University of Delaware
delware environmental institute


Environmental news from Delaware and the surrounding region.

06/16/2010 -

The University of Delaware and the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) today announced they will collaborate on offshore wind research and work to facilitate the testing of commercial wind turbines off the Delaware coast.

Under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement worth $500,000 over the next five years, UD will work with federal and state agencies to identify and meet criteria for establishing any potential offshore test sites. Public involvement is expected to be a key part of the process.

Commercial offshore wind turbine components can be tested separately on land, but before installing multiple full-scale commercial turbines, it is prudent for researchers and industry to study one or a small number of complete turbine systems at sites that will expose the turbines to typical offshore conditions, such as salt water and mist, wind gusts, and weather events such as northeasters.

University, Gamesa commission coastal wind turbine
06/15/2010 -

Culminating years of planning and study, the University of Delaware and Gamesa Technology Corporation held a ceremony Friday, June 11, to commission a 2-megawatt wind turbine at UD's Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes.

Several dignitaries joined in the celebration, including U.S. Sen. Thomas Carper (D-Del.), Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) Secretary Collin O'Mara, City of Lewes Mayor James Ford, and Deputy Director Michael Robinson of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's Wind Technology Center.

The project is part of a joint venture, First State Marine Wind, between UD-owned Blue Hen Wind and Gamesa Technology Corporation. The City of Lewes and Sustainable Energy Developments Inc. (SED) are also key partners.

Environmental engineering professor's work incorporated into EPA criteria and applied to Gulf oil spill
06/11/2010 -

Like most of us, Dom Di Toro cringes when he sees photos of oil-slicked pelicans in the Gulf of Mexico and tar balls in the sugary sand along the shoreline. But he is just as worried about what he can't see -- the toxic effects of oil on the water and sediment environments.

“It's easy to see the direct, or physical, effects,” Di Toro says, “while the chemical effects tend to be invisible. However, what's going on below the surface can be just as devastating as the oil slicks that we can see on the surface.”

An expert in water quality and sediment quality criteria models for organic chemicals, metals and mixtures, Di Toro is the Edward C. Davis Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Delaware.

Oil from spill could have powered 38,000 cars for year, UD researcher says
06/09/2010 -

For a video report on Prof. James J. Corbett's work, see the YouTube page.

As of today (Wednesday, June 9), if all the oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico had been used for fuel, it could have powered 38,000 cars, and 3,400 trucks, and 1,800 ships for a full year, according to University of Delaware Prof. James J. Corbett. That's based on the estimated spill rate of 19,000 barrels of oil per day.

Corbett, a professor of marine policy in UD's College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, works on energy and environmental solutions for transportation. He has launched a website that reports the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in terms of lost uses of the lost fuel on a daily basis.

UD researcher says chicken feathers may help in oil spill mitigation
06/08/2010 -

Researchers in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Delaware have developed a method to mitigate oil spills using chicken feather fibers. Prof. Richard Wool has discovered that when the fibers are cut to an optimal size, surface tension forces drive them to form self-assembled percolating networks that attract and trap oil spilled on a water surface.

Preliminary tests have yielded promising results, and a provisional patent application has been filed on the technology.

The U.S. poultry industry generates 5 to 6 billion pounds of feathers annually, an amount that Wool says could handle an oil spill covering some 200,000 square miles, or the entire economic zone of the Gulf of Mexico.

Targett joins Ocean Leadership to convene scientists discussing oil spill
06/04/2010 -

As efforts to stem oil pouring into the Gulf of Mexico continue, the U.S. government has hosted two science summits to address and coordinate the federal response to the spill. The Consortium for Ocean Leadership convened a third meeting at Louisiana State University June 3 in Baton Rouge, La., and the University of Delaware took part.

Attending the event was College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE) Dean Nancy Targett, who is chair of Ocean Leadership's board of trustees. Targett, who was named chair of the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit's 12-member board earlier this spring, said the event's purpose was to bring together the country's research community to deal with the spill.

Center for Managed Ecosystems puts past urban forest research into new FRAME
06/04/2010 -

Greg Shriver, assistant professor of wildlife ecology in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology and research scientist with the Center for Managed Ecosystems at the University of Delaware, is collaborating with the U.S. Forest Service to continue work on a project that focuses on assessing the conditions of urban forests and explores ways in which to improve those conditions.

The project is known as Forest Fragments in Managed Ecosystems, or FRAME, and it has its origins in a study titled “Wildlife Ecology and Urban Impact” conducted 45 years ago at UD by scientists in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology and the Forest Service.

Researchers offer solutions to poisonous well-water crisis in southern Asia
06/02/2010 -

Over 100 million people in rural southern Asia are exposed every day to unsafe levels of arsenic from the well-water they drink. It more than doubles their risks for cancer, causes cardiovascular disease, and inhibits the mental development of children, among other serious effects.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has referred to the situation in Bangladesh, where an estimated 60 million people are affected, as “the largest mass poisoning of a population in history.”

In the May 28 issue of the journal Science, researchers from Stanford University, the University of Delaware, and Columbia University review what scientists understand about this groundwater contamination crisis and offer solutions for the region, which spans Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, and Vietnam.

UD prof wins Powe Award from Oak Ridge Associated Universities
05/25/2010 -

Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU), a consortium of 98 Ph.D.-granting universities, has selected Holly Michael, assistant professor of geological sciences in the University of Delaware's College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, to receive the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award.

The competitive award, which provides $5,000 from ORAU and $5,000 in matching funding from the faculty member's university, is intended to enrich the research and educational growth of young faculty and result in new funding opportunities.

David L. Kirchman receives UD's 2010 Francis Alison Faculty Award
05/21/2010 -

David L. Kirchman, the Maxwell P. and Mildred H. Harrington Professor of Marine Biosciences in the University of Delaware's College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, is the recipient of the 2010 Francis Alison Faculty Award, the University's highest faculty honor.

The Alison Award, established by the Board of Trustees in 1978, is given to a member of the faculty who has made notable contributions to his or her field of study and who best characterizes “the scholar-schoolmaster,” as exemplified by the Rev. Dr. Francis Alison, who, in 1743, founded the institution that is now the University of Delaware. The honor includes a $10,000 prize and membership in the Alison Society, which is composed of previous award recipients.