Weekly green review: Wireless garden sensors, efficient dryers and help for bees

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A recap of this week's environmental and household developments.

This week the dream of mass producing cheap and organic solar cells took a step closer to reality thanks to a breakthrough by scientists at Rutgers University in New Jersey, USA. The scientists discovered that particles could pass with ease through the organic material rubrene, essentially meaning that this cheap organic material could one day replace expensive silicon alternatives.

Videos of travel and tourism leaders discussing climate change became available to watch on YouTube. The speakers, including President Nasheed of the Maldives and climate change advisor for British Airways Mark Lynas, were attending the Six Senses Eco-Symposium in the Maldives.

A study by scientists from the UK and New Zealand found that encouraging gardeners to plant flowers in order to help restore the bee population could be counterproductive due to the high amounts of chemical weed killer gardeners use. Instead scientists have suggested that the green-fingered use organic weed killer as a ecologically friendly alternative. Recipes for organic weed killer can be found at ehow and weedkiller.org  

Following the October 13 release of the WWF's "Living Planet Report" an interactive graph of countries' ecological footprints has been made available online. The graph allows users to see how their country or residence or origin compares to others across a wide range of ecological criteria. The graph is available at the Global Footprint Network.  

Japanese company DoCoMo announced the development of the DoCoMo Wireless sensor: the device, which is shaped like a four-leaf clover, is designed to advise gardeners on how to get the most from their plants. The wireless sensor gathers information about the soil conditions then transmits it via wifi to a team of experts who then send gardening advice to the user via email.

Appliance company Miele has announced the production of the first commercially available heat pump tumble dryer with a short cycle time. The device, which uses up to 60 percent less energy than other dryers, is designed for use in small businesses such as bed & breakfasts or family run hotels. The energy efficient product will first be launched in Northern Europe early in 2011 before being available in other countries.

 

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