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Scientists begin building highly accurate digital twin of our planet

ethz.ch
  • In the next ten years, scientists from the “Destination Earth” initiative will be building a highly accurate digital twin model of Earth.
  • Apart from natural observation data, the model will also include a representation of human activity’s continued impact on Earth.
  • The goal - enable policymakers and builders to make informed long-term decisions regarding development, water and food supplies, wind/solar plants, and more.
  • Scientists state that computer science needs to merge with earth sciences to make this happen, and advanced computing technology and algorithms will be needed.
  • They estimate that supercomputers based on GPUs would be best, and modelling Earth’s twin at 1km resolution would take 20,000 GPUs at around 20 Megawatts.

Kenyan recycles plastic waste into bricks stronger than concrete

reuters.com
  • Using plastic waste that can’t be recycled, Kenyan materials engineer Nzambi Matee makes bricks that are 5-7 times stronger than concrete.
  • They’re made from plastic combined with sand, and the most popular grey bricks cost $7.70 per square metre.
  • Matee designed her own machines and started a factory in 2017, recycling 20 tons of plastic since then.
  • She started it because of the local government’s inability to deal with the plastic pollution problem.

Shining a light on the true value of solar power

eurekalert.org
  • Energy companies used to worry that installing solar panels drives up energy costs for people in the neighborhood that don’t have them.
  • New study shows that the opposite is true - grid-tied solar systems actually subsidize neighbors that don’t have solars.
  • Customers that use solars reduce infrastructure costs for utility companies, and help supply energy in times when demand is highest.

Hydrogen-powered drives for e-scooters

fraunhofer.de
  • German company developed POWERPASTE, a hydrogen-based fuel in the form of a chemical that you can refill.
  • It’s meant to be used for small vehicles, like electric scooters, drones and motorcycles, because mounting a high-pressure hydrogen tank wouldn’t work here.
  • POWERPASTE has high energy storage density, so it could potentially extend battery life for small vehicles.
  • It’s based on hydrogen combined with magnesium, and it releases energy once it meets water.

Turning food waste back into food

news.ucr.edu
  • Fermented food can boost bacteria that make crops grow better, and be stronger.
  • In the US alone, almost 50% of all food is thrown away, and it could be used to optimize food production.
  • Researchers fermented mixed grocery store food waste and beer production waste, and added it to the water system hydrating citrus plants.
  • In some cases, this could help farmers stop the use of synthetic chemicals, makings crops much less expensive.

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