Solar Panels: Silicon, Lead and the World of Impatience

If we’re ever going to reach net carbon zero, we need to diversify where we get our power from. Wind is abundant in the UK, but NIMBYs object to their placement; hydroelectrics require dams to be built, which can destroy natural aquatic habitats. Most sources of ‘green energy’ have their problems. Solar panels, however, areContinue reading “Solar Panels: Silicon, Lead and the World of Impatience”

Face Masks: Should I Wear a Face Mask?

Reports of Boris Johnson’s consideration of a mandatory face mask order broke on Friday 11th July, for the first time over the course of the pandemic. Many, myself included, have been pushing for this for months. A non-peer reviewed Oxford study suggests as little as 25% of the UK’s population regularly wore masks in lateContinue reading “Face Masks: Should I Wear a Face Mask?”

How can we recycle plastics?

Header photo by Catherine Sheila from Pexels Every day, 20.5 million plastic bottles enter the recycling system in the UK. Those plastic bottles, made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), may one day be used over and over after being recycled back into its monomers thanks to French company Carbios’s PET-eating enzymes. With the EU’s intent for all plastic packagingContinue reading “How can we recycle plastics?”

Bioplastics: Polylactic Acid (PLA) and Starch

The second article in a series about the science behind plastic waste. Find the first here– you’ll probably want to read that first. Plastics are unavoidable in modern life. Your grocery shop is full of it, your takeaway is wrapped in it and even the phone in your pocket depends upon it. The ocean isContinue reading “Bioplastics: Polylactic Acid (PLA) and Starch”

Can biodegradable bottles end the plastic crisis?

When you hear the word “biodegradable”, what’s the first thing you think about?  The tea bags and egg shells in your compost heap at the end of the garden? The soggy and rotting leaves from an autumn forest?  How about the plastic cutlery you eat your lunch with, or the lid on your coffee cup? Continue reading “Can biodegradable bottles end the plastic crisis?”

1746: Ben Franklin and the Leyden Jar – SPARK!

The first in the SPARK! series, discussing the history of electricity and electrical technology in modern society. In modern times, we take energy storage for granted. Every portable device we cling to requires us to store charge. Whilst we’ve understood fundamentals of electricity since history began, the concept of storing it eluded us- until theContinue reading “1746: Ben Franklin and the Leyden Jar – SPARK!”