Environment

An intelligent system to monitor air pollution and prevent its health effects

Knowing in advance how air quality will change over time can help prevent the harmful effects of air pollution on health. Therefore, an entirely self-developed forecasting system consisting of a strong statistical model evaluated using different regression methods was built for this purpose. Data is provided by a wirelessly interconnected, self-sufficient measuring station built using a nanocomputer and sensors. The intelligent system I designed learns what air quality disturbs a specific user since people from different age groups with different diseases don’t endure the same pollution level. Thus, the platform tries to implicitly diagnose the capacity of a certain user to resist to air pollution so that adequate precautions can be provided.

Microorganisms and Proper Nutrients as Natural Protection from Frost

In years 2016, 2017 spring frost caused a major plant damage over the large majority of Slovenian teritory which had a strong impact on national economy.With our reserch, we wanted to prove correlation betwen microorganism activity and plants ability to store osmotically active nutrients which could serve as a protection from spring frost. These nutrients form bound water which has a much lower freezing point.In our reaserch we used plants with longer lifespan, for they are most affected by spring frosts and the damage is of larger consequence. Becuse of that we chose vines.We tested the nutrient content of soil, roots and young foliage.The results confirmed our expectations. The plans that were added microorganisms had higher levels of previously mentioned nutrients.

Environmental magnetism on the Black Sea Coast, in situ versus laboratory measurements

The objective of our project is to monitor the pollution of the seaside environment using magnetism as a working method. The following types of measurements were made:1. In situ: magnetic susceptibility measurements2. In laboratory: magnetic susceptibility measurements, magnetic hysteresis, curie temperature.We have also monitored this year: beaches in our town and trees in the areas adjacent to the main seaside highway. The main conclusion is that measurements of magnetic susceptibility can be used in the study of environmental qualities. The susceptibility level can be used as an indicator of environmental pollution. Comparing the measurements in situ in the laboratory showed that measurements in situ are much cheaper and simpler to achieve and lead to very good results.

From Waste to Bioplastic

We produced bioplastic sustainably from natural materials that are not very useful nowadays, namely coffee dregs, dried leaves, annual plants, acorns, lupine seed peels and acacia seeds and leaves. Promoting a circular economy, from rice grains discarded by large industries, we produced a bioplastic that can be used in the manufacture of packaging and biofilters capable to remove heavy metals in aqueous solution. We also produced bioplastic from surplus cooked rice in order to combat food waste. We used commercial glycerin, but also glycerin in excess of biodiesel production from used cooking oil. The bioplastics obtained are flexible and resistant. We performed mechanical and biodegradation tests, too. We also made bioplastic articles, such as bags and packaging.

Analysis of glyphosate residues in honey

This study is about the analysis of glyphosate residues in honey. We tested 8 different honey samples with the ELISA technique. From 8 samples, 12.5% of the honey samples were positive, 12.5% were not conclusive and 75% were clearly negative, since the average concentration was under the limit of detection. The one positive sample was near the MRL (Maximal Residue Level) in Europe. The positive sample is known to come from an organic beekeeper. The question arises how and why the honey contains glyphosate residues.

The Influence of the Content of Nutrients and Soil pH on the Needle Measurements of the Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) on Puhatu Cutaway Peatland

The aim of this study was to research the influence of nutrient contents and soil pH to Scots pine needle length and area in cutaway peatland. The samples were collected from 5 different experimental areas: fertilized with various amounts of wood and oil shale ash (3), control and natural area. The main result of the study was that fertilizing with ashes affected the growth of the needles positively, the most effective fertilizer was ash mixture. Also, the most important nutrients were phosphorus and potassium instead of nitrogen. Besides, the soil pH showed no correlation with the needle measurements. Further research is needed concerning the properties of ash mixtures as bio-innovative fertilizers and to find sustainable opportunities to reduce the amount of accumulated industry’s ashes.

MOOSIC: a mean for productivity optimisation

This project is an investigation of the phenomenon of MOOSIC – the proportionality between music and the productivity of the dairy cows. Accordingly, I have surveyed, how the compositional parameters of the accompaniment (including both consonance versus dissonance, the level of activity and the tempo) affect the oxytocin release, that is essential to the milking production. Through verifying this on 433 dairy cows, I found a productivity optimisation of 2.4%, by which Denmark could reduce its dairy herd with 15,000 cows. Thereby, this MOOSIC will not only be a mean for productivity optimisation, but as well for minimising the climate changes.

Investigating detection of floating plastic litter from Space

The idea was to create a “plastic target”, in order to investigate if plastic floating in the sea can be detected, depending on its Spectral Signature using satellite or drone. Firstly, we took in situ and laboratory measurements on plastic to create a representative database and discovered its special characteristics which were used as guidelines to spot it. After creating and taking measurements on the target we analyzed the data and created a Prototype Code. Finally, by testing the Prototype Code of plastic bottle, we confirmed that accumulated plastic rubbish can be successfully detected using satellite or drone. Thus, a new, effective way of tracking plastic rubbish is introduced which can contribute in the protection of the marine environment.

Microplastic on our doorstep

The team analyzed the degradation of microplastic in their home river. They found out, that even after 30 days of treatment through contact with the microorganisms in the sewage sludge, the small plastic particles do not degrade completely. Even plastic polylactate, which is labelled as biodegradable, is particularly resistant to sewage sludge. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET for short) is the only material in which the sewage treatment promotes significant chain degradation. The outstanding team adressed a serious problem and worked on a scientifically advanced level.