Research Yields Recyclable Battery
Present-day lithium batteries are efficient but involve a range of resource and environmental problems. Now, using materials from alfalfa and pine resin and a clever recycling strategy, Uppsala researchers have come up with an interesting alternative. Their study will be presented soon in the scientific journal ChemSusChem.
“We think our discovery can open several doors to more environment-friendly, energy-efficient solutions for the batteries of the future,” says Daniel Brandell, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Chemistry, Uppsala Univ., one of the researchers behind the idea.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/research-yields-recyclable-battery
GE Invests $10 M in Natural Gas Research
Penn State Univ. says that General Electric Co. will give the school up to $10 million to create a new center for natural gas industry research.
Penn State President Eric Barron said in a statement that the center will produce tangible benefits to the industry, to communities that are affected by drilling or related activity and to consumers.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/ge-invests-10-m-natural-gas-research
Tool Forecasts Economic Impacts of Natural Gas Stations
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory have announced a tool for analyzing the economic impacts of building new compressed natural gas fueling stations. Called JOBS NG, the tool is freely available to the public.
Mostly made up of methane, compressed natural gas is an alternative fuel for cars and trucks that can offer greenhouse gas benefits over gasoline. Thanks to new methods, natural gas production has boomed in the U.S., raising interest in its use as a vehicle fuel. But there are currently far fewer natural gas stations than gasoline stations in the country, concentrated in a few areas like California, Oklahoma, Utah and New York.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/tool-forecasts-economic-impacts-natural-gas-stations
Natural Gas Use Will Do Little to Reduce Emissions
Abundant supplies of natural gas will do little to reduce harmful U.S. emissions causing climate change, according to researchers at UC Irvine, Stanford Univ. and the nonprofit organization Near Zero. They found that inexpensive gas boosts electricity consumption and hinders expansion of cleaner energy sources, such as wind and solar.
The study results, which appear in the journal Environmental Research Letters, are based on modeling the effect of high and low gas supplies on the U.S. power sector. Coal-fired plants, the nation’s largest source of power, also produce vast quantities of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas polluting the Earth’s atmosphere. Recently proposed rules by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rely heavily on the substitution of natural gas for coal to lower carbon emissions by 2030.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/natural-gas-use-will-do-little-reduce-emissions
Biochar Alters Water Flow, Improves Sand, Clay
As more gardeners and farmers add ground charcoal, or biochar, to soil to both boost crop yields and counter global climate change, a new study by researchers at Rice Univ. and Colorado College could help settle the debate about one of biochar’s biggest benefits — the seemingly contradictory ability to make clay soils drain faster and sandy soils drain slower.
The study, available online this week in the journal PLOS ONE, offers the first detailed explanation for the hydrological mystery.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/biochar-alters-water-flow-improves-sand-clay
Trading Pollution Credits Can Yield Cleaner Water
Allowing polluters to buy, sell or trade water-quality credits could significantly reduce pollution in river basins and estuaries faster and at lower cost than requiring the facilities to meet compliance costs on their own, a new Duke Univ.-led study finds. The scale and type of the trading programs, though critical, may matter less than just getting them started.
“Our analysis shows that water-quality trading of any kind can significantly lower the costs of achieving Clean Water Act goals,” says Martin Doyle, professor of river science and policy at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/trading-pollution-credits-can-yield-cleaner-water
Nutrition Modeling Produces Cheaper Beef, May Cut Methane
Nutritional modeling systems developed in the department of animal science at Texas A&M Univ. have helped participating Texas feedlot operators keep feed costs in check and produce beef more profitably. Now, these models have the potential to be applied to help reduce greenhouse emissions, according to researchers.
Luis Tedeschi, Texas A&M AgriLife Research nutritionist and associate professor in the department of animal science, has extensively studied decision support systems, specifically nutritional modeling. While a doctoral student at Cornell Univ., Tedeschi worked with Danny Fox in developing the Cornell Net Carbohydrate and Protein System model for evaluating herd nutrition and nutrient excretion.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/nutrition-modeling-produces-cheaper-beef-may-cut-methane
Four companies are proposing an $8 billion project to supply the Los Angeles area with large amounts of electricity from a wind farm in Wyoming via an energy storage facility in Utah.
