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Archive for the ‘Waste’ Category

It’s not out there in your daily newspapers but within scientific journals and research centres across the globe there’s a lot of work & discussion on microbial fuel cell (MFC) technology.

Researchers at the Biodesign Institute are using the tiniest organisms on the planet — bacteria — as a viable option to make electricity. In a new study featured in the journal Biotechnology and Bioengineering, lead author Andrew Kato Marcus and colleagues Cesar Torres and Bruce Rittmann have gained critical insights that may lead to commercialization of a promising microbial fuel cell (MFC) technology. The project has been funded by NASA and industrial partners OpenCEL and NZLegacy.

”We can use any kind of waste, such as sewage or pig manure, and the microbial fuel cell will generate electrical energy,” said Marcus, a Civil and Environmental Engineering graduate student and a member of the institute’s Center for Environmental Biotechnology. Unlike conventional fuel cells that rely on hydrogen gas as a fuel source, the microbial fuel cell can handle a variety of water-based organic fuels.

“There is a lot of biomass out there that we look at simply as energy stored in the wrong place,” said Bruce Rittmann, director of the center. “We can take this waste, keeping it in its normal liquid form, but allowing the bacteria to convert the energy value to our society’s most useful form, electricity. They get food while we get electricity.”

If you’re interested in the science behind MFC technology read more here.

For some history and discussion of the possibilities of commercial application  see  here.
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This blog is now moving over to the Environment Solutions website where we hope to build a more comprehensive information portal for solutions on the environment.

Please visit the new site and update your blogroll link.

Thank you for your continuing support and interest.

🙂

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OK, the concept of timeshare has been around for some time but now we are seeing an interesting expansion of this idea into many other assets. Cars, boats, cottages, even planes are coming into the frame.

You save money on the original purchase and maintenance costs and buy into something you may not have been able to afford before. How many times have you noticed your neighbour buy a brand new car only to leave outside their house untouched except for the weekly shopping trip.

Sharing can be tricky but there are websites out there designed to guide you through this process and they of course have plenty of people putting forward proposals to share something that they own.

Try; yours2share and Fractional Ownership.

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image: Malcolm Baker Furniture Design

We know reusing is better. Some people use door step milk delivery not only to support their local milkman but also because your empties are reused. Before plastics salesmen invaded Europe glass was the packaging of choice for liquids and many other products. Reuse therefore was common practise. Not any more.

The plastics invasion has spawned a whole host of small to medium sized businesses looking to make use of all the recycled plastics. One such company is Smile Plastics.

Recycled plastics sheets have been used extensively all over the world including the Idèe showroom and golf driving range roofing in Japan (Klein Dytham), Body Shop and Blanco fashion shops throughout Spain (Fern Green). The Science Museum, Design Museum, V & A and the Tate Gallery have all used it in different capacities. Images here.

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FareShare is the national charity working to relieve food poverty by providing quality food and other support services to organisations working with disadvantaged people in the community. FareShare works with over 100 food businesses to minimise food waste by providing practical solutions to help ensure that the maximum amount of ‘fit for purpose’ food is consumed wherever possible.

In 2005 2,000 tonnes of food was saved from being wasted. This food was distributed to a community food network of 300 organisations. This food contributed to over 3.3 million meals to 12,000 disadvantaged people each day in 34 cities and towns across the UK. As well as also providing 250 work and volunteers placements last year, £5 million was saved by the network of local charities, which was reinvested into the community.

Research by the Royal College of Physicians has shown that at least three in five homeless people have no daily intake of fresh fruit and vegetables. Many day centres and homeless people themselves simply cannot afford a regular supply of high quality fresh food. At the same time, due to stringent company policies, food retailers and wholesalers are throwing away huge amounts of good quality food. This waste frustrates many food suppliers, but they do not have the means to arrange and co-ordinate its distribution.

The food is either collected in refrigerated vans or delivered direct to a FareShare depot where it is sorted and distributed to hostels and day centres according to their needs.

To help by donation or by volunteerng your time click here.

Fareshare’s home page is here, with lots of very interesting information.

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