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Agricool’s strawberries in the city

Agricool is a French start-up that has developed an intensive farming technique for growing food inside old shipping containers. They can produce a crop 120 times larger than what you could grow on a patch of land of the same size, with 90% less water and no pesticides, and with 100% renewable energy. Since a […]

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Hype, hyperloop and the hovertrain

If you’ve ever traveled on Britain’s East Coast mainline, you may have idly looked out the train window around Peterborough and seen this curious sight. It looks like a plane with no wings, perched on a concrete beam. It is in fact all that remains of the hovertrain, a prototype high speed rail system that […]

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Where does your rubbish go?

Where does your rubbish end up? The answer to that question is – thankfully – more complex than it used to be. The old answer was that it went to the dump outside the town. Some of it still does, but if your trash is separated, it’s going to end up all over the place. […]

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Would driverless cars be better for the environment?

Last week I was with the Royal Society at their Emerging Technologies conference, where we were discussing how various technologies were going to impact society. In the work stream that I was part of, we talked about cultured meats and insect protein, solar with battery storage, and the internet of things. We also talked about […]

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Building of the week: International Space Station

On Fridays I generally write about sustainable buildings and architecture. Does the International Space Station count as architecture? Or a building for that matter? I’m not sure, but I do know that there’s a good reason for including it: it’s a neat example of circular principles and closed loops. It’s hugely expensive to get things […]

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Will we ever have electric planes?

Slow it may be, but the transition to electric vehicles is now well underway, with the promise of substantial reductions in greenhouse gases to come. Someone asked me recently if a similar transition was possible in aviation – will we ever have electric planes? The usual answer is no, not any time soon. Getting a […]

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FeedKind: turning greenhouse gases into animal feed

If you tuck into a piece of meat today, in whatever form it may be, there’s likely to be a long supply chain behind it that is mostly invisible. There’s the animal it came from, obviously. Behind that is the feed that reared that animal to full size, usually soy. Behind the feed is the […]

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Could you replant a forest by drone?

Scientists may be hard at work on technologies that can draw CO2 back out of the atmosphere, but so far we are yet to improve on the tree for efficiency and cost. The future of our planet as a liveable and comfortable home for humanity may well depend on what we do with trees. Preserving […]

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Accelerating EV research with open source vehicles

Open Source is a phenomenon that emerged in the software industry. Where companies such as Microsoft built their business by locking everything down, open source developers publish the code and let anyone use and improve it. As it turns out, the combined wisdom of thousands of programmers in a user community is often superior to […]

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Hybrid solar panels for electricity and heat

I’ve written in the past about passive solar heat, such as Trombe walls, solar furnaces or solar heating walls. The idea is more familiar is solar hot water systems. But did you know that solar heat and solar electricity can be combined? Hybrid solar panels have been on the market for a while, but the […]

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