Batteries! Everyone's favourite technology frontier continues to provide as we try to find places to dump renewable energy into for baseload smoothing, and the latest frontier is apparently... stone.
In reality it's just another heat-based storage solution, using basalt as the heat conductor and a load of rock wool as the insulation to keep it hot (apparently up to 500°C).
It's not quite clear to me what the advantage of this is over other similar thermal batteries - perhaps the specific heat capacity of basalt is higher than other potential materials (like molten salts), or maybe it's just a lot cheaper. Still, as always, the more battery research the better, in my mind.
Landfills are an ubiquitous solution to the problem of plastic waste, since it doesn't biodegrade. Of course, the reason it doesn't biodegrade is not that it's theoretically impossible - the chemical chains in plastic are very similar to a lot of organic chemistry - it's that nothing has evolved to eat it yet.
Well, we're trying to encourage that process along, and the latest breakthrough is a "low temperature" enzyme that breaks down PET, one of the most common plastics. Now, low temperature here still means relatively toasty - it's just "below 50 Celsius" - but that's a temperature you could reach relatively easily in a dedicated facility, and it apparently does its work in a few days, rather than a few centuries.
There's very few places that are allowed to make real, genuine Parmigiano Reggiano - it's one of those heavily protected place-of-origin foodstuffs - and the market for fraudulent cheese is almost as big as the value of the real stuff.
For ages, wheels of genuine Parmigiano have had unique serial numbers etched into them to try and provide traceability and some way to check that you've got the genuine stuff. Now, they're moving up one level - by adding tiny RFID tags into the outer case of the cheese.
There's some weird mention of blockchain in the article, which doesn't really make any sense, but I imagine just having an easy way to scan cheese will be an improvement to keeping the whole thing in order. I wonder if they'll try adding chips to olive oil next.