The group says in a statement that the Wyoming and Utah sites will be linked by a 525-mile transmission line.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/wind-may-power-los-angeles
Researchers Create Nano-sized Hydrogen Generator
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have created a small-scale hydrogen generator that uses light and a two-dimensional graphene platform to boost production of the hard-to-make element.
The research also unveiled a previously unknown property of graphene. The two-dimensional chain of carbon atoms not only gives and receives electrons, but can also transfer them into another substance.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/researchers-create-nano-sized-hydrogen-generator
Teachers Fund to Aid Clean Energy
The California State Teachers’ Retirement System says it plans to increase its investments in clean energy and technology to $3.7 billion, from $1.4 billion, over the next five years.
CalSTRS CEO Jack Ehnes says the pension fund is seeing more opportunities in low-carbon projects and technologies. The fund is hoping also to help push for stronger policies aimed at fighting climate change, Ehnes says.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/teachers-fund-aid-clean-energy
The price of solar energy in the U.S. continues to fall substantially, according to the latest editions of two annual reports produced by the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).,br />
A third Berkeley Lab report, written in collaboration with researchers at Yale Univ., the Univ. of Texas at Austin and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), shows that local permitting and other regulatory procedures can significantly impact residential photovoltaic (PV) prices.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/studies-see-significant-drop-rooftop-utility-scale-solar-prices
USDA Announces $328 M Conservation Plan
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced $328 million in funding to protect and restore farmlands, grasslands and wetlands across the country.
The initiative, using money provided in the new five-year farm bill, will buy conservation easements from farmers to protect the environment, help wildlife populations and promote outdoor recreation, the USDA said in its announcement. The agency selected 380 projects nationwide covering 32,000 acres of prime farmland, 45,000 acres of grasslands and 52,000 acres of wetlands.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/usda-announces-328-m-conservation-plan
Cities Prepare for Climate Change sans Comment
With climate change still a political minefield across the nation despite the strong scientific consensus that it’s happening, some community leaders have hit upon a way of preparing for the potentially severe local consequences without triggering explosions of partisan warfare: just change the subject.
Big cities and small towns are shoring up dams and dikes, using roof gardens to absorb rainwater or upgrading sewage treatment plans to prevent overflows. Others are planting urban forests, providing more shady relief from extreme heat. Extension agents are helping farmers deal with an onslaught of newly arrived crop pests.
But in many places, especially strongholds of conservative politics, they’re planning for the volatile weather linked to rising temperatures by speaking of “sustainability” or “resilience,” while avoiding no-win arguments with skeptics over whether the planet is warming or that human activity is responsible.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/cities-prepare-climate-change-sans-comment
Diet Recommendations May Be Bad for Environment
If Americans altered their menus to conform to federal dietary recommendations, emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases tied to agricultural production could increase significantly, according to a new study by Univ. of Michigan researchers.
Martin Heller and Gregory Keoleian of U-M’s Center for Sustainable Systems looked at the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production of about 100 foods, as well as the potential effects of shifting Americans to a diet recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They found that if Americans adopted the recommendations in USDA’s “Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010,” while keeping caloric intake constant, diet-related greenhouse gas emissions would increase 12 percent.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/diet-recommendations-may-be-bad-environment
China’s Energy Plan Holds Climate Risks
Deep in the hilly grasslands of remote Inner Mongolia, twin smoke stacks rise more than 200 feet into the sky, their steam and sulfur billowing over herds of sheep and cattle. Both day and night, the rumble of this power plant echoes across the ancient steppe, and its acrid stench travels dozens of miles away.
This is the first of more than 60 coal-to-gas plants China wants to build, mostly in remote parts of the country where ethnic minorities have farmed and herded for centuries. Fired up in December, the multibillion-dollar plant bombards millions of tons of coal with water and heat to produce methane, which is piped to Beijing to generate electricity.
It’s part of a controversial energy revolution China hopes will help it churn out desperately needed natural gas and electricity while cleaning up the toxic skies above the country’s eastern cities. However, the plants will also release vast amounts of heat-trapping carbon dioxide, even as the world struggles to curb greenhouse gas emissions and stave off global warming.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/08/chinas-energy-plan-holds-climate-risks