Environmental Protection

Research and Technology


Clean Up Oil Spills with Low-Grade Cotton

Researchers have found a low-grade cotton from West Texas that might be able to clean oil spills more effectively and more eco-friendly than other methods currently in use. According to the study, one pound of the cotton can soak up more than 30 pounds of oil.

States and Utilities Emissions Report Now Available

According to a major new report on U.S. power plant emissions from the top 100 power producers, it shows that the electric industry cut emissions of NOx, SO2 and CO2 in 2011 even as overall electricity generation increased, largely due to increased use of natural gas and growing reliance on renewable energy.

New Research Shows Gas Hydrates as Future Energy Resource

In collaboration between the USGS, BOEM, and the DOE, scientists have completed a 15-day research expedition in the northern Gulf of Mexico with high-resolution seismic data and imagery of sediments with high gas hydrate saturations.

Robotic Sensors Monitor Red Tides in Gulf of Maine

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is utilizing new robotic instruments to help monitor and manage harmful algal blooms (HABs) or red tides in New England. The first instrument has been in use since last month, and a second will be deployed later this spring.

A New iPad Book Introduces Backyard Environmentalism to Children

Ben Nicholson and Kurt Koch created and designed Mudbuddy, a new iPad book that helps children learn about the environment.

Long-Lasting Nitrate in Streams Disturbs Water Quality

Hydrologic researchers from the USGS found that nitrate from fertilizers takes decades to travel through groundwater and into streams, disturbing the water quality of streams and even large rivers for many more years to come.

Billions of Cicadas May Soon Swarm Eastern U.S.

The East Coast of the U.S. may soon be swarmed with billions of cicadas, outnumbering people from North Carolina to Connecticut by 600 to 1. But not to worry, even though the insects may be a nuisance, they’re not a threat to anything but a few shrubs.

People in India, Indonesia, and Philippines Affected by Toxic Waste Sites

A Mount Sinai researcher has found that the health of people living near toxic waste sites in India, Indonesia, and the Philippines are directly affected, causing them to miss out on healthy years of life.

Solar-Powered Nanofilters Remove Antibiotics from Waterways

Researchers have developed solar-powered nanofilters that can remove antibiotics from waterways more efficiently than existing practices.

Enzyme Research Could Lead to Less Expensive Biofuels

New research from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has discovered two approaches in which enzymes could break down cell walls more quickly and lead to less expensive biofuels for the transportation industry.

A New Additive to Make Wastewater Treatment More Efficient

Wastewater sludge is a semi-solid material that accounts for 50 percent of operating costs and about 65 percent of environmental impact in order to purify the water. After being tested in 50 wastewater treatment plants in various countries, a new additive called LODOred may be able to purify the sludge more efficiently.

Measuring the Floods in Illinois

Crews from the USGS are measuring the floods of rivers and streams in Illinois. It’s estimated that current conditions of the waterways are the highest levels in over 20 years for the state.

How Pesticides Affect Reproduction of Aquatic Organisms

In a new study conducted by the North Carolina State University, researchers have found that pesticide exposure can affect the reproduction abilities of “water fleas”, causing them to produce more male offspring and creating reproductive issues in females.

A New Way to Capture Methane

Since methane is more harmful than CO2 and is very influential in climate change, researchers have found a new way to capture the greenhouse gas.

Nuclear Fuel Storage Research Gets More Funding

The Energy Department will be investing $15.8 million over the next five years on a new dry storage research and development project that should result in safe and secure storage of used nuclear fuel.

The Annual U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory Now Available

Earlier today, the EPA released the 18th annual report of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, which shows that emissions decreased by 1.6 percent in 2011 from 2010.

AgriLife Research Scientist Hopes Soapy Water Testing Lathers Up Statewide Interest

AgriLife Research Scientist Hopes Soapy Water Testing Lathers Up Statewide Interest

Research on gray water use for home irrigation has been getting positive initial results.

High Levels of Lead Found in Imported Rice

In a meeting at the American Chemical Society, it was revealed that high levels of lead have been found in rice that’s been imported to the U.S. from certain countries. According to their research, baby food contained some of the highest levels of lead.

CO2 Emissions Continue to Decrease

According to the Energy Information Administrations (EIA), CO2 emissions have managed to decrease each year since 2007, and 2012 had the lowest emissions since 1994.

Severe Precipitation Caused by Global Warming

As greenhouses gases in the atmosphere continue to rise, intense precipitation will become even more intense, according to a new NOAA-led study that has been published in Geophysical Research Letters.

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