Carbon-Negative Plant Opens in Turkey Turning Algae Into Bio-Jet Fuel and So Much More:
İMBİYOTAB Bogazici University
Europe’s first large-scale biorefinery for turning algae into fuels and feedstocks has been completed on the Black Sea shore of Istanbul. Set to head up a new “bio-economy,” the refinery, powered entirely by wind energy, will turn microalgae and macroalgae species into carbon-negative jet fuel, feedstocks, supplements, and fertilizers. They are carbon negative because algae absorb CO2 as plants do, but far faster and in much greater amounts than woody plants like trees. Once processed into products, more of that carbon pulled from the atmosphere remains imprisoned than is released during production, hence it being carbon negative. The project was funded in partnership by the government of Turkey and the European Union and is just one of several initiatives dubbed Project INDEPENDENT. The biorefinery, located at Boğaziçi University’s Sarıtepe Campus, can process 1,200 tons of algae per year. Reporting on the refinery says that the algae will be used to produce jet fuel that, when mixed with 5-10% fossil fuels, will power a flight leaving Istanbul by the end of the year.
Turning any camera into a polarization camera:
The grating is mounted just in front of the front face of a chosen objective lens in a tube that also houses a bandpass filter and a field stop. This is shown implemented (top), as a schematic (bottom). Credit: Capasso Lab/Harvard SEAS
Polarization, the direction in which light vibrates, provides a lot of information about the objects with which it interacts, from aerosols in the atmosphere to the magnetic field of stars. However, because this quality of light is invisible to human eyes, researchers and engineers have relied on specialized, expensive, and bulky cameras to capture it, until now. Researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a metasurface attachment that can turn just about any camera or imaging system, even off-the-shelf systems, into polarization cameras. Many of the application of this attachment can make normal cameras able to have complex functions such as face recognition, self-driving car sensors, and active machine imaging (security and robotic applications) where the picture is both more detailed and more efficient. To put the attachment onto a camera it is simply twisted onto the objective lens (the main camera lens) and then can polarize any image when you take a picture. How it is able to do this is through its nanopillars which direct light into four separate parts of polarization imaging and then combine each of the parts into one, completing a full snapshot at the level of every single pixel within a photograph. Regardless of the size or function of a camera, the versatile design allows it to be attached to anything from large room-size telescopes to small spy cameras.
A gene therapy for hemophilia boosts levels of a crucial clotting protein:
A young man with hemophilia gives himself a treatment for the blood disorder on Galdhøpiggen Mountain in Norway. People with the disease need regular infusions of a crucial clotting protein, as their bodies don’t make enough. PHILARTPHACE/ISTOCK UNRELEASED/GETTY IMAGES
A gene-based therapy is potentially a step closer to becoming a one-time treatment for men with hemophilia. The life-threatening genetic disorder hinders the body’s ability to form blood clots. In hemophilia A (inherited), the most common type, the gene responsible for a blood-clotting protein called factor VIII has errors, leading the body to produce an insufficient amount of the protein. A new study describes how 132 men with a severe form of the disease who received one infusion of the gene therapy fared. A year later, 88 percent of them had factor VIII levels high enough to have either a mild form or no disease, researchers report March 16 in the New England Journal of Medicine. The gene therapy, called valoctocogene roxaparvovec, consists of a one-time infusion containing genetic instructions for producing factor VIII, delivered by an adeno-associated virus, which does not cause disease. The virus is taken up by many different cells, but only liver cells can use the instructions to make the clotting protein. However, the therapy didn’t work for a small percentage of the participants, how long the infusion’s effects last is unknown, and the therapy caused most participants with a worrying side effect of overproduction of a liver enzyme that signals inflammation in the tissue.