innovation trail

Making energy from waste: the other natural gas

Feb 17, 2016
Rebecca Jacobson / Inside Energy

Every day, a facility on the outskirts of Grand Junction, Colorado, takes in 8 million gallons of what people have flushed down their toilets and washed down their sinks. The water coming out the other end of the Persigo Wastewater Treatment Plant is cleaner than the Colorado River it flows into.

The organic solids strained from that water are now serving a new purpose -- producing fuel for city vehicles.

WATCH: The 'Tube Whisperer'

Feb 3, 2016
Jim Day

Soon after starting a volunteer position at R Community Bikes, a nonprofit that collects and repairs used bicycles to give away to needy children, Mark Yesul of Rochester, New York, found a new way to run things.

Mark uses his unusual ability to focus and passion for repetitive action to improve a tube repair system in ways most would overlook. The result is more bikes to more kids.

R Community Bikes also gives away bikes to community organizations and people with disabilities.

WATCH: How a coal plant is cleaning up its act

Jan 22, 2016
Reid Frazier, The Allegheny Front

The Homer City Generating Station rises like a cathedral out of a valley in Indiana County, just east of Pittsburgh. You can see its smokestacks and hour-glass shaped cooling towers from miles around. 

Like many coal plants around the country, workers at Homer City are busy installing pollution controls to comply with new clean air rules imposed by the EPA.

These units take out sulfur and other harmful pollutants, like mercury. Total cost? $750 million.

WATCH: Biometrics at the border

Jan 20, 2016

Recent events like the San Bernardino shooting have focused attention on visa violations and border security.

But before politicians began calling for greater vigilance, plans were already underway to step up screening at one crossing.

Border agents in San Diego are now testing biometrics to screen who's crossing the border.

romulusnr / via Flickr

Here's a big welcome going out to everyone who's visiting the Innovation Trail because you listened to our "Trailblazers" mix at NPR Music.  We're glad you came!

(If you're already an Innovation Trail reader, check it out: NPR music is featuring a mix we made of innovative musicians who changed the world!)

What's the Innovation Trail all about?  We're a reporting collaboration across five public broadcasters, doing stories about how technology and the economy are changing the fortunes of upstate New York.

Here's your Innovation Trail 101.

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