Kicker : SCIENCE Energy Saving Brings Financial Benefits What Is Energy Cash Back? By Yun-Seo Jung, Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org Unplug the unused plug, set the proper temperature of the air conditioner when you use it, and don't leave the refrigerator door open for a long time. The aforementioned are often ways to save energy at home. The problem of global warming is rapidly becoming serious due to various reasons such as technological development and excessive carbon dioxide emission. https://pixabay.com/images/id-7551283/ What Is ‘Energy Cash Back?’ Therefore, the government recently announced a policy called 'Energy Cash Back' to prevent excessive energy consumption at home. "Energy Cash back" is an energy-saving incentive program that receives cash back on saved electricity usage when electricity usage is reduced much relatively compared to nearby apartment complexes or households. It compares electricity usage during the energy saving period (July to December) with the average electricity usage from July to December over the past two years. It will be paid every six months, and apartment complexes will receive 200,000 won to 400,000 won for each reduction standard section and apartment households will receive 30 won per 1 kWh of savings. It is necessary to achieve a minimum 3% reduction rate for cashback. The period was from July to December, and the application period was from July 4th to August 31st. Poor Public Interest and Participation in the Policy However, the problem with this system is that the level of public interest is low even though there is a good system that allows you to get a refund for money if you save a certain level of energy. According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, a total of 38,450 households across the country applied as a result of the government recruiting Energy Cashback participants for two months from July to August. This is only about 20% of the expected level by the government. Looking at the effectiveness of the implemented cases, three local self-governing bodies, Sejong, Naju, and Jincheon, conducted energy cashback pilot projects from February to May this year, and succeeded in reducing a total of 779 megawatt hours (MWh). This is the amount of electricity that can buffer 12,200 electric vehicles and drive 4.9 million kilometers. A superintendent from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said, "The recruitment period for a new business that has been less promoted was too short," adding, "We are recruiting additional people because fewer people participated in the Energy Cashback than expected." Some people think that there is less money to be refunded compared to efforts to save energy, but it would be better to participate with the heart of joining together to overcome the energy crisis. Sources: https://biz.chosun.com/policy/policy_sub/2022/11/22/B5FI5UXZMNEOPN35TL5DIGAC7U/ https://naver.me/FdELBzxk
Kicker: SCIENCE Cold Wave This Winter: La Nina Phenomenon by Ji-Min Baek, Reporter email@example.com A strong cold wave is expected this winter with drought. It is speculated that this is due to the La Nina phenomenon. In particular, La Nina is drawing more attention this year because La Nina, which usually disappears in one to two years, has continued for three consecutive years. The World Meteorological Organization(WMO) said that La Nina was the first of its kind this century for the third consecutive year in a row. This year’s first cold wave warning was issued on October 17th, with La Nina conditions expected to continue until the end of this year. About the La Nina Phenomenon and Triple Dip La Nina is a phenomenon that lasts for more than a certain period of time, with surface of the sea temperatures lower than usual in areas ranging from the Tropical Mid-Pacific to the South American Coast. In other words, when La Nina comes, the water temperature on the coast is lower than usual, and La Nina means a girl in Spanish. When La Nina occurs, the temperature becomes low and dry from November to February. This La Nina is known to intensify drought in autumn and winter and induce cold waves in Korea. La Nina is a natural phenomenon in which surface of the sea temperatures cool on a large scale. As a result, weather patterns around the world are also changed. Korea expects to remain in the state of La Nina this winter, which is the third consecutive year that La Nina has stayed. In response, scientists call it a triple dip and it is the first time this century that this has happened. When La Nina occurs, low-pressure deviation develops in southeastern Japan, and cold and dry air from the northern wind system flows into Korea. The Prospect of a Dry Winter The Korea Meteorological Administration predicted that precipitation would be insufficient this winter compared to the average year due to dry air introduced due to La Nina’s continued analysis of surface of the sea temperatures and moving air pressure zones. As a result, the drought in the southern part of Korea is particularly serious. In response, the Korea Meteorological Administration said, “The southern part of this winter is expected to continue due to low rainfall, so we need to thoroughly prepare for drought in our daily lives.” La Nina is a natural phenomenon, but La Nina is a continuous triple dip, and the WMO and others consider it to be relevant to climate change. In particular, there have been numerous climate changes events this year. Floods and droughts have caused disasters all over the world, and also in Korea. La Nina is expected to continue for the time being, so we should also prepare for the upcoming winter cold wave and dryness. Sources: http://www.munhwa.com/news/view.html?no=2022102601032509043002 http://www.kwangju.co.kr/article.php?aid=1668944400745778006 https://www.bbc.com/weather/features/62890361 http://www.jbsori.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=10035
