Storing power generated by strong winds or bright sunshine by turning it into liquid fuel such as methanol can help to ensure green energy does not go to waste, without having to rely on batteries.
The pandemic left a visible imprint on car, bus and bicycle use – and at its height brought about cleaner city air – but it also disrupted another, less obvious but highly polluting sector: freight transport. Coronavirus plunged millions of planes, trucks, trains and ships into a massive experiment, disrupting supply chains as national borders closed and industries shut down. Researchers and industry are now looking to see if any of the changes will stick.
Aggressive tiger mosquitoes capable of spreading debilitating tropical diseases such as dengue and Zika are spreading through Europe, but scientists hope it may be possible to control these biting pests with a form of insect birth control and drones.
Mountains release the same amount of carbon each year as volcanoes – about 100 megatons – and yet we know very little about the process. Understanding these emissions could tell us more about their effects on climate, both in the past and the future.
Food fraudsters have found myriad ways to trick shoppers – from cheap horsemeat sold as beef to conventional apples labelled as organic. But new rapid testing and tracing technologies may help turn the tables on food crime.
Minerals trapped inside tiny crystals that have survived the grinding of the continents over billions of years may help to reveal the origins of plate tectonics and perhaps even provide clues about how complex life sprang up on Earth.
As the Earth warms, heatwaves are expected to occur more often, with sharper intensity and for longer periods. Rising temperatures adversely affect worker productivity and human health, but for policymakers to take substantive action for heat adaptation, and meet what researchers see as a life-saving Paris climate agreement, making an economic case is key.
Different people respond to medication in different ways – and the results can be fatal.
Prof. Christine Stabell Benn is studying the wider effects of common vaccines.
Dr Kate Rychert studies ocean plate structures.