Wisconsin DNR considers selling state park naming rights

Read the full story in the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Wisconsin will consider selling naming rights to state parks to help them operate without tax support as proposed under Gov. Scott Walker’s biennial budget, Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp told lawmakers Tuesday.

Pipe Dreams: Advancing Sustainable Development in the United States

Read the full post at Greenversations.

When most of us think or speak about people who lack access to adequate drinking water and wastewater treatment — if we think or speak of them at all– it usually brings to mind folks in developing countries half way across the globe. Just as an upcoming United Nations Summit on development goals seeks to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all,” we want the people of those countries to have the basic human rights that we may take for granted daily at our taps and toilets. Unfortunately, we often overlook communities in our own backyard who lack access to clean water and sanitation.

Here in the United States, communities that lack access to clean drinking water and adequate sanitation can be found in colonias along the U.S.-Mexico border, in rural Alaska Native Villages, in Appalachia, and in the Black Belt of the southern U.S. In EPA’s Sustainable Communities Branch of the Office of Wastewater Management, we focus on these communities.

Energy-efficient buildings unite left and right

Read the full story at The Hill.

With the 114th Congress newly underway, leaders from both political parties have said they want to work together. All they need are issues that both sides can agree on. Here’s one — energy-efficient buildings.

Permafrost’s turn of the microbes

Read the full story from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

As the Arctic warms, tons of carbon locked away in Arctic tundra will be transformed into the powerful greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane, but scientists know little about how that transition takes place. Now, scientists looking at microbes in different types of Arctic soil have a new picture of life in permafrost that reveals entirely new species and hints that subzero microbes might be active.

Such information is key to prepare for the release of gigatons of methane, which could set the Earth on a path to irreversible global warming. Appearing in today’s issue of Nature, the study will help researchers better understand when and how frozen carbon might get converted into methane…

Reference: Jenni Hultman, Mark P. Waldrop, Rachel Mackelprang, Maude M. David, Jack McFarland, Steven J. Blazewicz, Jennifer Harden, Merritt R. Turetsky, A. David McGuire, Manesh B. Shah, Nathan C. VerBerkmoes, Lang Ho Lee, Kostas Mavrommatis, Janet K. Jansson. Multi-omics of permafrost, active layer and thermokarst bog soil microbiomes, Nature, March 4, 2015, DOI:10.1038/nature14238.

Big box stores could ditch the grid, use natural gas fuel cells instead

Read the full story from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.pnnl fuel cells

Large facilities like big box stores or hospitals could keep the lights on by using a fuel cell that runs off the natural gas that already flows in pipelines below most city streets.
Instead of drawing electricity from the power grid, facilities could use natural gas-powered solid oxide fuel cells to lower their electric costs, increase power reliability, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and maybe even offset costs by selling excess fuel cell-generated power back to the power grid. Such an energy future could be possible — assuming fuel cell lifespans are improved and enough systems are produced to reach economies of scale — according to a cost-benefit analysis published in the journal Fuel Cells.

New CMI process recycles valuable rare earth metals from old electronics

Read the full story from the Critical Materials Institute.

Scientists at the Critical Materials Institute have developed a two-step recovery process that makes recycling rare-earth metals easier and more cost-effective.

NMSU researcher’s patented tech could significantly cut CO2 emissions

Read the full story from New Mexico State University.

A new provisionally patented technology from a New Mexico State University researcher could revolutionize carbon dioxide capture and have a significant impact on reducing pollution worldwide.

The Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer Office at NMSU’s Arrowhead Center is working to protect and commercialize the technology, which was developed by chemical and materials engineering doctoral candidate Nasser Khazeni.

With support from NMSU faculty members Abbas Ghassemi, Reza Foudazi and Jalal Rastegary, Khazeni has developed a special material that can capture carbon dioxide with greater capacity than any technology currently in widespread use for that purpose.