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Northern Lights: Large-Scale Solar Power is Spreading Across the U.S.

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 08:52:00 EST

Once largely confined to the sunny Southwest, utility-scale solar power plants are now being built everywhere from Minnesota to Alabama to Maine. Aided by plunging costs and improving technologies, these facilities are expected to provide a big boost to U.S. solar energy production.(image)



Natural gas leaks from power plants, refineries, 100 times greater than thought

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 17:02:00 EST

Natural gas is meant to be a far lower carbon fuel than coal, writes Steve Horn. But a new study shows that methane leaks from gas power plants and oil refineries are 20-120 times higher than thought. And with methane a greenhouse gas almost 100 times stronger than CO2 over 20 years, the leaks are equivalent to about a tenth of the US's CO2 emissions.(image)



Wastewater should be recognized as a valuable resource, UN says on World Water Day

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 12:00:00 EST

In a world where the demand for water continues to grow and the resource is finite, a new United Nations report argues that wastewater, discarded into the environment every day, once treated, can help meet the needs for freshwater as well as for raw materials for energy and agriculture.(image)



A new, gel-like coating beefs up the performance of lithium-sulfur batteries

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 15:35:00 EST

Yale scientists have developed an ultra-thin coating material that has the potential to extend the life and improve the efficiency of lithium-sulfur batteries, one of the most promising areas of energy research today.In a study published online March 20 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers describe the new material — a dendrimer-graphene oxide composite film — which can be applied to any sulfur cathode. A cathode is the positive terminal on a battery.(image)



Carnegie Mellon University Launches Carbon Emissions Index

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 15:06:00 EST

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) today announced the creation of a new index that will measure carbon dioxide emissions from the U.S. electrical power generation sector. The Carnegie Mellon Power Sector Carbon Index will track the environmental performance of U.S. power producers and compare current emissions to historical data collected nationwide for more than two decades. A quarterly press release will inform interested parties of power sector carbon emissions performance trends.  In addition, CMU will provide an online resource for a wide variety of power sector emissions data and forecasts.(image)



Boulder scientist teams on study probing implications of ice sheet's demise

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 13:25:00 EST

Flying over the remote during research at the Barnes Ice Cap on Baffin Island in 2009, a Boulder scientist saw dark where there should have been white.Closer inspection revealed that what Gifford Miller spotted was the remnants of a 1963 geological camp that had been buried for decades by snow and ice. Long-abandoned tents and snowmobiles were being unveiled by melting of the ice cap, and that helped inspire a study that suggests a disturbing climate change signal.(image)



Chemists at FAU develop a method for utilising nitrogen oxides

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 09:19:00 EST

Chemists at FAU have developed a process in which nitrogen oxides generated during industrial processes can be used in the manufacture of colourants and medicines. Using the method, businesses will in future be able to combine the decontamination of exhaust fumes with the production of new substances.Nitrogen oxides are a major environmental pollutant. Nitrogen and oxygen compounds are primarily formed during combustion, for example in automobile engines and coal and gas power plants, but also through other thermal and chemical techniques employed by industry. In order to clean these waste gases, the methods of post-combustion capture or catalytic reduction are employed – both of which are relatively complex and are also associated with certain disadvantages. But nitrogen oxides are not just unwanted toxins. In fact, recent research has shown that they can be used in the chemical synthesis of high-value products.(image)