July 31, 2014

7:05 PM | Novel Inductive Charging System for Cars Proposed
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Systems and Device Technology (IISB) have developed an inductive system for charging electric vehicles from the front end.
6:26 PM | Halloween in July! Wahoo?
By Andrea Thompson This story originally appeared at Climate Central.Folks across the eastern United States could be forgiven for thinking they’d pulled a Rip van Winkle and woken up in October on Wednesday morning. Temperatures dipped down overnight into the 60s, 50s and even 40s, setting record lows left and right.The chill in the air comes courtesy of yet another bout of cool Canadian air that dipped down over the area east of the Rockies earlier […]
5:12 PM | New Dyes Help Solar Cells Harvest More Light
Researchers have developed zinc porphyrin dyes that harvest light in both the visible and near-infrared parts of the spectrum.
4:15 PM | Simulation Model to Make Hydroelectric Plants More Efficient
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation IOSB in Ilmenau are developing information technology to make water power generation systems more efficient.
2:43 PM | Payment System Protects Privacy of EV Owners
A new electronic payment system created at A*STAR aims to protect the privacy of EV owners recharging their electric cars.
2:32 PM | Christians Mingle for Climate, Surf’s Up in the Arctic, the Empire Strikes Back (at Birds!)
By Jason Bittel You gotta have faith: It's no shocker that environmental groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council (which publishes OnEarth) would come out in support of the Obama administration’s new power plant rules (though they want the standards to be even tougher). But other faces in the crowd at the EPA’s public hearings this week might surprise you. More than two-dozen faith leaders, including evangelicals and conservative […]
8:07 AM | July linkfest
It's linkfest time again. All the links, in one handy post. First up — I've seen some remarkable scientific visualizations recently. For example, giant ocean vortices spiralling across the globe (shame about the rainbow colourbar though). Or the trillion-particle Dark Sky Simulation images we saw at SciPy. Or this wonderful (real, not simulated) video by the Perron Group at MIT: Staying with visuals, I highly recommend reading anything by Mike Bostock, especially if you're into web […]

July 30, 2014

10:45 PM | Keeping lithium contained: new design allows for high energy-density anode in Li-ion batteries
Lithium ion batteries – they’re everywhere, and their name has become mainstream enough that non-scientists know they’re in our laptops and electronics.  These types of batteries are so popular because lithium boasts a high energy density and they don’t lose charge … Continue reading →

Zheng, G., Lee, S., Liang, Z., Lee, H., Yan, K., Yao, H., Wang, H., Li, W., Chu, S. & Cui, Y. & (2014). Interconnected hollow carbon nanospheres for stable lithium metal anodes, Nature Nanotechnology, DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2014.152

6:30 PM | Scientists Discover New Damage from Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
A new discovery of two additional coral communities showing signs of damage from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill expands the impact footprint of the 2010 spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
5:11 PM | CASCADE Project to Help Airports Reduce Energy Use
Airports consume as much energy as small cities. The EU’s three-year CASCADE project aims to help airports reduce energy consumption and cut CO2emissions.
4:02 PM | Cool Burning Flames Could Lead to Better Engines
A team of international researchers has discovered a new type of cool burning flames that could lead to greener, more efficient combustion engines.
2:34 PM | Research Predicts Global Water Shortage by 2040
According to a new research, there might not be enough water to keep the current energy and power solutions going by 2040.
2:32 PM | Nightlights not Lions!, Three Cheers for Cheerios, Ugly Fruit Needs Love, Too
By Jason Bittel Stand up and be counted: All around the country, Americans are speaking their minds on the Environmental Protection Agency’s new power-plant pollution rules. Some say the rules go too far, such as the Alabama officials who argue that no one has the right to “take what God’s given a state” (he’s talking about coal). Others say the rules don’t go far enough, such as the retired coal miner from Kentucky who […]