Kicker: SCIENCE (MASK TECHNOLOGY) Efforts to Develop Eco-friendly Mask Technology By Su-Young Kim, Cub-reporter firstname.lastname@example.org Masks became a part of our lives during the Covid-19 pandemic. In this situation, do you know how many lung masks there are? According to the Anti-Corruption & Civil Rights Commission, they said one mask is used for two or three days per person, and more that 7.3 billion masks are discarded a year. Masks are made of various materials such as filters, nonwoven fabrics, iron cores, and straps, making it difficult to separate and discharge them. The main materials of masks with several layers of filters to prevent virus protection is polypropylene. It’s one of plastics. Plastic emits dioxine which is designated as a first-class carcinogen by the World Health Organization. For this reason, some people try to make eco-friendly masks for our environment and health. In 2020, patent applications that applied for environmental pollution prevention technology to masks increased rapidly. According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office, the number of patent applications for mask-related technologies to prevent environmental pollution was 112 in 2020, when Covid-19 began. So far, the number of patent applications for environmental pollution prevention masks has been only 1 to 13 per year. An official from the Korean Intellectual Property Office explained that it was the result of efforts to recognize the seriousness of environmental pollution and find technical solutions as the emission of waste masks has increased significantly since Covid-19. Looking at the proportion of applications by technology over the past 10 years, there are about 14 biodegradable materials, about 104 multi-use masks, and about 4 waste mask recycling cases. Then what is the biodegradable material used in eco-friendly mask development technology? The Biodegradable Material Simply, it is an eco-friendly biodegradable plastic that decomposes polymer structures which means a molecule of high molecular weight consisting of many connected units of low molecular weight by microorganisms and decomposes for water, carbon dioxide, and compost naturally within months. The biodegradable plastics include cellulose, chitin, and starch, Polybutylenes succinate (PBS), etc. It can be used like normal plastic and decomposes under proper conditions, so it can solve the problem of waste caused by plastic. For this merit, the Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology developed a biodegradable mask’s filter. It is based on chitosan using the seashells. Chitosan is +charged, so it does not use electrostatic methods and can hold small particles of charge. Since the charge principle is used, it is not vulnerable to moisture, so the function of the filter is maintained for a long time and can be reused several times. Filters can be decomposed within six hours using enzymes and within a month in high temperature and humid summer. How Did the Biodegradable Mask Come Out? The research team reinforced polybutylene, a representative biodegradable plastic, with its own technology, pulled it out in the form of thin nanofibers and microfibers, and overlapped each other to make a nonwoven fabric. Coating this nonwoven fabric with chitosan nano whiskers* extracted from nature completes the final filter. Then, the ability to capture external substances was increased by sticking viruses and dust with a chitosan nano whisker* coating. Chitosan nano whiskers are positive, while external substances such as viruses and fine dust are negative. Therefore, just as a magnet is attracted, the virus sticks to the chitosan coating and cannot pass through the mask. It was confirmed that this filter blocks 98.3% of small particles in the air. This shows the performance of the N95 filter, a product currently being sold. In addition, the difference in breathing pressure before and after wearing the mask was measured low at 59 pascals* (Pa), indicating good ventilation. *Chitosan nano whisker: A material that increased the surface area by making chitosan, widely known as a health supplement, into nanoparticles with a diameter of 10 to 20 and a length of 200. *General KF94’s breathing pressure is measured 70Pa. Comparison between the existing mask and eco-friendly biodegradable mask Still Covid-19 continues until now, and it is obvious that our lives and environments are closely connected, and the impact of masks used every day and used by everyone cannot be ignored. Therefore, eco-friendly mask development technology should be carried out continuously, and we should pay attention to it and protect our safety and environment from infectious diseases wisely. Sources: https://www.fnnews.com/news/202106090834318007 https://www.kipo.go.kr/ko/MainApp.do https://www.krict.re.kr
Kicker : SCIENCE Can Anyone on Earth Forecast Korea’s Weather Correctly? Erroneous Weather News is Not Entirely the Korea Meteorological Administration’s Fault Do-Hyuk Kim, Reporter email@example.com If you go out and ask any near passerby about this summer, I believe every single person you ask will strongly emphasize that ‘it is the most stressful summer in recent years.’ Even if you have checked that there’s no heavy rain upcoming this evening, it is premature to forget about your big umbrella you left behind at home because the weather forecast channels change their minds every single hour and swap their former ‘Sunny’ expectation to ‘Sudden Downpour.’ It is not particularly surprising to see weather forecast channels guessing the wrong way, but this summer’s daily forecasts exceptionally went wrong and got rectified in a minute all day long during this rainy season. By the way, weird forms of everlasting rainy season caused catastrophic damage to many people’s lives, especially in Seoul. Seoul has one of the highest densities of population on earth and suffered from the heaviest rain ever recorded since the day weather forecast begun in South Korea, which led to record breaking property damages. What is going on at the ceiling of this country? Why has everyone failed to estimate pending weather conditions of this nation, including foreign weather forecast channels – those of which previously recorded high accuracies unlike the Korean ones? There Are Some Causes Derived from Korea’s Characteristics to Blame In 2021, the Korean Meteorological Administration – which makes overall report of South Korea’s weather forecast – only succeeded forty six percent of guessing weather correctly during the whole year. That means the main weather forecast of Korea got more wrong than expecting upcoming weather correctly. This was no surprise though, because we were already familiar with erroneous weather forecasts. But wrong weather forecast can lead inconvenience to lots of people, and even lead to catastrophe like August’s massive downpour. Forecasting South Korea’s weather was notorious for its difficulty of making forecast correctly, mainly because of the Korean Peninsula’s unique geographical characteristics. South Korea consists of lots of mountains in its territory, which is around seventy percent. This big number includes a series of subsidiary mountains linked from huge