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Dr Oliver Opel of the West-Coast University of Applied Sciences in Germany reports on how Leuphana University was transformed into a climate-neutral and environmentally sustainable campus. In the face of accelerating climate change, this exemplary case study provides guidance to other universities and institutions that also wish to become leaders in climate action.
Global market demands for forest-risk commodities such as soy, palm oil, beef, rubber, metals, minerals, gemstones and fossil fuels from Central and South America, Africa and Asia have increased significantly over the past 20 years, representing over four trillion US dollars in 2016 alone. Driven by the over-consumption of a small number of consumer nations, this global trade is responsible for the permanent conversion of native forests into monocultures and pastures, leading to polluted, fragmented and degraded habitats that are unsuitable for wildlife.
Water heating and cooling systems have become incredibly efficient in recent years, but unfortunately, their pipes and components provide ideal environments for corrosion. Dr Oliver Opel at the West Coast University of Applied Sciences in Germany explores the reasons why this corrosion problem appears to be growing. His team’s work could soon provide engineers with updated techniques to tackle corrosion in modern heating and cooling systems, which could prove critical in ensuring that new, energy-efficient buildings continue to operate smoothly.
Cannabis is a plant that remains largely stigmatised, along with people who consume or condone it. However, Dr Andrea Holmes and her colleagues at Precision Plant Molecules are revealing the numerous hidden benefits of cannabis, when processed with precision. This Colorado-based company is using advanced chemical and analytical techniques to isolate naturally produced medicinal compounds and tailor effective medicines for its global consumer base.
Equilibrium is the cornerstone of industrial chemical processes, especially when optimising chemical production. But what if the equilibrium models that engineers use to predict product yields under different conditions were fundamentally inaccurate? Dr Yousef Haseli of Central Michigan University has found that there can often be a large discrepancy between expected and actual results, and that this is because common equilibrium models are flawed from the outset.
Online education has recently experienced a surge in popularity, and this trend is set to continue. Through online learning, individuals who are unable to take courses on campus, due to family, work or financial pressures, now have the opportunity to pursue university degrees. However, one shortfall of online education is that it often fails to develop students’ deep-learning skills, which are required for effectively tackling complex problems. In a recent study, Dr Yianna Vovides of Georgetown University investigated this issue.
People are becoming increasingly aware about the health benefits of eating a diet that’s rich in fruit and nuts. However, farmers are struggling to meet the increasing demand, due to crop damage caused by climate change and emerging plant diseases. As a solution, Dr Vladimir Orbovic, based at the University of Florida, develops and evaluates new methods to manipulate the genetic make-up of plants to rapidly create resilient crops for sustainable future.
Scar tissue formed after surgery or injury often ends up being painful and limiting movement for patients. Although there are a number of possible treatments, these options are expensive and often have only limited success. According to Drs. Michael Mont, Morad Chughtai, Jared Newman, and their colleagues, a revolutionary new approach is now available. Called Astym therapy, the new method works by stimulating the body’s own mechanisms of regeneration for soft tissues and re-absorption of scar tissue. Crucially, after treatment, patients report significant improvements in mobility and pain relief.