Toxic dispersant used to clean oil spill

Read the full story from Temple University.

The dispersant used to remediate the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is more toxic to cold-water corals than the spilled oil, according to a study conducted at Temple University. The study comes on the eve of the spill’s fifth anniversary, April 20.

Researchers from Temple and the Pennsylvania State University exposed three cold-water coral species from the Gulf to various concentrations of the dispersant and to oil from the Deepwater Horizon well. They found that the dispersant is toxic to the corals at lower concentrations than the oil.

Their findings, “Response of Deep-Water Corals to Oil and Chemical Dispersant Exposure,” were published online in the journal Deep-Sea Research II.

NRDC: sustainability saving Chinese textile mills money

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

On its fast-track path to global leadership in manufacturing, China had not until recently factored in environmental costs, and Mother Nature finally has come to collect…But a new NRDC report, released today, suggests that there may be a growing business case for China’s textile manufacturers to change course.

​Scientists develop mesh that captures oil — but lets water through

Read the full story from Ohio State University.

The unassuming piece of stainless steel mesh in a lab at The Ohio State University doesn’t look like a very big deal, but it could make a big difference for future environmental cleanups.

Water passes through the mesh but oil doesn’t, thanks to a nearly invisible oil-repelling coating on its surface…

The mesh coating is among a suite of nature-inspired nanotechnologies under development at Ohio State and described in two papers (here and here) in the journal Nature Scientific Reports. Potential applications range from cleaning oil spills to tracking oil deposits underground.

The 3 pitfalls that trap sustainability leaders — and how to avoid them

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

In my conversations with sustainability leaders throughout the years, I’ve heard varying views on what works to engage others — whether it be employees, CEOs, shareholders or your neighbor — in a productive exchange about how to build a more sustainable world.

I’ve also heard stories about what doesn’t work. Too often, well-meaning leaders try to turn the dial on sustainability within their companies, organizations or communities, but unknowingly succumb to common conversational pitfalls, undermining their hard work and good intentions.

That dilemma was the subject of a recent working paper, “Authentic Sustainability: Navigating Pitfalls, Paradoxes, and Pathways in Conversations toward a Better World,” co-written by Gabriel Grant, a doctoral candidate in leadership and sustainability at the Yale School of Forestry and Environment, and Jason Jay, director of the sustainability initiative at the MIT Sloan School of Management.  I met Grant at the GreenBiz Forum 2015, where we entered into an interesting conversation and meeting of the minds.

Packing heat: New fluid makes untapped geothermal energy cleaner

Read the full story from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

More American homes could be powered by the earth’s natural underground heat with a new, nontoxic and potentially recyclable liquid that is expected to use half as much water as other fluids used to tap into otherwise unreachable geothermal hot spots.

The fluid might be a boon to a new approach to geothermal power called enhanced geothermal systems. These systems pump fluids underground, a step that’s called “reservoir stimulation,” to enable power production where conventional geothermal doesn’t work.

The new reservoir stimulation fluid features an environmentally friendly polymer that greatly expands the fluid’s volume, which creates tiny cracks in deep underground rocks to improve power production. This fluid could also substantially reduce the water footprint and cost of enhanced geothermal systems. A paper describing the fluid has been published by the Royal Society of Chemistry in an advance online version of the journal Green Chemistry

PAPER: HB Jung, KC Carroll, S Kabilan, DJ Heldebrant, D Hoyt, L Zhong, T Varga, S Stephens, L Adams, A Bonneville, A Kuprat & CA Fernandez, “Stimuli-responsive/rheoreversible hydraulic fracturing fluids as a greener alternative to support geothermal and fossil energy production,” Green Chemistry Advance Online, March 25, 2015, DOI: 10.1039/C4GC01917B.

EDITORIAL: W Leitner, “The subject of ‘fracking’ in Green Chemistry,” Green Chemistry, online March 31, 2015.

Circular economy could bring 70 percent cut in carbon emissions by 2030

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Odds are, your mobile phone is less than two years old. Today’s economy is built on a “fast turnover” principle. The faster we replace our gadgets the better – not only our phones, but most items we consume.

This leads to a staggering inefficiency in the way we manage the Earth’s resources, with increased pollution, loss of ecosystems and substantial losses of value with each product disposed. A new study from The Club of Rome, a global thinktank, highlights that moving to a circular economy by using and re-using, rather than using up, would yield multiple benefits.

Solar Power Purchase Agreements: a Toolkit for Local Governments

Download the document.

In an effort to reduce solar soft costs and assist local governments and other public entities seeking to install and finance rooftop solar systems, IREC developed a comprehensive toolkit on retail solar power purchase agreements (PPAs), sometimes referred to as solar service agreements. With this new resource, IREC seeks to help overcome the common challenges and costs associated with PPAs by providing a full suite of legal resources and related documents in a highly user-friendly format.