Coal ash removal bill heads to governor

Read the full story in the State Journal-Register.

A bill aiming to ensure safe closure of toxic coal ash pits and financial protections for taxpayers should the pits cause environmental disaster is on its way to the governor.

Senate Bill 9 passed the Illinois House on Monday, 18 days after passing the Senate.

Malaysia Says ‘No Thanks,’ Returns Tons of Plastic Waste to US, UK & Others

Read the full story from Environmental Leader.

Malaysia will return 450 metric tons of mislabeled plastic and non-recyclable waste to the countries that shipped it; nine shipping containers were found this week to contain contaminated plastic waste from the US, the UK, Australia, Japan, China, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, the Netherlands and Singapore, according to a Malaysia official.

Malaysia is cracking down on illegal plastic waste imports. Since the end of April, when a task force was launched to tackle the problem, the country has carried out 10 operations to return waste to originating countries, writes CNN.

As bumblebee diets narrow, ours could too

Read the full story from the University of California – Riverside.

A new study reveals the loss of plant diversity harms the humble bumblebee at a critical stage in its development from egg to adult.

Scientists propose rethinking ‘endangered species’ definition to save slow-breeding giants

Read the full story from Frontiers.

Conservation decisions based on population counts may fail to protect large, slow-breeding animals from irrevocable decline, according to new research.

Tooth fairy study reveals children near lead smelters are exposed to dangerous lead in the womb

Read the full story in The Conversation.

The environmental tragedy in Flint, Michigan, in which drinking water contaminated with lead raised fears of potential health effects for exposed children, revealed the failure of a regulatory system to protect residents from lead exposure.

Until 2015 the Exide Technologies lead-acid battery smelter, in southeast Los Angeles County, California, recycled approximately 11 million lead acid batteries per year while operating on temporary state permits. This violated multiple federal environmental regulations and exposed over 100,000 residents to lead and other toxic metals. The result was large-scale environmental disaster with lead contamination of the air and soil in largely Latino communities.

As an environmental scientist and epidemiologist, I sought to understand lead pollution in children growing up in this area. For my research I collaborated with local community organizations and relied on an archive of biological samples that families often save: baby teeth.

Artificial photosynthesis transforms carbon dioxide into liquefiable fuels

Read the full story from the University of Illinois.

Chemists at the University of Illinois have successfully produced fuels using water, carbon dioxide and visible light through artificial photosynthesis. By converting carbon dioxide into more complex molecules like propane, green energy technology is now one step closer to using excess CO2 to store solar energy – in the form of chemical bonds – for use when the sun is not shining and in times of peak demand.

Plants use sunlight to drive chemical reactions between water and CO2 to create and store solar energy in the form of energy-dense glucose. In the new study, the researchers developed an artificial process that uses the same green light portion of the visible light spectrum used by plants during natural photosynthesis to convert CO2 and water into fuel, in conjunction with electron-rich gold nanoparticles that serve as a catalyst. The new findings are published in the journal Nature Communications.

5G networks could throw weather forecasting into chaos

Read the full story in Wired.

If you had a choice between a better, faster cell phone signal and an accurate weather forecast, which would you pick? That’s the question facing federal officials as they decide whether to auction off more of the wireless spectrum or heed meteorologists who say that such a move could throw US weather forecasting into chaos.

What recycling end market development looks like in 2019

Read the full story at Waste Dive.

What was once a public sector-driven effort has more private interest. Now, industry professionals say, there are more players on the field and they’re better at working together.

MatWeb: a free online resource for material properties

Read the full post from Inside Science Resources.

Engineers and material scientists, and the students preparing to enter these professions, need accurate and reliable data on the properties of materials. This might be the tensile strength of high-carbon steel, the conductivity of cobalt, or the melting point of lithium. What’s your go-to resource for the Poisson’s Ratio of annealed magnesium?

One recommended resource for questions about material properties is MatWeb. In its own words, “MatWeb is a free searchable database of engineering materials designed by engineers for engineers.” It contains freely available data sheets with specifications for the properties of metals, carbons, fluids, plastics, ceramics, natural fibers, composites, and other engineering materials. New materials are added regularly, with a current volume of more than 130,000.

Online Database Lists Nearly 600 Zero Energy Projects

Read the full story at EC&M.

New Buildings Institute (NBI) maintains data on thousands of low-energy projects across the United States and Canada and a recent blog post offers some analysis of the 580 certified, verified and emerging projects. That figure is a 10-fold increase since NBI started tracking buildings in 2012.