Disputed ground: The future of landfill gas-to-energy

Read the full story in Waste Dive.

Gas capture at landfills creates electricity and revenue, but also has economic and environmental disadvantages.

US tops list of countries fuelling the waste crisis

Read the full post from Verisk Maplecraft.

America’s thirst for consumption is not matched by an appetite for recycling, reveals new data identifying the country is the world’s top producer of waste and one of the worst of any industrialised nation for managing its trash.

In two new indices, we’ve measured the waste generation and recycling performance of 194 countries to uncover a global picture of how countries are dealing with the waste they produce at a time where the world is facing a mounting crisis, primarily driven by plastics.

The research calculates that over 2.1 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste (MSW) are generated globally each year – enough to fill 822,000 Olympic-size swimming pools, which would stretch 41,000 kms if laid out end-to-end. However, only 16% (323 million tonnes) of this is recycled each year, while 46% (950 million tonnes) is disposed of unsustainably.

The gulf between what we produce and what we recycle is creating profound challenges for governments and populations. But it is the companies producing large volumes of waste that may find themselves footing the bill if they do not find sustainable solutions to drive a more circular economy.

China feels the heat over rogue CFC emissions

Read the full story at Nature.

The government plans to build a monitoring network in the wake of a study that attributed a spike in an ozone-depleting chemical to two Chinese provinces.

A political ‘fight to the knife’ over ethanol comes to Wisconsin

Read the full story at the Wisconsin State Journal.

Wisconsin, a key state in President Donald Trump’s 2016 electoral victory, has become a battleground for two key constituencies — the petroleum and biofuels industries — vying for political favor.

Announcing Docsy: A Website Theme for Technical Documentation

Read the full post from the Google Open Source Blog.

Have you ever struggled with the process of creating documentation for an open source project? Do you have an open source project that’s outgrown its README? Open source projects need great docs to succeed, but great open source doc sites aren’t always easy to produce and share.

Google supports over 2000 open source projects, and there has been growing demand from these projects for tooling and guidance to help them write and publish their documentation. To meet this need we created Docsy: a documentation website with templates and guidance for documentation, which we’re open sourcing to the public to use and help improve the tool.

Docsy builds on existing open source tools, like Hugo, and our experience with open source docs, providing a fast and easy way to stand up an OSS documentation website with features specifically designed to support technical documentation. Special features include everything from site navigation to multi-language support – with easy site deployment options provided by Hugo. We also created guidance on how to add additional pages, structure your documentation, and accept community contributions, all with the goal of letting you focus on creating great content.

Giant Shipper Bets Big On Ending Its Carbon Emissions. Will It Pay Off?

Read the full story from NPR.

Maersk — the world’s largest container shipping company — has an astonishing goal. By 2050, the company vows to send goods — everything from electronics to soybeans to sneakers — around the world with zero carbon emissions.

The environmental logic behind such a promise is straightforward: Shipping contributes substantially to global climate change.

But the business case is not as obvious.

EIA expects U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions to fall in 2019

Read the full story from the Energy Information Administration.

After a 2.7% increase in U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2018, EIA’s July Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) forecasts a 2.2% decrease in CO2 emissions for 2019. Nearly all of the forecast decrease is due to fewer emissions from coal consumption. Forecast natural gas CO2 emissions increase and petroleum CO2 emissions remain virtually unchanged.

How do lithium-ion batteries work?

Read the full story in The Conversation.

The smartphone era is only just over a decade old, but the pocket-sized computers at the heart of that societal transformation are only really possible because of another technology: lithium-ion batteries.

First sold commercially in 1991 by Sony for its camcorders, these types of batteries are good for much more than portable consumer electronics. They’re at the center of two other technological revolutions with the power to transform society: the transition from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles, and the shift from an electric grid powered by fossil fuels to renewable energy generators that store surplus electricity in batteries for future use.

So how do these batteries work? Scientists and engineers have spent entire careers trying to build better batteries and there are still mysteries that we don’t fully understand. Improving batteries requires chemists and physicists to look at changes on the atomic level, as well as mechanical and electrical engineers who can design and assemble the battery packs that power devices. As a materials scientist at the University of Washington and Pacific Northwest National Lab, my work has helped explore new materials for lithium-air batteries, magnesium batteries and of course lithium-ion batteries.

University of California’s showdown with the biggest academic publisher aims to change scholarly publishing for good

Read the full story at The Conversation.

This month, academic publisher Elsevier shuttered the University of California’s online access to current journal articles. It’s the latest move in the high stakes standoff between Elsevier, the world’s largest publisher of scholarly research, and the University of California, whose scholars produce about 10% of the nation’s research publications.

Last February, Elsevier chose to continue providing access to journals via its ScienceDirect online platform after UC’s subscription expired and negotiations broke down. With its instant access now cut off, the UC research community will learn firsthand what it’s like to rely on the open web and other means of accessing critical research.

The UC-Elsevier showdown made headlines because it’s symptomatic of the way the internet has failed to deliver on the promise to make knowledge easily accessible and shareable by anyone, anywhere in the world. It’s the latest in a succession of cracks in what is widely considered to be a failing system for sharing academic research. As the head of the research library at UC Davis, I see this development as a harbinger of a tectonic shift in how universities and their faculty share research, build reputations and preserve knowledge in the digital age.

Metro Vancouver aiming to divert more waste from landfills, sell waste

Read the full story in the Vancouver Sun.

Metro Vancouver is taking steps to further reduce the amount of waste that goes into landfills by trying to find commercial uses for waste.

That includes seeing if the regional district can turn into fuel the wood waste dumped at transfer stations by small vehicles such as pickup trucks, which comes from activities such as yard cleanups or small house renovations.

One possibility is selling the wood as a fuel to cement plants.