Researchers Develop Compostable Plastic Packaging From Olive Waste

Read the full story in Olive Oil Times.

Spanish researchers have produced a biodegradable and compostable plastic from olive-pit waste to be used in packaging products.

The Compost by My Couch: How (and Why) I Started an Odorless Bin at Home

Read the full story in the New York Times.

New York City has suspended its composting program because of the coronavirus. Here’s an alternative that’s easy, clean and good for the climate.

Geothermal Manufacturing Prize

Submission deadline: August 26, 2020.

The American-Made Geothermal Manufacturing Prize (Geothermal Prize) is designed to spur innovation and address manufacturing challenges fundamental to operating in harsh geothermal environments. This prize further supports the ability of the geothermal industry to reach the target of 60 GWe of geothermal capacity by 2050  as outlined in the recently released GeoVision study . 

As part of the American-Made Challenges series, the Geothermal Prize unites the world’s best-in-class research base with the unparalleled entrepreneurial support system of the American-Made Network. Consisting of pioneering maker spaces, dozens of energy incubators, universities, and 17 DOE National Laboratories, the Network is primed to create a sweeping portfolio of innovations to demonstrate the promise of additive manufacturing. 

Prize Stages

Competitors in the Ready!, Set!, Make!, and Geo! Contests participate in four escalating challenges. The contests provide a total of $4.65 million in incentives—$3.25 million in cash prizes, $1 million in vouchers, and $400,000 in field testing costs—to incentivize driving additively manufactured geothermal innovations from concept to prototype testing in two years through an accelerated schedule.

Ending the daily work commute may not cut energy usage as much as one might hope

Read the full story from the University of Sussex.

A mass move to working-from-home accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic might not be as beneficial to the planet as many hope, according to a new study.

Priority Open Recommendations: Environmental Protection Agency

Download the GAO document.

What GAO Found

In April 2019, GAO identified 17 priority recommendations for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Since then, EPA has implemented three of those recommendations by, among other things, taking actions to assess established timeframes for each step in the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) process and publish current information about chemicals being assessed.

In April 2020, GAO identified seven additional priority recommendations for EPA, bringing the total number to 21. These recommendations involve the following areas:

  • Assessing and controlling toxic chemicals.
  • Reducing pollution in the nation’s waters.
  • Ensuring cybersecurity at EPA.
  • Addressing data, funding, and cybersecurity issues for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure.
  • Managing climate change risks.

EPA’s continued attention to these issues could lead to significant improvements in government operations.

Why GAO Did This Study

Priority open recommendations are the GAO recommendations that warrant priority attention from heads of key departments or agencies because their implementation could save large amounts of money; improve congressional and/or executive branch decision-making on major issues; eliminate mismanagement, fraud, and abuse; or ensure that programs comply with laws and funds are legally spent, among other benefits. Since 2015 GAO has sent letters to selected agencies to highlight the importance of implementing such recommendations.

Philadelphia-area transit agency expects six-figure annual savings from 44 MW solar project

Read the full story in PV Magazine.

The transit agency expects to save “several hundred thousand dollars a year, on average” through its fixed-price contract for solar power. The agency’s sustainability program “is a platform not just for environmental improvements, but for financial improvements,” said an executive.

Local: A glimmer of hope for a post-pandemic world

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

If you squint just a little and tilt your head just so, you can begin to see the shimmer of silver linings coming out of this moment — a few reasons to be hopeful about our post-pandemic future.

That may seem a bold and reckless statement at a time when so many things still seem to be falling apart, if not downright broken, and while the daily toll of the virus continues to mount. We’re hardly out of the woods, but we’re inching inexorably forward.

Among the bright spots is the newfound appreciation of healthcare workers, schoolteachers, waste handlers, police, EMTs and other essential employees — not to mention the brave shopkeepers and restaurant workers whose establishments remain open to enable us to buy food, medicine, liquor and other vital goods.

There are also glimmers of hope about the world we’ll be stepping into in the not-too-distant future. In particular, there’s the rebirth of “local.”

Local what, exactly? Well, food, manufacturing and retail, and probably several other things.

Morgan Stanley Announces $110 Million Fund Focused on Climate Solutions

Read the full story in Environment + Energy Leader.

Alternative Investment Partners Private Markets (AIP Private Markets), part of Morgan Stanley Investment Management, today announced it has built upon its $800 million impact investing platform by closing on a fund which will focus on climate solutions. The $110 million fund seeks to address critical climate issues including global warming and pollution, depleting resources and eco-diversity. This globally diversified private markets offering was launched in a first of its kind collaboration with the US congregations of Dominican Sisters to find investment solutions which focus on climate change and aiding marginalized communities that are disproportionately impacted by global warming.

In ocean biodiversity hotspots, microplastics come with the currents

Read the full story at Mongabay.

A microplastic is a tiny speck of a thing. At its largest, it’s about the size of a linseed, but smaller microplastics can’t be seen with the naked eye. Minuscule as they are, huge quantities of these particles are gushing into the ocean, and they’re almost certainly causing damage to delicate marine ecosystems, experts say.

A new report published in Science reveals the roving trajectory of microplastics after they enter the ocean. While some microplastics, like flecks of polystyrene, may float on the surface, most microplastics accrue algae and minerals that cause them to sink to the seafloor. From there, microplastics are picked up by deep-sea currents, which deposit them in areas of high sediment, creating what the study’s authors call “microplastic hotspots.”

Webinar: Get Smart (Labs): Results from the Better Buildings Smart Labs Accelerator

Tue, May 12, 2020 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM CDT
Register here.

For the past three years, 18 Better Buildings partners have been working through the Smart Labs Accelerator to reduce their energy intensity in their laboratory buildings through the development of a Smart Labs Program. A Smart Labs Program promotes safe and efficient world-class science by: reducing ventilation to the lowest safe levels (during occupied and unoccupied times), implementing high ventilation effectiveness design, minimizing fan energy, and installing smart building controls. This webinar will highlight best practices for developing a Smart Labs Program and feature results from Accelerator participants.