NOVA’s Making Stuff: Cleaner

“Each year, we extract some 30 trillion tons of raw materials from the Earth. We turn iron ore into steel cars, petroleum products into plastics, and metals into batteries. What happens to all those raw materials when the useful life of our stuff ends? Many end up in landfills or at the bottom of rivers, lakes, and oceans.” – From NOVA, Making Stuff: Cleaner

Can innovations in materials science help clean up our world? Making Stuff: Cleaner premiers  February 2, 2011 on PBS and “explores the rapidly developing science and business of clean energy and examines alternative ways to generate it, store it, and distribute it. Is hydrogen the way to go? What about lithium batteries? Does this solve an energy problem or create a new dependency? Pogue investigates the latest developments in bio-based fuels and in harnessing solar energy for our cars, homes, and industry in a program full of the stuff of a sustainable future.”

“The show follows innovative materials scientists as they work to invent cleaner materials to help solve environmental problems created by the production and use of automobiles, plastics, and batteries. These new materials—including plastics made from sugar instead of petroleum and tires made from orange peel oil—could provide the energy and materials we need
without polluting the Earth.”

Students can even make a bioplastic by curdling milk with vinegar in a process similar to cheese making.

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