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Well grounded

Insoles made using mushroom spores are great for feet and the environment. Now, Israeli students have produced an insulation material from mushroom cells that grow abundantly under the soil. The lightweight material is made from mycelium and rapeseed straw that has been recovered from agricultural waste. Then, the cultured fibre networks can be heated and pressed into blocks. The...

On the ball

Around half a billion cups of coffee are consumed worldwide each year, some of them in edible vessels. Now a Swiss firm is ensuring coffee-lovers produce even less waste in search of their caffeine hit. Their product: coffee 'balls' encased in sustainable packaging. Instead of an aluminium capsule, the coffee and its aroma are contained in a flavourless, seaweed-based...

Full indulgence

Mobile mushroom farms help save on delivery channels and packaging. Now, to reduce the millions of disposable cups used daily, a startup from Melbourne has developed a tasty alternative to conventional takeaway tea and coffee. Their edible cups are reminiscent of ice-cream cones. They are made from local oats, grain and rye plus coconut oil, sugar and salt. Once...

Airy access

Covering California's canal system with solar panels will save on valuable water resources. A Tunisian startup, meanwhile, has developed a solar-powered device that turns wet air into water. In high-humidity areas where clean drinking water is scarce, the firm's metre-high machine could produce up to 30 litres per day. First, air is sucked into the machine's head before being...

Accelerating addition

Waste heat from houses or hot water pipes can be converted into electricity. Fermenting food waste is already used to produce hydrogen. Now, an American research team has accelerated the process by adding yeast. Their patented method can produce hydrogen as a clean fuel source within 18-24 hours instead of the usual several days, while also eliminating the risk...

Having a gas

Leftover food can be shared with neighbours, while discarded items can be reused for solar modules. Now, a Californian startup isn’t just converting household waste into energy-rich gas, but car tyres, plastic, wood, glass and electronic equipment too. Waste is inserted at the top of the gasifier while steam and purified oxygen are injected at the bottom, starting a...

Full control

Plants can be automatically cultivated in the desert. Robot boats are freeing oceans of plastic waste. And a North American startup is developing a smart system to remove waste from commercial buildings sustainably. Sensors on the bins’ upper edge monitor the filling level. If reached, a robot vehicle removes the inner container and makes for the collection point. Once...

Attractive solution

Poisonous substances can be removed from the soil, while magnetic solutions free water from uranium and microplastics. Now, a research team from Washington State’s Energy Ministry has succeeded in extracting lithium from water used in industrial processes. The smallest minerals are attracted to reusable nanoparticles, because they are encased in a magnetic shell. The loaded particles are then extracted...

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