study - and discovered previously unknown species of amphipods in the process. Here they relied on a citizen science approach.

Environment - 28.06.2021
New model simulates the tsunamis caused by iceberg calving
New model simulates the tsunamis caused by iceberg calving
A team of scientists has developed a new model for simulating both iceberg calving and the tsunamis that are triggered as a result. Their method can help improve hazard assessment in coastal areas and refine the empirical calving models used to evaluate rising sea levels. Johan Gaume, an EPFL expert in avalanches and geomechanics, has turned his attention to ice.

Environment - Materials Science - 25.06.2021
Crown ethers improve perovskite solar cell stability
Crown ethers improve perovskite solar cell stability
Scientists have used an unprecedented method with multimodal host-guest complexation to greatly improve the stability of perovskite solar cells while also reducing the release of lead into the environment. Perovskites are hybrid compounds made from metal halides and organic constituents, and show great potential in a range of applications, e.g. LED lights, lasers, and photodetectors.

Life Sciences - Environment - 24.06.2021
Eawag test with fish cells replaces animal experiments
Eawag test with fish cells replaces animal experiments
The OECD gives the green light to the fish cell line assay developed at Eawag. This paves the way for companies and authorities around the world to determine the environmental toxicology of chemicals without having to resort to animal testing. A large number of chemicals are used in everyday products, in agriculture or in industry.

Agronomy / Food Science - Environment - 24.06.2021
Mixed cultures for a greater yield
Mixed cultures for a greater yield
What holds true for meadows would seem to apply to arable land, too: mixed cultures are more fruitful than monocultures. This was the outcome of an ETH Zurich research project led by Christian Schöb. Monocultures dominate arable land today, with vast areas given over to single elite varieties that promise a high yield.

Environment - Materials Science - 23.06.2021
Harvesting drinking water from humidity around the clock
Harvesting drinking water from humidity around the clock
Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a condenser for countries where water is in short supply. Theirs is the first zero-energy solution for harvesting water from the atmosphere throughout the 24-hour daily cycle. It relies on a self-cooling surface and a special radiation shield. Fresh water is scarce in many parts of the world and must be obtained at great expense.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 22.06.2021
Analysing volcanoes to predict their awakening
Analysing volcanoes to predict their awakening
Geologists have reviewed the internal and external mechanisms that trigger volcanic eruptions to better anticipate the potential signs of a future eruption. What causes an eruption? Why do some volcanoes erupt regularly, while others remain dormant for thousands of years? A team of geologists and geophysicists, led by the University of Geneva , Switzerland, has reviewed the literature on the internal and external mechanisms that lead to a volcanic eruption.

Chemistry - Environment - 22.06.2021
Worrying insights into the chemicals in plastics
Researchers examined chemicals in plastics worldwide. They found an unexpectedly high number of substances of potential concern intentionally used in everyday plastic products. A lack of transparency limits management of these chemicals. Plastic is practical, cheap and incredibly popular. Every year, more than 350 million tonnes are produced worldwide.

Astronomy / Space Science - Environment - 18.06.2021
Scientists detect signatures of life remotely
Scientists detect signatures of life remotely
It could be a milestone on the path to detecting life on other planets: Scientists under the leadership of the University of Bern and of the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) PlanetS detect a key molecular property of all living organisms from a helicopter flying several kilometers above ground.

Life Sciences - Environment - 18.06.2021
Silent witnesses
Silent witnesses
Once of interest only to enthusiasts, ETH Zurich's Entomological Collection now offers researchers a treasure trove of hidden knowledge.   Four tightly closed doors protect the Entomological Collection of ETH Zurich from heat and daylight. The cold, dry air is the perfect environment for the two million insects that call these specimen drawers home - although it's not particularly comfortable for their human keepers.

Life Sciences - Environment - 17.06.2021
Detoxifiers from the landfill
Detoxifiers from the landfill
Bacteria from an Indian landfill could help eliminate contaminated chemicals. The focus is on pesticides such as lindane or brominated flame retardants, which accumulate in nature and in food chains. Researchers at Empa and Eawag used these bacteria to generate enzymes that can break down these dangerous chemicals.

Environment - Life Sciences - 17.06.2021
Excess nitrogen puts butterflies at risk
Excess nitrogen puts butterflies at risk
Nitrogen from agriculture, vehicle emissions and industry is endangering butterflies in Switzerland. The element is deposited in the soil via the air and has an impact on vegetation - to the detriment of the butterflies, as researchers at the University of Basel have discovered. More than half of butterfly species in Switzerland are considered to be at risk or potentially at risk.

Environment - 14.06.2021
When hydropower plants emit carbon dioxide
When hydropower plants emit carbon dioxide
Hydropower is considered to be CO2-neutral, but certain power plants in tropical regions produce large quantities of greenhouse gases. Researchers at Eawag have now studied how much carbon dioxide escapes into the atmosphere below the Kariba Dam in southern Africa. Such previously ignored emissions must be taken into account by future carbon budgets.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 10.06.2021
Chamoli Disaster Could Happen Again
Chamoli Disaster Could Happen Again
Some four months ago, a devastating flood ravaged the Chamoli district in the Indian Himalayas, killing over 200 people. The flood was caused by a massive landslide, which also involved a glacier. Researchers at the University of Zurich, the WSL and ETH Zurich have now analyzed the causes, scope and impact of the disaster as part of an international collaboration.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 09.06.2021
Research efforts to reduce pesticide contamination
Research efforts to reduce pesticide contamination
With the latest analytical methods, potentially toxic substances can be detected even at very low concentrations. However, the aim of research is not merely to document such contamination but also to understand how it occurs in streams and groundwater, and to propose mitigation measures. In agricultural areas, large volumes of water from fields, roads and paths enter streams via manholes or other artificial drainage systems.

Environment - 07.06.2021
Researchers as bridge builders in water policy
Researchers as bridge builders in water policy
From flood protection and drinking water supply to the revitalisation of water bodies and hydropower production - water policy in Switzerland takes place in a wide variety of sectors. However, the exchange of information between politically divided players is often difficult. Science plays an important role as a bridge builder between the camps.

Environment - Health - 04.06.2021
More than a Third of Heat Deaths Are Linked to Climate Change
More than a Third of Heat Deaths Are Linked to Climate Change
Between 1991 and 2018, more than a third of all deaths in which heat played a role were attributable to human-induced global warming, according to a new study in the Nature Climate Change journal. The study, the largest of its kind, was led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the University of Bern with partners including Swiss TPH.

Environment - 02.06.2021
Plastic waste in the sea mainly drifts near the coast
Plastic waste in the sea mainly drifts near the coast
A study conducted at the Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of Bern provides new insights into the pollution of the world's oceans with plastic waste. The modelling shows that most of the plastic does not end up in the open ocean, but beaches or drifts in the water near the coast.

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