Green Technology and Environmental Science News - ENN
Updated: 1 hour 33 min ago
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is looking to capture the more of powers of the Congo River in what will be the largest and most powerful hydroelectric dam in the world. The Grand Inga Hydropower Project will produce up to 40,000 megawatts of electricity, doubling current dam champion, Three Gorges in China. The dam will generate more than one third of the electricity currently produced in Africa as it captures the force of the 1.5 million cubic feet per second cascading into the Atlantic Ocean.
Oregon Metallurgical of Albany and TDY Industries of Millersburg have agreed to pay a combined $825,000 to resolve alleged violations related to the improper storage, transportation, and disposal of anhydrous magnesium chloride, a reactive hazardous waste that poses fire and explosion threats. The EPA asserts that both companies must improve their hazardous waste management practices and upgrade their record keeping for wastes generated at their facilities to avoid potential injuries and accidents.
Snow, ice and other hazardous wintry conditions account for more than 4,000 lives and thousands of injuries each year in the United States. And while keeping roads clear is a major challenge for every state, doing so strategically and cost effectively is largely dependent upon experience: knowing the trouble spots, anticipating the locations that will freeze over first or be most dangerous because of shading, elevation or north-facing curves.
Improving the biodiversity of ponds and lakes in malaria-endemic regions could offer a powerful and sustainable way to control malaria. A common mosquito-controlling strategy is to apply biological insecticides, such as Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti) — a bacterium that produces toxins that target mosquito larvae. Because of this precise impact, Bti treatment preserves more biodiversity than chemicals such as DDT, which are lethal to most species.
More than 780 million people lack access to safe drinking water, two and a half times the population of the United States. More than half of all Americans drink bottled water, yet almost every U.S. household has access to safe drinking water.
Taking note of the United States recoupment of natural gas, most specifically from shale, the EU is pressing its Washington counterparts to include energy exports in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TIPP) trade pact currently being negotiated. The pact will account for half of the world's economy covering goods and services to include everything from agriculture to finance.
"Human values need to be considered in decision-making to improve long-term coral reef management," says Dr. Christina Hicks, research fellow from Stanford. Researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CoECRS) at James Cook University and Stanford University are linking social science to ecology in order to improve the environmental problems in these sensitive ecosystems. Currently little thought is given to the human community's needs including food and wellbeing for the more powerful economic interests, such as tourism, which drives coral reef management.
It looks like Elon Musk and his friends at Solar City are at it again. First, there was the Tesla electric car. Then came solar energy provider Solar City. Then came the financial innovation of bonds backed by solar power. Now they appear to be combining all of these, with Solar City offering commercial energy storage systems based on batteries produced by Tesla Motors.
How old is Mars? The relative ages of Mars and Earth is of great interest to astronomers. Did the planets in our solar system originate at the same time, or did they form at different times? Although researchers have determined the ages of rocks from other planetary bodies, the actual experiments—like analyzing meteorites and moon rocks—have always been done on Earth. Now, for the first time, researchers have successfully determined the age of a Martian rock—with experiments performed on Mars. The work, led by geochemist Ken Farley of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), could not only help in understanding the geologic history of Mars but also aid in the search for evidence of ancient life on the planet. Many of the experiments carried out by the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission's Curiosity rover were painstakingly planned by NASA scientists more than a decade ago. However, shortly before the rover left Earth in 2011, NASA's participating scientist program asked researchers from all over the world to submit new ideas for experiments that could be performed with the MSL's already-designed instruments. Farley, W.M. Keck Foundation Professor of Geochemistry and one of the 29 selected participating scientists, submitted a proposal that outlined a set of techniques similar to those already used for dating rocks on Earth, to determine the age of rocks on Mars. Findings from the first such experiment on the Red Planet—published by Farley and coworkers this week in a collection of Curiosity papers in the journal Science Express—provide the first age determinations performed on another planet.
