Plant

This First-Ever Plant Sucks CO2 out to the Air and Feeds It to Vegetables

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While there are those who wish to debate the causes of climate change and how much humanity has contributed to it, others look to address greenhouse gas emissions through technology. A first-of-its-kind commercial plant started to operate recently in Switzerland that sucks CO2 from the air to sell to buyers.

The Climeworks AG plant near Zurich is the first one to capture CO2 on an industrial scale, selling about 900 tons of the gas per year to help grow vegetables. That’s how much carbon dioxide 200 cars would release.

Climeworks sees this as a first step, with the company’s goal being to capture 1% of the global CO2 emissions by using this kind of negative emissions technology. Their long-term objective can be achieved with an additional 250,000 plants like this one.

The company touts the scalability of its plants as a favorable factor in achieving their goals.

“Highly scalable negative emission technologies are crucial if we are to stay below the 2-degree target of the international community,” said Christoph Gebald, co-founder and managing director of Climeworks.

Preventing temperatures from rising more than two degrees Celsius is the target set by the Paris agreement on climate change.

The plant is situated atop…

This Artist Is Turning Old Scrap Metal Into Delicate Plants And Trees, And The Result Is Amazing

Dan Rawlings is a self-taught artist based in Gloucestershire, UK, who works with “recycled tools, unloved canvases, tired skateboards and anything else he finds” and turns them into beautiful tree and plant sculptures that merge with nature. He uses a variety of tools including files, grinders, scalpels and welders, and he believes the process of making something is just as important as the end result.

“Much of my childhood was spent marveling at anybody who could make things with their hands,” wrote Dan on Bored Panda. “And I’ve made a conscious effort to learn as much about as many things as…

Australia Accidentally Incinerated a Priceless Plant Specimen

The specimen was on loan from the National Museum of Natural History in Paris.
The specimen was on loan from the National Museum of Natural History in Paris.

Australia’s biosecurity officials have a big job. They stop plants and animals from entering the country—species that could disrupt its delicately balanced ecosystem. But in their quest to protect Australia, they’ve accidentally destroyed some important biological specimens bound for local researchers. Back in March, for example, biosecurity officials incinerated a plant specimen because of a paperwork mix-up.

The destroyed item was the type specimen for a flowering plant (the exact species hasn’t been released), which means it was the specimen that was used to describe the species officially. The plant had been collected in the mid-1800s and ended…

Dancing With The Plants: Audrey – She’s Surprisingly Light On Her Roots

Dancing with the Plants: Audrey by ikado

Audrey II was taken from the little shop and locked away in Seymour’s apartment for obvious reasons, and even though he cared for the plant like she was his own he knew she would never be able to live outside his apartment. So Seymour introduced Audrey II to television, so her mind could wander all day while he was at work, and boy did Audrey II’s mind wander! The plant adored watching cooking shows, imagining what each recipe would taste like if the main…

A Completely New Kind of Symbiotic Relationship

We’ve seen animals and plants, plants and fungi, animals and bacteria, all with symbiotic relationships that benefit both species. Some combinations even take that relationship to the cellular level. But now scientists have identified algae living in salamander cells through the life of the animal, which is the first time a photosynthetic plant has been found in the cells of a vertebrate.

As a collaborative research team from the American Museum of Natural History and Gettysburg College revealed, the green alga Oophila amblystomatis makes its home inside of cells located across…

World’s Hottest Market: Air Conditioners For India And Hundreds Of New Electric Plants To Power Them

Putin Says Russia To Join OPEC Production Cut

An Indian man sits under the cascading water of a fountain in a decorative shallow pool adorning the gardens surrounding the India Gate monument on a hot Indian summer afternoon in New Delhi on May 20, 2016. (Photo by Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images)

An Indian man sits under the cascading water of a fountain in a decorative shallow pool adorning the gardens surrounding the India Gate monument on a hot Indian summer afternoon in New Delhi on May 20, 2016. (Photo by Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images)

India is poised for an explosion in room air conditioning that may require as many as 300 new electric power plants in the next 10 to 15 years, according to a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory specialist in international energy.

