New grant aims to reduce plastic taken from fields to landfills

Read the full story from Washington State University.

Washington State University is leading a new project that aims to advance soil-biodegradable mulches and develop innovative methods for recycling the plastic. The projects is funded by a $8 million, four-year Specialty Crop Research Initiative grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

World’s largest compressed air energy storage project goes online in China

Read the full story at pv magazine.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences has switched on a 100 MW compressed air energy storage system in China’s Hebei province. The facility can store more than 132 million kWh of electricity per year.

Social media engagement increases government action, reduces pollution: study

Read the full story from The Hill.

Citizen engagement through social media leads to a significant improvement in government response and a decrease in water and air pollution, a new study has found

Why 6 flooded EVs burst into flames after Hurricane Ian

Read the full story at E&E News.

In the days after Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida, firefighters near Naples put out six blazes in electric vehicles that had been submerged in seawater.

It was a first. The North Collier Fire Control & Rescue District had never before dealt with an EV fire. The hurricane’s storm surge flooded thousands of vehicles with salt water, and the surprising fires added a challenge to a fire department that was already overwhelmed by search and rescue operations in the wake of the deadly storm.

The fires also put a political target on electric vehicles.

First commercial-scale sand battery goes online in Finland

Read the full story at Smart Energy International.

The first commercial-scale solution for sand battery energy storage has been built as part of Vatajankoski Oy’s district heating network. It is touted by Fingrid as the world’s first sand battery built for commercial use, and is involved in the Finnish TSO’s balancing power market.

Ammonia may unlock secrets to cleaner, greener energy

Read the full story from Johns Hopkins University.

Does the secret to cleaner energy lie in a common household cleaner?

With its unmistakable smell and astringent nature, ammonia is used to combat household grime, from greasy stovetops to soap-scummed bathroom tiles. Now, a Johns Hopkins chemical and materials engineer thinks it may also hold the key to cleaner, more sustainable energy.

Michael Tsapatsis, the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of nanomaterials with appointments in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, is leading a team that is investigating how to efficiently manufacture ammonia and its potential uses in creating clean fuel technologies.

The three-year, $4.2 million project is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and is part of its $540 million overall initiative aimed at supporting research and developing new technology to reduce carbon emissions and advance clean energy. Ammonia has potential as a liquid storage medium as it does not produce carbon dioxide when burned.

New USGS diagram re-envisions how Earth’s most precious commodity cycles the planet

Starting today, educators around the nation will have a more accurate and more comprehensive tool to explain the Earth’s water cycle with the unveiling of the new U.S. Geological Survey water cycle diagram.

The revised version replaces one used by hundreds of thousands of educators and students internationally every year since 2000. So why the new water cycle? This depiction brings humans into the picture, showing the water cycle as a complex interplay of small, interconnected cycles that people interact with and influence, rather than one big circle.

“So much about the water cycle is influenced by our actions, and it’s important that we clearly see the role that each of us can play in sustainable water use amid a changing climate,” said Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Tanya Trujillo. “The water crisis is one of the most important challenges we face today, and it is time we recognize the bigger picture of water availability.”

“This updated water cycle diagram will set a new international standard for how we visualize and communicate water’s complex journey on Earth, with the potential to better inform our next generation of scientists, natural resource managers and policymakers as they tackle the increasing challenge of sustainable water-resource management.”

USGS Director David Applegate

USGS experts consulted with more than 100 educators and more than 30 hydrologic experts to develop the new diagram. The vast amounts of water data that USGS has collected in recent decades has informed a nuanced perspective of the water cycle, demonstrating how both its human and natural components are interconnected. Where the existing water cycle diagram depicted only the natural aspects of the cycle, the new version depicts how Earth’s water moves and is stored, both naturally and because of human actions.

Not only does the new diagram illustrate a more comprehensive view of the water cycle, it draws on principles of information design to focus attention on the water as it moves through the natural and built environment. It shows how multiple ecosystems – including a coastal plain, dry basin, wet basin and agricultural basin – are connected across watersheds and at continental scales.

The new diagram will initially be available in both English and Spanish, with the expectation it will be translated into many other languages by end users, as was the previous version.

To view or download the new water cycle diagram, visit the USGS website..

Driving on plastic, UH partners on sustainable road paving project

Read the full story from the University of Hawaiʻi.

A new sustainable road paving initiative that will keep nearly 200,000 plastic bottles out of the landfill is becoming a reality thanks to a new partnership involving the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

The Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation (HDOT) is leading the project to combine recycled plastics with an asphalt mix to form a sustainable road paving material. Over the next 18 months, UH Mānoa’s College of Engineering is one of the institutions that will evaluate the performance of the plastic modified asphalt and the potential of the material to release microplastics into its surroundings.

Database tracks agricultural phosphorus use world-wide

Read the full story from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.

Researchers have released a study quantifying cropland phosphorus budgets around the world, which will help in identifying nutrient management gaps in different regions in food production and consumption systems. This new database will help countries and regions to evaluate their performances in addressing phosphorus pollution and scarcity challenges, and guide actions towards a more sustainable future.

Computer games may be a key to ecological learning, study says

Read the full story from Penn State University.

Computer games are an effective way to teach ecological issues and build pro-environment policy support, according to published research by an interdisciplinary group of Penn State scholars.