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The Lead

Company Vows Replacement Pipeline Will Be Safer

January 23, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press, Matthew Brown | News | Comments

A Wyoming company says it will replace a pipeline that broke and spilled oil into the Yellowstone River with a new line buried more deeply to protect against future accidents. The spill contaminated the water supply for 6,000 residents of Glendive, Montana.

Tool Plots Future of Solar-fuel Refineries

January 23, 2015 3:00 pm | by Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison | News | Comments

The process of converting the sun’s energy into liquid fuels requires a sophisticated,...

Two Sub-glacial Lakes Disappear Within Weeks

January 22, 2015 7:00 am | by The Ohio State Univ. | News | Comments

Researchers who are building the highest-resolution map of the Greenland Ice Sheet to date have...

Report Evaluates Solar Lanterns

January 21, 2015 7:00 am | by MIT, Lauren McKown | News | Comments

When a person lives on less than $2 a day— as some 2.7 billion people around the world do— there...

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Solar Plane Pioneers Plan Global Route

January 20, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press, Adam Schreck | News | Comments

The team behind a solar-powered aircraft that is attempting to fly around the world says the clean-energy plane will stop in India, China and the U.S. in a historic journey. The lightweight Solar Impulse 2, a larger version of a single-seat prototype that first flew five years ago, is aiming to become the first plane ever to circumnavigate the globe using only the power of the sun to drive its four propellers.

Image of the Week: Melting Glaciers Have Carbon Impact

January 20, 2015 9:05 am | by Florida State Univ. | News | Comments

As the Earth warms and glaciers all over the world begin to melt, researchers and public policy experts have focused largely on how all of that extra water will contribute to sea level rise. But another impact lurking in that inevitable scenario is carbon. More specifically, what happens to all of the organic carbon found in those glaciers when they melt?

New Maps Help Find Global Farmland

January 19, 2015 7:00 am | by International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis | News | Comments

Knowing where agricultural land is located is crucial for regional and global food security planning, and information on field size offers valuable insight into local economic conditions. Two new global maps provide a significant step forward in global cropland information on these two topics.

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Multiple Teams Agree: 2014 Warmest Year on Record

January 19, 2015 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Seth Borenstein | News | Comments

For the third time in a decade, the globe sizzled to the hottest year on record, federal scientists announced. Both the NOAA and NASA calculated that in 2014 the world had its hottest year in 135 years of record-keeping. Earlier, the Japanese weather agency and an independent group out of UC Berkeley also measured 2014 as the hottest on record.

Study Looks to Improve Fuel Cells for Emissions-free Cars

January 16, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Delaware | News | Comments

Hydrogen fuel cells may be the best option for powering zero-emission vehicles. But these fuel cells require an electrocatalyst— a platinum surface— to increase the reaction rate, and the cost of the precious metal makes it hard for hydrogen fuel cells to compete economically with the internal combustion engine.

Method Produces Hydrogen, Syngas Fuel Feedstock

January 16, 2015 7:00 am | by North Carolina State Univ. | News | Comments

A team of chemical engineering researchers has developed a technique that uses a new catalyst to convert methane and water into hydrogen and a fuel feedstock called syngas with the assistance of solar power. The catalytic material is more than three times more efficient at converting water into hydrogen gas than previous thermal water-splitting methods.

Today in Lab History: Dian Fossey

January 16, 2015 7:00 am | by Lily Barback, Associate Editor | News | Comments

Dian Fossey was an American zoologist, primatologist and anthropologist, born Jan. 16, 1932, in San Francisco, who undertook an extensive study of gorilla groups over a period of 18 years.

Renewable Resources Can Be Maxed Out

January 14, 2015 3:00 pm | by Michigan State Univ. | News | Comments

The days of assuming natural resources can be swapped in and out to solve shortages— corn for oil, soy for beef— may be over. An international group of scientists has demonstrated that many key resources have peaked in productivity, pointing to the sobering conclusion that "renewable" is not synonymous with "unlimited."

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Sea Level Estimates Are Wrong

January 14, 2015 3:00 pm | by Harvard Univ. | News | Comments

A study shows that previous estimates of global sea level rise from 1900-1990 had been over-estimated by as much as 30 percent. The report, however, confirms previous estimates of sea level change since 1990, suggesting that the rate of sea level change is increasing more quickly than previously believed.

California Introduces Strictest Pesticide Rules in U.S.

January 14, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press, Scott Smith | News | Comments

Farmers in California now must abide by the nation's strictest rules for a widely used pesticide under heightened regulations designed to protect farmworkers and people who live and work near the fields where it is used. The new regulations surpass standards required by the EPA.

Pollutants Found in Oil, Gas Wastewater

January 14, 2015 3:00 pm | by Duke Univ. | News | Comments

Scientists have discovered high levels of two potentially hazardous contaminants, ammonium and iodide, in wastewater being discharged or spilled into streams and rivers from oil and gas operations in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Levels of contamination were just as high in wastewater coming from conventional oil and gas wells as from hydraulically fractured shale gas wells.

