Nest Protect is the smoke/CO detector to beat

How do you make a smoke detector cool? It's hard, and more difficult still to glamorize a carbon monoxide detector. Under ideal circumstances, you'll never hear a peep out of either.

Nest took a crack at reinventing the boring old smoke alarm anyway. The upstart company, famous for its five-star Nest Learning Thermostat, aims to reimagine the dull, annoying, or dysfunctional white-label products around your house. As such, Nest took the passive wall wart of yesterday and transformed it into the Nest Protect, a Wi-Fi-ready smoke alarm and CO monitor. And while the Nest Protect doesn't necessarily … Read more

CO2ube filters out carbon dioxide from your tailpipe

Carbon dioxide emissions have been linked to all sorts of environmental ills. Improvements in car design are helping the issue, but the CO2ube Kickstarter project wants to take carbon dioxide filtration to any car on the road.

The CO2ube attaches onto the end of your tailpipe using hose clamps. A combination of algae and sodium hydroxide filters out the carbon dioxide as it exits from car. … Read more

Oceans are acidifying faster than ever

The burning of fossil fuels and the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere don't affect just the air--it also impacts the Earth's oceans, according to U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Oceans absorb the carbon dioxide, which in turn changes the water's pH acidity levels. What this means is that coral reefs are growing at a slower rate and the survival of marine species is decreasing, according to NOAA.

Now, the speed at which ocean pH level is changing is faster than any time in the last 300 million years, according to a new … Read more

Assess your environmental impact with Carbon Footprint Calculator

Your carbon footprint is a measure of the amount of carbon dioxide that you produce through such activities as traveling, using electricity, consuming food, and other aspects of daily life. Carbon Footprint Calculator is a simple program that can help you calculate your carbon footprint and identify areas where you might be able to reduce your output.

The program's interface is simple and easy to navigate, consisting of only one screen with a variety of simple questions about your daily activities. There's a transportation section, an energy section, a recycling and activities section, and a food section. Some … Read more

Global industry CO2 output rises even in weak economy


Global carbon dioxide emissions from industry rose about 3 percent in a weak global economy this year, a study released today showed, adding fresh urgency to efforts to control planet-warming gases at U.N. climate talks in South Africa.

The study by the Global Carbon Project, an annual report card on mankind's CO2 pollution, says a slowdown in emissions during the 2008-09 global financial crisis was a mere speed bump, and the gain in 2011 followed a 6 percent surge in 2010.

"The global financial crisis was an opportunity to move the global economy away from a high-emissions … Read more

How big is your footprint?

A carbon footprint measures the amount of greenhouse gases that we put out into the atmosphere via transportation, electricity use, and other daily activities. Carbon Footprint Calculator is a Google Desktop Gadget that lets users easily tabulate their carbon footprints, as well as the number of trees that would need to be planted in order to offset it.

The program appears as an attractive rectangle within Google Desktop. The gadget's text invites users to calculate their carbon footprint by clicking on the word Start, and it then walks users through a series of questions about their energy consumption. Users … Read more

Hackers target carbon emissions trading market

In a digital heist reminiscent of a John le Carré novel, more than $9 million worth of greenhouse-gas emissions permits were stolen from the Czech Republic electricity and carbon trading registry this week and transferred to accounts in other countries, at the same time as the Prague-based registry office was evacuated due to a bomb threat.

That electronic theft, the latest in a series of security breaches affecting the market for carbon emissions, led the European Commission to suspend transactions in national European Union registries on Wednesday for a week.

"Three attacks have taken place since the beginning … Read more

Carbon Sciences claims progress in fuel from CO2

If Carbon Sciences succeeds, some of us will be driving on gasoline sourced from a landfill.

The Santa Barbara, Calif.-based company today said that it has made technical progress on a process that would take two greenhouse gases--methane and carbon dioxide--and convert them into gasoline.

The goal is to take methane--the main ingredient in natural gas--and carbon dioxide and synthesize them through a chemical process to make a liquid fuel that can stand in for gasoline.

Carbon Sciences said its tests indicate that its catalyst can work at a sufficient conversion rate and is durable. The company didn't … Read more

Carbon nanotubes capture greenhouse gases, desalinate water

Carbon nanotech has been applied to everything from boat construction to windshields and now, with a licensing agreement from Livermore Lab, a Hayward, Calif., company will apply it to water desalination and removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

The National Nuclear Security Administration's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has licensed a new carbon nanotube technology to its spinoff company Porifera. The company will develop permeable membranes for CO2 sequestration, water desalination, and other liquid-based separations based on discoveries made at Livermore.

The technology integrates carbon nanotubes into polymer membranes, increasing the flux of carbon dioxide capture by two orders of … Read more

(Almost) waterless washing machine on its way

Just a cup of water and a bit of detergent. That's all that needs to be added to a virtually waterless washing machine from British company Xeros that's poised to hit the North American market.

The dirty job is done by small nylon beads that pull stains off garments and lock them into the nylon's molecular structure. The beads don't even seem to suffocate easily--they can continue to absorb dirt over hundreds of washes.

The technology builds on research out of the U.K.'s University of Leeds and has been applied in a concept washing … Read more