PureCycle Technologies transforms end-of-life carpet into its UPRP resin

Read the full story at Waste Today.

Company says its feedstock evaluation unit will allow PureCycle to refine operating conditions and process PP scrap from around the world to help in sizing future plants.

Enhancing Data Sharing, One Dataset at a Time

Read the full post from the National Library of Medicine.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has an ambitious vision for a modernized, integrated biomedical data ecosystem. How we plan to achieve this vision is outlined in the NIH Strategic Plan for Data Science, and the long-term goal is to have NIH-funded data be findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable (FAIR). To support this goal, we have made enhancing data access and sharing a central theme throughout the strategic plan.

While the topic of data sharing itself merits greater discussion, in this post I’m going to focus on one primary method for sharing data, which is through domain-specific and generalist repositories.

Solar dream at Tacoma’s Jason Lee Middle School gets $50,000 boost. More money needed

Read the full story in the News-Tribune.

Three former students at Jason Lee Middle School have advanced science teacher Kathleen Hall’s long-desired goal to foster a clean energy project. The proposal calls for installing over 270 solar panels on the roof to reduce energy costs.

H&M Wants More Customers to Recycle Their Clothes

Read the full story from Bloomberg.

Fast-fashion discards are being shredded, and the fibers can be used in new garments.

How fires weaken Amazon rainforests’ ability to bounce back

Read the full story in The Conversation.

The flames consuming the Amazon rainforest this year have alarmed the world, renewing concerns about one of the planet’s most biodiverse regions and the release of large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. But there’s another concern that’s been largely overlooked – the eroding capacity of Amazonian ecosystems to recover from repeated burning over the years.

The fires across the Amazon rainforest are due exclusively to human activities. Ranchers, farmers and land grabbers use fire to clear land or renew pastures for ranching, while indigenous and local groups often use it to fertilize and clear fields for traditional agriculture.

Some of these cleared areas are later abandoned and left to regrow – a potentially hopeful twist in the story. But the new forests don’t always simply pick up where the original ones left off. More than 20 years of study at Brazil’s Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia, which we have contributed to, has shown that repeated use of fires to manage land results in forests that grow slowly and lose the capacity to restore biodiversity and store carbon.

New report deepens understanding of wind-wildlife interactions

Read the full story from the Ecological Society of America.

An increase in the generation of wind energy is a key component of the U.S. strategy to reduce carbon emissions from the power sector. Approximately 97 gigawatts of wind energy production capacity are currently installed in the U.S., and in 2018, wind energy supplied about 6.5% of the nation’s electricity. Scenarios developed by various groups, including U.S. Department of Energy, indicate that a four- to five-fold expansion over current levels of electricity produced by wind is needed by the year 2050 to help meet U.S. carbon emission reduction goals.

Food-energy-water (FEW) nexus for urban sustainability: A comprehensive review

PengPeng Zhang, Lixiao Zhang, Yaun Chang, et al. (2019). “Food-energy-water (FEW) nexus for urban sustainability: A comprehensive review.” Resources, Conservation and Recycling 142, 215-224. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resconrec.2018.11.018

Abstract: The emerging popularity of the nexus discussion reflects the ongoing transition from a sectoral or silo approach to an integrative approach to address the global challenges pertinent to the three essential resources: food, energy, and water (FEW). Cities are critically important for advancing regional sustainable development and are thus placed at the center of the FEW nexus.

This paper provides a comprehensive literature review to debate the current concepts and methods of the FEW nexus at different scales, with the aim of developing a conceptual knowledgebase framework for scientific analysis and policy making associated with the urban FEW nexus. Although the concept of nexus thinking has been widely accepted, a consistent and explicit cognition of the FEW nexus is still lacking, and a sophisticated methodological modeling framework is urgently required at various scales.

As such, we proposed a three-dimensional conceptual framework of the urban FEW nexus from the perspective of resource interdependency, resource provision and system integration. This framework is useful in steering the systematic modeling and integrative management of the complex nexus issues of urban systems with different perspectives. Finally, the future directions of urban nexus research are identified from four aspects, including systematic characterization, cross-region tele-connection mechanisms, co-decision model development, and governance transition.

Re-distributed manufacturing and the food-water-energy nexus: opportunities and challenges

Anton Johannes Veldhuis, Jane Glover, David Bradley, et al (2019). “Re-distributed manufacturing and the food-water-energy nexus: opportunities and challenges.” Production Planning & Control: The Management of Operations 30(7), 593-600. https://doi.org/10.1080/09537287.2018.1540055. [Open access].

Abstract: Addressing the intersection of two important emerging research areas, re-distributed manufacturing (RDM) and the food-energy-water (FEW) nexus, this work combines insights from engineering, business and policy perspectives and explores opportunities and challenges towards a more localized and sustainable food system.

Analysis centred on two specific food products, namely bread and tomato paste reveals that the feasibility and potential of RDM vary with the type of food product and the supply chain (SC) components. Physically, energy efficiency, water consumption and reduction of waste and carbon footprint may be affected by scale and location of production activities and potentials of industrial symbiosis.

From the business perspective, novel products, new markets and new business models are expected in order for food RDM to penetrate within the established food industry. Studies on policies, through the lens of public procurement, call for solid evidence of envisioned environmental, social and economic benefits of a more localized food system. An initial integrated framework is proposed for understanding and assessing food RDM and the FEW nexus.

Flights to image 3D geology in Illinois, Kentucky and Indiana

Read the full story from the Illinois State Geological Survey.

Scientists with the Illinois State Geological Survey are partnering with the U.S. Geological Survey and the Geological Surveys of Kentucky and Indiana to image geology using airborne geophysical technology as part of the USGS Earth Mapping Resource Initiative (Earth MRI).

A Methodological Framework for Developing More Just Footprints: The Contribution of Footprints to Environmental Policies and Justice

Vasconcellos Oliveira, R. (2019). “A Methodological Framework for Developing More Just Footprints: The Contribution of Footprints to Environmental Policies and Justice.” Science and Engineering Ethics. Online ahead of print. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11948-019-00100-8. [Open access]

Abstract: The rapid growth of human population and associated industrialisation creates strains on resources and climate. One way to understand the impact of human activity is to quantify the total environmental pressures by measuring the ‘footprint’. Footprints account for the total direct and/or indirect effects of a product or a consumption activity, which may be related to e.g. carbon, water or land use, and can be seen as a proxy for environmental responsibility. Footprints shape climate and resource debates, especially concerning environmental strategies.

However, in general, footprints hold a dichotomous producer–consumer perspective that is not unanimously accepted. In addition, the current footprinting system transmits a simplistic message about environmental responsibility that taints the justice debate and jeopardises the validity of policies based on them. Consequently, it is crucial to question who is (and should be) accountable for adverse environmental effects. It is also critical to investigate how the methodological characteristics of footprints shape and affect the efficacy of policies on climate and natural resources.

This article examines these challenges, focusing on negative justice and policy implications resulting from assigning environmental responsibility to a sole agent. The article proposes, and morally justifies, the development of a footprinting method that includes justice parameters in an attempt to render fair results that are more meaningful for environmental action. The second objective is to establish the potential of this new framework to promote environmental responsibility and justice while facilitating policymaking. The suggested justice elements aim at turning footprints into a concrete environmental policy instrument framed under the value of environmental fairness.