Researchers are developing textiles that could be used for large-scale seaweed farms off Europe’s coast.
Seaweed could be more commonly used as a source of chemicals and biofuel if researchers can work out how to grow it and process it efficiently.
Seaweed is normally grown on underwater ropes, but AT~SEA project researchers believe that textiles could be used to cultivate it more efficiently. They are experimenting with textures and surfaces that will produce the highest yields, and hope to grow 20 kilograms of seaweed per square metre, paving the way for large-scale sea farms in the future.
Horizon’s film crew travelled out to one of the project’s test sites off the coast of Galway, Ireland, to find out more from project coordinator Bert Groenendaal and fellow researcher Guy Buyle, from project partner Centexbel.
Stone and concrete structures with the ability to heal themselves in a similar way to living organisms when damaged could help to make buildings safer and last longer.
Concrete has become our building material of choice for countless structures such as bridges, towers and dams. But it also has a huge environmental footprint mostly due to carbon dioxide emissions from the production of cement – one of its main constituents. Researchers are now experimenting with root vegetables and recycled plastic in concrete to see whether this can make it stronger – and more sustainable – and even power streetlights or air pollution sensors.
As the first coronavirus vaccines started to be rolled out at the end of a tumultuous 2020, UK officials unexpectedly endorsed stretching the gap between the first and second vaccine dose by up to three months – an approach also considered by other countries.
There are about 1,500 potentially active volcanoes worldwide and about 50 eruptions occur each year. But it’s still difficult to predict when and how these eruptions will happen or how they’ll unfold. Now, new insight into the physical processes inside volcanoes are giving scientists a better understanding of their behaviour, which could help protect the 1 billion people who live close to volcanoes.
Pragmatic or dangerous – what do the experts say?
Better predictions of volcano behaviour could protect people and infrastructure.
Dr Kate Rychert studies ocean plate structures.