Downsizing to a car with a smaller engine is being made easier by the latest turbochargers. They can transform a standard four-cylinder engine into a much more powerful motor Frugal four-cylinder engines used to be found only in the cheapest cars. But today they are being fitted to even luxury models. What has made them more acceptable indeed, desirable is the development of advanced turbochargers that cram more air than normal into the fixed volume of their cylinders, allowing the engines to burn proportionally more fuel. The result is a compact unit that punches way above its weight in terms of power and torque, a turning force which makes that power available at lower revs. These engines also provide better fuel economy and emit less pollution.
April 3, 2017
Environment: Removing carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere could help combat climate change. Will it really work? Preventing catastrophic climate change, most people agree, will mean reducing the level of man-made carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. That, in turn, will require the widespread use of “low carbon” technologies such as solar and wind power, more energy-efficient buildings, and so on. Some countries have pledged to reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions by 80% by 2050, and campaigners are calling for cuts of 90% or even 100%. New Zealand, Costa Rica and Norway are racing to become the world's first “carbon neutral” country. But some researchers think there might be a simpler way to reduce the level of CO2 in the atmosphere: to build “air capture” machines that, as their name suggests, grab it from the air.
March 16, 2017
Hidden beneath the asphalt, miles of tubes snake through our cities. You can’t see it, but this infrastructure plays a huge role in how municipalities handle everything from wastewater to the H2O that streams from your tap. Despite its importance, much of the United States’ water infrastructure is outdated. Consider this: More than 750 cities in the United States still rely on combined sewers, a water management system that uses the same pipes to handle storm water, sewage, and industrial wastewater. During times of high flow (rain storms, for instance), water can exceed the tubes’ capacity and discharge into rivers, streams, or the ocean, creating some serious implications for water quality and human health.
March 9, 2017
This year the world’s power stations, farms, cars and the like will generate the equivalent of nearly 37 billion tonnes of waste carbon dioxide. All of it will be dumped into the atmosphere, where it will trap infra-red radiation and warm the planet. Earth is already about 0.85°C warmer than last century’s average temperature. Thanks to the combined influence of greenhouse-gas emissions and El Nino, a heat-releasing oceanic phenomenon, 2016 looks set to be the warmest year on record, and by a long way.
March 2, 2017
When we think of the future of transport, we have a tendency to picture a world in which people fly around on personal jetpacks and cars drive down streets stacked several stories high with levitating traffic.
February 27, 2017