Focus: Energy & the Environment

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Newswise: A Sea Change for Plastic Pollution: New Material Biodegrades in Ocean Water
20-Sep-2022 2:25 PM EDT
A Sea Change for Plastic Pollution: New Material Biodegrades in Ocean Water
University of California San Diego

Seeking solutions to counteract a rapid rise in plastic trash, scientists at UC San Diego have developed biodegradable material that is designed to replace conventionally used plastic. In a new study, an interdisciplinary team of researchers has shown that the material biodegrades in seawater.

Released: 7-Jul-2022 3:05 PM EDT
MSU Researchers Create Method for Breaking Down Plant Materials for Earth-Friendly Energy
Michigan State University

With energy costs rising, and the rapidly emerging effects of burning fossil fuels on the global climate, the need has never been greater for researchers to find paths to products and fuels that are truly renewable.

Newswise: Creating Sustainable Material from Waste
Released: 20-Jan-2022 11:45 AM EST
Creating Sustainable Material from Waste
University of Delaware

A team of University of Delaware researchers looking for ways to upcycle biomass into new products has demonstrated that it is possible to efficiently turn industrially processed lignin into high-performance plastics, such as bio-based 3D-printing resins, and valuable chemicals. An economic and life-cycle analysis reveals the approach can be competitive with similar petroleum-based products, too.

Newswise: Flowering plants: an evolution revolution
Released: 17-Nov-2021 4:05 AM EST
Flowering plants: an evolution revolution
University of Bristol

Researchers at the University of Bristol have identified the huge impact of flowering plants on the evolution of life on Earth.

Released: 25-Aug-2021 5:40 PM EDT
Volcanic eruptions may have spurred first ‘whiffs’ of oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere
University of Washington

A new analysis of 2.5-billion-year-old rocks from Australia finds that volcanic eruptions may have stimulated population surges of marine microorganisms, creating the first puffs of oxygen into the atmosphere. This would change existing stories of Earth’s early atmosphere, which assumed that most changes in the early atmosphere were controlled by geologic or chemical processes.

Released: 2-Aug-2021 5:55 PM EDT
Waste to Energy: Biofuel from Kelp Harvesting and Fish
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Using existing fish processing plants, kelp and fish waste can be converted to a diesel-like fuel to power generators or fishing boats in remote, coastal Alaska.

Released: 16-Jul-2021 2:20 PM EDT
Wildfire Smoke Exposure Linked to Increased Risk of Contracting COVID-19
Desert Research Institute (DRI)

Wildfire smoke may greatly increase susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, according to new research from the Center for Genomic Medicine at the Desert Research Institute (DRI), Washoe County Health District (WCHD), and Renown Health (Renown) in Reno, Nev.

Released: 28-May-2021 1:10 PM EDT
Plastic in Galapagos seawater, beaches and animals
University of Exeter

Plastic pollution has been found in seawater, on beaches and inside marine animals at the Galapagos Islands.

Released: 28-Apr-2021 2:00 PM EDT
Spring forest flowers likely key to bumble bee survival, Illinois study finds
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

For more than a decade, ecologists have been warning of a downward trend in bumble bee populations across North America, with habitat destruction a primary culprit in those losses. While efforts to preserve wild bees in the Midwest often focus on restoring native flowers to prairies, a new Illinois-based study finds evidence of a steady decline in the availability of springtime flowers in wooded landscapes.

Released: 19-Apr-2021 2:15 PM EDT
Microplastics and human health: FSU researchers find exposure to microplastics may alter cellular function
Florida State University

Pollution from miniscule pieces of plastic, or microplastics, have been a growing concern for scientists, public health advocates and environmentalists as these nondegradable items have increasingly made their way into waterways and even the air we breathe. Now, scientists are showing that they might be altering cellular function.

Released: 16-Mar-2021 4:30 PM EDT
FSU researchers discover how 'cryptic species' respond differently to coral bleaching
Florida State University

Certain brightly colored coral species dotting the seafloor may appear indistinguishable to many divers and snorkelers, but Florida State University researchers have found that these genetically diverse marine invertebrates vary in their response to ocean warming, a finding that has implications for the long-term health of coral reefs.

