Category: Biology

Single-use Plastics

Single-use Plastics

Single-use Plastics

09/23/19

“What exactly are single-use plastic and why are they so bad?”

Plastic is a very useful material. It’s flexible, fairly non-reactive, and strong, making it applicable for single-use grocery bags. However, the fact that Single-use Plastics are not recyclable and biodegradable means that they will end up in a land-fill and release toxic chemicals into the environment. To solve this crisis, a new generation of thinkers will have to come up with innovative policy and technical solutions. This could be anyone, from a regular Joe to someone whose name rhymes with Narina.

Fume Hoods

Fume Hoods

Fume Hoods

09/14/19

“How do scientists ensure that they are safe from chemical fumes in the lab?”

Biology and Chemistry often involve a lot of messy lab work involving chemicals, which may give off dangerous vapors. To prevent these from damaging the air quality in the lab and the health of the denizens, the fumes must be cycled away. This is commonly done through fume hoods, which sucks in air from a workbench and ventilates it to the atmosphere. Fume hoods are a vital part of the safety of every lab and have become a staple of the wet-bench research environment.

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How Climate Change Will Exacerbate the Frequency of Deadly Diseases

How Climate Change Will Exacerbate the Frequency of Deadly Diseases

How Climate Change Will Exacerbate the Frequency of Deadly Diseases

07/23/19

“Why will there be more diseases as a result of climate change?”

Insects and viruses thrive in warm climates and human’s immune systems suffer when under temperature stress. As the global climate heats up, more areas will become warmer. This will enable more disease vectors to breed and put stress on humans, therefore vastly increasing susceptibility to illness.. This is How Climate Change Will Exacerbate the Frequency of Deadly Diseases.

Pyrolysis

Pyrolysis

Pyrolysis

03/24/19

“How can we heat organic matter into a fuel without combustion?”

When heated to a high enough temperature, organic matter will burn. However, if there is no oxygen present, then combustion cannot occur. So what happens instead? Well, the organic material will decompose into combustible gasses and charcoal, the former of which can be turned into a combustible liquid. This Pyrolysis process can be used to create carbon emission neutral fuel sources such as biochar.

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Algae Biofuel

Algae Biofuel

Algae Biofuel

02/27/19

‘How can we get fuel from Algae?’

Fuels supply is one of the most difficult things to decarbonize. Their unmatched energy density means that machines that rely upon them will have a difficult time replacing them. But how can we use our scientific mindset to get around this? Well, we know that Algae can produce energy from sunlight and store it in the form of oils. So if we were to extract these oils we can essentially have solar powered fuels! This Algae Biofuel could be a revolution for low-carbon industry.

Biochar

Biochar

Biochar

02/26/19

“How can we have a safe form of carbon which can’t easily escape into the atmosphere?”

Carbon is one of the most fundamental elements in the world. Given its role in energy production and global warming, it is both the foundation and destroyer of our civilization. But can there be a cleaner form of carbon? Well, if we burn dead organic matter such as plants in a container with very little oxygen, then it will release very little fumes and turn into a stable form of carbon known as Biochar. The energy created in the burning process can be used to power mechanical processes.

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Cellulosic Ethanol

Cellulosic Ethanol

Cellulosic Ethanol

02/13/19

“How can we make potentially more sustainable fuels from plants?”

 

Fuel is the most common energy storage method in the world. Whether it is used in consumer vehicles, aircraft, or submarines, fuel seems to be present. However, the common petroleum or natural-gas derived fuel is quite disastrous for the environment, being one of the leading causes of greenhouse gas generation. So how can we make a cleaner substitute? Well, what if we were to instead make fuel from the stringy-fiber of a plant? This is known as Cellulosic Ethanol and has the potential to be a paradigm shift since it would not compete with existing food crops and does not emit greenhouse gasses. However, if land usage is implemented into the lifecycle analysis, then Cellulosic Ethanol is more destructive due to its intense water and land usage.

 

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