Soil erosion: can we dam the flood?
Last Australia Day should have been a time of rejoicing for the land-owners of Queensland's Darling Downs. For months there had been too little rain. The winter wheat crop had been poor, and only a thin stubble lay over the paddocks of those farmers who did not burn their straw. And now rain was forecast.
Sugar beet can raise your spirits
The prospect of farmers growing their own fuel for vehicles is looking rosier, thanks to the invention of a new process for fermenting sugary crops to make alcohol. The new technique promises to save money and reduce pollution.
Renewable fuel prospects
A CSIRO team has prepared a detailed assessment of t h e potential, over the next 20–40 years, for the production of liquid fuels from products of agriculture and forestry in Australia. It examines the likely sustainable levels of ethanol and methanol production from different plant materials, and the probable costs of the fuels. Raw materials considered include wheat, barley, sorghum, pine trees, eucalypts, sugar cane, and cassava.
Using bacteria to get more oil
When an oil well stops gushing, the obvious thing to do is pump water or gas into it to force more oil out. This is now being done on a large scale in the United States and some other oil-producing countries.
Using, and preserving, Perth’s groundwater
Perth is a city built on ancient sand dunes. Underfoot, topsoil is virtually non-existent; the rich yellow, grey, or vivid white grains are beach-clean. The natural vegetation, hardy enough to survive with a dearth of nutrients, also endures an annual 6-month drought.
Design for a quieter lawn-mower
Those who curse the chorus of noisy mowers patrolling suburban lawns will be pleased to know that scientists at the CSIRO Division of Mechanical Engineering have invented a quieter rotary lawn-mower.
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