Science & Environment

SCTODAY

Environment News 2019

Environment

Biodiversity: an emergency

We’ll talk a lot about biodiversity this fall at UCLouvain but from an angle that is not often assumed: focusing on the interactions – we wouldn’t dare write ‘synergies’ – between...

Mission: satellite data training for ESA

This week, from 16 to 20 September in Louvain-la-Neuve, nearly 100 carefully selected researchers participate in the ‘Advanced Training in Land Remote Sensing’, a training in the...

Hydrogen's H-hour

The International Energy Agency (IEA) presented a first report on hydrogen at released at the G20 Ministerial Meeting on Energy Transitions and Global Environment for Sustainable Growth, held...
Environment

Greener hydrogen

Hydrogen could play a key role in decarbonising the chemical industry and storing green electricity. But there is still some way to go to improve sector capacities and lower production costs....
Environment

Fighting technological obsolescence

For many, the term ‘obsolescence’ has become synonymous with the industrial conspiracy to make consumer goods unsustainable. But in addition to planned obsolescence, technological...
Environment

Revolutionising batteries with polymers

For eight years, Prof. Jean-François Gohy, a researcher at UCLouvain's Institute of Condensed Matter and Nanosciences, has studied the use of polymers in batteries. Today, thanks to his work,...
Environment

Permafrost minerals predict our planet’s future

It was just a year ago that Sophie Opfergelt and her UCLouvain Earth and Life Institute team were taking permafrost samples in Alaska. Today, she is already drawing conclusions from...

Synthetic fuels. The future of energy

The energy transition, in concrete terms: that’s what Prof. Hervé Jeanmart and his team have been studying at UCLouvain for three years. In 2015, with a consortium of five universities,...
Environment

What will become of our insects and flowers?

  The climate changes we are experiencing today are already impacting the natural world around us. The average temperature is increasing, temperature and rainfall extremes are increasing,...
Environment

When soils filter wastewater

In Wallonia, one-tenth of domestic waste water doesn’t pass through a waste water treatment plant. Is it pollution? Not necessarily, because soils can filter and purify wastewater naturally...
Environment

Ultra-thin cells on steel

Solar panels have invaded the roofs of our homes. And they’ll stay there a long time even though new, more sustainable photovoltaic cells are being developed. Electronic circuits, too,...
Environment

Energy transition is rooted in the local

As part of the 11-14 March Water and Climate Festival in Louvain-la-Neuve, Science Today is highlighting UCLouvain ecological transition research and researchers. Julie Hermesse, doctor in...
Environment

Solar energy for a circular economy

The SUNRISE project, in which UCLouvain participates, just received €1 million from the European Union. With this sum, for one year, the consortium will establish a road map and...
Environment

Rethinking the energy system

As part of the 11-14 March Water and Climate Festival in Louvain-la-Neuve, Science Today is highlighting UCLouvain ecological transition research and researchers. Gauthier Limpens, a PhD...
Environment

Drug traces in water

Traces of drugs are in water worldwide. While the impact of such pollution on the environment and human health is still largely unknown, researchers of the Louvain4Water at UCLouvain are...
Environment

Controlling nitrate

Agricultural nitrate has polluted water for decades. Today various techniques make it possible to more effectively control the use of this necessary fertiliser. It’s a much more complex...
Environment

Energy transition: what economic impact?

How to continue economic growth in a context of energy transition? Prof. Hervé Jeanmart1 and PhD student Elise Dupont2 try to answer this question by studying the return on...
Environment

Oils against insects

At a time when scientists are raising the alarm over the accelerated disappearance of insects, it may seem astonishing to exhibit the results of research aimed at destroying them. But fighting...
Environment

Fresh from Antarctica, first impressions

A team of ULB and UCLouvain researchers just returned from a nearly two-month mission in Antarctica. They studied the mass balance of the Antarctic ice sheet by analysing snow accumulation....
Environment

Using satellite data to track changes in earth’s surface

A team from the Earth and Life Institute has generated a database describing land-use change so thematically detailed that it is now used by institutions such as the OECD and the United...
Society

Young people, critical thinking, and the forest  

In 2018, the Académie d'Agriculture de France awarded Julie Matagne a silver medal for her thesis on forest literacy. What do young people understand about media coverage of forests?  ...
Technology

Detecting dark matter: seven hints point to primordial...

  For several decades, astrophysicists have suspected the existence of so-called dark matter, constituting the bulk of all matter in the universe, but have not detected it directly....

Environment news

Disperse to survive

Dispersion is an essential biological process for the survival of individuals and species. A UCLouvain research team led by Nicolas Schtickzelle, professor of ecology and biodiversity at the Earth...
Technology

The Planck legacy

Simulation performed by Christophe Ringeval, representing cosmic strings, which are possible traces of the unification of forces in the primordial universe. The Planck mission found no such...

