Energy

Boulder scientist teams on study probing implications of ice sheet's demise
March 21, 2017 01:25 PM - Charlie Brennan via University of Colorado at Boulder

Flying over the remote during research at the Barnes Ice Cap on Baffin Island in 2009, a Boulder scientist saw dark where there should have been white.

Closer inspection revealed that what Gifford Miller spotted was the remnants of a 1963 geological camp that had been buried for decades by snow and ice. Long-abandoned tents and snowmobiles were being unveiled by melting of the ice cap, and that helped inspire a study that suggests a disturbing climate change signal.

Chemists at FAU develop a method for utilising nitrogen oxides
March 20, 2017 09:19 AM - Friedrich-Alexander-Universit├Ąt

Chemists at FAU have developed a process in which nitrogen oxides generated during industrial processes can be used in the manufacture of colourants and medicines. Using the method, businesses will in future be able to combine the decontamination of exhaust fumes with the production of new substances.

Nitrogen oxides are a major environmental pollutant. Nitrogen and oxygen compounds are primarily formed during combustion, for example in automobile engines and coal and gas power plants, but also through other thermal and chemical techniques employed by industry. In order to clean these waste gases, the methods of post-combustion capture or catalytic reduction are employed – both of which are relatively complex and are also associated with certain disadvantages. But nitrogen oxides are not just unwanted toxins. In fact, recent research has shown that they can be used in the chemical synthesis of high-value products.

The Carbon Dioxide Loop
March 16, 2017 02:11 PM - Julie Cohen via University of California - Santa Barbara

The oceans are great at absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air, but when their deep waters are brought to the surface, the oceans themselves can be a source of this prevalent greenhouse gas.

Wind patterns together with the Earth’s rotation drive deep ocean water — and the CO2 it sequesters — upward, replacing surface water moving offshore. A process known as upwelling, it occurs on the west coasts of continents. And it’s part of a never-ending loop in which CO2 levels in the surface ocean rise and fall in a natural rhythm.

New Materials Could Turn Water into the Fuel of the Future
March 14, 2017 02:55 PM - California Institute of Technology

Researchers at Caltech and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have—in just two years—nearly doubled the number of materials known to have potential for use in solar fuels.

They did so by developing a process that promises to speed the discovery of commercially viable solar fuels that could replace coal, oil, and other fossil fuels.

Scientists harness solar power to produce clean hydrogen from biomass
March 14, 2017 11:11 AM - University of Cambridge

A team of scientists at the University of Cambridge has developed a way of using solar power to generate a fuel that is both sustainable and relatively cheap to produce. It’s using natural light to generate hydrogen from biomass.

One of the challenges facing modern society is what it does with its waste products. As natural resources decline in abundance, using waste for energy is becoming more pressing for both governments and business.

The UK's Drop in CO2 Emissions Shows the Power of Carbon Taxes
March 14, 2017 08:24 AM - Steve Williams, Care2

A new analysis indicates that the UK’s CO2 output is at a record low, and it’s largely down to one major action: a reduction in coal use.

Switzerland could generate more energy out of used wood
March 13, 2017 02:27 PM - Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL

Switzerland is not fully exploiting a significant source of clean energy: 173,000 tonnes of used wood could be re-used producing valuable heat and power energy today, in addition to the 644,000 tonnes of used wood already being used. This was the conclusion reached by a nationwide survey conducted by the Swiss Federal Research Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) among 567 companies in the construction, waste management and transport sectors.

Fukushima catastrophe unfolds ... key facts and figures for an unhappy sixth anniversary
March 10, 2017 01:53 PM - , The Ecologist

The 2011 Fukushima catastrophe is an ongoing disaster whose end only gets more remote as time passes. The government is desperate to get evacuees back into their homes for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but the problems on the ground, and in the breached reactor vessels, are only getting more serious and costly, as unbelievable volumes of radiation contaminate land, air and ocean.

Fukushima catastrophe unfolds ... key facts and figures for an unhappy sixth anniversary
March 10, 2017 01:53 PM - , The Ecologist

The 2011 Fukushima catastrophe is an ongoing disaster whose end only gets more remote as time passes. The government is desperate to get evacuees back into their homes for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but the problems on the ground, and in the breached reactor vessels, are only getting more serious and costly, as unbelievable volumes of radiation contaminate land, air and ocean.

Iran and Middle East could adopt fully renewable electricity systems
March 9, 2017 09:59 AM - Lappeenranta University of Technology

Iran can transition to a fully renewable electricity system and financially benefit from it by 2030. Researchers at Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) show that major oil-producing countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region could turn their abundant renewable energy resources into lucrative business opportunities in less than two decades.

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