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Exquisitely thin membranes can slash energy spent refining crude oil into fuel and plastic

The global production of crude oil is currently around 80 million barrels per day. Hydrocarbons extracted from crude oil are the main ingredients for manufacturing fossil fuels, plastics, and polymers. The process by which they are extracted is extremely energy intensive. Most refineries process crude oil using atmospheric and vacuum distillation, in which crude oil …

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System to create bioplastics

Published Sept. 28 in Chem, the research was a collaboration of Susie Dai, Ph.D., associate professor in the Texas A&M Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, and Joshua Yuan, Ph.D., formerly with the Texas A&M Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology as chair for synthetic biology and renewable products and now Lopata professor and chair …

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Ozone pollution threatens plant health and makes it harder for pollinators to find flowers

“There is much noise about the direct effects of agrochemicals on pollinators, a subject of profound societal attention, but it now emerges that ozone is a silent threat to pollinators and thus pollination,” says lead author Evgenios Agathokleous, an ecologist at Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology. “These impacts of ozone have long been …

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Water fleas as ‘canaries in a coal mine’ offer key to managing chemical pollution

In addition, where prevention to pollute has failed, Daphnia could work as a bioremediation agent to help reduce hazards. Researchers, led by the University of Birmingham, have devised a new framework using high throughput ‘omics’ technologies to detect the effects of ambient chemical mixtures — of the type and concentration typically found in the environment …

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Land use: Greater differentiation in evaluating climate protection measures

Vegetation and soils are the main carbon sinks on land, as they currently absorb almost a third of carbon dioxide emissions caused by humans and thereby substantially help to slow down global warming. Alongside energy production and industry, land use contributes substantially to global anthropogenic CO2 emissions. However, forests and woodlands do not sequester carbon …

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Heat-resistant nanophotonic material could help turn heat into electricity

Developed by a University of Michigan-led team of chemical and materials science engineers, the material controls the flow of infrared radiation and is stable at temperatures of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit in air, a nearly twofold improvement over existing approaches. The material uses a phenomenon called destructive interference to reflect infrared energy while letting shorter wavelengths …

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It may already be too late to meet UN genetic diversity target, but new findings could guide conservation efforts

Several hundred species of animals and plants have gone extinct in the industrialized age and human activity has impacted or shrunk half of Earth’s ecosystems, affecting millions of species. The partial loss of geographic range diminishes population size and can geographically prevent populations of the same species from interacting with each other. This has serious …

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A sea change for plastic pollution: New material biodegrades in ocean water

Seeking solutions to counteract the rise in plastic trash, scientists at the University of California San Diego have developed new biodegradable materials that are designed to replace conventionally used plastic. After proving their polyurethane foams biodegrade in land-based composts, an interdisciplinary team of scientists including UC San Diego biologist Stephen Mayfield and chemists Michael Burkart …

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