Not quite as significant a breakthrough as using abundant desert land, saltwater, and aquaculture "fish waste" to grow halophytes for biofuel, but this caught my attention for also turning a waste product into a solution:
Wisconsin's Idea to Spray Icy Streets with Cheese Brine Might Sound Cheesy, But It's Working (Alternet)
[...] Problem No. 1: ice. Wisconsin gets lots of it, with Milwaukee alone averaging more than four feet of snow each winter [...] about 30 percent of the dry salt bounces off the roadways and pollutes waterways.
Problem No. 2: cheese brine. This state produces nearly 3 billion pounds of cheese a year, so Wisconsin has lots of this waste product from cheese-making.
It costs typical dairy farmers thousands of dollars each year to dispose of their brine. But this winter, farmers are donating their waste problem to cities like Milwaukee. Those urban centers are hauling the brine to their road maintenance facilities and blending it into the rock salt.
The idea is to create a mixture with just the right stickiness to keep the salt from bouncing away. “You want to use provolone or mozzarella,” says a Milwaukee public works manager. “Those have the best salt content. You have to do practically nothing to it.” [...]
The linked NYTimes article mentions that the pilot project hasn't caused a significant cheesy odor:
Residents of Bay View say they have noticed little difference, good or bad, in the smell of their streets, and city officials say they have received no complaints. If anything, days after the plows passed through, a person would have to get down and sniff the pavement to get a decent whiff of dairy.
“We never look down or get that close,” said Ghassan A. Korban, the public works commissioner, his back straight as he stood behind a truck of cheese brine, battle-ready for an approaching storm. “If you can’t smell it from this height, then you won’t smell it.”
Image based on photos from Lester Public Library (Two Rivers, WI) and Wikimedia Commons
Brilliant! I love this idea. I wonder what run off contamination changes?