What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more

Another Possible Biofuel Source: Tree Seeds

January 9, 2013, 7:01 PM

What's the Latest Development?

A team of scientists in India claim that the seeds of native mahua and sal trees represent a vast untapped resource for producing biodiesel. They converted seed oils in the lab using a process involving alcohol and a catalyst, with a result that they say could be superior to biofuels created using vegetable seed oils due to its lower viscosity and greater volatility. Tree seed biofuel would also produce lower amounts of carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide emissions compared to other biofuels. The research was recently published in International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management.

What's the Big Idea?

Currently, according to the team, large amounts of mahua and sal tree seeds fall and are left to waste. Converting some of the millions of hectares of Indian forestland to plantations could provide the necessary biomass. One mahua tree has "an estimated productive lifespan of the mahua of 60 years [and] takes just ten years to reach seed-producing maturity." Ultimately, the goal is to "reduce [India's] dependence on crude oil imports, but also reduce the environmental impact of transportation and increase employment opportunities."

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at ScienceDaily


Another Possible Biofuel So...

Newsletter: Share: