Elusive energy

By 2025, the UK Government has promised to halve carbon emissions. Clean energy looms large on the political agenda, granting science a lot of room to influence the direction of current and future energy policy. But how much does science really have to say about clean energy? Time and again, we’ve heard the promises of […]

Hydrogen hope

Imagine filling your car with fuel and driving as far as your dreams could take you without worrying one little bit about your green credentials. Well, you could… if that fuel was hydrogen.  Clean, full of energy and zero carbon, hydrogen is the fuel of the future, and scientists in China have just taken us […]

Green Britain

The UK needs to increase investment in renewable energy sources if it is to meet EU climate change targets, according to a report out this week. The report was published by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), an independent body set up to advise the government on reducing the UK’s carbon footprint. The report advocates […]

High as a kite

Big ships are using a brand new means of propulsion – the wind. This isn’t a hark back to romantic days of white sails and stripy jumpers. This time it’s kites. Huge ones. Hundreds of metres in the air. And now scientists can predict exactly how much power the shipping companies will save. Big ships […]

Germany opens first commercial offshore wind farm

Germany has unveiled its first commercial offshore wind farm in the North Sea. The wind farm, which has been given the name ‘Bard Offshore 1’, lies approximately 55 miles north west of the German island of Borkum. Bard Offshore 1 is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2012, by which time it will have […]

Wind in the willows could power world

Look out from the coast near Esbjerg and you’ll see over six hundred shimmery-white blades slicing through the air. Denmark leads the world in wind energy.  Vestas and Siemens Wind Power, both Danish companies, supply over half of the globe’s turbines; while domestic installations provide nearly 20% of the country’s electricity.  However, the exotic composites […]

Whey to go

Body builders have got a lot to answer for.  The protein shake manufacturing process is leaving dairies with vast amounts of waste whey, and they don’t know what to do with it. Could turning the whey into biogas be a sustainable answer? Greek scientists have assessed an anaerobic biogas reactor to see if it can […]

Science Behind the Photo #4

The startling yellow chemical in this photo is the ferricyanide anion, [Fe(CN)6]3−. Ferricyanide has a colourful history, rising to prominence for its use in the dark Prussian Blue dye when combined with iron. More recently, its electroactivity has become important in a range of applications. In this experiment, the ferricyanide is being used to mediate, […]

Gutted to be green

Ol’ Daisy the cow doesn’t know it, but she might just be responsible for saving the world. OK, not quite, but she does have a part to play in at least mitigating an ever-growing global energy crisis. Researchers have identified microbial genes that reside within a cow’s rumen that could potentially break down cellulose, the […]

Lightning Power

The sky went dark.  The clouds over our jumpers-for-goalposts pitch turned a turbulent brown; the light took on a cinematic quality.  There was a flash, a pause and then a long, deep rumble. Rain came in great bands of grass-flattening deluge, a second lightning bolt crashed directly overhead, but it was the hail that had […]