Day: May 21, 2020

After Coronavirus, Office Workers Might Face Unexpected Health Threats

Read the full story in the New York Times. See also ISTC’s Industrial Water Treatment Program’s guidance and the University of Illinois News Bureau’s interview with IWT chemist Jeremy Overmann about the issue.

Stagnant plumbing systems in emptied commercial buildings could put returning employees at risk of Legionnaires’ and other illnesses.

Using big data to design gas separation membranes, reduce CO2

Read the full story from the Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Researchers have developed a method that combines big data and machine learning to selectively design gas-filtering polymer membranes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Their study is the first to apply an experimentally validated machine learning method to rapidly design and develop advanced gas separation membranes.

Emissions of several ozone-depleting chemicals are larger than expected

Read the full story at

In 2016, scientists at MIT and elsewhere observed the first signs of healing in the Antarctic ozone layer. This environmental milestone was the result of decades of concerted effort by nearly every country in the world, which collectively signed on to the Montreal Protocol. These countries pledged to protect the ozone layer by phasing out production of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons, which are also potent greenhouse gases.

While the ozone layer is on a recovery path, scientists have found unexpectedly high emissions of CFC-11 and CFC-12, raising the possibility of production of the banned chemicals that could be in violation of the landmark global treaty. Emissions of CFC-11 even showed an uptick around 2013, which has been traced mainly to a source in eastern China. New data suggest that China has now tamped down on illegal production of the chemical, but emissions of CFC-11 and 12 emission are still larger than expected.

Reopening workplaces whilst keeping your workforce safe

Read the full post at JD Supra.

Many businesses are planning how to operate under the new measures in the roadmap for reopening announced by the government on Monday 11 May. Employers will need to strike a balance between the desire to restart the economy, and the very real and new risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Employers should bear in mind their obligations under health and safety law, which continue to apply in these new circumstances.

One Person’s Trash Is the Biofuel Industry’s Treasure

Read the full story at Real Clear Energy.

Advanced biofuel companies have partnered with other parties to develop a two-step process to produce new types of advanced cellulosic biofuels. To support production of these new biofuels, processing facilities built next to landfills or trash sites breakdown specific types of garbage, paper, cardboard and other municipal solid waste to produce a liquid biofuel feedstock. This bio-intermediate, can then be sent to another facility for co-processing into renewable transportation fuels alongside petroleum to create a blended, advanced and renewable fuel.

EPA’s Updated Small Manufacturer Definition Will Apply To CDR Reporting Period Beginning June 1

Read the full story at BRAG Biobased Products Blog.

‘We have to do better’: Illinois startup seeks to clean up wastewater treatment

Read the full post at Centered.

Like many people, I’ve been thinking more about contaminants in water since the Flint, Michigan, crisis a few years ago. I’ve learned an awful lot about the problem, but a few days ago when I spoke to Katie Kollhoff, CEO of Illinois-based NUMiX Materials, she introduced me to a water contamination problem I didn’t know much about: toxic heavy metals in industrial manufacturing wastewater.

Dunkin’ Donuts Says All of its Restaurants Have Transitioned from Foam to Paper Cups

Read the full story at Environment + Energy Leader.

Dunkin’ Donuts has announced that 100% of its restaurants globally have transitioned from polystyrene foam cups to paper cups, meeting the timetable established by the brand two years ago. In Dunkin’ US restaurants, the foam cups have been replaced by double-walled paper cups. The chain reports that it is also on track to fully transition to new, recyclable hot coffee cup lids in all of its US restaurants by the end of this summer.

DataONE: a brief overview

Read the full post at Inside Science Resources.

DataONE (Data Observation Network for Earth) is a searchable repository of environmental and climate data.  Provided one has the necessary software to open the files used to create the data, a researcher can access and use the data collected by another for their own research project.   DataONE respectfully asks that if a researcher uses data stored in DataONE for their research, they cite DataONE and the original collector of the data in publication. For a more in-depth description and history of DataONE, the author recommends reading DataONE: Data Observation Network for Earth- Preserving Data and Enabling Innovation in the Biological and Environmental Sciences by Michener et al., published in D-Lib Magazine (2011, 17:1/2.) Available at

The startups saving the world from concrete

Read the full story at Built In.

Concrete has a massive carbon footprint, but its future doesn’t have to be set in stone.

%d bloggers like this: