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Microwaves convert used motor oil into fuel
Over 30.3 billion liters of used motor oil are produced every year by the world’s cars and trucks. While some of that is re-refined into new oil or burned in furnaces for heat, neither of those processes are entirely environmentally-innocuous. While the gases and liquids can be converted to fuel, University of Cambridge scientists state that traditional pyrolysis doesn’t heat the oil very evenly. So they added a microwave-absorbent material to samples of waste oil, before subjecting it to pyrolysis by heating it with microwaves. This caused the oil to heat more evenly, allowing almost 90 per cent of it to be easily converted into a mixture of conventional gasoline and diesel. Gizmag

Global sales of robots to reach new heights in 2011
According to the International Federation of Robotics in 2010, more than 115,000 industrial robots were shipped. The number of units sold worldwide almost doubled from 2009, the lowest year since the early 1990s. In 2011 a further increase of robot sales of between 10% and 15% is expected. A new peak level of about 130,000 sold units could be reached. From 2012 to 2014, a more moderate annual growth in average of 5% is likely. Vision Systems Design

Veolia Water sets up remote water metering
Veolia Water and Orange Business Services are joining forces in the smart-metering sector by launching m2o city — an operator who will specialise in smart water metering and remote environmental data services. m2o city will offer a turnkey service based on an ultra-low consumption radio network. The network will collect data from water meters and other environmental sensors. By incorporating Orange’s network and M2M background, Veolia hopes m2o city will improve the quality of water service for its customers and ultimately safeguard environmental resources. Connected World

Controversial coal seam gas chemical linked to colour blindness
Its use in the coal seam gas industry remains contentious and now a study presented at an ophthalmology congress has found the chemical toluene, to damage the cells of the retina responsible for colour perception. Toluene is used by some coal seam gas operators to help fracture rock seams to extract gas. As well as short-term irritant effects, dizziness, drowsiness and euphoria, long-term exposure to toluene has been associated with kidney and brain damage. Virtual Medical Centre

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