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Engineered yeast may expand possible biofuel sources, researchers say

Engineered yeast may expand possible biofuel sources, researchers say

Science
June 25 (UPI) -- Researchers at MIT said Friday that they have developed a way to expand potential sources of biofuels to include straw and woody plants that, historically, proved challenging to effectively process. Their approach involves a technique designed to improve yeast cells' tolerance to a wide range of alcohols, they said. In large quantities, alcohols are toxic to yeast, the microbes most commonly used to produce biofuels such as ethanol. However, by using specific compounds that strengthen the membrane of the yeast, the microbes were able to survive much longer in high concentrations of ethanol, the researchers said. Using this approach, they were able to improve the traditional fuel ethanol yield of a high-performing strain of yeast by about 80%, they said. Their findings we...
Wildfire smoke particles cause more lung damage than other pollution sources

Wildfire smoke particles cause more lung damage than other pollution sources

Health
March 5 (UPI) -- The fine particles in wildfire smoke are up to 10 times more harmful to human lungs than pollution from other sources, such as car exhaust, an analysis published Friday by the journal Nature Communications found. Every 10 microgram-per-cubic meter increase in particulate matter -- the hazardous microscopic particles found in dust, pollen, smoke and soot, car exhaust and industrial emissions -- led to a 1% rise in hospital admissions for breathing problems, the data showed. Advertisement Higher levels of particulate matter in wildfire smoke, however, resulted in a 1.3% to 10% increase in hospitalizations for respiratory issues. The findings are based on an analysis of air pollution from wildfires and other sources in Southern California between 1999 and 2012. The region ha...
British military looking to move aircraft to sustainable sources of fuel

British military looking to move aircraft to sustainable sources of fuel

Business
Dec. 14 (UPI) -- A plan to use sustainable sources for up to 50 percent of military aviation fuel was announced by British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace this week. The British Ministry of Defense on Saturday said it would look to algae, alcohol, household waste, wood and biomass as potential sources of fuel for the nation's F-35 and Typhoon planes and Wildcat helicopters. Advertisement Aviation fuel consumes nearly two-thirds of fuel used by the British military, the ministry said. New aviation fuel standards in effect since November call for a reduction in emissions and carbon footprints, and complement the British government's goal of net zero emissions throughout the country by 2050. "[Britain] is leading the way in sustainability, and by refining our aviation fuel standards we are ta...
India asks state-run firms to clear over $1 bn, owed to green energy firms: Sources

India asks state-run firms to clear over $1 bn, owed to green energy firms: Sources

Finance
NEW DELHI: India has asked state lenders to provide over $ 1 billion to government power distribution companies to clear longstanding debts to green energy firms that could hinder further investment, three sources familiar with the plan said on Tuesday. The companies owe solar and wind power generators including Goldman Sachs-backed ReNew Power and Softbank-backed SB Energy over 97 billion rupees ($ 1.35 billion), according to the Central Electricity Authority, an arm of the federal power ministry. Adding to the problems of the power generators, a new government in Andhra Pradesh state - which owes renewable energy firms more than any other state - wants to renegotiate its contracts, saying the prices it pays are inflated. The New Delhi government has asked state lenders Power Finance Corp...
Climate change: Peatlands ‘turning into carbon sources’

Climate change: Peatlands ‘turning into carbon sources’

Science
Peatlands are a natural carbon sink, absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere and burying it in the soil.In Europe alone, they lock up about five times more carbon than forests.But according to a new study, the continent's peatlands are in such a dry and fragile state, they could go into reverse, releasing rather than absorbing carbon.Scientists say it is more important than ever that we restore and safeguard these boggy landscapes.Researchers examined 31 peatlands across England, Ireland, Scandinavia and continental Europe to assess changes during the last 2,000 years.The study, published in Nature Geoscience, found that most peatlands had become drier during the period 1800-2000 than they had been for the last 600 years. 40% were drie...