The country is likewise poised to avoid the costs of such an explosion—including billions of tons of carbon pollution—by deploying new air conditioners that are super efficient, that use refrigerants friendly to the climate, and that are powered by renewable energy, said Nikit Abhyankar, a senior scientific engineering associate at LBL.

“All the cities are very hot and very populous, which means that going forward, as people get richer, the demand for room air conditioning is going to be increasing,” said Abhyankar said in an April seminar hosted by the Stanford Precourt Institute of Energy. Stanford released video of the seminar Friday.

“ACs are the first appliance people want to buy when they cross a certain income threshold.”

Millions of Indians are expected to cross that threshold in the next 10-15 years, so analysts expect demand foer room air-conditioner demand akin to the surge in China around the turn of the millennium. Urban Chinese purchased 200 million room air conditioners in 15 years, creating—with just one appliance—300 GW of electric demand, the equivalent of six Californias.

In India, air conditioning is expected to double the country’s electricity demand in 15 years, requiring 200-300 new electric plants for…

10 Easy-to-Grow Plants for First-Time Gardeners

Gardening is more than a hobby. The act of cultivating veggies for your dinner table and flowers for your lawn has numerous health benefits. Research has indicated that regular gardeners are less likely to suffer from heart attacks or come down with Alzheimer’s disease. Plus, spending time with your backyard crops is an excellent way to relieve stress. Now that spring has sprung, why not get your hands dirty? If you’re new to the game, here are 10 tough plants that you won’t need a green thumb to take care of.

1. PANSIES

These hardy flowers are tough to kill—in most areas of the United States, pansies are resilient enough to survive winter temperatures. More than 300 varieties of pansies exist, including several that have been specifically bred for really hot or really cold environments.

The ideal time to plant pansies is when the soil temperature is around 50 to 60 degrees (August for the northern parts of the country to October in the southern), but you can also set yours out in the early spring. Fully-grown plants can be purchased at most gardening stores and deposited directly into the ground. If you plan on growing some from seeds, deposit each one in moist soil spaced 7 to 12 inches apart. In colder states, pansies do best in direct sunlight, but if you live in a warm state like Georgia or Texas, give the flowers some shade and strategically plant them so that they can spend three to four hours in the shadows per day and see that they get an inch of water each week.

2. TOMATOES

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According to the National Gardening Association, nearly nine out of 10 American household vegetable gardens have at least one tomato plant. Germinating tomato plants need a constant soil temperature of 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and seeds should be planted six to eight weeks before your area’s projected last frost date. Given these requirements, you’ll most likely have to start indoors (or buy tomato plants from your local garden center).

First, you’ll need one container for every two seeds. (While it’s possible to raise all of the seeds in the same pot, this makes the young plants harder to remove when the time comes to transplant them.) Plastic or Styrofoam cups work well; make a couple small holes in the bottom of each one for drainage and fill it with a good potting mix. Then, place the seeds about a quarter of an inch beneath the surface. Mist the dirt with water (make it moist, but not soggy) and maintain a constant 70 to 80-degree room temperature, and within 10 days, the little plants will sprout. They’ll need plenty of sunlight; if possible, put the plants by a south-facing window or, in windowless homes, use artificial grow lights.

As soon as the plants sprout four leaves apiece, move them into bigger containers; pots with a height of 4 to 6 inches will be perfect. Meanwhile, find a nice, sunny section of your garden outside. One week before the last frost date, till the soil until it’s nice and loose. Then, dig a trench about 6 or 8 inches deep. After the last frost date finally arrives and the dirt has warmed, throw in 3 inches of compost. Cover that with some extra soil and then transplant your seedlings there.

Like pansies, tomatoes come in many varieties which offer fruits of every shape and size. Depending on what kind you’re growing, you’ll want to arrange the young plants anywhere from 12 to 48 inches apart. Consult the seed package or a neighborhood gardening store for an exact number. By the way, novice gardeners may want to choose varieties that yield smaller fruits (like cherry tomatoes). If left to their own devices, medium or large fruits may rot prematurely. Preventing this will require tethering your plants to stakes or cages for support. That’s not too difficult, but it is an extra step.

