Entrepreneurs in the aquaculture sector face a problem – extracting all the valuable molecules from seaweed and algal cells is still really difficult. But marine enzymes and magnets are now making it easier to remove precious molecules and can even turn microalgae into magnetically-guided ‘vehicles’ for targeted drug delivery.
Cities across Europe are trialling schemes such as roof gardens and ‘mobile forests’ to embed more nature into urban areas in an effort to protect their citizens from climate change events like heatwaves, floods and droughts.
Rivers in Europe are so congested with concrete obstructions like weirs, bridges and other man-made barriers that they no longer flow freely, which harms the wider environment. Removing these blockages could restore these vital aquatic ecosystems to their former glory.
It is used as a fertiliser to help crops grow, burned as a fuel for heat, and is even used as a building material. But exactly when and how humans began using dung is a mystery that is now starting to be unravelled by researchers.
As the world moves towards a carbon neutral future, many different areas from industry to manufacturing are working to reduce their emissions. But scientists are beginning to look at a different area – houses – to work out if it’s possible to reduce emissions from Europe’s homes to zero by retrofitting on a mass scale. And the early signs are promising.
Tapping into the genetic diversity contained within the seeds of wild relatives and forgotten crop plants could help farmers decrease their dependency on global agribusiness and grow food better suited to local conditions.
Virtual reality and scenario-testing models are being built to help urban planners and architects get real-time feedback about the impact of their designs on mental health, particularly for older people.
In August, Horizon takes a look at the quest to make Europe’s cities environmentally sustainable, while also ensuring a healthy and prosperous population. We speak to geographer Professor Harriet Bulkeley on why cities have such an important role in fighting climate change, what it means for a city to be sustainable and the big challenges that lie ahead. We look at the construction of zero-energy housing, homing in on the case of Nottingham, UK, and find out how scientists are putting nature back into the old Spanish capital of Valladolid. We also talk to the city officials breathing new life into historical buildings in Bologna, Italy, and learn how urban planners and architects are taking emotional feedback into account when designing new public spaces and homes.
Demand for biomolecules is growing but it’s still a challenge to retrieve them.
Hand gestures could have been the earliest forms of language.
R&I missions will mean rethinking the economy - Prof. Mazzucato.