Environmental Protection

Energy and Climate Change


Google Carbon Offset

Hog Waste Producing Electricity and Carbon Offsets

A pilot waste-to-energy system recently constructed by Duke University and Duke Energy garnered the endorsement of Google Inc., which invests in high-quality carbon offsets from across the nation to fulfill its own carbon neutrality goals.

Lithium Battery Performance May Get a Boost from Algae

By looking to Mother Nature for solutions, researchers have identified a promising new binder material for lithium-ion battery electrodes that could not only boost energy storage, but also eliminate the use of toxic compounds now used in manufacturing the components.

Climate Policy Initiative Study Finds U.S. Building Energy Codes Work

In the first U.S. study to measure the real impact of building energy codes on total household energy consumption, Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) found that U.S. building energy codes have reduced household energy use and greenhouse gas emissions

World's Smallest Electric Motor Made From a Single Molecule

Chemists at Tufts University's School of Arts and Sciences have developed the world's first single molecule electric motor, a development that may potentially create a new class of devices that could be used in applications ranging from medicine to engineering.

Study Sharpens Picture of How Much Oil and Gas Flowed in Deepwater Horizon Spill

In a detailed assessment of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, researchers led by a team from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have determined that the blown-out Macondo well spewed oil at a rate of about 57,000 barrels a day, totaling nearly 5 million barrels of oil released from the well between April 20 and July 15, 2010, when the leak was capped. In addition, the well released some 100 million standard cubic feet per day of natural gas

Australia’s First Utility-Scale Solar Photovoltaic Project Under Way

Output from the 10-megawatt AC project on 80 hectares of cleared land 50km southeast of Geraldton will contribute to offsetting the energy requirements of the Southern Seawater Desalination Plant.

Air-Quality Researchers Find Troubling Health Implications for Ultrafine Particles

Three studies by a University of California, Davis, air-quality research group are adding to the growing body of data suggesting that very fine and ultra-fine airborne metal particles are closely linked to serious human-health problems, including heart disease.

Artificial Light Harvesting Method Achieves 100 Percent Energy Transfer Efficiency

In an attempt to mimic the photosynthetic systems found in plants and some bacteria, scientists have taken a step toward developing an artificial light-harvesting system (LHS) that meets one of the crucial requirements for such systems: an approximately 100 percent energy transfer efficiency.



Novel Alloy Could Produce Hydrogen Fuel From Sunlight

Scientists from the University of Kentucky (UK) and the University of Louisville (UofL) have determined that an inexpensive semiconductor material can be "tweaked" to generate hydrogen from water using sunlight.

Panda Poop May Be a Treasure Trove of Microbes for Making Biofuels

Panda poop contains bacteria with potent effects in breaking down plant material in the way needed to tap biomass as a major new source of “biofuels” produced not from corn and other food sources, but from grass, wood chips and crop wastes, scientists reported.

Cars Could Run on Recycled Newspaper

Here’s one way that old-fashioned newsprint beats the Internet: Tulane University scientists have discovered a novel bacterial strain, dubbed “TU-103,” that can use paper to produce butanol, a biofuel that can serve as a substitute for gasoline.

Researchers Build a Tougher, Lighter Wind Turbine Blade

Efforts to build larger wind turbines able to capture more energy from the air are stymied by the weight of blades. A Case Western Reserve University researcher has built a prototype blade that is substantially lighter and eight times tougher and more durable than currently used blade materials.

Testing the Water for Bioenergy Crops

Many energy researchers and environmental advocates are excited about the prospect of gaining more efficient large-scale biofuel production by using large grasses like miscanthus or switchgrass rather than corn. They have investigated yields, land use, economics and more, but one key factor of agriculture has been overlooked: water.

New Refrigerator Standards Cut Energy Usage by 25 Percent

New Department of Energy efficiency standards will cut the energy use of most new refrigerators by 25 percent and help save consumers money, create jobs, reduce pollution and spur innovation and investment.

Study Casts Doubt on Drought-Driven Declines in Plant Productivity, Global Food Security

A new study published in the current issue of Science rebuts earlier claims that drought has induced a decline in global plant productivity during the past decade and poses a threat to global food security.

Increasing Fuel Efficiency with a Smartphone

In July, at the Association for Computing Machinery’s MobiSys conference, researchers from MIT and Princeton University took the best-paper award for a system that uses a network of smartphones mounted on car dashboards to collect information about traffic signals and tell drivers when slowing down could help them avoid waiting at lights.

Israel's Sewage-Powered Fuel Cell is Attracting Investors

In building a fuel cell that uses bacteria to break down waste in water, Israel's water company Emefcy Ltd. has raised about $10 million from investors including GE, NRG Energy Inc. and ConocoPhillips.

Ethanol Company Penalized for Failing to Develop Risk Management Plan

NEDAK Ethanol LLC, an alternative fuels manufacturer, has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $3,600 to the United States for failing to develop a risk management program and file a risk management plan for its ethanol production facility at Atkinson, Neb.

Air Conditioners in 87 Percent of U.S. Homes, Though Many Don't Meet Efficiency Standards

Except for the few temperate regions on the West Coast, air conditioners are now standard equipment in most homes, especially in those newly constructed.

Higher-Resolution Microscope Provides Better Insight into Fuel Cell Operations

A novel microscopy method at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory is helping scientists probe the reactions that limit widespread deployment of fuel cell technologies.

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