Female scientists focus on a secret weapon to fight climate change: Moms

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

A new group of parent scientists is launching Science Moms, a $10 million educational campaign to engage other mothers

A Shifting Focus on Climate Change

Read the full story at Waste360.

I recently attended an ESG conference for investors.  What an eye-opener! Most of the attendees were from the U.S, with a few from Canada and Europe.  During the first session of the morning, someone asked, perhaps rhetorically, why many Americans do not seem to be interested in climate change. It was a provocative start to the day; and the questioner had a valid point. Based on questions asked throughout the remainder of the conference, attendees seemed more interested in financial projections and performance than in the implications of climate change.

This is not the case everywhere. In fact, there are valid reasons why European countries, in particular, are more intently focused on climate change than we are in the U.S. Importantly, it is also clear that awareness and attention on climate action in the U.S. is increasing.  So – let’s explore the differences – and why attitudes are shifting related to climate change in the U.S.

Study: Batteries could bolster renewables in Iowa, but likely not without help

Read the full story from Energy News Network.

An assessment of the potential of storage in the state, a leader in wind energy, also identified barriers to its expansion.

Net-Zero 1 Project

Read the full press release from Gevo, Inc.

Gevo, Inc. (“Gevo”) (NASDAQ: GEVO), announces the concept of Net-Zero Projects for the production of energy dense liquid hydrocarbons using renewable energy and Gevo’s proprietary technology. The concept of a Net-Zero Project is to convert renewable energy (photosynthetic, wind, renewable natural gas, biogas) from a variety of sources into energy dense liquid hydrocarbons, that when burned in traditional engines, have the potential to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across the whole lifecycle of the liquid fuel: from the way carbon is captured from the atmosphere, processed to make liquid fuel products, and including the end use (burning as a fuel for cars, planes, trucks, and ships). Gevo announces that its project currently planned to be constructed at Lake Preston, South Dakota will be the first Net-Zero Project and will be named “Net-Zero 1.” Gevo expects that Net-Zero 1 would have the capability to produce liquid hydrocarbons that when burned have a “net-zero” greenhouse gas footprint.

Net-Zero 1 is currently expected to have a capacity of 45MGPY of hydrocarbons (for gasoline and jet fuel, based on current take-or-pay contracts), to produce more than 350,000,000 pounds per year of high protein feed products for use in the food chain, to produce enough renewable natural gas to be self-sufficient for the production process needs, and also to generate renewable electricity with a combined heat and power system. Net-Zero 1 is also expected to utilize wind energy.

EPA Publishes 2019 Annual Toxics Release Inventory Report and Analysis for the Great Lakes Region

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released its 2019 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) National Analysis, which shows that EPA and companies that manage chemicals continue to make progress in preventing pollution. The report shows that between 2018 and 2019 total releases of TRI chemicals decreased by 9 percent.

For the first time in five years, industrial and federal facilities reported an increased number of new source reduction activities that aim to reduce or eliminate the amount of chemical-containing waste facilities create. Facilities also avoided releasing 89 percent of the chemical-containing waste they created and managed during 2019 into the environment by using preferred practices such as recycling, treatment, and energy recovery.

Chemical releases in Region 5 have decreased by almost 400 million pounds (46 percent) since 2007. Releases from the electric utilities, primary metals and hazardous waste sectors decreased the most, together decreasing their releases by 374 million pounds. During this time, releases of TRI chemicals to air, water, land, and transfers off site for disposal all decreased. Since 2018, releases decreased by 49.2 million pounds (10 percent). For 2019, 7 percent of facilities in Region 5 reported implementing new source reduction activities. Source reduction reporting rates in the region were among the highest in the computers/electronic products manufacturing sector, in which 23 percent of facilities reported source reduction activities.

The 2019 TRI National Analysis released today reflects TRI chemical waste management activities, including releases, that occurred during calendar year 2019 and therefore does not indicate any potential impacts of the COVID-19 public health emergency that began in the United States in early 2020.

A new Spanish TRI website, as well as a Spanish version of the 2019 Analysis, will be available by the end of January. Spanish-speaking communities across the United States will be able to use this resource to learn about TRI chemical releases in their communities—expanding their access to environmental information and making TRI data more easily accessible.


Thanks to the passage of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 which helped create EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory program, Americans now have greater awareness of how chemicals are being managed in their communities. Today, nearly 22,000 facilities report annually on the use and quantities of more than 760 chemicals they release to the environment or otherwise manage as waste to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) program. EPA, states, and tribes receive TRI data from facilities in industry sectors such as manufacturing, mining, electric utilities, and commercial hazardous waste management. The Pollution Prevention Act also requires facilities to submit information on pollution prevention and other waste management activities of TRI chemicals.

Information on facility efforts to reduce TRI chemical releases is available at www.epa.gov/tri/p2

New process more efficiently recycles excess CO2 into fuel, study finds

Read the full story from the University of Illinois.

For years, researchers have worked to repurpose excess atmospheric carbon dioxide into new chemicals, fuels and other products traditionally made from hydrocarbons harvested from fossil fuels. The recent push to mitigate the climactic effects of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has chemists on their toes to find the most efficient means possible. A new study introduces an electrochemical reaction, enhanced by polymers, to improve CO2-to-ethylene conversion efficiency over previous attempts.  

The results of the study led by University of Illinois Urbana Champaign chemistry professor Andrew Gewirth and graduate student Xinyi (Stephanie) Chen are published in the journal Nature Catalysis.

Orange is the new ‘block’

Read the full story from Washington University in St. Louis.

Photosynthetic organisms tap light for fuel, but sometimes there’s too much of a good thing.

New research from Washington University in St. Louis reveals the core structure of the light-harvesting antenna of cyanobacteria or blue-green algae — including key features that both collect energy and block excess light absorption. The study, published Jan. 6 in Science Advances, yields insights relevant to future energy applications.

Digital tech helps farmers make money with carbon credits

Read the full story at Future Farming.

In order to understand how digital technology will help farmers earn money from sequestering carbon in the soil, we take a look at two new projects in North America.

Guittard installs solar panels at California facility

Read the full story at Candy Industry.

Solar panel system to offset 50 percent of power demand for Fairfield facility.

Enablers and Barriers for Creating a Marketplace for Construction and Demolition Waste: A Systematic Literature Review

Caldera S, Ryley T, Zatyko N. (2020).. “Enablers and Barriers for Creating a Marketplace for Construction and Demolition Waste: A Systematic Literature Review.” Sustainability. 12(23), 9931. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12239931

Abstract: Rapid population growth and urbanization have led to an increase in Construction and Demolition (C&D) waste, prompting government and industry bodies to develop better waste management practices. Waste trading has emerged as a targeted intervention to divert waste from landfill sites and create a second life for waste material. This paper examines key barriers and enablers influencing the creation of a marketplace for waste trading. A systematic literature review was undertaken to examine global efforts in creating a marketplace for C&D waste. A framework on enablers and barriers for developing a marketplace for C&D waste emerged from the review, based on market-based, operational, and governance factors. References demonstrated that markets for materials such as glass and metals have already been established, but there are increasing marketplace opportunities for other recycled materials. Technology-based market applications are emerging as targeted interventions to facilitate online trading, which will provide a more accessible and user-friendly marketplace for sellers and buyers. Further research should test the complex interactions between people and technology associated with online waste trading platforms, as well as help develop the business case for a C&D waste marketplace.