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Science

From Pond Scum to Food Bowl, Dutch Designers 3D-Print Algae Into Everyday Products

You might not think of pond scum as something that's good for the environment, but Dutch designers have developed a bioplastic made from algae that they hope could replace petroleum-based plastics.

According to Dezeen, Eric Klarenbeek and Maartje Dros have been cultivating live algae and processing it into material that can be used for 3D printing. This algae polymer can be churned into everyday items, from shampoo bottles to bowls to trash bins. 

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Energy
Harvesting sugarcane in Brazil. Jonathan Wilkins / CC BY-SA

Jet Fuel From Sugarcane? It’s No Flight of Fancy

By Deepak Kumar, Stephen P. Long and Vijay Singh

The aviation industry produces two percent of global human-induced carbon dioxide emissions. This share may seem relatively small—for perspective, electricity generation and home heating account for more than 40 percent—but aviation is one of the world's fastest-growing greenhouse gas sources. Demand for air travel is projected to double in the next 20 years.

Airlines are under pressure to reduce their carbon emissions, and are highly vulnerable to global oil price fluctuations. These challenges have spurred strong interest in biomass-derived jet fuels. Bio-jet fuel can be produced from various plant materials, including oil crops, sugar crops, starchy plants and lignocellulosic biomass, through various chemical and biological routes. However, the technologies to convert oil to jet fuel are at a more advanced stage of development and yield higher energy efficiency than other sources.

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Animals
Water Online

Algal Blooms Can be Deadly to Your Dogs

As harmful algal blooms become more widespread, it's important to understand the dangerous impacts these toxic organisms can have on people, planet and even your pets.

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Pixabay

Could Artificial Reefs Save Our Oceans?

By Marlene Cimons

The Smithsonian Institution calls coralline algae "the unsung architects of coral reefs." These pink-colored seaweed, with a skeletal structure that resembles honeycomb, live in harmony with coral.

They strengthen the corals' foundation by growing over and between gaps in coral reefs, essentially gluing sections of coral together. They provide a surface for baby corals to settle, and serve as food for marine life, including sea urchins, parrot fish and mollusks.

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Science

How Algae Can Help Sweden Eliminate Carbon Emissions

By Avery Friedman

Algae is often considered a nuisance, but for Sweden, the rapidly growing sea plant is now an asset.

As the Scandinavian country works to cut all of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2045, it's using algae to sop up the carbon emissions from cement.

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Vivobarefoot / Oregon State University

How These Shoes Are Helping Clean Up This Lake

By Joe McCarthy

As the third largest lake in China, Lake Taihu is meant to provide water for more than 30 million people.

But for more than two decades, the lake has been known less for water and more for algae. That's because weak regulations have allowed billions of tons of wastewater, animal waste and garbage to flow unimpeded into the water.

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GMO
Wikimedia Commons

Field Test of GMO Algae Sparks Outrage

Scientists from the University of California at San Diego and Sapphire Energy released results Thursday from the first open-pond trials of genetically engineered microalgae.

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The Underwater Museum of Art is meant to protect nearby reefs from intensive diving by diverting scuba divers. But some conservationists say it's more of a business venture than a conservation measure. Photo credit: Ratha Grimes

Underwater Museum of Art Attracts Divers, But Is It Enough to Save the Reefs?

By Matt Blois

More than 20 feet below the surface of the water, on the sandy sea floor between Cancún and Isla Mujeres in Mexico, a lobster takes refuge beneath a miniature concrete house. Scuba divers watch as the lobster slinks underneath the foundation. Farther on, hundreds of statues stand in tight circles. A little girl holds a purse close to her chest. A man looks straight ahead with a broom in hand. A thin layer of algae, sponges and coral covers the statues from head to toe.

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Popular

Seaweed Could Revolutionize How We Power Our Devices

The answer to powering our devices might have been hiding in our sushi all along. An international team of researchers has used seaweed to create a material that can enhance the performance of superconductors, lithium-ion batteries and fuel cells.

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