mountain ranges such as the Taebaek Mountains. Unexpected local precipitation, which was a massive trouble this summer, usually occurs when hot, humid atmosphere meets high topographies. Not only geographical characteristics contribute to the unpredictable Korean weather, but also the weather prediction model imported from other countries. The Korean Meteorological Administration has used super computers to predict upcoming weather since 2000, and adopted a weather prediction model made by Japan. Then they switched to a model built by the British in 2010, but criticism then surged because those systems were not suited to Korea’s environment. To address this issue, a Korea-specific weather prediction model called ‘KIM’ (Korean Integrated Model) was invented in 2020. At last, after two years of operation experience, KIM once again advanced into ‘RDAPS-KIM’ (Regional Data Assimilation and Prediction System). The new system shortened weather report’s refresh period to one hour and boasts sixteen times more detailed forecasts in a specific area. Sadly, though, despite all of these efforts being true, the Korean Meteorological Administration is still being highly criticized for their low accuracy rate. RDAPS-KIM just made its debut this May, so the system covered this summer, but results were not that impressive and accuracy still falls short. It hints to us that a fundamental problem that we have not yet thought of is causing this confusion. Unusual Climate Changes Are Caused Because of the ‘Blocking Pattern’ The genuine cause of this uncanny, unexpected wizardry is ‘blocking pattern.’ It sounds intriguing yet unfamiliar, because it is the first time for Koreans to feel the effect of this occurrence indeed. Blocking pattern literally means blocking high pressure that arrives at summer refuses to retreat while cutting off both conventional hot high pressure and cold low pressure to gradually exert its influence over the Korean peninsula. It is not strictly true to say the appearance of a blocking pattern is completely foreign, but it is possible to say everyone acknowledged about climate issues we are all confronted with. The blocking pattern which appeared this August made a seasonal rain front between high pressure and low pressure with no-where to go, leading it to stay longer at the rooftop of the Korean peninsula. In normal cases, spreading high pressure among the Korean peninsula should demolish a seasonal rain front while bringing a typical hot and dry summer climate. This whole episode eventually recorded a remarkable downpour, but that is not the end of the story. Last summer was especially humid even without rain, and that is also because of the blocking pattern. Humid atmosphere visited from the south of the Korean peninsula constantly loomed around like a shadow during this summer, enticed water vapor to collect aerially. High humidity cranked up the heat index, making people exhausted even more. These tiring days did not just stop when daylight was ongoing, but got even worse when darkness fell. Tropical night was always an unwanted guest accompanied with the Korean summer starting from late July to the middle of August, but this year things were even worse because of intolerably high humidity. Last August there were continuous torturous days with midnight’s excessively high heat index reaching a whopping thirty degrees, which is insane and caused several thermal sicknesses especially to the elderly. All of these were due to the blocking pattern remaining in South Korea during the whole summer of 2022. Blocking Pattern Appearing Everywhere Around the Globe The bad news does not stop there. This blocking pattern does not only belong to the Korean peninsula, but is ranging globally and already bringing severe aftermath to several countries worldwide. The United Kingdom recently suffered from consistent fire because of a heatwave, leading the fire brigade to announce emergency status. Other European nations, such as Spain and France recorded surface temperatures of fifty degrees. North America is also under the influence of a blocking pattern, especially affecting the western part of United States. Increasing temperature in the polar regions made glaciers to melt, also compensating temperature differences between high and low latitudes interrupted the circulation of atmospheres making blocking patterns firmly stick in their places all over the globe. Humanity is currently stuck in this cycle of endless downfall. Never before have we thought about climate changes critically. It was considered as a pending problem that we would eventually face in the future. But all of a sudden, these climate issues threw away their disguises and appeared in front of us as an imminent issue. The recent summer in South Korea was treacherous to everyone living in this country, with the outrageous heatwave threatening the elderly and toddlers to become dehydrated or catch thermal illnesses. Ordinary people got their livings damaged because of unexpectedly strong, record-breaking torrential rain. Lots of local businesses were completely totaled by being flooded all around their business sites. Weather problems, for now, just became a big deal for everyone. The summer of 2022 was pretty harsh for all Koreans, but I am certain that a single glimpse at other countries about what this summer has done to them makes us alert about the urgent need of preparation to slow down global warming. The Paris Agreement confirmed that we should unite to save our earth from overheating, but it seems that current efforts are not enough. Weather forecast channels constantly expecting erroneously might be a revelation of disastrous climate renovation. We all need to consider saving our planet as the urgent, prioritized option when deciding economic resolutions and constantly be concerned about the environment. That might not improve the accuracy of the Korean weather forecast, but at least it will not get worse. Sources: https://www.bbc.com/korean/45351500 https://blog.naver.com/kma_131/222818509238 https://www.weather.gov/jetstream/basic https://www.greenpeace.org/korea/update/23683/blog-ce-extreme-climate-hazards/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8oMup6Fsh8&t https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVgSvffOFW8 http://www.ohmynews.com/NWS_Web/View/at_pg.aspx?CNTN_CD=A0002851739 https://www.donga.com/news/Society/article/all/20220518/113472487/1 https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/learn-about/weather/how-weather-works/high-and-low-pressure/blocks https://img2.daumcdn.net/thumb/R658x0.q70/?fname=https://t1.daumcdn.net/news/202208/08/munhwa/20220808112543500obat.jpg (Image 1) https://www.weather.gov/images/jetstream/constant/omega_wx.png (Image 2)
