Understanding soil nitrogen management using synchrotron technology

How different fertilizers affect soil organic matter and what that means for crops As food security becomes an increasingly important global issue, scientists are looking for the best way to maintain the organic matter in soils using different methods of fertilization and crop rotation. Increasing the organic matter in soils is key to growing crops for numerous reasons, including increased water-holding capacity and improved tilth. Scientists have recently used the Canadian Light Source (CLS) to evaluate the effects of various…

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Biochar Quiets Microbes & Some Plant Pathogens

Synthetic biologists at Rice probe biochar’s impact on microbial signaling In the first study of its kind, Rice University scientists have used synthetic biology to study how a popular soil amendment called “biochar” can interfere with the chemical signals that some microbes use to communicate. The class of compounds studied includes those used by some plant pathogens to coordinate their attacks. Biochar is charcoal that is produced — typically from waste wood, manure or leaves — for use as a…

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China’s Synthetic Gas Plants Would be Greenhouse Giants

Synthetic gas is sometimes not the best alternative available, especially when it has been produced in coal-powered factories. Read the following release. Huge scale of gas-from-coal plants ‘an environmental disaster in the making DURHAM, N.C. — Coal-powered synthetic natural gas plants being planned in China would produce seven times more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional natural gas plants, and use up to 100 times the water as shale gas production, according to a new study by Duke University researchers. These…

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Eco-Friendly Business Promotion Techniques

Taking steps to become eco-friendly can serve as a promotional bragging right, elevating the status of your business in the eyes of the consumer public. In short, it’s a win-win on the promo front. So if you’re looking for a few good ways to greenify…

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Renewables Top 14% of U.S. Electrical Generation During First Half of 2013

Non-Hydro Renewables Triple Output in a Decade; Now Nearly Equal Conventional Hydropower According to the latest issue of the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) “Electric Power Monthly,” with preliminary data through to June 30, 2013, renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) provided 14.20% of the nation’s net electric power generation during the first half of the year. For the same period in 2012, renewables accounted for 13.57% of net electrical generation. Moreover, non-hydro renewables have more than tripled…

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Reducing Residential Energy Consumption through Home Energy Audits

With the growing trend towards becoming green and the emergence of energy audits and energy scores, people are left wondering, “What does it all mean and why should I care?” The short answer to the question is; if you care about your financial status and environmental health then you care about your energy score. Energy Audits Defined A home energy audit gives a home an energy score, which paints a great picture of where your home currently stands and how…

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Biofertiliser: How Does Your Garden Grow?

Using coal waste from the site of a former colliery in Nottinghamshire as a substrate, the researchers grew rapeseed, flax, sugar beet and maize, with different additives: manure, zeolite, lime, or biofertiliser, as well as coal waste alone and regular garden soil. Plants grown in the coal waste with added biofertiliser achieved nearly twice the weight and yield of those grown in garden soil or in coal waste with added manure, and more than twice the weight and yield of those grown in coal waste with added zeolite. The results are published in the August issue of the International Journal of Environment and Resource.

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Guest Post: Increased Efforts by Hotels to Become Green

As manufacturing costs of solar panels and equipment have decreased, many hotels are investing in the realization that patrons are more likely to visit and return to a hotel that is more green. Hotels around the world are mounting solar arrays in order to improve the natural habitat of humanity while saving money on energy expenses. Since many states and organizations are putting forth an effort for increased sustainability by 2020, it seems that everyone is trying to help out.…

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Fuel Cell Innovation by Korean Researchers

This research was published in Scientific Reports on August 13. (Title: Highly Efficient and robust cathode materials for low-temperature solid fuel cells: PrBa0.5Sr0.5Co2-xFexO5+δ )
As high power density devices, fuel cells can convert chemical energy directly into electric power very efficiently and environmentally friendly. Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), based on an oxide ion conducting electrolyte, have several advantages over other types of fuel cells, including relatively inexpensive material costs, low sensitivity to impurities in the fuel, and high overall efficiency.

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Radio Waves Carry News of Climate Change

Their research shows that the strength of radio signals on the ground is a reliable indicator of temperature change above. Prof. Price and his team used simple radio antennae on the ground to measure radio waves broadcast by navigational transmitters around the globe, then compared information on the strength of these radio signals with data on temperature fluctuations in the upper atmosphere.

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Looking at Radiant or Underfloor Heating

Come wintertime, most people have little trouble locating all the cold spots in the house they want to avoid. That is, unless they happen to have radiant, underfloor heating in place. According to the Underfloor Trade Store, modern underfloor heating systems are growing in popularity in the UK. Homeowners enjoy low operating costs, low environmental impact and pleasant home temperature. Radiant heating systems, as they are often referred to, are not a new concept at all. Similar systems were used…

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Guest Post: Go Green On Your Roof

A green roof or a living roof has a profound effect on the quality of life of an individual and the surrounding community alike. Its influence is particularly noticeable in urban areas, where concrete and unnatural materials dominate the landscape. Besides the obvious aesthetic appeal, having vegetation on the roof has many practical advantages over other available roofing solutions, spanning from long-term financial gain to improving living conditions on a grand scale. The following is a brief introduction to some of the benefits of green roofs.

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Guest Post: PVC’s Resilience and Its Foreseeable Future

In the 1960s Dustin Hoffman movie, “The Graduate,” a man hoisting a drink at a cocktail party declares to a business associate: “The future’s in plastic.” As time marched on, it turned out these words were absolutely correct, whether or not you happen to like the material, and the chemical formulations that make the material possible. PVC can be placed in this category. For a perspective, ask any home owner who has had to replace their decrepit clay sewer line,…

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VW Chattanooga: A Model for Designing Ecological Sustainability Into Auto Manufacturing Sites

Auto manufacturing also takes a heavy toll on societies and ecosystems, however, requiring vast amounts of energy and natural resources, as well as pumping out vast quantities of pollutants into our atmosphere, land, waterways and oceans. These costs have grown along with the industry and become increasingly apparent over the years. Changing with the times, automakers around the world are now turning to green site, building and manufacturing design to reduce the costs, and risks of doing business, including the toll they take on the environment.

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The Benefits of Composite Material

Composite materials can have a high strength-to-weight ratio, which means that while it is lightweight (up to 30-40 per cent lighter than steel or aluminium), it is also very strong. This makes it a good material to build with. The tensile strength can be up to six times greater than that of traditional materials. These materials are also more resistant to corrosion and retardant to fire. Their long life means that they need less maintenance than traditional materials, and hold up better under stress and fatigue. Composite materials also eliminate the need for joints and fasteners as they have enough strength to be designed to exact requirements.

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Crystals to Make LED Light Warmer

Scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee have been studying a new type of crystal to improve the luminescence of LED lights. These scientists hope that the blend of colours that these crystals yield will create a warmer light.

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