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European research in action

Cleaning up our act

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Good progress has been made in reducing our production of pollutants. However, if technology is to continue to advance, we need to re-think some of our methods. Progress must not be allowed at the expense of the planet's resources. In the 21st century, innovation will be acceptable only if it incorporates sustainability; it must do its job without harming the environment. There is no shortage of inspiration: harnessing wind and water power, solar energy, building equipment with improved efficiency, using alternative materials. The list is endless, but turning ideas into reality takes years of research and development.

Cleaning up our act

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European researchers are among the most creative in the world. They are developing technology that can measure environmental change, protect the environment and put right some of the damage that has been done. Among the most active areas are water and waste water management, recycling, using biosensors to monitor pollution levels, using micro-organisms to degrade toxic waste and the development of 'green' vehicles. Europe is turning ideas into practical, workable reality.

Cleaning up our act

The new danger of organic pollutants
Increased organic pollution of fresh water resources could lead to hormonal imbalances in amphibians and fish. The Waste Water Cluster consists of three, related European projects that are improving our understanding of how some industrial and domestic pollutants affect water supplies. The teams involved are developing better alert systems and new purification processes.

The era of green transport
European car manufacturers are putting a lot of effort into the development of 'green' vehicles. Many researchers are working with the automobile industry to produce high-performance electric or "hybrid" vehicles. Planned growth in air transport over the next few years will depend on reducing the impact of aircraft on the environment. Aero-engine manufacturers and researchers are working together to develop low-emission combustion chambers for use in engines destined for both subsonic and supersonic aircraft.

 
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