Fossils Suggest Parasite Infections Linked to Climate Change

January 13, 2015 3:00 pm | by Univ. of Missouri | News | Comments

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Zinc Oxide, Aluminum Nitride Key to Tiny Energy Tech

January 13, 2015 3:00 pm | by American Institute of Physics | News | Comments

New research helps pave the way toward highly energy-efficient zinc oxide-based micro energy harvesting devices with applications in portable communications, healthcare and environmental monitoring and more. They discovered that inserting aluminum nitride insulating layers into the devices led to a significant improvement in performance.

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Image of the Week: Bloom Seen Around Island

January 13, 2015 7:00 am | by NASA | News | Comments

The Operational Land Imager on Landsat 8 captured this view of a phytoplankton bloom near Alaska’s Pribilof Islands on Sept. 22, 2014. The Pribilofs are surrounded by nutrient-rich waters in the Bering Sea. The milky green and light blue shading of the water indicates the presence of vast populations of microscopic phytoplankton— mostly coccolithophores, which have chalky calcite scales.

Environmental Concerns, Not Money, Inspire People to Save Energy

January 13, 2015 7:00 am | by UCLA | News | Comments

What would inspire you to cut your electricity use: finding out how much money you could save, or knowing how much cancer-causing air pollution you could eliminate? A multidisciplinary study has shown that eliminating pollution is the more powerful motivator.

California Farmers Decry Fish-favoring Water Policy

January 13, 2015 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Scott Smith | News | Comments

California farmers struggling with drought say a U.S. Supreme Court decision that keeps strict water restrictions in place to protect a tiny, threatened fish has forced them to leave thousands of acres unplanted. The justices rejected appeals from farmers in California's Central Valley and urban water districts who had challenged a plan to safeguard the three-inch-long Delta smelt.

Rivers on Ice Sheet Contribute to Rising Sea Levels

January 13, 2015 7:00 am | by UCLA | Videos | Comments

As the largest single chunk of melting snow and ice in the world, the massive ice sheet that covers about 80 percent of Greenland is recognized as the biggest potential contributor to rising sea levels, and the little-understood rivers and streams flowing on top of the ice sheet play a role in that contribution.

Estimate of ‘Social Cost’ of Climate Change Too Low

January 12, 2015 3:00 pm | by Stanford School of Engineering | News | Comments

The economic damage caused by a ton of CO2 emissions-often referred to as the "social cost” of carbon-could actually be six times higher than the value that the U.S. uses to guide current energy regulations, and possibly future mitigation policies.

Solar Material has Twin Charges on Molecule

January 12, 2015 3:00 pm | by Brookhaven National Laboratory | News | Comments

One challenge in improving the efficiency of solar cells is that some of the absorbed light energy is lost as heat. So, scientists have been looking to design materials that can convert more of that energy into useful electricity. Now, a team has paired up polymers that recover some of that lost energy by producing two electrical charge carriers per unit of light instead of the usual one.

GM to Release Affordable 200-mile e-Car in 2017

January 12, 2015 8:41 am | by Associated Press, Tom Krisher | News | Comments

General Motors plans to start selling an affordable electric car in 2017 that will be able to go 200 miles on a single charge. A concept version of the car is being unveiled today at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Pipeline Challenge Thrown Out

January 9, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press, Grant Schulte | News | Comments

Nebraska's highest court threw out a challenge today to a proposed route for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, even though a majority of judges agreed the landowners who sued should have won their case. The decision removes a major roadblock for the $7 billion cross-continental project Republicans have vowed to make a key part of their 2015 agenda in Congress.

MIT to Establish Lab for Sustainable Real Estate, Global Urbanization

January 9, 2015 7:00 am | by MIT | News | Comments

MIT has received one of the largest gifts in its history to establish a real estate entrepreneurship lab that will promote social responsibility among entrepreneurs and academics in the real estate profession worldwide, with a particular focus on China. The gift will fund fellowships, support research on sustainable real estate development and global urbanization and will make the lab’s curriculum available online.

Heat Pump Water Heaters Lower Power Bills

January 9, 2015 7:00 am | by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory | News | Comments

Thanks to an increasingly popular alternative to conventional electric water heaters— the heat pump water heater— homeowners are seeing lower energy bills. But, a new study challenges an earlier understanding that these heaters are efficient no matter how they’re installed. It turns out, using ducting for air intake and exhaust impacts both the appliance’s— and an entire home’s— energy use.

Prototype Plant Turns Waste into 500 Liters of Fuel a Day

January 9, 2015 7:00 am | by Investigación y Desarrollo | News | Comments

From waste generated in the processing of cereals, scientists in Mexico have produced bioenergy in the form of ethanol, and designed a prototype plant that generates 500 liters of bioethanol a day.

Five Considerations for New Gov’t Dietary Advice

January 8, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press, Mary Jalonick | News | Comments

You've heard it before: eat fewer calories, more fruits and more vegetables. Those recurring themes as well as some new advice about sugar, salt, meat and caffeine could be part of the government's upcoming dietary guidelines for healthy eating. Here are five things to watch for as the government begins writing the new guidelines.

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