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Energy

25 August 2021

Out with air conditioners, in with chilled water – how Europe could slash its cooling footprint

As climate change warms the world, we increasingly need to find ways to efficiently cool our buildings – whilst also lowering our emissions to attempt to halt the temperature rise as much as possible. Traditional air conditioners are a poor method of achieving either goal, but what if there was another way?
12 August 2021

Deep-sea mining: is it an environmental curse or could it save us?

Potato-sized clumps of metal at the bottom of the deepest oceans might aid our fight against climate change, but mining these could also damage a world we know very little about.
11 August 2021

Q&A: We need to think differently about how we cool things down

The ability to keep food, medicines, vaccines and our buildings cool underpins much of our modern way of life, but it is also a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. If the world is to meet its development goals and climate change targets over the coming decades, we need to rethink how we keep things cold, says Professor Toby Peters, an expert in the cold economy at the University of Birmingham in the UK.
06 May 2021

Q&A: Why unconventional resources are key to expanding geothermal energy use

The smouldering heat generated during the formation of our planet and the continuous decay of radioactive material lies trapped within the Earth’s crust, just waiting to be tapped to satisfy humanity’s insatiable demand for heat and electricity.
18 March 2021

Q&A: We need non-critical raw materials for green tech to flourish

Developing new, green technologies has been hailed as a way to both achieve Europe’s environmental goals and support its economic recovery following the coronavirus pandemic. But what type of green technologies do we need and how do we get them scaled up to a point where they can have a real impact?
11 March 2021

Smart windows could reduce the need for energy-hungry air conditioners

Smart windows that control the amount of heat that enters or leaves a building can reduce the need for energy-intensive air conditioning units and help efforts to retrofit Europe’s buildings to make them more energy efficient.  
05 January 2021

Q&A: ‘We need to reduce the ‘embodied energy’ of buildings

Retrofitting Europe’s buildings for energy efficiency is not enough to slash the carbon footprint of the construction sector and cut emissions in time to meet the Paris climate agreement goals, according to Dr Catherine De Wolf, assistant professor of design and construction management at TU Delft in the Netherlands.
23 November 2020

3-D printed corals, new bioreactors to boost microalgae production for biofuels

Using light as an energy source, photosynthetic microalgae can be used to produce products like biofuels and cosmetics. But algae grown in a reactor block out the light on which they feed. New reactor designs could solve this problem and help the industry move forward.
21 October 2020

Future wearable electronic clothing could be charged by our own body heat

Thanks to rapid computing developments in the last decade and the miniaturisation of electronic components, people can, for example, track their movements and monitor their health in real time by wearing tiny computers. Researchers are now looking at how best to power these devices by turning to the user’s own body heat and working with garments, polka dots and know-how from the textile industry.
12 October 2020

Lightweight, bendy, cheaper – the promise of organic solar panels

Today’s silicon solar panels are an industry standard, but these rigid, heavy blocks may be shunted aside by plastic rivals – lightweight, flexible solar panels that could be printed and stuck onto buildings or placed in windows or cars, turning light into electricity in locations inaccessible to their heavier cousins.