Top Stories

NOAA, USGS and partners predict larger summer dead zone for the Chesapeake Bay

Scientists expect this year’s summer Chesapeake Bay hypoxic or “dead zone” — an area of low to no oxygen that can kill fish and aquatic life — will be larger than average, approximately 1.89 cubic miles, or nearly the volume of 3.2 million Olympic-size swimming pools.

Measurements for the Bay’s dead zone go back to 1950, and the 30-year mean maximum dead zone volume is 1.74 cubic miles.

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When the rubber hits the road: Recycled tires create stronger concrete

UBC engineers have developed a more resilient type of concrete using recycled tires that could be used for concrete structures like buildings, roads, dams and bridges while reducing landfill waste.

The researchers experimented with different proportions of recycled tire fibres and other materials used in concrete—cement, sand and water—before finding the ideal mix, which includes 0.35 per cent tire fibres, according to researcher Obinna Onuaguluchi, a postdoctoral fellow in civil engineering at UBC.

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New technology will enable properties to share solar energy

In the UK alone, some 1.5 million homes are equipped with solar panels, and it has been estimated that by 2020 the figure could soar to 10 million, with the prospect of lower energy bills for consumers and massive reductions in CO2emissions. Now, a University of Huddersfield researcher is developing new technologies that could enable clusters of houses to share their solar energy, rather than simply exporting surplus electricity to the national grid. Also, new systems for fault detection will enable householders to monitor and maintain the efficiency of their panels.

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An energy-efficient cleaning robot

State-of-the-art solar cells are efficient – but are even more so when they are kept clean. A cleaning robot developed by Norwegian researchers enables solar panels to deliver at full capacity.

At a solar energy farm just outside Budapest in Hungary, a cleaning robot is industriously getting on with today’s task. Hundreds of square metres of solar panels are waiting to be cleaned – as quickly and effectively as possible. And without the use of chemicals or any unwanted discharges to the natural environment. The robot is the result of a joint project between Norwegian researchers and the Hungarian company ProDSP Technology.

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Hydroelectric Dams May Jeopardize the Amazon's Future

Hundreds of built and proposed hydroelectric dams may significantly harm life in and around the Amazon by trapping the flow of rich nutrients and modifying the climate from Central America to the Gulf of Mexico. These findings, published in Nature, emerge from a multidisciplinary, international collaboration of researchers from 10 universities, led by scientists at The University of Texas at Austin.

To meet energy needs, economic developers in South America have proposed 428 hydroelectric dams, with 140 currently built or under construction, in the Amazon basin — the largest and most complex network of river channels in the world, which sustains the highest biodiversity on Earth. The rivers and surrounding forests are the source of 20 percent of the planet’s fresh water and valuable ingredients used in modern medicine. 

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Promising peas' potential in Big Sky Country

Farmers in Montana, and other parts of the Northern Great Plains, are shifting from cereal mono-cropping to a cereal-dry pea cropping system. This transition is not without its share of unknowns, however.

Yield and performance of pea crops depend on both their genetics and the environment. Environmental factors such as temperature and rainfall can vary greatly. Farmers in different parts of the Plains need to know which varieties of pea will do well in the area they are farming.

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Wireless charging of moving electric vehicles overcomes major hurdle in new Stanford research

If electric cars could recharge while driving down a highway, it would virtually eliminate concerns about their range and lower their cost, perhaps making electricity the standard fuel for vehicles.

Now Stanford University scientists have overcome a major hurdle to such a future by wirelessly transmitting electricity to a nearby moving object. Their results are published in the June 15 edition of Nature.

“In addition to advancing the wireless charging of vehicles and personal devices like cellphones, our new technology may untether robotics in manufacturing, which also are on the move,” said Shanhui Fan, a professor of electrical engineering and senior author of the study. “We still need to significantly increase the amount of electricity being transferred to charge electric cars, but we may not need to push the distance too much more.”

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World Coal Consumption Experienced a Record Drop in 2016

Global consumption of coal fell by a record amount last year, driven by a rise in natural gas, increasing deployment of wind and solar power, and a shift in China away from heavy industry, according to BP’s global review of energy trends.

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Solar material for producing clean hydrogen fuel

Global climate change and the energy crisis mean that alternatives to fossil fuels are urgently needed. Among the cleanest low-carbon fuels is hydrogen, which can react with oxygen to release energy, emitting nothing more harmful than water (H2O) as the product. However, most hydrogen on earth is already locked into H2O (or other molecules), and cannot be used for power.

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Indoor tanning still accessible to young people – despite bans

Despite legislation prohibiting the use of ultraviolet (UV) indoor tanning facilities by minors, one in every five tanning salons in US states where such bans are in place stated over the phone that they would allow an underaged caller to do so. Many others provide inaccurate health information about indoor tanning, says Leah Ferrucci, of the Yale School of Public Health in the US. She led a studyin Springer’s journal Translational Behavioral Medicine.

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