KICKER: SCIENCE (EPIDEMIC) What Is Monkeypox? by Yeong-jin Choi, Editor firstname.lastname@example.org Diseases, especially epidemics, are widely spreading all around the world in these days. Some people say that the end of the world is near as the Bible, Book of Revelation*, says that one of the four horsemen, “Plague” rides at the apocalypse. Have you ever heard of them, that COVID and Monkeypox spreading all around the world is because the damnation* is close? Of course, it is nothing but a superstition that people are being nervous without clear reasons, but it does seem odd that plagues are spreading worldwide altogether. In this article, therefore, I would like to focus on“Monkeypox” and deeply elaborate what kind of disease it is, how can we deal with it, how we can prevent it, what the current situation worldwide is, and to focus on the United States of America, which is well-known for their situation of suffering of the spreading of Monkeypox. I would also like to deal with the experts’ opinion of how the epidemic will be in the future. *The Revelation: The final book of the New Testament; it is the only apocalyptic book in the New Testament canon *Damnation: The act of sending someone to hell or the state of being in hell What Monkeypox Is So, what exactly is the disease, Monkeypox? The disease is called monkeypox because it was first identified in colonies of monkeys kept for research in 1958. It was only later detected in humans in 1970. According to the website of the World Health Organization, the definition of Monkeypox is written that it is an illness caused by the monkeypox virus. It is a viral zoonotic* infection, meaning that it can spread from animals to humans. It can also spread from person to person. When monkeypox occurs, the symptom varies with a wide range between people. Some can have mild symptoms, and others could be highly risky. *Zoonotic: Able to spread from animals to humans The Symptoms of Monkeypox The most common symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, low energy, and swollen lymph* nodes*. This is followed or accompanied by the development of a rash* which can last for two to three weeks. The rash can be found on the face, palms of the hands, soles of the feet, eyes, mouth, throat, groin, and genitals* and/or anal regions of the body. Symptoms usually last two to three weeks and usually go away on their own or with supportive medical care, such as medication for pain or fever. The WHO suggests that anyone who has symptoms that could be monkeypox or who has been in contact with someone who has monkeypox should call or visit a health care provider and seek their advice. *Lymph: A clear liquid that transports useful substances around the body, and carries waste matter, such as unwanted bacteria, away from body tissue in order to prevent infection *Node: A very small mass of tissue in the body *Rash: A lot of small red spots on the skin *Genital: Connected with the outer sexual organs The Way to Protect Oneself from the Disease It is pretty apparent that monkeypox can cause a lot of trouble. Some people might wonder how to protect oneself and others against monkeypox. The easiest way to prevent catching the disease is to limit close contact with people who have suspected or confirmed monkeypox, or with animals who could be infected. Since monkeypox can also spread to others by close contact, especially sexual contact, people should be aware of the disease in their area and have conversations with those they encounter with physically with about any symptoms they can have. Social Distancing to Prevent Monkeypox The Differences with COVID and Monkeypox As monkeypox causes fever, headache, and low energy, it can easily be mistaken with COVID. However, because of the major differences between monkeypox and COVID, experts consider that monkeypox is a much less serious threat than COVID for these reasons: Monkeypox does not spread easily, infected people are easier to identify, outbreaks are easier to contain, and the fact that there are two vaccines that are effective against monkeypox. Countries That Are Suffering from Monkeypox Luckily, South Korea is not currently under a risk of monkeypox compared to other countries that are hardly fighting against it. Since monkeypox has occurred previously and people from the countries that the virus has been typically found before could gain immunity, the outbreak of the disease is currently underway in places like in Europe, the Americas, Africa, the Western Pacific, and countries of the Eastern Mediterranean, where the countries haven’t severely experienced the disease back in the past. Monkeypox has been reported in some African countries in the years before this outbreak began. These include Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone as well. Experts’ Expectations on the Disease Experts’ opinions on monkeypox differ, though. Some say that it should end, but others tell that it is unclear whether monkeypox will end or become endemic at this time. Smith also says that vigilance*, identification of infected individuals, and prevention or treatment are drivers of reducing the spread of this virus. Narasimhan, another expert, claims that it is too early to say at this time. He also says that much will depend upon their ability to ramp up* testing, treatment, and vaccination. *Vigilance: More careful attention, especially in order to notice possible danger *Ramp up: To increase the speed, power, or cost of something It is not odd that people are very worried about the current situation as a new disease is spreading all around the world even before COVID has deceased. However, what is important is that we should know what kind ofdisease it is and to be prepared to prevent it to lessen the weight of our worries. I most sincerely hope that people will keep taking care of themselves without naively thinking that everything would be alright without any evidence. Sources: https://www.who.int/news-room/questions-and-answers/item/monkeypox?gclid=CjwKCAjwmJeYBhAwEiwAXlg0AUsxZrmQHI8ZDSRHyuP4jVUgmr5c0LA8sycp_GQCwGfKM5YWKleUthoCTi4QAvD_BwE https://www.uhhospitals.org/Healthy-at-UH/articles/2022/05/monkeypox-and-covid-19-here-are-key-differences https://www.healthline.com/health-news/monkeypox-on-the-rise-in-the-u-s-could-it-become-endemic#Healthline:-Do-we-know-if-the-epidemic-will-end-at-some-point,-or-could-the-virus-become-endemic?
