File Southern Ocean Already Losing Ability to Absorb CO2
New Scientist Environment (Catherine Brahic, “Southern Ocean Already Losing Ability to Absorb CO2,” 5/17/07) reported that researchers say that global warming has caused the Southern Ocean to become windier, preventing waters from absorbing CO2 at the rate it’s produced by humans. They warn that this could cause temperatures to rise even higher than predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
File Sugar-Fueled Fuel Cell
Fuel Cell E-Report (” Researchers develop biodegradable fuel cell battery fueled by sugar,” May 2007) reported that researchers at St. Louis University in Missouri have developed have developed a fuel cell battery that runs on virtually any sugar source and has the potential to operate three to four times longer on a single charge than conventional lithium ion batteries.
File Less Oxygen Might Do the Trick
The Sydney Morning Herald, (“Surprise: Less Oxygen Could be Just the Trick,” 6/12/07) reported that researchers at the University of New South Wales say biochar could reduce carbon dioxide emissions while providing a new source of energy and improving farm productivity. Biochar is produced by burning organic waste in an oxygen-starved environment.
File The Business of Biomass
ORNL Review v. 40 (“The Business of Biomass”) reports that researchers at the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratories are working on ways to make the process of extracting ethanol from switchgrass more efficient, in order to make it economically viable.
File Environmental Impacts on Health
The World Health Organization released new country-by-country data on the effect of environmental problems on health. The data shows that 13 million deaths could be prevented annually through environmental improvements.
File Nuclear Power Joint Fact Finding
A new study by the Keystone Center finds that, in order to significantly effect carbon emissions, nuclear power would have to return to the rapid growth rate of the 1980s, and sustain that rate of growth for 50 years. It also concluded that the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership proposed by the U.S. is unlikely to succeed.
File Could Plastic Grow on Trees?
The Daily Telegraph (Roger Highfield, “Could Plastic Grow on Trees?,” 06/15/07) reports that researchers at the Pacific Northwest Laboratory in Washington state have discovered the most efficient method yet to convert glucose to a chemical building block for products currently made from petroleum, such as plastics.
File Turning Waste Heat into Sound
Scientists at the University of Utah have developed small devices that turn heat into sound and then into electricity. The technology holds promise for changing waste heat into electricity, harnessing solar energy and cooling computers and radars.