Biofuels

This month on Newsdesk: A biofuel-powered rocket, vertical farms grow fresh veg, and clothes made from wood!

A biofuel-powered rocket

Humans are sending increasing numbers of rockets into space, but launching rockets requires a lot of fuel, and this presents a problem. Because most rocket fuel is made by mixing liquid oxygen with a type of fuel called kerosene, a lot of greenhouse gases are produced when rockets launch.

However, a new rocket has been developed that uses a different kind of fuel, called biofuels.

Biofuels are an energy source produced from organic materials, such as crops. When biofuels are burned, they only emit as much carbon dioxide as was absorbed by the crops when they were growing. This means that they are carbon neutral and much better for the environment.

The new rocket, named “Stardust 1”, was tested several times on the ground before being successfully launched into the winter sky. “Stardust 1” reached a height of 4,000 feet before parachuting back to the Earth. Engineers hope the new rocket will fire up a new era of more sustainable space exploration!

Vertical farms grow fresh veg

Growing enough crops to feed the world requires a lot of land and resources. When crops are harvested, they are often transported thousands of miles before they are eaten. This system not only places a heavy burden on the environment, but also means that food arriving on people's plates is sometimes several weeks old.

Now, a company in Israel is growing food more sustainably – by growing it vertically! Housed in recycled shipping containers, the vertical farms grow crops in custom-made pods. Each plant receives the correct levels of light, water and nutrients needed to grow. Because no water is wasted, the vertical farms use 90% less than conventional farms. From leafy greens to juicy strawberries, the crops grown by the farms are just as flavourful as traditionally grown produce – and because the farms can be located close to where people live, fresh food doesn't have to travel far to reach hungry shoppers!

Clothes made from wood

Fashion is big business – from the latest trainers to the trendiest t-shirts, millions of clothes are sold every day. However, our passion for fashion comes at a serious environmental cost. Producing cotton for clothes requires huge amounts of water and chemicals, and using so many resources can place a heavy burden on land and ecosystems.

However, one company has found a more sustainable way to produce clothes – by making them from wood! This new method turns sustainably grown trees into wood pulp and uses a specialised machine to spin the pulp into natural fibres, creating wearable fabric without using additional water or harmful chemicals.

Unlike most clothes that are thrown away when worn out, the natural fibres of the wood-based clothes enable them to be recycled, or even transformed into brand new items!

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