Fake Meat as Cleantech Investment

The New York Times today has a fascinating feature about a new crop of businesses developing better-tasting meat substitutes. According to the Times, Demand for meat alternatives is growing, fueled by trends as varied as increased vegetarianism and concerns over the impact of industrial-scale animal husbandry on the environment. The trend has also attracted a host of unlikely investors, including Biz Stone and Evan Williams of...

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Help Solve a Water Problem

With blogs, twitter, and e-mail, it’s pretty rare these days that I get a phone call from a reader. But yesterday I heard from an ACS member who has a sort of meta-problem. That is, he hopes to get some outside thinking to help him define his problem, as well as to point him in new directions for possible solutions. Here’s the problem: Fresh water is a scarce commodity in many places on the planet. Several dry-arid...

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The Gut(microbe)less Gribble – Biofuel Hero?
Jun11

The Gut(microbe)less Gribble – Biofuel Hero?

Behold the Gribble – a true gutless wonder. The Gribble (pictured here) is a marine wood-boring creature of around 2 millimeters in size. Scientists at the UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council have been spending quality time with the Gribble because of its exceptional innards. The tiny animal eats wood that finds its way into the sea. The wood can come from mangrove swamps or wash into estuaries from land....

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Our Favorite Toxic Chemical: Nitrate
May24

Our Favorite Toxic Chemical: Nitrate

Today’s post is from guest blogger Melissae Fellet, a science writer based in Santa Cruz, California, and was written for the “Our Favorite Toxic Chemicals” blog carnival hosted by Sciencegeist. Feeding my vegetable garden so it will feed me I’m eager to grow some of my own food this summer, so I planted a vegetable garden in pots on my porch. Since my previous gardening experience consists of ignoring my plants, learning some...

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Hidden Chemistry at Solar Biggie BrightSource
Jun09

Hidden Chemistry at Solar Biggie BrightSource

We don’t have too many rules here in C&EN blogville, but we do try to maintain a chemistry connection.  I was worried that would be at risk if I were to post about BrightSource Energy, a mega solar tech firm that has filed for a $250 million IPO. To generate energy from the sun, BrightSource puts thousands of big mirrors in the desert that track the sun and focus light on a tower with a boiler full of water. The steam...

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Gulf Clean-up: Breaking down oil with surfactants

Cleantech Chemistry will save for later the discussion of whether the environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico will put more attention on replacing petroleum in the U.S. economy. But in the meantime it is interesting to note the contribution that chemistry is making to clean-up efforts. Water treatment firm Nalco released a statement confirming that it is supplying quantities of oil dispersants for the Gulf operation, but did not...

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