24
Sat, Feb

  • Freshwater from salt water using only solar energy

    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.

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  • Ensuring the long-term success of Nova Scotia's oyster sector

    After much of Cape Breton’s oyster sector closed in 2002, Dr. Sarah Stewart-Clark, an assistant professor in the Department of Animal Science and Aquaculture in Dal’s Faculty of Agriculture, was determined to find a way to rebuild this 100-year-old economic and cultural activity.

    The sector’s closure was the result of a pathogen found in oysters located in the Bras D’Ors Lakes. Known as the Haplosporidium nelsonii parasite (MSX), the disease causes high mortality in oyster populations but has no impact on humans.

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  • Water Management Interventions Push Scarcity Downstream

    Large-scale interventions to water resources, such as irrigation, dams and reservoirs, and water withdrawals, have been essential to human development. But interventions tend to solve water scarcity problems at a local level, while aggravating water scarcity downstream.  In a new study published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers have now assessed the impacts of human interventions on water scarcity at a global scale.

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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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  • 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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  • Finnish demo plant produces renewable fuel from carbon dioxide captured from the air

    The unique Soletair demo plant developed by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) uses carbon dioxide to produce renewable fuels and chemicals. The pilot plant is coupled to LUT's solar power plant in Lappeenranta.

    The aim of the project is to demonstrate the technical performance of the overall process and produce 200 litres of fuels and other hydrocarbons for research purposes. This concerns a one-of-a-kind demo plant in which the entire process chain, from solar power generation to hydrocarbon production, is in the same place.

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  • Iqaluit could start running out of fresh water by 2024

    Without action, the supply of fresh water in Iqaluit will begin to dwindle by 2024 due to climate change and increased demand, research led by York University has found. 

    “Extreme climates make the management of fresh water difficult, but add climate change to the mix, along with too few financial and human resources, and northern cities, such as Iqaluit could run out of fresh water,” said Andrew Medeiros of York University who led the research.

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  • New-generation material removes iodine from water

    Researchers at Dartmouth College have developed a new material that scrubs iodine from water for the first time. The breakthrough could hold the key to cleaning radioactive waste in nuclear reactors and after nuclear accidents like the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

    The new-generation microporous material designed at Dartmouth is the result of chemically stitching small organic molecules to form a framework that scrubs the isotope from water.

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  • Why Microplastic Debris May Be the Next Big Threat to Our Seas

    Plastic, metal, rubber and paper are some of the materials that pollute the world's oceans, often in the form of soda cans, cigarette butts, plastic bags and bottles, and fishing gear.

    Environmental and marine science specialists call it "marine debris," which, simply put, means anything in the ocean that wasn't put there by nature.

    Recently, though, a new type of trash — microplastics — has become a focus for marine researchers, and they fear the impact of this type of debris may be especially dire. 

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  • Where climate change is most likely to induce food violence

    While climate change is expected to lead to more violence related to food scarcity, new research suggests that the strength of a country’s government plays a vital role in preventing uprisings.

    “A capable government is even more important to keeping the peace than good weather,” said Bear Braumoeller, co-author of the study and associate professor of political science at The Ohio State University.

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