Category Archives: Our Environment

‘Noah’s Ark’ Takes On Water

‘Noah’s Ark’ Takes On Water

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, built into a hillside in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard far above the Arctic Circle, is often described as humanity’s last hope against extinction after some global crisis.  While there are more than 1,700 gene banks around the world that keep collections of seeds, all of them are vulnerable to war, natural disasters, equipment malfunctions, and other problems.  Except the Svalbard vault – or so we thought.  It has been dubbed the “Noah’s Ark” of seeds and a last chance for the world to regenerate if the worst should come to pass.  It’s mission is to keep the world’s seeds safe. 

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Improving Energy Storage

Improving Energy Storage

The transition to sustainable energy sources faces many challenges.  One important one is to make those sources as reliable as conventional energy systems.  For technologies like solar and wind power, which can’t operate around the clock, an enabling element is effective energy storage.   Energy storage is critical for both the electricity grid and for transportation. Continue Reading

Natural Mosquito Repellents

Natural Mosquito Repellents

With summer comes mosquitoes and our desire to keep them away from us.  The most common repellents are based on the chemical DEET, which unfortunately has been found to have several health and safety problems.   Up to 15% of DEET is absorbed through the skin directly into the bloodstream.  Diethyl-meta-toluamide, the chemical name for DEET,… Continue Reading

Delivery By Fuel Cell

Delivery By Fuel Cell

UPS recently announced a demonstration project that will put a prototype electric truck powered by a hydrogen fuel cell through the delivery company’s challenging paces.   Fuel cells have been used in some commercial vehicles to power auxiliary systems, but this is the first time that they will be used to propel a vehicle. Continue Reading