Daily Archives: January 16, 2013

Global Mercury Assessment 2013: Sources, Emissions, Releases, and Environmental Transport

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This update to the Global Mercury Assessment provides the most recent information available for the worldwide emissions, releases, and transport of mercury in atmospheric and aquatic environments.

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Posted by on January 16, 2013 in Mercury, Publications


Turning forest waste into biochar

Read the full post at Arctic News.

A team of scientists at University of Washington, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, has developed a way to remove woody biomass waste from forests without burning it in the traditional way. The team has developed a portable kiln that can be assembled around a heap of waste wood and convert it to biochar on the spot, while the biochar can also be burried in the soil on the spot.

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Posted by on January 16, 2013 in Biochar


World’s largest natural sound archive goes digital

The Macaulay Library is the world’s largest and oldest scientific archive of biodiversity audio and video recordings. Their mission is to collect and preserve recordings of each species’ behavior and natural history, to facilitate the ability of others to collect and preserve such recordings, and to actively promote the use of these recordings for diverse purposes spanning scientific research, education, conservation, and the arts.

All archived analog recordings in the collection, going back to 1929, have now been digitized and can be heard on the web site.



Dismantling the Barriers to Energy Efficiency

January 22, 2013, 1 pm ET
Register here.

Each year, Environmental Defense Fund works deep within dozens of companies to bolster smart energy management through EDF Climate Corps. To date, the program has identified an average of $1 million in energy savings at each participating organization. Along the way, EDF has learned quite a bit about how companies make decisions around energy investments, and the best practices for overcoming common implementation barriers.

This webcast will leverage the experiences and insights of two Climate Corps participating companies:

  • adidas Group has hosted three EDF Climate Corps fellows to help with energy management activities, one of which is Elizabeth Turnbull who later joined the company full-time as Senior Manager for Environmental Affairs.
  • Ingersoll Rand has hosted six EDF Climate Corps fellows, who collectively have identified $6.5 million in energy-efficiency opportunities.

In this free, one-hour webcast, you’ll learn:

  • How your company can take its energy-management program to the next level, whether you are just starting out or already a leader
  • How to chart your company along EDF’s recently published roadmap, the “Virtuous Cycle of Organizational Energy Efficiency”
  • Common barriers that keep companies from optimizing efficiency and the leading practices for overcoming them; and
  • How adidas Group and Ingersoll Rand identified millions in energy savings and overcame barriers to implementing projects

New Uses for Sugar Beet Pulp

Read the full story in Agricultural Research.

More than 1 million tons of sugar beet pulp are generated annually by U.S. beet sugar industries. Finding profitable uses for the biodegradable pulp, which is the leftover residue from sugar extraction, is critical for the long-term economic viability of U.S. agribusiness.

Agricultural Research Service researchers and colleagues have long been studying the potential of sugar beet pulp utilization. Now, chemist LinShu Liu and plant physiologist Arland Hotchkiss, both with the Dairy and Functional Foods Unit at ARS’s Eastern Regional Research Center in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, and colleagues have found new uses for sugar beet pulp.

In collaboration with professor Jinwen Zhang of Washington State University (WSU) in Pullman, Liu and ARS-WSU colleagues developed a biodegradable thermoplastic (meaning plastic that becomes soft when heated) that could be used in disposable food containers.


Tom Gloria and the life-cycle of LCA

Read the full post at GreenBiz.

Life-cycled assessments may be coming full-circle.

LCAs, as they’re known — a process of measuring the environmental impacts associated with all the stages of a product’s life from raw materials to the end of its useful life — have been around for nearly a half-century. Interest in them has ebbed and flowed, based on concerns of the moment. Initially, they focused on solid waste. (LCAs were first done in 1969, when researchers conducted a study for Coca-Cola looking at different types of beverage containers to determine which were the least problematic, environmentally speaking.) Over time, their focus has increased alongside interest in energy, water, toxicity, and other issues.

Interest in LCAs seems to be undergoing a resurgence these days. The push is coming from the construction, consumer products, and other sectors, in large part reflecting the increased pressure by customers and stakeholders for manufacturers to measure, manage, and track the full impacts of their products and processes. That’s giving new life to LCAs.


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