Released: 13-Oct-2020 8:30 AM EDT
Study First to Tally Biomass from Oceanic Plastic Debris Using Visualization Method
Florida Atlantic University

Scientists examined cell abundances, size, cellular carbon mass, and how photosynthetic cells differ on polymeric and glass substrates over time, exploring nanoparticle generation from plastic like polystyrene and how this might disrupt microalgae. Conservative estimates suggest that about 1 percent of microbial cells in the ocean surface microlayer inhabit plastic debris globally. This mass of cells would not exist without plastic debris in the ocean, and thus, represents a disruption of the proportions of native flora in that habitat.

Released: 15-Sep-2020 8:40 AM EDT
Ocean Algae Get “Coup de Grace” from Viruses
Rutgers University-New Brunswick

Scientists have long believed that ocean viruses always quickly kill algae, but Rutgers-led research shows they live in harmony with algae and viruses provide a “coup de grace” only when blooms of algae are already stressed and dying. The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, will likely change how scientists view viral infections of algae, also known as phytoplankton – especially the impact of viruses on ecosystem processes like algal bloom formation (and decline) and the cycling of carbon and other chemicals on Earth.

Released: 11-Jun-2020 4:05 PM EDT
PPPL ramps up activities for diagnostics for ITER fusion experiment
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

The U.S. Department of Laboratory's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory will lead the design and construction of several diagnostics for ITER, the international fusion experiment. At the same time, engineers are completing design work on a microwave reflectometer diagnostic called a low field side reflectometer.

Released: 15-Aug-2008 8:00 AM EDT
Algae: Biofuel of the Future?
University of Virginia

Algae are tiny biological factories that use photosynthesis to transform carbon dioxide and sunlight into energy so efficiently that they can double their weight several times a day, producing oil in the process "” 30 times more oil per acre than soybeans, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Like soybean oil, the algae oil can be burned directly in diesel engines or further refined into biodiesel.

Released: 15-Jan-2008 8:00 AM EST
GM and Renewable Energy Company Coskata Partner on Biofuel Research
Oklahoma State University, Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

Biology based renewable energy company Coskata Inc. and automotive giant General Motors announced their cooperative plans to reduce fossil fuel consumption this past weekend, thanks in part to Coskata's "next generation ethanol" process based on research and technology developed by the OSU Biofuels Team and licensed exclusively to Coskata.

Released: 28-Nov-2007 8:00 AM EST
Improving Fuel Cell Durability Starts with Failures
Georgia Institute of Technology, Research Communications

Researchers in the Georgia Tech Research Institute's (GTRI) Center for Innovative Fuel Cell and Battery Technologies believe that understanding how and why fuel cells fail is the key to both reducing cost and improving durability. The problems they are addressing include chemical attack of the membrane, carbon corrosion and platinum instability.

Released: 15-Nov-2007 8:00 AM EST
Inaugural Green500 List: Encouraging Sustainable Supercomputing
Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech released the inaugural Green500 List ( this morning (Nov. 15, 2007) at the Supercomputing 2007 (SC|07) conference in Reno.

Released: 26-Oct-2007 8:00 AM EDT
Youtube Video ‘Planet Bob’ Uses Humor to Focus on Biodiversity
Arizona State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Planet Bob," a joint video production from Arizona State University's International Institute for Species Exploration and Media Alchemy Inc., uses live action, state-of-the-art animation, and the vocal talents of venerable TV host Hugh Downs and others, to present the mysterious, exciting "“ and surprisingly funny "“ side of taxonomy.

Released: 16-Oct-2007 8:00 AM EDT
Energy Partnership Aimed at Greening Greater Washington D.C.
Virginia Tech

The "Energy Efficiency Partnership of Greater Washington" will tackle global warming by retrofitting existing buildings with energy efficiency products designed to decrease energy use and significantly cut carbon emissions.