Researchers infuse bacteria with silver to improve power efficiency in fuel cells

Read the full story from the University of California – Los Angeles.

A team of engineers and chemists has taken a major step forward in the development of microbial fuel cells — a technology that utilizes natural bacteria to extract electrons from organic matter in wastewater to generate electrical currents.

‘Driving’ innovation to help eliminate plastic waste

Read the full story from the University of Missouri.

University of Missouri engineers are working with Dow and the Missouri Department of Transportation to test the use of plastic waste in road pavement mixtures.

Illinois researchers’ onboard CO2 capture tank could decarbonize long-range vehicles

Read the full story at Centered.

Public discussions about transportation electrification often center on cars, trucks, and buses. Little attention tends to go toward electrifying cargo and tanker ships, which account for about 3% of global carbon dioxide emissions. Northwestern University researchers developed a patent-pending onboard carbon capture technology they say works for long-range vehicles like tanker ships, while also showing potential advantages for short-range vehicles. 

New renewable energy source discovered in bacteria

Read the full story from Cornell University.

Cornell bioengineer Buz Barstow, Ph.D. ’09, is trying to solve a big problem: How to build a low-cost, environmentally friendly and large-scale system for storing and retrieving energy from renewable sources such as wind and solar. Currently, there are no sustainable methods for storing green energy, as batteries are environmentally toxic.

The answer may come in a small package; a bacteria called Shewanella oneidensis. The microbe takes electrons into its metabolism and uses the energy to make essential precursors for ‘fixing’ carbon, which occurs when plants or organisms take carbon from CO2 and add it to an organic molecule, usually a sugar. Barstow is working towards engineering a new bacteria that goes a step further by using those precursor molecules to make organic molecules, such as biofuels.

A new study, “Identification of a Pathway for Electron Uptake in Shewanella oneidensis,” published Aug. 11 in Communications Biology, describes for the first time a mechanism in Shewanella that allows the microbe to take energy into its system for use in its metabolism.

Twelve and LanzaTech partner to produce the world’s first polypropylene from CO2

Read the company news release.

Carbon transformation company Twelve and biotechnology company LanzaTech have partnered to transform CO2 emissions into polypropylene, a key polymer used for medical devices including syringes and IV bags, as well as for large-scale applications in automotive, furniture, textiles and other everyday products.

Twelve’s carbon transformation technology converts CO2 into materials that are traditionally made from fossil fuels. The company helps brands eliminate emissions by replacing the petrochemicals in their products and supply chains with CO2Made® carbon negative chemicals and materials, as well as carbon neutral fuels.

LanzaTech’s carbon recycling Pollution To Products™ technology uses nature-based solutions to produce ethanol and other materials from waste carbon sources. The partnership will bring together the two platform technologies to enable additional product development from CO2 streams, representing just one of many pathways to scale carbon transformation solutions.

The geothermal option — an opportunity not to be missed

Read the full story at The Hill.

Many U.S. presidents, congressional and state leaders — and an increasing number of businesses, large and small — are emphasizing that our energy system must reduce carbon emissions and use more sustainable resources. They also support fixing our infrastructure. Repairing bridges and roads and deploying renewable domestic wind and solar energy systems as substitutes for coal- and gas-fired electricity generation will have complementary effects if done correctly. These changes will lower our carbon emissions, provide good job opportunities and make us more competitive. But repairing bridges and roads and increasing solar and wind energy are not enough to achieve the critical improvements that we need. We need a comprehensive plan to transform our energy supply system to dramatically lower our carbon footprint and improve the vitality and livability of our communities and cities. Using geothermal energy for heating offers a solution to both goals.  

10 Years of Innovative Stormwater Solutions: The Campus RainWorks Challenge Brings the Next Generation of Environmentalists to the Table

Read the full story from U.S. EPA.

In 2012, EPA’s Office of Water began the Campus RainWorks Challenge, a green infrastructure design competition open to undergraduate and graduate students at colleges and universities in the United States and its territories. The challenge requires multidisciplinary student teams specializing in engineering, landscape architecture, life sciences, and other disciplines to identify a stormwater management problem on campus or at a local elementary or high school. Student teams work with a faculty advisor to help design green infrastructure solutions. Students can compete in either of the challenge’s two competition categories, demonstration projects or master plan. Demonstration projects focus on site specific applications for green infrastructure. Master plan entries apply green infrastructure across a broader area of campus.

Since the inception of this challenge, more than 700 teams from 272 academic institutions across 48 states and Puerto Rico have participated. The challenge helps EPA engage the next generation of environmental professionals and showcases the environmental, economic, and social benefits of green infrastructure practices.

Open access to data is critical in a democracy

Read the full story from the Centre for International Governance Innovation.

Corporations are under no obligation to make their archives accessible, unless legislation compels them.

Royal Society of Chemistry launches open access journal Energy Advances

Read the full story from the RSC.

Our new Gold Open Access journal Energy Advances focuses on energy science, and in particular the interdisciplinarity required for exciting breakthroughs in the field.

Energy Advances welcomes research from any related discipline including materials science, engineering, technology, biosciences and chemistry. Our aim is for it to embrace exciting energy science research – particularly at the boundaries where disciplines cross, and where communities collaborate to inspire new thinking.

Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe – Safer Degreasing Products

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The job is to repair, and tune cars and trucks. Keeping these vehicles running requires the use of an engine degreaser or brake cleaner to remove grease and grime so the mechanics can identify issues and make repairs. Unfortunately, most brake cleaners contain chemicals that are harmful to human health and the environment, and identifying economical safer products within the local supply chain is challenging.

These sites tested various blends of acetone, heptane, hydrocarbons as replacements for more hazardous blends containing xylene, toluene, PERC, TCE and methanol. The safer products were sourced from local Auto Value, Napa and O’Reilly Auto Parts stores. After identifying a working product, the auto shops were given a case of the product to continue testing it to ensure that it met cleaning expectations.