François Massonnet

Climate prediction is his forte . At 32 years old, François Massonnet has just been appointed FNRS research associate. While he has been working on the subject for years, he looks forward to...
Environment

Forest evolution under the magnifying glass

  The research was ambitious: inventory the distribution of mushrooms on a European scale. Recently published in the journal Nature, it could not have been completed without the help...
Environment

An urgent warning

Will the earth’s climate reach a tipping point beyond which the planet will become a ‘hothouse’? It’s a possibility scientists warn of in an article that’s urgent reading. ‘The...
Environment

Tracking soybeans

The Trase platform, on which Patrick Meyfroidt and his team of researchers collaborate, is unique: it aims to retrace the channels of the main agricultural products responsible for...
Environment

A tool for modernising European agricultural policy

Commissioned by the European Commission (EC) and funded by the European Space Agency (ESA), the Sen4CAP research project, led by Sophie Bontemps and Nicolas Bellemans and supervised by Pierre...
Society

Evolution: Cooperation for progress...and knowledge

  ‘Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution’, says René Rezsohazy, professor of molecular biology at the University of Louvain, citing Theodosius...
Technology

Searching for objects lost in space

A team of researchers at the Institute of Information and Communication Technologies, Electronics and Applied Mathematics (ICTEAM) has just completed a project on behalf of the European Space...
Environnement

Standardising pack ice measurements to better predict...

  At UCL’s Georges Lemaître Centre for Earth and Climate Research (TECLIM), two researchers are passionate about polar region climate variations: François Massonnet and Hugues...
Environment

Alaska: Are surprises in store as permafrost thaws?

  Permafrost refers to soil that has a temperature below 0° C for more than two consecutive years. With global warming, the thaw of permafrost is waking up its constituents. Their...
Technology

The Higgs boson finds a mate

  The simultaneous production of a Higgs boson and a top/antitop quark pair has just been observed for the first time. For physicists, observing this affinity is an important advance...
Environment

Connected objects that last

In 2017, 403.5 million smartphones were sold worldwide. We usually choose one on the basis of technical characteristics, such as camera or operating system quality; we then hope it lasts long...
Environment

What killed the saiga antelopes?

In 2015, in Kazakhstan, nearly 200,000 saiga antelopes died in less than a month. A multidisciplinary and international team of researchers investigated this mysterious hecatomb. The saiga...
Technology

Turning wood into gas

On 24 November, Xylowatt will begin operating a gas generator at CHU UCL Namur. Fuelled by biomass, it will supply the hospital with heat and electricity. This is a direct consequence of 20 years...
Society

Food: a public commons?

World hunger continues to increase, affecting 777 million people in 2015 and 815 million in 2016. Would it help if we changed the way we look at food in our societies? That’s the idea of José...
Environment

Pay to prevent deforestation

To objectively evaluate an anti-deforestation programme, an international team of researchers carried out a randomised study in Uganda, the first of its kind in environmental science. The...

A better understanding of Antarctic pack ice variation

While the Arctic pack ice has continued to melt, the Antarctic pack ice tended rather to expand between 1979 and 2015, before its extent was also drastically reduced in 2016 and 2017. A surprising...

Jérôme Mallefet’s abyssal fishing

To draw up an inventory of the abyssal fauna; this was the ambitious objective of the Australian international mission in which Jérôme Mallefet participated. Over a month of intensive work in...

Perfume emission from flowers

Flowers emit a sweet perfume that attracts not only pollinating insects, but human beings, who use them to create perfumes widely used in cosmetics. But how do these flowers emit them into the...

Alain Holeyman, 2017 Coulomb Conference guest speaker

This year, the Comité Français de Mécanique des Sols et de Géotechnique (‘French Committee for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnics’) has invited Alain Holeyman to speak at the Coulomb...

Global warming: Next stop, the Arctic

Pushing fundamental research toward its applications—that’s the challenge of the European Horizon 2020 APPLICATE project. Its goal is to more accurately predict the effect on Europe of Arctic...

Student mission to Mars

‘Mars to earth, come in, Earth.’ UCL students can pronounce these words every April when they take off for the red planet—so to speak—via Mars Society’s Mission to Mars project. Space...

A better understanding of deglaciation

The work of two Earth and Life Institute researchers has led to a better understanding of glaciation and deglaciation. We now know how variations in earth’s orbit influence the passage from a...

Disasters: robots to the rescue

Imagine an earthquake or nuclear accident disaster area where it’s impossible to send in rescuers without putting their lives at risk. At UCL, Nicolas Van der Noot is looking to robots to do the...

The carbon cycle reveals its secrets

Today, thanks to the work of Kristof Van Oost’s team at the UCL Earth and Life Institute, we have a better understanding of the carbon cycle. Specifically, they have discovered a process that...

Tree transpiration

Thanks in part to the contribution of UCL researchers, the amount of water that returns to the atmosphere from a given tract of forest can now be measured. This is a major advance for the field of...

Learning how to grow symbiotic fungi

UCL’s Mycology Laboratory is a world leader in the in vitro breeding of a certain fungus of great value to agriculture and research. Each year, Prof. Stéphane Declerck’s team shares its...