Environmental Protection

Research and Technology


The Green Look for EV Charging Stations in Germany

The network of electric-vehicle (EV) charging stations in Germany is still relatively sparse, but their number is growing rapidly. The majority of roadside charging points take the form of steel-clad pillars. A group of researchers has set out to develop an alternative design based on environmentally compatible materials.

Sierra Nevada Water Researchers Awarded $2 Million Grant

Researchers with the Sierra Nevada Research Institute (SNRI) at the University of California, Merced, have received a $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to expand on a prototype system that uses a network of wireless sensors to track snowpack depth, water storage in soil, stream flow, and water use by vegetation in the Sierra — information that is key to efficient usage of such a scarce resource.

Artificial Leaf Makes Fuel from Sunlight

Researchers led by MIT professor Daniel Nocera have produced something they’re calling an “artificial leaf”: Like living leaves, the device can turn the energy of sunlight directly into a chemical fuel that can be stored and used later as an energy source.

Physicists Examine Their Own Carbon Footprint

In October's issue of Physics World, Phil Marshall, an astrophysicist at the University of Oxford, calls on physicists to pull their weight when it comes to climate change, drawing on his own research showing that astronomers average 23,000 air miles per year flying to observatories, conferences and meetings, and use 130 KWh more energy per day than the average U.S. citizen.

Researchers Develop World's First Energy-Storage Membrane

Electrical energy storage and its management is becoming an urgent issue due to climate change and energy shortage.

Researchers: Apply Public Trust Doctrine to 'Rescue' Wildlife from Politics

When a species recovers enough to be removed from the federal endangered species list, the public trust doctrine – the principle that government must conserve natural resources for the public good – should guide state management of wildlife, scientists say.

New Technology Uses Solar UV Light to Disinfect Drinking Water

A team of Purdue University researchers has invented a prototype water-disinfection system that could help the world's 800 million people who lack safe drinking water.

Researchers Produce Cheap Sugars for Sustainable Biofuel Production

Iowa State University's Robert C. Brown keeps a small vial of brown, sweet-smelling liquid on his office table.

Evaluating California Earthquake Forecasts

UC Davis researchers have compared seven earthquake forecasts (including their own) that were submitted to a competition organized by the Southern California Earthquake Center.

New Advanced Biofuel as an Alternative to Diesel Fuel

Researchers with the DOE's Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have identified a potential new advanced biofuel that could replace today's standard fuel for diesel engines but would be clean, green, renewable and produced in the United States. Using the tools of synthetic biology, a JBEI research team engineered strains of two microbes, a bacteria and a yeast, to produce a precursor to bisabolane, a member of the terpene class of chemical compounds that are found in plants and used in fragrances and flavorings. Preliminary tests by the team showed that bisabolane's properties make it a promising biosynthetic alternative to Number 2 (D2) diesel fuel.

Gulf Fish Show Signs of Reponse to Oil Spill Despite Low Toxin Levels

A research team led by LSU professors Fernando Galvez and Andrew Whitehead has published the results of a combined field and laboratory study showing the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on fish living in Louisiana marshes.

Research Suggests Global Warming Could Cause Animals to Shrink

The way in which global warming causes many of the world’s organisms to shrink has been revealed by new research from Queen Mary, University of London.

Bionic Bacteria May Help Fight Disease and Global Warming

A strain of genetically enhanced bacteria developed by researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies may pave the way for new synthetic drugs and new ways of manufacturing medicines and biofuels, according to a paper published September 18 in Nature Chemical Biology.

New Plant Science Will Make Ground Level Ozone Predictions More Accurate

Predictions of the ground-level pollutant ozone will be more accurate in future according to research published by environment scientists at research centers including the University of Birmingham in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Scientists Probe Indian Ocean for Clues to Worldwide Weather Patterns

An international team of researchers will begin gathering in the Indian Ocean next month to study how tropical weather brews there and then moves eastward along the equator with reverberating effects around the entire globe. They will use a vast array of tools ranging from aircraft and ships to moorings, radars, and numerical models.

The Hidden Power of Moss

Scientists at Cambridge University are exhibiting a prototype table that demonstrates how biological fuel cells can harness energy from plants.

New Approach Challenges Old Ideas About Plant Species and Biomass

For decades, scientists have believed that a relationship exists between how much biomass plant species produce and how many species can coexist. Stanley Harpole, assistant professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology at Iowa State University, was part of the team researching productivity and richness, and he says the research doesn’t support that relationship.

RFID Could Bring More-Realistic Pricing to Garbage Collection

Because costs of trash collection have increased significantly while landfill space diminishes, radio frequency identification (RFID) holds the potential to dramatically reduce the volume of trash and increase the amount of materials being recycled.

Model Successfully Forecasts Arctic Sea Ice Season

Relatively accurate predictions for the extent of Arctic sea ice in a given summer can be made by assessing conditions the previous autumn, but conditions more than five years into the future depend on understanding the impact of climate trends on the ice pack, new research shows.

Insight Into River Formation Came From Being in the Right Place at the Right Time

Geography professor Bruce Rhoads and geology professor Jim Best were conducting research where the Wabash River meets the Ohio River in the summer of 2008 when they heard about a new channel that had just formed, cutting off a bend in the winding Wabash just upstream from the confluence. That serendipity gave the researchers a rare view of a dynamic, little-understood river process that changed the local landscape and deposited so much sediment into the river system that it closed the Ohio River.

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