Sci/tech

Corn better used as food than biofuel, study finds
June 20, 2017 02:06 PM - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Corn is grown not only for food, it is also an important renewable energy source. Renewable biofuels can come with hidden economic and environmental issues, and the question of whether corn is better utilized as food or as a biofuel has persisted since ethanol came into use. For the first time, researchers at the University of Illinois have quantified and compared these issues in terms of economics of the entire production system to determine if the benefits of biofuel corn outweigh the costs.

NASA Examines Potential Tropical or Sub-Tropical Storm Affecting Gulf States
June 20, 2017 01:50 PM - NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM core satellite passed over a developing low pressure area in the Gulf of Mexico and gathered two days of rainfall and storm height information. The disturbance could become Tropical or Sub-tropical Storm Cindy in the next couple days.

Freshwater from salt water using only solar energy
June 19, 2017 04:44 PM - Rice University

A federally funded research effort to revolutionize water treatment has yielded an off-grid technology that uses energy from sunlight alone to turn salt water into fresh drinking water. The desalination system, which uses a combination of membrane distillation technology and light-harvesting nanophotonics, is the first major innovation from the Center for Nanotechnology Enabled Water Treatment (NEWT), a multi-institutional engineering research center based at Rice University

NEWT’s “nanophotonics-enabled solar membrane distillation” technology, or NESMD, combines tried-and-true water treatment methods with cutting-edge nanotechnology that converts sunlight to heat. The technology is described online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Freshwater from salt water using only solar energy
June 19, 2017 04:44 PM - Rice University

A federally funded research effort to revolutionize water treatment has yielded an off-grid technology that uses energy from sunlight alone to turn salt water into fresh drinking water. The desalination system, which uses a combination of membrane distillation technology and light-harvesting nanophotonics, is the first major innovation from the Center for Nanotechnology Enabled Water Treatment (NEWT), a multi-institutional engineering research center based at Rice University

NEWT’s “nanophotonics-enabled solar membrane distillation” technology, or NESMD, combines tried-and-true water treatment methods with cutting-edge nanotechnology that converts sunlight to heat. The technology is described online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

NMSU professor sets his sights on determining best dryland cropping system
June 19, 2017 04:39 PM - New Mexico State University

Murali Darapuneni recalls stories about how difficult it was for his ancestors during times of drought conditions and famine in India in the early 1900s.

“They had limited resources and research at that time,” he said. “My grandparents told me about those stories and how difficult it was to feed the people.”

Darapuneni is now an assistant professor of semi-arid cropping systems in the New Mexico State University College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. Part of the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, he is researching efficient dryland cropping systems at the NMSU Agricultural Science Center at Tucumcari.

Researchers produce new biodiesel
June 19, 2017 04:33 PM - Ruhr University Bochum

In the EU, automotive diesel contains only seven per cent biodiesel. Conventional diesel engines cannot sustain more than that. Until now.

Scientists from the universities of Kaiserslautern, Bochum and Rostock have developed a new method for producing biodiesel. The researchers chemically treated a mixture of plant oils to generate, at zero energy cost, a biofuel that can be added undiluted in modern diesel engines. Their trick: Use bioethylene to cleave the commercial rapeseed oil esters. Currently, European biofuel companies mainly produce biodiesel from rapeseed oil and methanol.

Researchers produce new biodiesel
June 19, 2017 04:33 PM - Ruhr University Bochum

In the EU, automotive diesel contains only seven per cent biodiesel. Conventional diesel engines cannot sustain more than that. Until now.

Scientists from the universities of Kaiserslautern, Bochum and Rostock have developed a new method for producing biodiesel. The researchers chemically treated a mixture of plant oils to generate, at zero energy cost, a biofuel that can be added undiluted in modern diesel engines. Their trick: Use bioethylene to cleave the commercial rapeseed oil esters. Currently, European biofuel companies mainly produce biodiesel from rapeseed oil and methanol.

Could renewable 'power-by-wire' help fix China's air pollution problems?
June 19, 2017 04:26 PM - IOP Publishing

Bringing renewable power ‘by wire’ from western China to its power-hungry Eastern cities could have benefits for both local air quality and global climate change, new research has found.

The study, published today in the journal Environmental Research Letters, examined if ongoing power transmission capacity investment in China – driven largely by concerns over air pollution – could also reduce local adverse health impacts from air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions.

Could renewable 'power-by-wire' help fix China's air pollution problems?
June 19, 2017 04:26 PM - IOP Publishing

Bringing renewable power ‘by wire’ from western China to its power-hungry Eastern cities could have benefits for both local air quality and global climate change, new research has found.

The study, published today in the journal Environmental Research Letters, examined if ongoing power transmission capacity investment in China – driven largely by concerns over air pollution – could also reduce local adverse health impacts from air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions.

Keeping California's Natural Gas System Safe
June 19, 2017 04:09 PM - Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

The massive natural gas leak at Aliso Canyon shined a light on California’s aging natural gas infrastructure. And five years of extreme drought also exacted its toll on transmission pipelines. Now the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has been awarded $4.6 million by the California Energy Commission for two projects aimed at improving the safety and reliability of the state’s natural gas system.

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