Kicker: SCIENCE Breakthrough for Green Planet : Behold the “e-Fuel” Brand New Type of Fuel Takes Advantages of Older Type of Internal Combustion Do-Hyuk Kim, Reporter email@example.com Recent dramatic changes in global climate recalled the need for urgent tactics to slow it down. Reports estimated 1.5 degrees rise in earth’s average temperature since industrialization within two decades, whopping ten years faster - which is alarmingly quick. So quick that officials at the G20 summit agreed to crack down on emissions harder than ever before last November. Because carbon dioxide emitted from internal combustion engines is widely known as the main culprit of breakdown in ozone layers, most of the developed nations are announcing ban on internal combustion engines in the near future simultaneously. But steps heading for completely getting rid of internal combustion engines are currently facing lots of realistic obstacles, especially in industrial workforces. Most of ordinary consumers are still hesitating to swap their daily transportation to electric cars too, due to their high prices derived from expensive batteries. The sudden spread of COVID-19 didn’t help, either – taking prices of base materials for manufacturing battery hike alongside all other minerals. Electrification never felt so hard in the world still under the influence of coronavirus, asking the need for new solution. Mercifully, there is an e-Fuel, which is surprisingly unfamiliar in terms of terminology and what might be the genuine answer for this biggest crisis which humanity has ever faced. https://www.wirtschaftsforum.de/interviews/swe-suedwestenergie-gmbh/energiewende-mit-e-fuels So, what exactly is an e-Fuel? Life of an e-Fuel begins from the biggest source in the entire planet for collecting water – which is the ocean. Water can be gathered from various channels, but it is crucial not to effect fresh water that humanity can drink for their lives. This makes e-Fuel’s main ingredient sourced from seas ranging worldwide, which is a good thing, since those seas can provide water endlessly until our humanity lasts. Because seawater contains salt and is not pure enough to become a part of fuel, collected seawater passes through a series of desalinization to make preparation for electrolysis. Electrolysis sends electrical currents through H2O, separating out hydrogen which will be later combined with carbon dioxide to be reborn as a form of fuel. Electricity used for electrolysis can be brought from renewable sources such as wind farms. None of fossil fuel is used until this process, and things get even better. The hydrogen gained from previous activities is mixed with CO2 produced from ordinary industrial activities. Combination of hydrogen and carbon dioxide brings us the “e-methanol”, which has versatility to be converted into fossil fuels we can see today in gas stations : petrol, diesel or kerosene. The final form is quite familiar, but the entire process from collection to fusion hasn’t made any impact on Earth’s atmosphere. Giant Benefits in Return from Minutely Noticed Newcomer Fruits that can be attained from this totally carbon-neutral e-Fuel are genuinely huge, and its benefits start from eradication of worries about air pollution. Biggest pollutant of Earth’s atmosphere is created from vast rows of factories placed around the globe producing goods for consumers. These factories – especially the ones placed in developing countries such as China or India – emit tons of carbon dioxide while they are active, heatting up the pace of skyrocketing Earth’s average temperature. Production of e-Fuel can cut down this tendency dramatically, taking away those CO2 to use as a material for e-Fuel. Freeing ourselves from major pollutant is quite a big deal, and at the same time we can produce fuel for other social infrastructure to keep on running. Cycle of capturing carbon dioxide from running factories and hydrogen from waves of ocean is basically endless, so infinite possibility of production is assured, too. The second benefit we can appreciate is that major shift for electrification among the entire industry is no longer needed. Major companies producing automobiles already have announced to swap internal combustion engines for more environment-friendly battery powered electric motors. That sounds fine for ones who can afford electric vehicles, but not everyone can and people who work in transport business using their big diesel trucks are likely to face practical problems. It is a critical issue since these businesses run through the entire industry, making all of social infrastructure under its influence. Production of e-Fuel can let those businesses work just as they have done before, also can buy some time and money for automobile companies to invest in other ways. Some experts pointed out questionable aspects of the entire industry aiming solely on electrification, claiming that mining nickel for battery production harasses the environment in even more severe ways such as destroying forests. Switching to e-Fuels can walk away safely from these worries in a single opportunity. Tradeoff for Saving the Environment Is Your Wallet Becoming Thinner However, not all of the story is a fairy tale in e-Fuel’s world. Production costs of e-Fuel is much higher than fossil fuels that we use today, resulting in exceptionally high prices tagged on them. e-Petrol made from e-Fuel is currently placed in normally unacceptable range of around ten dollars per liter. That is more than three times even in today’s standards where oil crisis departed from Moscow is ongoing. High costs for e-Fuel production are mostly due to expensive labor costs for extracting hydrogen from seawater, but optimists expect these prices will go down to a reasonable level very soon benefited by the technological advancements. A report from the EU made a bold claim that the price of e-Fuel will go below one euro per liter, but only time will tell. Imposing massive amount of taxes on other types of fuels and using those money for subsidy on e-Fuel can be another suggestion, but that involves a chance of dragging the entire economy into decline. This is why even though e-Fuel carries tangible benefits, careful consideration should be thoroughly done to really dive into it. Concepts of e-Fuel might be vague and confusing at this period where only the early development has been done, but the fact that it is a new solution for seven billion inhabitants living on this green planet to sustain their lives in the imminent future is clear. e-Fuel’s strengths on reducing carbon emissions are currently hiding behind the problem of low economic efficiency, but as technology develops, my thoughts are on the possibility of e-Fuel dictating most carbon emissions down to near nil. The message from current development of e-Fuel is definite : it is time for all of us to finally give attention to the urgent mission of cleaning up Earth’s atmosphere, and no longer overlook unusual climate issues. If we don’t take time on examining our environment, it might be impossible to bring it back to hospitable conditions. Sources: https://youtu.be/G8uJjP_gMy8?t=304 https://m.hankookilbo.com/News/Read/A2021111114450001921 https://www.motortrend.com/features/porsche-supercup-efuel-direct-air-carbon-capture/ https://www.wirtschaftsforum.de/interviews/swe-suedwestenergie-gmbh/energiewende-mit-e-fuels (Image)
