Permafrost thaw spurs methane emissions

Read the full story in Chemical & Engineering News.

Arctic soil that’s been frozen for thousands of years is thawing at an alarming rate due to climate change. Melting permafrost frees up water and nutrients that could spur the growth of methane-producing bacteria and methane-transporting plants. Scientific modeling suggests this could cause a disastrous positive-feedback loop, whereby increased methane emissions cause further warming, which thaws more permafrost, leading to more methane emissions, and so on. Now researchers report experimental evidence for the connection between nutrients released from permafrost thaw and increased methane emissions

Silicon Waste from the Photovoltaic Industry – A Material Source for the Next Generation Battery Technology?

M. Beier et al. (2019). “Silicon Waste from the Photovoltaic Industry – A Material Source for the Next Generation Battery Technology?” Materials Science Forum 959, 107-112.

Abstract: In the photovoltaic industry a total of 100,000 tons of silicon is lost as waste per year. This waste is originating from several cropping and sawing steps of the high purity silicon blocks and ingots during the solar cell wafer production, resulting in a silicon containing suspension. Among different approaches to recycle the silicon from this waste is the utilization of hydrocyclones, which can be used to separate or classify particles by weight and size. In this work the use of a hydrocyclone was evaluated to upgrade the silicon fraction from a typical sawing waste. A potential field of use for the recycled silicon particles might be as anode material for next generation lithium ion batteries.

A City’s Perspective of Waste and Recycling

Read the full story and listen to the interview at Waste360.

In the latest episode of our NothingWasted! Podcast, we chat with Tori Carle, waste reduction supervisor for the city of Greensboro, N.C. We spoke with her about industry challenges, collaboration and more.

Indonesia sends more toxic waste, trash back to US, Europe, Australia

Read the full story from the Jakarta Post.

The Batam Customs Office is sending 49 containers proven to contain toxic waste and trash back to their countries of origin, including the United States, Australia, and several European nations, upon receiving a recommendation letter from the Environment and Forestry Ministry on Monday.

Soviet Union’s collapse led to massive drop in carbon emissions

Read the full story in Nature.

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 led to a huge drop in greenhouse-gas emissions because the resulting economic crisis meant many people stopped eating meat.

Washington University, St. Louis leverages solar for student engagement, workforce development

Read the full story from DOE’s Better Buildings Program.

Multitasking is an essential part of keeping on top of your to-do list, and our Better Buildings partners are no exception when it comes to achieving their energy goals. Many of these organizations incorporate staff/occupant engagement efforts into their overall energy and sustainability goals, and those engagement efforts can also be an opportunity to develop new professional skills.

In the Higher Education sector, partners leverage workforce training and student development in their energy efficiency projects on campus as part of their larger sustainability efforts. Recently, Better Buildings Challenge partner Washington University in St. Louis used a new $3.5 million solar PV installation project as a way to engage students and give them experience in working to incorporate renewable power. In partnership with WashU’s Office of Sustainability, Environmental Studies Program, and a local renewable energy support services company, the University developed the Renewable Energy Student Engagement Team (RESET) program.

Toxic substances found in the glass and decoration of alcoholic beverage bottles

Read the full story from the University of Plymouth.

New research shows that bottles of beer, wine and spirits contain potentially harmful levels of toxic elements, such as lead and cadmium, in their enameled decorations.

Controlling weeds on playing fields, parks and lawns without herbicides

Read the full story at The Conversation.

Turfgrass covers more than 40 million acres of land in the continental United States, including lawns, parks, commercial landscapes, sports fields and golf courses. It is the single largest irrigated crop in the nation.

Turfgrasses are grass species with qualities that make them well suited for these uses. They tolerate frequent mowing, withstand intense traffic and form dense, uniform surfaces. They create places to play sports or relax outdoors; reduce soil erosion; reduce dust and mud problems around homes, schools and businesses; and create clear sight lines along highways.

Often, however, the turfgrass industry is criticized for using significant quantities of water, fertilizer and pesticides. Pesticides have come under especially intense scrutiny as concerns increase over potential health risks.

In many places pesticide legislation has advanced faster than alternative pest control methods. As a researcher specializing in turfgrass and soil sciences, I’m interested in new options and have developed a completely new method and tool for turfgrass management that kills weeds without applying chemicals.

40 Tons of Fishing Nets Pulled From Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Read the full story in Time.

In a mission to clean up trash floating in the ocean, environmentalists pulled 40 tons (36 metric tons) of abandoned fishing nets this month from an area known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

The Price of a Fully Renewable US Grid: $4.5 Trillion

Read the full story at GreenTech Media.

The cost of shifting the U.S. power grid to 100 percent renewable energy over the next 10 years is an estimated $4.5 trillion, according to a new Wood Mackenzie analysis

This estimated price tag is associated with transitioning entirely to renewables: replacing nuclear and fossil fuels with renewable energy, while keeping hydro, biomass and geothermal, consistent with a 100 percent renewables vision.