Pollution

Underwater Robot That Can Run Forever
April 6, 2010 03:48 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

NASA, U.S. Navy and university researchers have successfully demonstrated the first robotic underwater vehicle to be powered entirely by natural, renewable, ocean thermal energy. Though not quite a perpetual motion machine it is close to that. The Sounding Oceanographic Lagrangrian Observer Thermal RECharging (SOLO-TREC) autonomous underwater vehicle uses a novel thermal recharging engine powered by the natural temperature differences found at different ocean depths. Scalable for use on most robotic oceanographic vehicles, this technology breakthrough could usher in a new generation of autonomous underwater vehicles capable of virtually indefinite ocean monitoring for climate and marine animal studies, exploration and surveillance.

Canadian Cement Plant Becomes First to Capture CO2 in Algae
April 6, 2010 07:02 AM - Timothy B. Hurst, EarthandIndustry, Matter Network

A Canadian company called Pond Biofuels is capturing CO2 emissions from a cement plant in algae — algae the company ultimately plans on using to make biofuel. It’s no secret that the process of manufacturing cement is both energy intensive and dirty. Global cement production alone emits roughly five percent of greenhouse gas emissions annually, both as a byproduct of limestone decarbonation (60%) and from the burning of fossil fuels in the cement kilns (40%). And as the demand for concrete-intensive infrastructure soars in developing countries like China and India, global emissions from cement plants–and other industrial sources–will continue to rise. But a Canadian company called Pond Biofuels sees some real opportunity in all those industrial greenhouse gas emissions. At the St. Marys Cement plant in southwestern Ontario, Pond Biofuels has become the first to successfully use carbon dioxide emitted from a major industrial source to produce high value biomass from microalgae.

Ships at Sea and What is Fair
April 5, 2010 01:42 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Ships are responsible for 2.7% of world carbon dioxide emissions. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) estimates that these emissions could increase by 150-250% by the year 2050 in line with the expected continued growth in international seaborne trade. So how does one reduce such emissions since ships are international in nature and there are over a hundred different nations with different rules. How can one be fair and be green?

How Will New CAFE Standards Change Cars?
April 5, 2010 06:07 AM - BC Upham, Triple Pundit

How will new fuel efficiency requirements that went into effect last week change the look, feel — and price — of your next car? Experts say expect prices to rise, and smaller, lighter, technologically advanced vehicles to grow in number. New Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards published last week require most automakers to raise the average fuel efficiency of the vehicles they sell to 34.1 miles to the gallon by the 2016 model year rising to 35 mpg when efficiency gains in air conditioning are included. Currently, the CAFE for cars stands at 27.5 mpg, and 23.1 for light trucks. The standards are expect to reduce CO2 emissions by about 30 percent between 2012 and 2016, and save the country $240 billion from fuel savings, pollution reduction and reduced imports. Automakers have accepted the new standards because they are firm, ending a period of uncertainty; and nation-wide, so manufacturers do not have to contend with a patchwork of different state requirements.

Chinese ship leaking oil on Great Barrier Reef
April 4, 2010 07:53 AM - Reuters

A stranded Chinese bulk coal carrier leaking oil into the sea around Australia's Great Barrier Reef is in danger of breaking up and damaging the reef, government officials said on Sunday. The 230-meter (754-ft) Shen Neng I was on its way to China when it ran aground on a shoal on Saturday. It had 950 tonnes of oil on board and officials said patches of oil had been spotted in the water early on Sunday, but no major leak. The premier of Queensland state Anna Bligh said the ship was in a poor state, and posed a danger to the reef.

EPA Releases Review of Federal Drinking Water Standards and Proposes New Strategy for Protecting Drinking Water
April 2, 2010 11:44 AM - Vicki Shiah , Sive Paget & Riesel, P.C.

This month, the EPA completed its second review of National Primary Drinking Water Regulations under the Safe Drinking Water Act ("SDWA") and published the findings of its review in the Federal Register. Such reviews are required every six years under Section 1412(b)(9) of the SDWA. The EPA reviewed existing regulations for 71 contaminants and determined that 67 regulations remain appropriate, while four regulations are in need of revision. Each regulation covers a single contaminant. The four regulations found to be in need of revision were those governing acrylamide, epichlorohydrin, tetrachloroethylene, and trichloroethylene. According to the EPA, "tetrachloroethylene and trichloroethylene are used in industrial and/or textile processing and can be introduced into drinking water from contaminated ground or surface water sources," and "[a]crylamide and epicholorohydrin are impurities that can be introduced into drinking water during the water treatment process." The review states that reevaluations of the health risks posed by exposure to acrylamide, tetrachloroethylene, and trichloroethylene are under way. The review also concludes that compliance with more stringent limits on the concentration of all four contaminants is feasible and will likely be required under the revised regulations.

Canada, US to collaborate on Greenhouse Gas Emissions Regulations
April 2, 2010 07:10 AM - Reuters

Canada will not unilaterally impose limits on greenhouse gas emissions from industry, saying on Thursday that it will work in tandem with the United States, as it is doing with vehicle standards. "We don't anticipate doing this alone. Industrial regulations will require the same kind of collaboration that we've had with the United States on the transportation sector," Environment Minister Jim Prentice told Reuters.

A New Geologic Era
April 1, 2010 03:21 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

It is a new age of geological time or so some say called the Anthropocene Epoch. This is noted in the in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. (web issue March 29; print issue April 1). This is because of the dramatic recent or potential changes in the world such as climate warming and species extinction. The dawning of this new epoch may include the sixth largest mass extinction in the Earth's history. Whether the new era will be dramatic as the Jurassic with the end of the dinosaur is still to be determined.

New Aggressive National Fuel Economy Standards Set for Passenger Cars and Light Trucks
April 1, 2010 02:05 PM - David A Gabel, ENN

No fooling, the DOT and EPA, in response to one of the Obama Administration’s top priorities, have jointly established aggressive new federal rules that will significantly increase the fuel economy of all passenger cars and light trucks sold in the United States. They have also established new federal rules that would for the first time ever, set national greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards for these vehicles.

The Future of Publishing?
March 31, 2010 06:50 AM - Guest Author, Triple Pundit

Magazines are being printed in volumes every day, and the sheer bulk in waste is staggering. Time magazine prints more than four million copies a year, all in a slick glossy format that has not always been recyclable. But now, a technological gadget could provide a means for curbing the amount of glossy magazines that are produced–and therefore the number that end up in landfills.

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