Kicker: SCIENCE (Technology) Technology Related to Mask Environmental Pollution By Seo-Won Hong, Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org Masks have become a necessity for people around the world to prevent COVID-19. As face masks are used continuously, the mask trash increases around the world. A report released by a Hong-Kong-based marine conservation organization said that they estimated about 1.56 billion face masks flowed into oceans in 2020. Most masks are made of plastic. Polypropylene, the main component of the mask, generates harmful substances such as carbon monoxide and dioxin while burning. These substances are causing environmental pollution, taking more than 450 years to completely rot away. Accordingly, the concept of mask recycling and the need to replace disposable masks are emerging. Currently, research on mask recycling is being conducted worldwide to prevent environmental pollution caused by masks. Through this article, I’m going to introduce the development situation and commercialization possibility of recycling mask research in foreign countries and here in Korea. N95 mask-disinfection technology developed by researchers at the University of South Florida (USF) in the United States Ying Zhong, a researcher in USF’s Green Research for Energy-Efficient innovations lab, and Libin Ye, researcher and cellular molecular biology professor, created a team of five graduate students. Researchers conducted experiments to develop a new type of sterilization technology to combat pathogenic viruses. The research team announced in the journal “Environment Science & Technology” that it has developed a disinfection technology that can restore the filtering function of the N95 mask to its original state. The N95 mask refers to a respiratory protector that filters 0.3 μm fine particles floating in the air at more than 95% although they are not resistant to oil components. The N95 mask is called Surgical N95 Respirator in the United States. Products that pass the same standards as N95 are being used at quarantine sites and for medical staff around the world. Researchers developed a new type of sterilization technology using the corona discharge (CD) effect. This technology works by simultaneously deactivating the pathogen of the mask and restoring static electricity. This technology does not generate heat, so additional heating and chemicals are not required. So it can be used safely and conveniently. It is a low-power consumption technology that is reusable, safer than ultraviolet (UV), and requires only 1.25 W of electricity. The patented technology is key to destroying DNA with electric fields and ions made of corona discharge (CD). The Corona Discharge is an electrical discharge caused by the ionization of fluids. The patented technology of this research team features neutralizing pathogens and viruses attached to masks by transforming proteins. The research team said it has proven a technology that can maintain about 95% of the original filtration efficiency even after 15 disinfection times, and can be recycled at least 10 times with high safety. Effect and possibility of commercialization The research team said that the technology could reduce the demand for masks from hundreds per person per year to dozens. This is expected to solve not only environmental pollution caused by quarantine masks, but also the lack of mask supply in low-income countries. Zhong said, “We will be able to reduce mask usage by 90% per person,”. In addition, “Assuming that 10% of the world's population uses this technology, we will reduce mask waste by 4 billion to 5 billion.” The research team explained that this alleviates environmental shocks by reducing the use of chemicals for masks along with more than 24 million tons of plastic pollutants. The nano filter mask developed by KAIST Professor Kim Do-hyun's research team at KAIST has developed a technology for mass production of nano filter masks. The nano filter mask can be used for more than a month because its performance is maintained even after being washed dozens of times. Existing mask filters use static electricity to catch fine foreign substances. For this reason, it is very vulnerable to moisture and cannot be reused if disinfected with ethanol or washed with water. On the other hand, a very thin polymer nanofiber-based filter developed by KAIST researchers is the principle of closely overlapping nanofibers, which are 1/10 as thick as existing filters. It filters out foreign substances, and its filter performance is maintained even after washing. However, in order to make very thin fibers, a high voltage of tens of kilobolts is required, and the production speed per hour is only up to 1g. In other words, there is a limitation in that it is difficult to mass-produce nano filter masks. To compensate for this, the research team developed a centrifugal radiation disk system that rotates and discharges polymer solutions. They made the disk into three layers, dramatically increasing the production speed of nanofiber filters. In addition, the research team succeeded in producing 25g of nanofibers with a thickness of 500nm (nanometer, 1 millionth of a millimeter), which is about one-hundredth of the thickness of hair per hour. This is an amount equivalent to 30 KF94 mask filters, which is about 30 times the production of existing electrospinning processes. The filter developed by the research team can completely block saliva droplets and has a blocking efficiency of KF80 or higher depending on the amount of fiber used. Interest in environmental pollution caused by masks is increasing, and various technologies are being developed worldwide to solve this problem. If these technologies are commercialized as soon as possible, it will be possible to reduce major environmental pollution caused by masks in the current situation of living with COVID-19. We will be able to develop an interest in environmental pollution we can think of in our daily lives, such as masks. Sources: https://www.yna.co.kr/view/AKR20211006074100009 http://www.newsje.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=245460 https://n.news.naver.com/article/056/0011133331 https://blog.naver.com/slcdream/221883007809 https://www.usforacle.com/2021/10/21/usf-researchers-develop-n95-mask-disinfection-technology/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkA-_Ek5iA4 https://www.yna.co.kr/view/AKR20210322140300063
