Pollution

Chance find has big implications for water treatment's costs and carbon footprint
March 27, 2017 01:15 PM - Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

A type of bacteria accidentally discovered during research supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) could fundamentally re-shape efforts to cut the huge amount of electricity consumed during wastewater clean-up.

The discovery has upended a century of conventional thinking. The microorganisms - 'comammox' (complete ammonia oxidising) bacteria - can completely turn ammonia into nitrates. Traditionally, this vital step in removing nitrogen from wastewater has involved using two different microorganisms in a two-step approach: ammonia is oxidised into nitrites that are then oxidised into nitrates, which are turned into nitrogen gas and flared off harmlessly.

Chance find has big implications for water treatment's costs and carbon footprint
March 27, 2017 01:15 PM - Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

A type of bacteria accidentally discovered during research supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) could fundamentally re-shape efforts to cut the huge amount of electricity consumed during wastewater clean-up.

The discovery has upended a century of conventional thinking. The microorganisms - 'comammox' (complete ammonia oxidising) bacteria - can completely turn ammonia into nitrates. Traditionally, this vital step in removing nitrogen from wastewater has involved using two different microorganisms in a two-step approach: ammonia is oxidised into nitrites that are then oxidised into nitrates, which are turned into nitrogen gas and flared off harmlessly.

Litter is present throughout the world's oceans: 1,220 species affected
March 27, 2017 01:06 PM - Alfred Wegener Institute - Helmholtz Centre For Polar and Marine Research

Where is marine litter concentrated, and which species and ecosystems does it affect? Researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute have for the first time compiled all scientific data published on marine litter in a single, comprehensive database, now accessible from the online portal AWI Litterbase (www.litterbase.org). Here, both the distribution of litter and its interactions with organisms are presented in global maps. In addition, the regularly updated datasets are fed into graphic analyses, which show e.g. that seabirds and fish are particularly affected by litter. The latest interaction analysis shows that 34 per cent of the species monitored ingest litter, 31 per cent colonise it, and 30 per cent get entangled or otherwise trapped in it (for all figures: valid as of 23 March 2017). The total number of affected species is rising steadily and is currently at 1,220 – more than twice the number reported in the last review article. These numbers will change as the database is being updated regularly.

Litter is present throughout the world's oceans: 1,220 species affected
March 27, 2017 01:06 PM - Alfred Wegener Institute - Helmholtz Centre For Polar and Marine Research

Where is marine litter concentrated, and which species and ecosystems does it affect? Researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute have for the first time compiled all scientific data published on marine litter in a single, comprehensive database, now accessible from the online portal AWI Litterbase (www.litterbase.org). Here, both the distribution of litter and its interactions with organisms are presented in global maps. In addition, the regularly updated datasets are fed into graphic analyses, which show e.g. that seabirds and fish are particularly affected by litter. The latest interaction analysis shows that 34 per cent of the species monitored ingest litter, 31 per cent colonise it, and 30 per cent get entangled or otherwise trapped in it (for all figures: valid as of 23 March 2017). The total number of affected species is rising steadily and is currently at 1,220 – more than twice the number reported in the last review article. These numbers will change as the database is being updated regularly.

NOAA study shows as US drilling surged, methane emissions didn't
March 27, 2017 08:37 AM - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

A new NOAA study shows that methane emissions from the United States did not grow significantly from 2000 to 2013 and are not likely to have been an important driver of the increase in atmospheric methane levels observed worldwide after 2007, as other studies have suggested.

WPI, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, and the U.S. Coast Guard Successfully Test a Novel Oil Spill Cleanup Technology
March 24, 2017 02:22 PM - Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Tests conducted this week of a novel technology that can greatly accelerate the combustion of crude oil floating on water demonstrated its potential to become an effective tool for minimizing the environmental impact of future oil spills. Called the Flame Refluxer, the technology, developed by fire protection engineering researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) with funding from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), could make it possible to burn off spilled oil quickly while producing relatively low levels of air pollutants.

The tests of the Flame Refluxer were conducted this week by WPI and BSEE at the United States Coast Guard’s Joint Maritime Test Facility on Little Sand Island, located in Mobile Bay. WPI is the first university to work on research at the facility since it reopened in 2015. The tests involved controlled burns of oil in a specially designed test tank on the island.

WPI, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, and the U.S. Coast Guard Successfully Test a Novel Oil Spill Cleanup Technology
March 24, 2017 02:22 PM - Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Tests conducted this week of a novel technology that can greatly accelerate the combustion of crude oil floating on water demonstrated its potential to become an effective tool for minimizing the environmental impact of future oil spills. Called the Flame Refluxer, the technology, developed by fire protection engineering researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) with funding from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), could make it possible to burn off spilled oil quickly while producing relatively low levels of air pollutants.

The tests of the Flame Refluxer were conducted this week by WPI and BSEE at the United States Coast Guard’s Joint Maritime Test Facility on Little Sand Island, located in Mobile Bay. WPI is the first university to work on research at the facility since it reopened in 2015. The tests involved controlled burns of oil in a specially designed test tank on the island.

Google Street View Cars Are Now Helping to Track Methane Leaks
March 23, 2017 02:32 PM - Yale Environment 360

Google Street View cars have driven millions of miles across the globe, capturing 360-degree images of roadways and communities on all seven continents. Now, scientists and environmentalists are teaming up to add pollution trackers to the vehicles so they can monitor natural gas leaks as they drive.

The new project, detailed this week in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, is being led by researchers at Colorado State University, the Environmental Defense Fund, and Google Earth Outreach.

Google Street View Cars Are Now Helping to Track Methane Leaks
March 23, 2017 02:32 PM - Yale Environment 360

Google Street View cars have driven millions of miles across the globe, capturing 360-degree images of roadways and communities on all seven continents. Now, scientists and environmentalists are teaming up to add pollution trackers to the vehicles so they can monitor natural gas leaks as they drive.

The new project, detailed this week in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, is being led by researchers at Colorado State University, the Environmental Defense Fund, and Google Earth Outreach.

Wastewater cleaned thanks to a new adsorbent material made from fruit peels
March 23, 2017 02:13 PM - University of Granada

Researchers from the University of Granada (UGR), and from the Center for Electrochemical Research and Technological Development (Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo Tecnológico en Electroquímica, CIDETEQ) and the Center of Engineering and Industrial Development (Centro de Ingeniería y Desarrollo Industrial, CIDESI), both in Mexico, have developed a process that allows to clean waters containing heavy metals and organic compounds considered pollutants, using a new adsorbent material made from the peels of fruits such as oranges and grapefruits.

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