3. BASIL

Tomatoes and basil make for a great combination in spaghetti sauces, and in your garden, the two plants may help each other grow. According to many amateur and professional gardeners, basil serves as a natural bug repellent that drives off unwanted insects that might otherwise eat the herb—or munch on your tomato fruits; some speculate is that planting the two near each other somehow gives the tomatoes a…

13 Creative Ways to Plant Succulents

From cactus to aloe, drought-resistant succulents come in an amazing variety of shapes and colors. This variety, and the fact that they’re easy to care for, make succulents the perfect plants for everything from a tiny planter on the counter to a lavish outdoor display—and all the creative displays featured below.

1. IN SHELLS

Megan Andersen-Read stuffed snail shells with cuttings of various small succulents that had begun to root, and then added just enough potting soil around those roots. She had enough shells that she was able to put some of these gardens around the house and more outside as accents for her larger garden.

2. IN A BOOK

loveisinmytummy via Instructables // CC BY-NC-SA 2.5

It’s hard to throw out obsolete books, but it may be easier to turn them into something pretty, like a miniature garden. Instructables member loveisinmytummy found this project to be easier than it looks. You hollow out the pages and build the garden of your dreams in tiny form. The accessories are optional; use your imagination to create the literary world you want.

We expect fresh greenery on a Christmas wreath, but a wreath of live flourishing succulents is a lovely celebration of warm weather. Stephanie at Garden Therapy shows you step-by-step how to make your own succulent wreath, whether fully planted like the one shown here, or partially-covered. She also teaches you how to care for it, and how to refresh your wreath when the plants begin to show their age.

4. IN A BALL

marcellahella via Instructables // CC BY-NC-SA 2.5

To freshen up a space that’s too small for a wreath, how about a simple succulent ball? Instructables member marcellahella will help you create a little garden ornament that can go anywhere, and even move around to take advantage of different light and temperature conditions.

5. FRAMED

algert555 via Instrauctables //CC BY-NC-SA 2.5

There’s no reason why your backyard fence or…

NASA Is Developing an Inflatable Greenhouse to Use on Mars

image credit: University of Arizona

When astronauts finally make it to Mars, they’ll need something to eat. And while NASA is working on shelf-stable rations for those eventual missions, astronauts will ideally be able to grow their own plants while exploring other worlds. That’s where the University of Arizona’s inflatable greenhouse comes in, designboom reports.

The University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center is helping the space agency develop a closed-loop system that can provide astronauts with food, clean the air, and recycle waste and water in alien environments. This “bioregenerative life support system” uses plants and LEDs to recreate what’s essentially a miniature Earth environment, according to designboom.

The Lunar Greenhouse prototype is an 18-foot-long, 7-foot-wide cylinder that is designed to take the carbon dioxide that astronauts breathe out and turn it into oxygen through plant photosynthesis. Astronauts would introduce…

11 Adorable Planters to Bring Life to Your Home

Having plants in your home is great for purifying the air and lifting your general mood. But it’s not enough to just buy a plant—you also have find the right home for it. Your new leafy friend needs something better than the plastic pot you bought it in; here are 11 fancy options to start with.

These porcelain conch shells will give your home a tropical feel—a nice touch when the colder months roll around.

Find it: ModCloth

This thin planter is best suited for smaller plants or for use as a vase—just keep it away from any real cats who might want to knock it over.

Find it: Urban Outfitters

Want fresh herbs at arm’s length in the kitchen but too lazy to start gardening? This little gadget grows three herbs, with an outlet and the click of a button, in just a few weeks. Once you’re finished with your plants, you can pop in new cartridges and start the cycle over again.

Find it: Amazon

This futuristic pot uses magnets to suspend your plant in mid-air above an oak base. It also rotates slowly, giving you something to stare at/zone out to.

Find it: Amazon

Emulate the pink bulb on the classic Pokemon’s back with this little pot. Perfect for succulents, the planter lets you check off at least one monster in your Pokedex.

These mason jars work…