Enn Original News

Chevrolet Carbon Story 4 Rockingham County Landfill
December 7, 2011 02:12 PM - Roger Greenway, ENN

Americans create over 200 million tons of trash each year. As garbage in landfills decomposes, it creates a gas that is half methane (the primary component of natural gas), which has 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. Instead of letting the gas escape into the air, landfill gas projects collect the gas and destroy it through either flaring, or using the gas to power electric generators or boilers. Thus garbage is turned into energy. As part of its Carbon Initiative Program, Chevrolet is supporting the Rockingham County (Virginia) Landfill’s methane capture and use program. Rockingham County Landfill collects the methane from the landfill and pipes it to Rockingham (Virginia) Memorial Hospital (RMH) where it will fuel boilers that produce steam, heat and electricity for the Hospital’s use. RMH is a LEED certified facility and one of the first hospitals to utilize landfill gas for the vast majority of their fuel needs. Destroying landfill gasses helps to reduce odors and other hazards associated with Landfill Gas emissions, and it helps prevent methane from migrating into the atmosphere and contributing to local smog and global climate change. Over the next few years, Chevrolet will be investing in projects that will help reduce up to 8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Every carbon-reducing project Chevrolet invests in will be based in the United States, and each will be focused in one of three areas: renewable energy, energy efficiency programs, and forestry (including conservation). Chevrolet has chosen projects they believe will make a lasting difference in communities across the country. Progress is already underway, and Chevrolet estimates it will take up to five years to achieve the initial goal. There's still a lot of work to be done, but every project is a step in the right direction.

Atoms and Glass Fibers
December 7, 2011 12:03 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

A highly sensitive method to detect atoms has been developed at the Vienna University of Technology. Glass fiber cables are indispensable for the internet – now they may also be used as a quantum physics lab. The Vienna University of Technology is the only research facility in the world, where single atoms can be controllably coupled to the light in ultra-thin fiber glass. Specially prepared light waves interact with very small numbers of atoms, which makes it possible to build detectors that are extremely sensitive to tiny trace amounts of a substance. Professor Arno Rauschenbeutel’s team, one of six research groups at the Vienna Center for Quantum Science and Technology, has presented this new method in the journal “Physical Review Letters”. The research project was carried out in collaboration with the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany.

Climate and Global Radiation Balance
December 7, 2011 10:33 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Scientists at the Universities of Bristol and Southampton have developed an important new insight into climate sensitivity – the sensitivity of global temperature to changes in the Earth’s radiation balance – over the last half million years. Climate sensitivity is a key parameter for understanding past natural climate changes as well as potential future climate change. In a study in Journal of Climate, the researchers reconstructed, for the first time, climate sensitivity over five ice-age cycles based on a global records of sea surface and polar temperature change. These were compared with a new reconstruction of changes in the Earth’s radiation balance caused by changes in greenhouse gas concentrations, in surface reflectivity, and those due to slow changes in the Earth-Sun orbital configuration.

Combining Medical Marijuana with Opiates to Fight Chronic Pain
December 7, 2011 09:43 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Scientists have found that patients who suffer from chronic pain can receive greater relief if medical marijuana is combined with their opiate-based pain medicine. Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco have conducted a small scale study to see if this combination produces any real benefits. They intended to show that the cannabis, rather than relieving pain itself, actually caused the opiate medicine such as morphine or oxycodone to be more effective. While the cannabis did not bolster the opiates in the blood, the patients all declared that their pain had been significantly decreased.

Electric Car Rental In Paris
December 6, 2011 01:48 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Electric cars do not pollute as do internal combustion vehicles. The relative problem is one of frequent charging and limited distances. Pay-as-you-drive electric car rentals are expected to help cut pollution and reduce traffic in Paris, as the new fleet of fully electric Autiolib vehicles hits the French capital. As of December 5, Parisians could take the bubble cars for a ride from more than 1,200 parking spots where they rest for recharge. They would cost 10 euros a day or 15 euros a week, while an annual fee of 144 euro allows users to take the car for only half an hour each time for 5 euro, just over the price of two underground tickets. The Autolib system builds on the success of the Velib bicycle-sharing service.

CO2 from the Air
December 6, 2011 01:09 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

What seems to be directly correlated to global warming is CO2 in the air. So why not take it directly out of the air? Since most of the world’s governments have not yet enacted regulations to curb emissions of greenhouse gases, some experts have advocated the development of technologies to remove carbon dioxide directly from the air. But a new MIT study shows that, at least for the foreseeable future, such proposals are not realistic because their costs would vastly exceed those of blocking emissions right at the source, such as at the power plants that burn fossil fuels.

The Southern Continent's Hidden Landmass Revealed
December 6, 2011 09:46 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

The southernmost continent of Antarctica is almost entirely covered with a thick sheet of ice. The average thickness of the ice is an amazing one mile (1.6 km), and up to 3 miles thick in some places. Scientists from the British Antarctic Survey have published a new detailed map which pierces the ice to see the land mass below. They found mountain chains which rival the European Alps, and that large portions of the frozen continent actually rest on the sea bed, not on land.

Low Cost Solar Cells
December 5, 2011 11:07 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

The cost of a solar cell is given per unit of peak electrical power. Manufacturing costs necessarily include the cost of energy required for manufacture. Solar power must become more efficient and less expensive to compete with energy produced by fossil fuels. Silicon-based solar cells are the dominant technology in the field, but the widespread adoption of these cells has been slowed by their high costs. Solar cells that use inorganic nanocrystals or quantum dots could be a cheaper alternative, but they are generally less efficient at turning solar energy into electricity. Technion-Israel Institute of Technology researchers have now found a new way to generate an electrical field inside the quantum dots, making them more suitable for building an energy-efficient nanocrystal solar cell.

European Automakers Meet in Brussels
December 5, 2011 09:41 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Last Friday, there was a gathering of the European Union's car manufacturers to discuss future cuts in CO2 emissions. In 2009, the EU set legally binding fuel efficiency standards for automobile CO2 emissions at 120 grams per kilometer (g/km). A binding emissions cap will be imposed in 2012 at 130 g/km. By 2020, the European Commission has the objective of reaching 95 g/km. This ambitious objective was supposed to be supported and confirmed at last Friday's meeting. But automakers could not reach a common position, and the issue has been left on the table.

The Beginning of the Last Ice Age Melt
December 5, 2011 09:26 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

The end of the last ice age and the processes that led to the melting of the northern and southern ice sheets supply information on changes in our climate. Although the maximum size of the ice sheet in the northern hemisphere during the last ice age is relatively well known, there is little reliable data on the dimensions of the Antarctic ice sheet. A publication appearing in the journal Science on 1 December now furnishes indications that the two hemispheres attained their maximum ice sheet size at nearly the same time and started melting 19,000 years ago.

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