Kicker: SCIENCE (ENDEMIC) The Road to Endemic email@example.com Choi Yeong-Jin, Editor Have you realized that it has been approximately three years since the Corona virus has changed our lives entirely? Everybody expected that the epidemic would just fade away someday and tried to be patient with the current situation of locking themselves up in their own house. However, when the situation was being prolonged, people started to question the possibility whether the situation will end someday. Since everybody has a life to live, people could not stand locking themselves up the whole time, and became more positive at working, enjoying hobbies, and spending time with their families and friends. Though news reports announce to us that the rate of daily new cases of COVID-19 is skyrocketing every day, there still are some medical advancements that give us hope. Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Viral, and Antibody Therapy There are many types of drugs that are available now for anti-COVID. Anti-inflammatory* drugs that stop our immune system overacting with deadly consequences, anti-viral drugs that make it harder for the coronavirus to replicate* inside the body, and antibody therapies that mimic our own immune system to attack the virus are the main solutions. What happens to our body when we catch COVID-19? Our body releases a flood of chemicals to warn that our body is under attack. This chemical alarm is called inflammation, and it is vital* for rallying our immune system to boot out* COVID. However, if we cannot get rid of the virus quickly, inflammation can spiral out of control and eventually damage vital organs such as lungs. In this case, it becomes a massive problem that can eventually kill people. To prevent this, we can use anti-inflammatory drugs which includes the steroid hydrocortisone*. It has already proven very effective, but is highly expensive, so an asthma drug called budesonide is recommended to vulnerable people who encountered early COVID symptoms and recover more quickly at home. Anti-Viral Drugs Anti-viral drugs directly target the ability of the coronavirus to make copies of itself inside our bodies. A well-known drug named “Paxlovid” is one kind of anti-viral drug, and it keeps levels of the virus in the body low, so there is less of it for our immune system to deal with. Lastly, Antibody therapy is to give people an infusion* of antibodies that can attack the virus. These stick to the surface of the coronavirus and mark it for destruction by the body’s immune system. Therefore, the body makes its own antibodies when it is attacked by coronavirus. *Inflammatory: Causing or related to swelling and pain in the body. *Replicate: To make or do something again in exactly the same way. *Vital: Necessary for the success or continued existence of something. *Boot out: To force someone to leave a job or not allow them to continue with an activity. *Hydrocortisone: The name of the hormone cortisol when supplied as a medication. *Infusion: The act of adding one thing to another to make it stronger or better. Pandemic Becoming Endemic Many experts have already said that they expect COVID-19 to become an endemic disease. Then what is endemic? Endemic is especially of a disease or a condition that is regularly found and very common among a particular group or in a particular area. Imagine a cold, for example. Back in the old days, the common cold killed millions of people. That was when the cold was recognized as pandemic. Nowadays, on the other hand, nobody worries when we catch a cold. The expectation that COVID-19 will become endemic essentially means that the pandemic will not end with the virus disappearing, but to be weaker and very less fatal. Optimistic view of COVID to become endemic is that enough people will gain immune protection from vaccination and from natural infection such that there will be less transmission* and much less COVID-19 hospitalization and death, even as the virus continues to circulate. The Quarantine* Authority of Korea, too has agreed with optimism with Western experts that COVID-19 will be transferred to endemic sooner or later. Yes, some experts worry that since Korea’s quarantine circumstances and vaccination differs, the outcome might turn out differently with foreign precedents*. However, optimists of COVID becoming endemic argue with the example of the Omicron variant*. Omicron spreads extremely quickly compared with the Delta variant, and as massive infection occurred, many people are obtaining natural immunity, and this happened in both Europe and America. This explains that Korea, too has hopes to go back to our normal life in a matter of time. Though some question the effectiveness of vaccination as more and more people are being infected even though they are fully vaccinated, it is already proven that being vaccinated protects us from serious illness and death. Breakthrough infection happens more often as time passes, and this phenomenon explains that immunity becomes weaker as time goes by. That is why more and more countries are accelerating to invent new vaccines. There are possibilities that when COVID-19 is finally treated as endemic, it would be likely to be handled like flu by getting an injection once or twice a year. *Transmission: The process of broadcasting or sending out something by radio or television, on the internet, etc., or something that is broadcast or sent out. *Quarantine: A specific period of time in which a person or animal that has a disease, or may have one, must stay or be kept away from others in order to prevent the spread of the disease. *Precedent: An action, situation, or decision that has already happened and can be used as a reason why a similar action or decision should be performed or made. *Variant: A form of a virus or disease that is slightly different from other forms. Countries all around the world, including Korea as well, are paying lots and lots of attention and care for the end of the reign* of the coronavirus. As we can witness the current situation of the Western world and their efforts to make COVID become endemic, it would not be considered a hopeless dream that we might return to our normal life without wearing masks anymore. *Reign: A period when a particular person, feeling, or quality is very important or has a strong influence. Sources: https://www.bbc.com/news/health-52354520 https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/features/what-will-it-be-like-when-covid-19-becomes-endemic/ https://www.joongang.co.kr/article/25043473#home http://www.hitnews.co.kr/news/articleView.html?idxno=37965
