Create a free account to continue

MM: Recycling Industrial Pollution; Google's Project Sunroof

In this Manufacturing Minute episode recycling industrial pollution and a look at Google's Project Sunroof.

Recycling Industrial Pollution

Newly published research by German chemists outlines a process to extract harmful pollutants from industrial emissions -- and turn them into useful materials such as pigments or medications.

Combustion engines from cars, power plants and other industrial processes emit nitrogen oxides, which can result in smog, acid rain and related health and environmental problems.

Manufacturers and utilities currently use complex systems to reduce or capture pollution from combustion engines, and previous research demonstrated how nitrogen oxides could be converted into new products.

But the study from University of Erlangen-Nuremberg showed how those two processes could be efficiently combined.

Chemists developed a model plant to simulate the conversion of copper to copper nitrate, then used a tube-shaped gas washer to reduce nitrogen oxide concentrations in the exhaust by 99.7 percent.

They then synthesized the captured emissions into two common pharmaceutical compounds.

Scientists said that similar systems could be deployed anywhere with sufficient nitrogen oxide byproducts.


Could this system one day lead to cleaner factories and cities? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

Googles Project Sunroof

Chances are pretty good that most everyone watching has used Google Maps at one point or another, either for something basic like getting directions or seeing what images come up when you enter your home address.

So, picture that technology. OK, now imagine Google mapping your house, but instead of just seeing your home you’re also viewing your rooftop’s solar potential. Essentially, that’s the idea behind Google’s Project Sunroof.

The Project Sunroof venture launched back in 2015 as a way to use the data from Google Maps to assess the solar potential of individual rooftops; this would then offer individual homeowners or even companies a better idea as to whether or not taking the plunge into solar was a good idea.

By combining aerial images from Google Maps and taking into account a number of factors like sun position, shade from nearby objects and weather patterns, Google can then calculate how many hours of sunlight your roof would receive. What’s wilder is that Google can then use that data to estimate the costs and savings of utilizing solar energy for that rooftop, even taking into account current solar industry pricing and energy production.

Curious about your rooftop’s solar potential? Just Google Project Sunroof and enter your state, county, city or zip code. The Google robots will take over from there.


What do you think about Google’s venture into solar? Could this be a useful tool for companies looking to invest in renewable energy? Tweet me your thoughts @MnetNews or leave your comments in the section below.                   

More in Industry 4.0