Archive for May, 2013

May 12, 2013

Keeping fruits and vegetables fresh – the traditional and the modern way

We all know how bad it feels when food we have bought turns bad and has to be thrown away or onto the compost heap. But there are some tips and tricks on how to keep fruits and vegetables fresh for longer:

  • Some vegetables can be refreshed quickly by putting them into ice water for up to thirty minutes
  • Onions and potatoes like cool, dry places and shoud be kept separetely and avoid placing them in the fridge as they will turn bad quicker
  • Bananas are best hung up at room temperature as they turn black inside the fridge
  • Make sure that vegetables and fruits are not stored in a plastic bag

    FreshPaper

The latest novelty for keeping food fresh is FreshPaper, a piece of paper infused with herbs and spices. When vegetables and fruits are stored on top of these paper sheets, they can last two to four times longer than otherwise. They can be used anywhere, inside o

r outside the fridge, in a fruit bowl – the opportunities are countless. The papers work until you can no longer smell their unique maple scent, and they are biodegradable and recyclable, of course.

Another option is the so-called ‘produce saver’ by reuseit.com. This product can also extend the shelf life of a product three to ten times, by absorbing the humidity and ethylene gas that is released by the ripening vegetable or fruit.

Overall, besides many traditional methods and tips and tricks, novel technology can also help avoid wasting precious food in our kitchens. What’s more they can also support families in developing countries who may not be able to aford the luxury of a fridge .

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May 2, 2013

Island Power

Islands and coastlines are in a controversial position regarding climate change. 800px-AgrihanNASA

On one side, as we expect today ocean levels will rise significantly and coastal cities and regions, as well as islands, are threatened the most.

On the other hand, climate change also makes us more aware of the downsides of traditional fossil fuels and renewable energy are becoming more and more significant. Besides wind and solar, there is a further medium that can offer significant amount of energy: water. And islands and coastal areas are the best sites to take advantage of wave and tidal power, being surrounded by seas and oceans.

According to the World Energy Council the potential amount of energy that can be sourced from just waves is between 8-80,000 TWh globally, and up to 2000 TWh per year seems to be economically feasible today but technological innovations in the future could increase this figure. 

The waters around the UK have been identified as one of the best locations for both tidal and wave energy, with a potential of up to 60 GW of electricity – which is approximately 75 per cent of the total electricity needs in the UK currently. 

There are already a number of large-scale devices being tested and installed in the surrounding seas, with the two key areas being the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Energy Park in Scotland and the South West Marine Energy Park between Bristol and Cornwall, which have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding about future co-operation.

Collaboration however can also extend across borders. The Marine Energy in Far Peripheral and Island Communities (MERiFIC) is a great example of international co-operation between the British and the French, involving members from Cornwall, Finistere, le Parc Naturel Marin d’Iroise and the Isles of Scilly. [3]

The MERiFIC initiative aims to investigate opportunities and threats, the economical and technical feasibility of marine energy utilisation in the area, besides a number of joint tests and research projects. Members, including the University of Exeter and University of Plymouth, have been working on developing a framework for other international partnerships that can be used by similar communities on other parts of the world.

International alliances like MERiFIC hence may mean a successful way of looking into the future in the renewable energy sector.

 

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