New class of fuel cells offer increased flexibility, lower cost
August 23, 2016 01:27 PM - DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory via EurekAlert!
A new class of fuel cells based on a newly discovered polymer-based material could bridge the gap between the operating temperature ranges of two existing types of polymer fuel cells, a breakthrough with the potential to accelerate the commercialization of low-cost fuel cells for automotive and stationary applications.
A Los Alamos National Laboratory team, in collaboration with Yoong-Kee Choe at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Japan and Cy Fujimoto of Sandia National Laboratories, has discovered that fuel cells made from phosphate-quaternary ammonium ion-pair can be operated between 80°C and 200°C with and without water, enhancing the fuel cells usability in a range of conditions. The research is published in the journal Nature Energy.
Nanofur for oil spill cleanup
August 23, 2016 10:51 AM - Karlsruher Institut Für Technologie (KIT) via EurekAlert!
Some water ferns can absorb large volumes of oil within a short time, because their leaves are strongly water-repellent and, at the same time, highly oil-absorbing. Researchers of KIT, together with colleagues of Bonn University, have found that the oil-binding capacity of the water plant results from the hairy microstructure of its leaves. It is now used as a model to further develop the new Nanofur material for the environmentally friendly cleanup of oil spills. (DOI: 10.1088/1748-3190/11/5/056003)
Damaged pipelines, oil tanker disasters, and accidents on oil drilling and production platforms may result in pollutions of water with crude or mineral oil. Conventional methods to clean up the oil spill are associated with specific drawbacks.
NASA Monitors the 'New Normal' of Sea Ice
August 23, 2016 07:33 AM - Maria-José Viñas and Kate Ramsauer, NASA
This year’s melt season in the Arctic Ocean and surrounding seas started with a bang, with a record low maximum extent in March and relatively rapid ice loss through May. The melt slowed down in June, however, making it highly unlikely that this year’s summertime sea ice minimum extent will set a new record.
Researchers reduce expensive noble metals for fuel cell reactions
August 22, 2016 05:03 PM - Washington State University via EurekAlert!
Washington State University researchers have developed a novel nanomaterial that could improve the performance and lower the costs of fuel cells by using fewer precious metals like platinum or palladium.
Led by Yuehe Lin, professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, the researchers used inexpensive metal to make a super low density material, called an aerogel, to reduce the amount of precious metals required for fuel cell reactions. They also sped up the time to make the aerogels, which makes them more viable for large-scale production.
Study measures methane release from Arctic permafrost
August 22, 2016 11:02 AM - University of Alaska Fairbanks via EurekAlert!
A University of Alaska Fairbanks-led research project has provided the first modern evidence of a landscape-level permafrost carbon feedback, in which thawing permafrost releases ancient carbon as climate-warming greenhouse gases.
The study was published today in the journal Nature Geoscience.
The project, led by UAF researcher Katey Walter Anthony, studied lakes in Alaska, Canada, Sweden and Siberia where permafrost thaw surrounding lakes led to lake shoreline expansion during the past 60 years. Using historical aerial photo analysis, soil and methane sampling, and radiocarbon dating, the project quantified for the first time the strength of the present-day permafrost carbon feedback to climate warming. Although a large permafrost carbon emission is expected to occur imminently, the results of this study show nearly no sign that it has begun.
Investing in Walkable Neighborhoods
August 22, 2016 07:24 AM - Nithin Coca, Triple Pundit
According to Redfin, several American cities – some the usual progressive suspects, but others quite surprising – are making moves to build more homes in walkable neighborhoods. Other, however, are stuck in the past, building more of the distant suburbs.
Why do we need more walkable cities? Quite simply because walkable cities are, by definition, sustainable cities. Transportation remains a major source of greenhouse gas pollution, and, unlike electricity or agriculture, the United States remains firmly stuck on a fossil-fuel dependent transport infrastructure. When we live in spread out suburbs, far from work, shopping, schools, and cultural centers, we have to drive. Often, we drive inefficient, single-occupancy vehicles, burning more fossil fuels, and creating more traffic.
Fixing America's Waste Problem
August 19, 2016 04:14 PM - Nithin Coca, Triple Pundit
America’s massive, growing landfills are the result of many decades of bad policies and decisions. And it will take a concerted, society-wide effort to solve this problem. Let’s dive deeper into just how big our landfill waste problem is and how we can begin to shift toward a circular economy.
New Study Challenges Assumption of Asbestos' Ability to Move in Soil
August 19, 2016 03:23 PM - University of California - San Diego via EurekAlert!
A new study led by Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego scientist Jane Willenbring challenges the long-held belief that asbestos fibers cannot move through soil. The findings have important implications for current remediation strategies aimed at capping asbestos-laden soils to prevent human exposure of the cancer-causing material.
Willenbring, along with University of Pennsylvania postdoctoral researcher Sanjay Mohanty, and colleagues tested the idea that once capped by soil, asbestos waste piles are locked in place. Instead they found that dissolved organic matter contained within the soil sticks to the asbestos particles, creating a change of the electric charge on the outside of the particle that allows it to easily move through the soil.
Europe's oldest known living inhabitant
August 19, 2016 01:46 PM - Stockholm University via EurekAlert!
A Bosnian pine (Pinus heldreichii) growing in the highlands of northern Greece has been dendrocronologically dated to be more than 1075 years old. This makes it currently the oldest known living tree in Europe. The millenium old pine was discovered by scientists from Stockholm University (Sweden), the University of Mainz (Germany) and the University of Arizona (USA).
2014 Napa earthquake continued to creep, weeks after main shock
August 19, 2016 12:01 PM - Massachusetts Institute of Technology via EurekAlert!
Nearly two years ago, on August 24, 2014, just south of Napa, California, a fault in the Earth suddenly slipped, violently shifting and splitting huge blocks of solid rock, 6 miles below the surface. The underground upheaval generated severe shaking at the surface, lasting 10 to 20 seconds. When the shaking subsided, the magnitude 6.0 earthquake -- the largest in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1989 -- left in its wake crumpled building facades, ruptured water mains, and fractured roadways.