A catalyst for sustainable methanol

Read the full story from ETH Zurich.

Scientists have developed a new catalyst that converts CO2 and hydrogen into methanol. Offering realistic market potential, the technology paves the way for the sustainable production of fuels and chemicals.

Simpler than expected: A microbial community with small diversity cleans up algal blooms

Read the full story from the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology.

Algae blooms regularly make for pretty, swirly satellite photos of lakes and oceans. They also make the news occasionally for poisoning fish, people and other animals. What’s less frequently discussed is the outsize role they play in global carbon cycling. A recent study now reveals surprising facts about carbon flow in phytoplankton blooms. Unexpectedly few bacterial clades with a restricted set of genes are responsible for a major part of the degradation of algal sugars.

Dunkin’ Group Moves Forward with New Paper Cups, Adds Recyclable Lids

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

Dunkin’ Brands Group says it is on track to meet its significant sustainability goal: the elimination of polystyrene foam cups in its global supply chain by mid-2020. The company, parent of Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins, has already begun rolling out double-walled paper cups for all hot beverages. Dunkin’ says the new cups offer heat retention properties that are equal to the foam cup the stores are well-known for.

Energy from seawater

Read the full story from Stanford University.

A new battery made from affordable and durable materials generates energy from places where salt and fresh waters mingle. The technology could make coastal wastewater treatment plants energy-independent and carbon neutral.

Light pollution may be increasing West Nile virus spillover from wild birds

Read the full story from the University of South Florida.

House sparrows infected with West Nile virus (WNV) that live in light polluted conditions remain infectious for two days longer than those who do not, increasing the potential for a WNV outbreak by about 41%.

Citizen scientists offer ray of hope

Read the full story from the University of Queensland.

Volunteer snorkelers and scuba divers have been helping capture images of reef manta rays to better protect the threatened species. Project Manta relied on these citizen scientists to photograph or video individual reef manta rays (Mobula alfredi) across Australia’s east coast.

Picky pathogens help non-native tree species invade

Read the full story from the Ecological Society of America.

Trees have many natural enemies, including pathogens that have evolved to attack certain tree species. Invasive tree species — even ones that are very closely related to native trees — are often not attacked by these pathogens and can thrive.

Hunt For Answers Shows Oregon Rivers Not Immune To Microplastic Pollution

Read the full story from Oregon Public Broadcasting.

OPB is examining the ways plastic is altering our relationship with the environment and what we can do about it.

Green infrastructure to manage more intense stormwater with climate change

Read the full story from the University of Maryland.

Researchers are connecting climate change to stormwater management, with the goal of increasing resiliency to major storm events. In a new case study, researchers examine two distinct watersheds and demonstrate that even small decentralized stormwater management practices like rain gardens can make a big cumulative difference to the resiliency of a watershed, using predictive modeling to assess what climate change will demand of our future stormwater management systems.

Could Renewable Natural Gas Be the Next Big Thing in Green Energy?

Read the full story at e360.

For decades, small-scale biogas systems have collected methane from landfills, sewage plants, and farms. Now, in Europe and the U.S., the growth of this renewable form of natural gas is taking off as businesses capture large amounts of methane from manure, food waste, and other sources.