Described as being the coldest, driest, and windiest continent, it's no wonder why there are so many unknown mysteries of Antarctica. But now, for the first time scientists have begun mapping one of the "last frontiers" of the continent. The area, called the Recovery Catchment, sits around 400 km inland from the British Antarctic Survey's Halley VI Research Station in northeast Antarctica. It is important because it the vast area contains enough ice to raise sea-levels by up to 3 meters and the bedrock on which it sits is poorly understood. Another important aspect is that the rock hidden by the ice could hold the key to understanding how Antarctica was formed from the break-up of the supercontinents hundreds of millions of years ago.
According to new research, studying the rodent family tree can shed some light on how species evolve after they move into a new area. Conducted in part by researchers at Florida State University, the study of the evolutionary history of rodents calls into doubt a generally held understanding that when a species colonizes a new region, evolution leads to a dramatic increase in the number and variety of species.
Interplay between genes and the environment has been pondered at least since the phrase "nature versus nurture" was coined in the mid-1800s. But until the arrival of modern genomic sequencing tools, it was hard to measure the extent that the environment had on a species' genetic makeup. Now, researchers with the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech studying fruit flies that live on opposite slopes of a unique natural environment known as "Evolution Canyon" show that even with migration, cross-breeding, and sometimes the obliteration of the populations, the driving force in the gene pool is largely the environment.
Among the most interesting exhibitors at the recent Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Philadelphia may have been the Asphalt Pavement Alliance challenging what we thought we knew about urban heat island effect with new research from Arizona State University.
Scientists in Lyon, a French city famed for its cuisine, have discovered a quick-cook recipe for copious volumes of hydrogen (H2). The breakthrough suggests a better way of producing the hydrogen that propels rockets and energizes battery-like fuel cells. In a few decades, it could even help the world meet key energy needs -- without carbon emissions contributing to the greenhouse effect and climate change.
Analysis of forest cover using medium-scale satellite imagery may miss deforestation for small-scale subsistence agriculture, finds a study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. The study, which involved researchers from the University of Maryland, the State University of New York and Woods Hole Research Center, is based on change in forest cover in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which accounts for the bulk of the world's second largest tropical rainforest.
Researchers striving to understand the origins of dementia are building the case against a possible culprit: lead exposure early in life. A study spanning 23 years has now revealed that monkeys who drank a lead-rich formula as infants later developed tangles of a key brain protein, called tau, linked to Alzheimer's disease. Though neuroscientists say more work is needed to confirm the connection, the research suggests that people exposed to lead as children—as many in America used to be before it was eliminated from paint, car emissions, water, and soil—could have an increased risk of the common, late-onset form of Alzheimer’s disease. Even in small doses, lead can wreak havoc on the heart, intestines, kidneys, and nervous system. Children are especially prone to its pernicious effects, as it curbs brain development. Many studies have linked early lead exposure with lower IQs. Researchers estimate that one in 38 children in the United States still have harmful levels of the metal in their systems, but evidence linking this exposure to dementia later in life has been tenuous.
Tracking people’s movements after the Haiti earthquake, mapping malaria spread in Kenya, evaluating Mexico’s government policies on flu outbreak, improving national census surveys in Latin America and Africa... These are just a few examples of how mobile-phone data has been used in development, as highlighted by a recent UN report.
In 1872, John Wesley Powell led an expedition down the Colorado River to explore unknown canyons. In his report he spoke about potential for water resources development and stated that irrigation would be the key factor to settlement of the western U.S. He promoted the idea that the western state boundaries should be made around watersheds, preventing interstate water arguments.
The burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas has led to dramatically increasing concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere causing climate change and ocean acidification. Although technologies are being developed to capture CO2 at major sources such as power stations, this will only work and help reduce the amounts of CO2 in our atmosphere if it is safely locked away. So how does one capture and sequester carbon, and where in the world should we put it? According to researchers from the University of Southampton, the answer lies beneath the oceans in the igneous rocks of the upper ocean crust.
Carbon dioxide pumped into the air since the Industrial Revolution appears to have changed the way the coastal ocean functions, according to a new analysis published this week in Nature. A comprehensive review of research on carbon cycling in rivers, estuaries and continental shelves suggests that collectively this coastal zone now takes in more carbon dioxide than it releases. The shift could impact global models of carbon’s flow through the environment and future predictions related to climate change.