Environmental Protection

Research and Technology


Genomics of Wood for Biofuels Production Investigated

A team of Virginia Tech researchers is working to characterize the genes involved in wood formation in poplar trees with the goal of improving the quality and quantity of wood as a feedstock for biofuels production.

Penn State Research Finds Humans and Climate Contributed to Extinctions of Large Ice-Age Mammals

Both climate change and humans were responsible for the extinction of some large mammals, according to research that is the first of its kind to use genetic, archeological, and climatic data together to infer the population history of large Ice-Age mammals.

Experts Recommend Rainwater Collection Sytems for Cities

Plain, sloping roofs can collect up to 50 percent more rainwater than flat roofs with gravel.

Study Links Pollutants to a 450 Percent Increase in Risk of Birth Defects

Pesticides and pollutants are related to an alarming 450 percent increase in the risk of spina bifida and anencephaly in rural China, according to scientists at The University of Texas at Austin and Peking University.

"Nanosheets" Could Make Fuel, Plastics Production More Energy Efficient and Cost-Effective

A University of Minnesota team of researchers has overcome a major hurdle in the quest to design a specialized type of molecular sieve that could make the production of gasoline, plastics and various chemicals more cost effective and energy efficient.

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.

Engineers Make Power from Human Respiration

A team from the University of Wisconsin believes they created a material that could be used to capture energy from respiration.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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