Short items

Lilly ruling could end speculative patenting of genes and proteins

US pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly has won its appeal against a patent filed by Human Genome Sciences for the protein neutrokine-a . The UK court of appeal ruled that the patent was invalid as it did not define an invention with an industrial application. The ruling could have drastic implications, narrowing the scope for biotech patents based on proteins or gene sequences. 
The Times,  10 February 2010 

US couple sell first carbon credit

A couple in Pennsylvania, US, have sold the first ever personal carbon emissions credit after reducing their personal emissions by over one tonne. The credit was bought by Molten Metal Equipment Innovations in Ohio for $21.50 (?13.75), but the energy-saving modifications to the couple’s home and lifestyle - including a solar panel system - cost over $58,000. 1800 other US households have joined the scheme run by web broker 
Financial Times, 9 February 2010 

Welsh M4 set to be ’H2 highway’

The UK government has announced plans to extend a string of electrical and hydrogen fuel stations along the M4 in south Wales. The plan is to connect with other alternative fuel trial sites in Swindon and London to make a ’hydrogen highway’ and overcome the chicken-and-egg infrastructure problem facing vehicles running on low-carbon alternative fuels like biomethane, H2 and electricity. 
BBC News, 12 February 2010 

’Spray-on glass’ gets thumbs up

A 100nm thick silica nanocoating dubbed ’liquid glass’ has been developed by German company Nanopool. The flexible, breathable, non-toxic and hydrophobic coating protects surfaces - from foods to buildings - from dirt, bacteria and fungus and is currently on trial in UK hospitals, on Turkish monuments and to protect grapes and seeds. 
The Independent, 1 February 2010