Making hydrogen with mining waste

A group of Queensland researchers have used mining waste to make a catalyst that could render hydrogen fuel production cheaper and more efficient. Hydrogen gas, which can be made by electrolysing water, should be a critical clean fuel by mid-century. The electrolysis process needs metals to catalyse it – and generally, expensive precious metals do … Continue reading Making hydrogen with mining waste

Gorgon’s carbon capture shortfall

The self-described “world’s largest carbon capture and storage project” hasn’t captured enough carbon to meet its goals. The Gorgon LNG Project, a large-scale gas-mining project off the West Australian coast, has not been able to capture 80% of the carbon dioxide it has emitted over the past five years – a target on which its initial state government … Continue reading Gorgon’s carbon capture shortfall

Lithium: Powering the Green Revolution

A worldwide clamour for better battery power has caused a “white gold” rush on lithium. Shortages loom, fuelling a race to find new sources of this rare element. As the climate warms, sea levels rise and droughts, heatwaves and bushfires multiply, the need to usher in the green-energy future is increasingly urgent. But that doesn’t mean … Continue reading Lithium: Powering the Green Revolution

Blind shrimps, translucent snails

By Jenny Davis, Charles Darwin University; Daryl Nielsen, CSIRO; Gavin Rees, CSIRO, and Stefanie Oberprieler, Charles Darwin University There aren’t many parts of the world where you can discover a completely new assemblage of living creatures. But after sampling underground water in a remote, arid region of northern Australia, we discovered at least 11, and … Continue reading Blind shrimps, translucent snails

Cosmos Briefing: Lithium

As the demand for renewable-energy technologies skyrockets, we need to think about how to source their constituent materials without further damaging the world we’re trying to save, according to yesterday’s Cosmos Briefing. Rick Valenta, from the Sustainable Minerals Institute at the University of Queensland, and Mahdokht Shaibani, a research fellow at Melbourne’s Monash University, discussed … Continue reading Cosmos Briefing: Lithium

Mining with microbes in space

The first mining experiments in space have revealed that microbes can efficiently extract elements from rocks in zero gravity. The tests, performed by astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS), open up possibilities for the human exploration and settlement of the Solar System. “On Earth, microorganisms play prominent roles in natural processes such as the … Continue reading Mining with microbes in space

Gold mining restricts Amazon forest recovery

Gold mining significantly limits the regrowth of Amazon forests and thus their ability to accumulate carbon, according to a new study. The researchers report that forest recovery rates on abandoned mining pits and tailing ponds are amongst the lowest ever recorded for tropical forests, with no tree regeneration at some sites even three to four … Continue reading Gold mining restricts Amazon forest recovery

The search for dark matter finds gold

A method for locating seams of gold and other heavy metals is the un­likely spin-off of Swinburne University’s in­volvement in a huge experiment to detect dark matter down a mine in Stawell, Victoria. Associate Professor Alan Duffy, from Swinburne’s Centre for Astrophysics and Super­computing and a member of the Sodium iodide with Active Background REjection … Continue reading The search for dark matter finds gold

The world’s top 10 battles for environmental justice

Environmental justice activism is to this age what the workers’ movement was for the industrial age – one of the most influential social movements of its time. Yet, despite its consistent progress since the 1970s, environmental justice protests seem to get lost in the morass of information on broader environmental issues. In contrast, labour conflicts, … Continue reading The world’s top 10 battles for environmental justice