Kicker: SCIENCE Development of Alternative Meat Environmental Protection and R&D By Eun-Jae Choi, Editor Weloveeun123@naver.com In science fiction movies describing the future, we can see works depicting a world where meat has disappeared. In this way, the artificial meat that we imagined is gradually becoming a reality. There may be various reasons, but most representatively, it has devoted a lot of effort to develop alternative meat in terms of environmental pollution and animal protection, which uses vegetable ingredients to implement a similar shape and texture to meat. Now, alternative meat has reached a very similar stage, not a slightly similar product to meat, and global investment is underway with sufficient consideration for future development. Furthermore, McDonald's in the U.S. is becoming increasingly familiar with our lives to the extent that it sells products using patties using alternative meat. Therefore, it is very valuable for us to take time to think about the demand and prospects for the vegan market in the future by looking at the significance of alternative meat and the process of sales and investment in the manufacturing process. The necessity of artificial meat Why did people gain a lot of interest and popularity in meat? When comparing meat consumption from 1980 to 2018, Korea showed an increase of 4.2%. However, due to environmental restrictions on meat production and dietary changes caused by meat consumption, interest in vegetable alternative meat that can replace it is increasing recently. First, the need for alternative meat was raised in terms of the environment. Due to the limitations of resources, such as land and water, and the growing demand for greenhouse gases and feed grains, the need to discover meat substitute materials that can stably supply proteins is gradually growing. Furthermore, the importance of alternative meat has been highlighted as a solution to the recent series of infectious diseases such as *African swine fever, *avian influenza, and *bovine spongiform encephalopathy that have emerged as a major issue. Second, the growing number of consumers choosing vegetarian food due to religion, animal welfare and ethics issues, and interest in health and sustainability is also a factor in the growth of the global meat market. Overseas celebrities such as Bill Gates are also investing in this possibility of development. * African swine fever: a highly contagious fatal disease of pigs caused by a myxovirus * avian influenza: a cold that occurs in birds such as chickens and ducks * bovine spongiform encephalopathy: a disease that usually occurs in cows aged 4 to 5 years old and die while acting like a crazy cow due to spongycemic encephalopathy The process of making meat Alternative meat is made of vegetable ingredients to implement a shape and texture similar to meat. It is processed by extracting vegetable proteins obtained from beans or mushrooms. This is easy to think of as something like "bean meat." It includes the process of implementing the texture with fiber and making meat color with beet juice. In addition, heme, a non-protein molecule known to produce meat smell and aroma, is extracted from the roots of beans and used. There is another artificial meat created by a different process. It's "cultivation." It literally cultivates meat using stem cells. Stem cells are extracted from cells removed from the animal site and then differentiated into muscle cells to form protein tissue. Using this as a material, people can make a shape similar to actual meat with a 3D printer. Alternative Meat market The alternative meat market is gradually expanding. Pulmuone, a Korean food company, is targeting the U.S. alternative meat market worth 1.7 trillion won with its own plant-based alternative meat. It has been announced that it will launch a replacement meat for ‘Plant Fire’, a vegetable-oriented brand developed by Pulmuone, in all spheres of Waba Grill, an American restaurant chain. In addition, Lotte Confectionery launched a pure vegetable steamed bun using alternative meat to make products with the desire for value consumption for health and the environment. And Paris Baguette, a bread company, announced that it will launch its first alternative meat product in partnership with Unlimit, which has developed vegetable meat slices. The new "Plant Bulgogi Salad Wrap" contains "Unlimited Slice," a substitute meat made of protein extracted from 100% plants. As such, various domestic companies are actively implementing projects to develop and expand alternative meat. Furthermore, alternative meat has now become an indispensable category in hypermarkets, famous e-commerce, and online malls. Since August last year, E-Mart has been operating a vegetarian zone at 22 stores, including Seongsu and Yongsan in Seoul. The Vegetarian Zone handles a variety of alternative meat processed foods at home and abroad, including Beyond Meat and Zero Meat. An E-Mart official said, "The proportion of vegetarian dependent sales is not high, but sales have increased by 20-30% compared to the time of launch," adding, "Customers' responses are steadily increasing." Alternative meat technology has developed much more than in the past. However, more research is needed to improve and supplement the texture and flavor compared to actual meat because they do not meet the preference. In addition, active consumption can be built if easily accessible promotions and cheaper prices are created. If these points are supplemented and constantly developed, an era in which alternative meat is prevalent may open in the future.