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New oil repellant materials could help clean up oil spills
April 15, 2015 03:34 PM - Scott Gordon, University of Wisconsin-Madison

University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers have announced a significant step forward in the development of materials that can ward off oil — a discovery that could lead to new protective coatings and better approaches to cleaning up oil spills. In a new paper in the journal Advanced Functional Materials, professor of chemical and biological engineering David Lynn and assistant scientist Uttam Manna describe new coatings that are extremely oil-repellant (or "superoleophobic") in underwater environments.

New report identifies possible next steps in US energy development
April 9, 2015 10:09 AM - American Geosciences Institute via EurekAlert!

The U.S. energy portfolio changes over time. Scientific and technologic advances related to hydraulic fracturing have dramatically increased the supply of U.S. oil and gas; because of this, a methane economy - in which natural gas provides the leading share of primary energy consumption - is now a possible scenario for U.S. energy development. In a report released by the American Geosciences Institute (AGI), the social, political, technical and environmental components of a methane economy are identified. The report also addresses how industry, government and the public might best work together to advance common energy goals.

EPA Moves to Restrict Bee-killing Pesticides
April 7, 2015 01:45 PM - Alicia Graef, Care2

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finally taken some action to restrict the use of pesticides that are believed to be causing serious declines in pollinators, but environmentalists are arguing the agency still needs to do more.

Lifecycle of Today's Cell Phone
April 7, 2015 08:57 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen

It is estimated that in 2014 over two billion mobile phones were sold worldwide. Of these, over one billion were estimated to be smartphones. It is also estimated that a massive 87% of the world’s population now use mobile phones. These are staggering figures, but how many of us have ever stopped to think of where our precious mobile phones came from and what happens to them once we discard them for a newer model?

Each year millions of mobile phones are produced in the world and an equal number are disposed of. In the vast majority of cases these discarded phones work perfectly well. However, like all technological products these days, phones have a built-in technological obsolescence (we demand the latest model or the latest upgrade) as well as a built in aesthetic obsolescence (we demand the latest style or design).

In spite of their extremely small size and simplicity of look, mobile phones are immensely complex pieces of technology with many, many components. If we stop to think about it for a moment all of these products need sourcing: the raw materials needed to produce them need extracting from the ground, these need to manufactured into working parts which are then assembled into the final phone.

Yum! Brands announces zero deforestation policy for palm oil
April 6, 2015 09:02 AM - Rhett A. Butler, MONGABAY.COM

Yum! Brands, the company that owns KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, on Thursday announced a zero deforestation policy for its palm oil sourcing. The move came after aggressive campaigns by environmental groups that argued the chains weren't doing enough to ensure the palm oil they used to fry foods wasn't linked to human rights abuses, destruction of peatlands, and logging of rainforests. 

Maryland Crab Cake Fraud
April 3, 2015 10:38 AM - Leon Kaye, Triple Pundit

Maryland crab cakes are as important to Baltimore’s heritage as Hairspray, the Star Spangled Banner and Orioles baseball. In fact, many would say a visit to Maryland would be lacking without sampling them, whether you are vacationing on the Eastern Shore or in the DC area for a business meeting. Restaurants such as Phillips Seafood, Obryckis and Faidley’s have built an enduring business thanks to this local specialty. However, according to a new study almost 40 percent of crab cakes tested in a survey revealed DNA evidence of fraud in the crab industry.

Study finds electric vehicles will travel further than drivers expect
March 30, 2015 04:19 PM - ClickGreen Staff

Electric vehicles (EVs) will meet the daily travel needs of drivers longer than commonly assumed, according to the first study of its kind carried out by scientists at the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Many drivers and much prior literature on the retirement of EV batteries have assumed that EV batteries will be retired after the battery has lost 20 percent of its energy storage or power delivery capability. This study shows that the daily travel needs of drivers continue to be met well beyond these levels of battery degradation.

France passes law to promote green roofs
March 26, 2015 09:05 AM - Kevin Mathews, Care2

Environmentalism is fast becoming a top concern in France – a rooftop concern, to be precise. Excitingly, the nation has just passed new legislation that will require all upcoming commercial construction projects to feature either green roofs or solar panels above their top floors.

Road kill: Recommendations to protect biodiversity
March 20, 2015 08:43 AM - Michelle Kovacevic, SciDevNet

Governments and donors must pay more attention to the environmental impact of road networks to limit their “devastating” effect on ecosystems, a study on global infrastructure expansion has warned. Road construction opens a “Pandora’s box” of negative impact, according to the authors of the paper, published this month in Current Biology. These include deforestation, animals hunted to extinction, land grabs by speculators betting on development, and wildfires. 

Electric Vehicles are Cool, Literally.
March 19, 2015 02:02 PM - Michigan State University

A study in this week’s Scientific Report by researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) and in China add more fuel to the already hot debate about whether electric vehicles are more environmentally friendly than conventional vehicles by uncovering two hidden benefits.

They show that the cool factor is real – in that electric vehicles emit significantly less heat.  That difference could mitigate the urban heat island effect, the phenomenon that helps turn big cities like Beijing into pressure cookers in warm months.

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