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In industrial societies, consumption has traditionally been an end in itself. Growth is achieved by selling more products, but often also results in unnecessary waste, resource depletion, pollution and other environmental damage. It doesn't have to be this way. Research by an EU-funded project indicates that a switch to a more service-oriented approach could be better for the environment and society as a whole, while boosting growth and competitiveness.
Published: 11 June 2015
Jouni Salmenjaakko, once a busy executive manager, now spends all his time with his family at their home in Turku in southern Finland. Brain injuries suffered in a car crash during a business trip in Dubai have left the 47-year-old unable to work.
Published: 13 January 2015
A new method for dealing with soil pollution has been developed which promises better environmental protection, reduced remediation costs and other economic benefits such as enhancing tourism prospects. Developed through the EUs FP7 programme, the SORBENT project will also contribute to national and EU environmental policy objectives.
Published: 7 February 2014
Sea waves can produce very high forces but they also tend to have very low vertical velocities. Exploiting wave energy from these low velocities often requires large generators which are too bulky and expensive for efficient use. However, a European consortium has developed a prototype that "snaps" energy out of the rise and fall of the swell, allowing for the efficient extraction of energy. With a generator that is relatively small, light and cheap, the prototype is designed to resist corrosion while deployed in water depths of up to 60m.
Published: 4 December 2013
Whether we like it or not, chemicals are a major part of life. We accept them as a necessary element of modern existence. But what are the long-term effects of chemical exposure on human health? Is there a point at which we may be exposed to more substances than we can physically tolerate?
Published: 26 November 2013
Tidal power has great potential for electricity generation due to the fact that tides are more predictable than wind energy and solar power. However, tidal energy conversion presents a complex engineering challenge: to produce affordable, competitive energy in one of the harshest natural environments, where access to maintenance is both expensive and high risk. An EU-funded project is meeting this challenge by testing long-range ultrasonic sensors for the automated detection of defects in tidal energy conversion devices such as turbine blades.
Published: 30 October 2013
"Biodiversity is the living tissue of our planet," says Xavier Le Roux, BiodivERsA's project coordinator. "It delivers services – what we call "ecosystem services" – which are very important for human society." Provided by the countless living organisms which make up life on earth, these services include functions such as plant and crop pollination, the maintenance of soil fertility, the regulation of greenhouse gases, and the production of food.
Published: 28 May 2013
Over half of the world's population lives in urban areas and that proportion is rising. This has severe consequences for the quality of the air we are exposed to thanks to increased transportation and industry within built-up areas. Rising levels of pollution prompted the European Commission in recent years to fund a number of projects into air quality across the EU at the city, regional and country level.
Published: 23 May 2013
Europe's railway networks have dedicated teams devoted to checking track safety, inspecting the metal for any cracks or defects that could cause problems. If a track needs fixing, it is often welded on-site. But for all their expertise, the track inspectors have few tools to check whether the resulting welds are strong enough. Now, however, researchers have built a new tool to provide an easy yet reliable ultrasonic test of track welds, adding a much-needed layer of safety to the rail network.
Published: 23 May 2013
Published: 21 May 2013