July 29, 2014

8:18 PM | Silent but Deadly
By Miriam Wasser Down on the farm (well, on George Orwell’s Animal Farm, at least), the Seventh Commandment states: “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.” Allegories aside, farm animals aren’t equal in the real world, either—and that’s even true when it comes to flatulence, which, believe it or not, is a major contributor to climate change. Cows are by far the worst offenders, but today […]
7:14 PM | EIA: OPEC Earned $826 Billion In Oil Export Revenues in 2013
The EIA estimates that, excluding Iran, members of OPEC earned about $826 billion in net oil export revenues in 2013.
6:12 PM | Topological Insulators Could Power Memory Devices
A new phase of matter known as topological insulators, until recently known only for esoteric quantum-mechanical properties, might have a practical use in controlling magnetic memory and logic devices.
4:47 PM | EU to Stop Its Energy Dependence on Russia
The EU imports more than half of the energy it consumes and that can make it vulnerable to external energy suppliers such as Russia. To improve the situation, the European Commission presented a plan to reduce this dependence, which was discussed by Parliament’s industry committee last week.
4:09 PM | Fracking regulations go political
  If they weren’t already, fracking and fracking regulations are becoming more and more political.  Colorado is at the forefront of this debate due to the proximity of extraction operations and affluent communities such as Boulder, CO.  Several of these communities … Continue reading →
3:08 PM | Researchers Efficiently Convert Ethane to Ethanol
A new material, designed and patented by researchers at Berkeley Lab, converts ethane to ethanol with an efficiency that could cut natural-gas refining costs.
2:31 PM | Geckos Lost in Space, the EPA’s Climapalooza, Big Oil Takes on Candy Crush
By Jason Bittel Road trip, anyone?: This week hundreds of people—from hardcore environmentalists to local farmers (and yeah ... Big Coal, too)—will be heading to Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Denver, and Washington, D.C. for public hearings on the Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to limit pollution from power plants. The Natural Resources Defense Council (which publishes OnEarth), Sierra Club, and the National Wildlife Federation have speakers […]
12:26 PM | Graphics that repay careful study
The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward Tufte (2nd ed., Graphics Press, 2001) celebrates communication through data graphics. The book provides a vocabulary and practical theory for data graphics, and Tufte pulls no punches — he suggests why some graphics are better than others, and even condemns failed ones as lost opportunities. The book outlines empirical measures of graphical performance, and describes the pursuit of graphic-making as one of sequential […]

July 28, 2014

8:38 PM | High and Dry
By Sharman Apt Russell Nineteen sixty. I was 5 years old and talking politics with my best friend’s mom. No, I chattered, my mom had never voted for Barry Goldwater, former city councilman and now U.S. senator from Arizona. She just didn’t trust the man. Whoa! My best friend’s mom seemed to expand like a red balloon. Didn’t I know that the future of Phoenix, my hometown, depended on men like Barry Goldwater? Gulp. Well, no, I […]
7:20 PM | Bacteria Produce Unique Battery Electrode Material
A group of scientists at the Okayama University, Tokyo Institute of Technology and Kyoto University has shown that iron oxide nanoparticles produced by bacteria in groundwater has a potential to be used as anode material for lithium-ion batteries.
6:03 PM | Study: It Is Feasible to Power California With Renewables
A new Stanford study discovers that it is economically and technically feasible to convert California’s energy infrastructure to renewables like solar energy, wind and hydroelectricity.
4:45 PM | JRC Measures Smart Meter Deployment Across EU
According to the Joint Research Center (JRC), the EU in-house scientific service, over 70% of European consumers will have a smart meter for electricity by 2020.
3:08 PM | NAS Report Provides Lessons Learned from Fukushima Accident
The National Academy of Sciences has published a new congressionally mandated report entitled “Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety of U.S. Nuclear Plants.”
2:21 PM | When Icebergs Attack, Maggots in the Loo (Yup), the Problem with NYC’s Rat Problem
By Jason Bittel Daddy knows best: Longmont, Colorado, voted to ban fracking a year and a half ago, but a state district judge just struck down the town’s ban, saying it conflicts with state regulations (see "Hometown Heroine"). The highlight (lowlight?) of the story is undoubtedly the following quote from Judge D.D. Mallard’s ruling: “While the Court appreciates the Longmont citizens' sincerely-held beliefs about risks to their health and […]

July 25, 2014

9:19 PM | Weekend Reads: Virtual Reality Environmentalism, Climate Cowboys, Are Water Witchers for Real?
By Jason Bittel If a Tree Falls in a Virtual Forest…Imagine you’re a little piece of purple coral. Everything’s going swimmingly until the ocean begins to acidify and your reef starts dropping dead all around you. Then, all of a sudden, you watch yourself losing your purple hue … and then the darkness is closes in. Lucky for you, this is just a virtual reality experiment to see if “experiencing” an environmental […]
7:43 PM | 7/25/2014 This Week in Energy: Beyond Headlines
Here’s a bit of energy news that didn’t make it into our daily coverage during the past week. In this review, we collected some of less big, but nonetheless interesting news, of the week that went by, from the world of energy science and technology.
5:22 PM | NHL Releases 2014 Sustainability Report
The National Hockey League (NHL) this week released its 2014 NHL Sustainability Report, the first such report by a major sports league in North America.
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