A high performance concrete designed to reduce the impact of bomb blasts is being investigated by engineers at the University of Liverpool, UK. The material is reinforced with steel fibres and has already been employed in slender footbridges and government buildings in Australia.
German researchers are building what they say is the first-ever biogas pilot plant to run entirely on agricultural waste, while achieving 30% more biogas than previous facilities. This technique could create a sustainable source of energy that does
not rely on edible materials, preventing competition for food crops and land.
A hemp or flax-based bioplastic that uses 90% less sulphur has made the material suitable for consumer goods such as toys and electronics, say researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology in Pfinztal, Germany. At the end-of-life, the plastic can be broken down and re-pelletised.
Nanostructured materials, tailored to respond to various stimuli, may form the basis of more energy efficient chemical reactors by regulating reactions, momentum, and heat and mass transfer inside the plants. A consortium of three UK universities, Leeds, Bath and Glasgow, is in the early stages of developing this nanotechnology from molecular metal oxides and polymers.