Environmental Protection

Research and Technology


New Initiative Promotes Environmental Exports

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and Commerce Under Secretary Francisco Sanchez announced it during WEFECT 2012.

Coral Reef Research Facility Opens in Florida

The new center is the only facility in the country completely dedicated to the ecosystem science of coral reefs.

Hypoxic Zones Researcher Wins 'Genius Grant'

Nancy Rabalais, marine ecologist and executive director of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, won one of 23 new fellowships from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

NIST Identifies 60 Promising Refrigerant Fluids

Using a new computational method, researchers at the Commerce Department agency found these have low global warming potential and boiling points low enough to be used in common refrigeration equipment.

Study Shows Small Difference Between Organic and Conventional Foods

First author Dr. Crystal Smith-Spangler, MD, emphasized the overall effect of the study was to get people to make better eating habits overall.

NOAA Funds Research on Social Media for Weather Warnings

The awards for four projects by the Office of Weather and Air Quality in the NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research total about $879,000.

Robots to Rescue Coral Reefs

A team of 'coralbots', each individually working to simple rules, will piece together damaged bits of coral, allowing them to regrow.

Batteries Made From World's Thinnest Material Could Power Tomorrow's Electric Cars

Engineering researchers made a sheet of paper from the world’s thinnest material, graphene, and then zapped the paper with a laser or camera flash to blemish it with countless cracks, pores, and other imperfections. The result is a graphene anode material that can be charged or discharged 10 times faster than conventional graphite anodes used in today’s lithium (Li)-ion batteries.

GPS Can Now Measure Ice Melt, Change in Greenland Over Months Rather than Years

Researchers have found a way to use GPS to measure short-term changes in the rate of ice loss on Greenland – and reveal a surprising link between the ice and the atmosphere above it.

Researchers Develop Technique to Help Pollution Forecasters See Past Clouds

Until now, scientists who study air pollution using satellite imagery have been limited by weather. Clouds, in particular, provide much less information than a sunny day.

Researchers Take Big Step to Develop Nuclear Fusion Power

University of Tennessee researchers have successfully developed a key technology in developing an experimental reactor that can demonstrate the feasibility of fusion energy for the power grid.

Plastic Particles More Prevalent Than Previously Thought

For decades, oceanographers have collected water samples from the surface of the ocean in order to record how much plastic debris currently litters the waters. But a new study asserts that surface collection alone is insufficient because high winds have a tremendous impact on the buoyancy of the plastic debris.

Study Compares Toxin Levels in Captive and Wild Sea Mammals

Amid growing concerns about the spread of harmful mercury in plants and animals, a new study by researchers from The Johns Hopkins University and The National Aquarium has compared levels of the chemical in captive dolphins with dolphins found in the wild.

NAS to Review EPA's IRIS Assessment Development Process

The National Academy of Sciences will conduct a comprehensive review of the Environmental Protection Agency's Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program's assesment development process.

Veterans Hospitals Stay Safe With a Healthy Dose of Earthquake Monitoring

Being in a hospital is tough enough without having to worry about how the building will hold up during an earthquake. Now, veterans in Memphis, Tenn., can rest assured knowing that their medical center, even though it is located in the most active earthquake zone in the Eastern United States, has the most sophisticated seismic structural monitoring system in the country.

Nanotube Sponge has Potential in Oil Spill Cleanup

Carbon nanotubes, which consist of atom-thick sheets of carbon rolled into cylinders, have captured scientific attention in recent decades because of their high strength, potential high conductivity and light weight. But producing nanotubes in bulk for specialized applications was often limited by difficulties in controlling the growth process as well as dispersing and sorting the produced nanotubes.

Researchers Awarded Grants to Study Algae Fuel Production

Two University of Texas at Austin faculty members have won Moncrief Grand Challenge Faculty Awards to develop computer models for algae-based fuel production and improve the security of coastal waters.

Researchers See Effects of Common Plastic Additive BPA in Monkey Mammary Glands

A new study finds that fetal exposure to the plastic additive bisphenol A, or BPA, alters mammary gland development in primates. The finding adds to the evidence that the chemical can cause health problems in humans and bolsters concerns about it contributing to breast cancer.

The Energy Efficient Soldier

U.S. soldiers are increasingly weighed down by batteries to power weapons, detection devices and communications equipment. So the Army Research Laboratory has awarded a University of Utah-led consortium almost $15 million to use computer simulations to help design materials for lighter-weight, energy efficient devices and batteries.

PNNL Technology Wins Award for Improving Submarine Air Quality

Creators of a nanotech-based system that captures carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere within a submarine, while providing a more environmentally friendly removal process, have won the Federal Laboratory Consortium Interagency Partnership Award for 2012.

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