Potential new source of renewable energy found in humidity
February 27, 2014 12:15 PM - Kristin Kusek, Harvard University
A new type of electrical generator uses bacterial spores to harness the untapped power of evaporating water, according to research conducted at the Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. Its developers foresee electrical generators driven by changes in humidity from sun-warmed ponds and harbors.
One state addresses potholes through a new pothole alert system
February 27, 2014 10:43 AM - ENN Staff
As much of the northern hemisphere looks forward to the second half of the winter season, municipalities and regional governments are faced with rudimentary task of repairing potholes. Rutgers University instructor Wansoo Im, no doubt frustrated with the infrastructure meltdown himself, launched an app and website to map the biggest ones in his own home state of New Jersey. Aptly called NJPothole, the website plots potholes on maps to alert motorists (and maybe even municipal departments of public works dispatchers) of impending undercarriage attack.
Sizing up early birds
February 27, 2014 08:37 AM - University of Bristol News Room
According to new research from the Universities of Bristol and Sheffield into the Paraves, the key characteristics that allow birds to fly, their wings and small size, arose much earlier than previously thought. The first birds and their closest dinosaurian relatives lived 160 to 120 million years ago.
Forest recovery following natural disaster
February 27, 2014 08:06 AM - Sue Nichols, Michigan State University
Recovering from natural disasters usually means rebuilding infrastructure and reassembling human lives. Yet ecologically sensitive areas need to heal, too, and scientists are pioneering new methods to assess nature's recovery and guide human intervention. The epicenter of China's devastating Wenchuan earthquake in 2008 was in the Wolong Nature Reserve, a globally important valuable biodiversity hotspot and home to the beloved and endangered giant pandas. Not only did the quake devastate villages and roads, but also the earth split open and swallowed sections of the forests and bamboo groves that shelter and feed pandas and other endangered wildlife. Persistent landslides and erosion exacerbated the devastation.
89% of E-Waste Is Neglected Due To Mobile Phone Recycling Popularity
February 26, 2014 03:25 PM - Click Green Staff, ClickGreen
Despite the popularity of the mobile phone recycling industry, handsets only contribute towards a small percentage of the overall E-Waste accumulation.
Greener chemical cleanups
February 26, 2014 12:14 PM - Marianne English Spoon, University of Wisconsin
Cleaning up oil spills and metal contaminants in a low-impact, sustainable and inexpensive manner remains a challenge for companies and governments globally. But a group of researchers at UW—Madison is examining alternative materials that can be modified to absorb oil and chemicals. If further developed, the technology may offer a cheaper and "greener" method to absorb oil and heavy metals from water and other surfaces.
Passing the baton in oil spill research on the Gulf Coast
February 26, 2014 09:30 AM - Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Media Relations Office
As part of on-going research nearly four years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) will team up with a group of high school students in Florida to collect remnants of oil from Gulf Coast beaches this week. Marine chemist Chris Reddy studies how the many compounds that compose petroleum hydrocarbon, or oil, behave and change over time after an oil spill. He and his researchers have collected and analyzed about 1,000 oil samples from the Gulf Coast since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Off-shore Wind Turbines May Weaken Hurricanes
February 26, 2014 07:51 AM - ENN Staff
As one of nature's most destructive forces, hurricanes are unstoppable storms that can cause total devastation for coastal communities. While Mother Nature is unpredictable and uncontrollable, there are researchers and scientists who think hurricanes can be weakened or even stopped. One idea: wind turbines. New research by the University of Delaware and Stanford University shows that an army of offshore wind turbines could reduce hurricanes' wind speeds, wave heights and flood-causing storm surge.
Limitations of climate engineering
February 25, 2014 12:59 PM - Jan Steffen, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
Despite international agreements on climate protection and political declarations of intent, global greenhouse gas emissions have not decreased. On the contrary, they continue to increase. With a growing world population and significant industrialization in emerging markets such as India and China the emission trend reversal necessary to limit global warming seems to be unlikely. Therefore, large-scale methods to artificially slow down global warming are increasingly being discussed. They include proposals to fertilize the oceans, so that stimulated plankton can remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, or to reduce the Sun's incoming radiation with atmospheric aerosols or mirrors in space, so as to reduce climate warming. All of these approaches can be classified as "climate engineering". "However, the long-term consequences and side effects of these methods have not been adequately studied," says Dr. David Keller from the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel. Together with colleagues the expert in earth system modeling has compared several Climate Engineering methods using a computer model. The results of the study have now been published in the internationally renowned online journal Nature Communications.
Free mobile green apps
February 25, 2014 10:25 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Incorporating sound environmental decisions in our daily lives has been made easier with the availability of several green apps for the mobile device. Below is a list of five useful environmental apps that are free and feature discussions and motivators for carbon footprint identification and reduction, climate change, global forest cover, product scoring based upon environmental impact, and environmental actions all aimed at making better choices for sustainable living.