Day: June 10, 2019

Tapping fresh water under the ocean has consequences

Read the full story from the University of Delaware.

While offshore groundwater resources could be used for drinking, agriculture and oil recovery, new research suggests tapping into them could lead to adverse impacts onshore.

Historic U.S. Bill To Clean Up Recycling At The Bin And Save Billions

Read the full story from Forbes.

In a landmark move, a national recycling strategy is to be launched across the U.S., aiming to streamline recycling bin labels and, in so doing, give the market a desperately needed overhaul.

Rep. Betty McCollum, chair of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, has directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop the strategy as part of the subcommittee’s Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations bill. The $37.3 billion FY2020 Interior-Environment funding bill has been passed by the House Appropriations Committee and will now be considered by the House floor.

Antibiotic Alternative Scores Well in Second Round of Swine Trials

Read the full story from the Agricultural Research Service.

Travelling can be stressful experience—whether it be to a vacation spot or business destination. The stress of travel also extends to piglets, such as when they’re weaned from their mothers and transported to nursery barns.

Now, instead of using dietary antibiotics to help the piglets cope and avoid illness, scientists with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) are investigating a naturally occurring amino acid known as L-glutamine.

Research furthers initiative that could divert 100,000 tonnes of waste ash from landfill each year

Read the full story in Envirotec Magazine.

Heat treatment experts at the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) have furthered research into a sustainable initiative that could save up to 100,000 tonnes of waste ash from landfill each year.

The project commissioned by Enva, formerly William Tracey Group and funded by Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC), saw heat treatment methods used to diminish contaminants from ash to produce high quality concrete pellets for the construction industry.

The US drinking water supply is mostly safe, but that’s not good enough

Read the full story at The Conversation.

Most Americans take clean drinking water for granted as a convenience of modern life. The United States has one of the world’s safest drinking water supplies, but new challenges constantly emerge.

For example, on May 6 researchers at the nonprofit Environmental Working Group and Northeastern University reported that 43 states have sites where water is contaminated with toxic fluorinated compounds known as PFAS. And many farm workers in California’s Central Valley have to buy bottled water because their tap water contains unsafe levels of arsenic and agricultural chemicals that have been linked to elevated risks of infant death and cancer in adults.

As a scientist specializing in water quality, I believe water providers and regulators can’t afford to be complacent. So I was distressed to hear EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler tout the quality of drinking water in the U.S. in an interview on March 20, 2019. “I want to make sure the American public understands 92 percent of the water everyday meets all the EPA requirements for safe drinking water,” Wheeler said.

Is New York’s Plan to Fight Rising Sea Levels a Model for Other Cities?

Read the full story in Governing.

A chorus of questions greeted New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio when he announced in March that he wanted to make the island of Manhattan bigger by extending it 500 feet into the East River, in order to better protect the Financial District and nearby areas from sea level rise.

What, people wanted to know, would go on the new land? Why does de Blasio favor this approach, after scuttling previous plans to build a berm at the edge of East River Park? How will the city avoid such a massive project from getting bogged down in environmental reviews, community hearings and inevitable lawsuits? Would protecting Manhattan come at the expense of Brooklyn and Queens? Above all, they asked, how would New York pay for the $10 billion project?

But Corinne LeTourneau, the former director of special projects for New York and now the head of North American operations for the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities program, says she was struck by the project’s “boldness.” That’s something she says is in short supply these days, as cities start coming to the realization that their neighborhoods and infrastructure will be affected by climate change. “I hope this isn’t a New York-only solution,” she says. “They’re trying to think from a new perspective. My hope is that we’ll see more of this boldness, even in cases when many, many, many other solutions and things that have been studied will not work.”

A radical idea to get a high-renewable electric grid: Build way more solar and wind than needed

Read the full story from The Conversation.

The famous inventor Edwin Land said, “It’s not that we need new ideas, but we need to stop having old ideas.” He seemed to be telling us that solutions lie just beyond our old habits of thinking.

Cities, states and countries around the world are committing to clean energy economies that run on very high levels – even 100% – of renewable energy. In New York state alone, four competing bills target 50% to 100% renewables by or before 2040.

Realistically, only two renewable energy resources are large enough to meet these very high-penetration objectives on the supply side in the U.S. – solar (by far) and wind.

Both, however, are variable resources, driven by weather as well as daily and seasonal cycles. Therefore, they must be “firmed” – that is, capable of delivery power on demand – in order to replace fossil resources which can be dispatched as needed. Based on our research, we contend that this firm power transformation is not only possible, it is also affordable – if we stop having old ideas.

One entrenched, and very prevalent, idea – likely a result of historically high renewable energy prices – is that all the power generated by renewable resources must be sold as it is generated. The idea of discarding available wind or solar output is anathema, imposed on power producers when production from these sources exceeds what the grid can accept.

This old idea ignores a fundamental proposition: oversizing and proactively curtailing wind and solar. However counterintuitive, a study our colleagues and we conducted shows that these steps are the key to the least expensive path to an electric grid powered largely by solar and wind.

In Detroit, a legacy of inequality creates obstacles to clean energy

Read the full story from Midwest Energy News.

A city program is helping low-income households access opportunities that might otherwise be out of reach.

Germany announces proposal to phase out coal by 2038, further changing its generation mix

Read the full story from the Energy Information Administration.

In January 2019, Germany’s government-appointed coal commission introduced a proposed pathway to phase out all coal electricity generation by 2038. This, along with previous actions to phase out nuclear generation, would result in further changes in Germany’s electricity generation mix, which has increasingly used renewable technologies and natural gas. This phaseout is part of the country’s Energiewende—a planned transition to low-carbon domestic energy production.

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In a Town Shaped by Water, the River Is Winning

Read the full story in Citylab.

Storms supercharged by climate change pose a dire threat to river towns. After two catastrophic floods, tiny Ellicott City faces a critical decision: Rebuild, or retreat?

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