delware environmental institute


Environmental news from Delaware and the surrounding region.

UDaily: Renewable energy resources - UD researchers report on new catalyst to convert greenhouse gases into chemicals
01/31/2014 -

A team of researchers at the University of Delaware has developed a highly selective catalyst capable of electrochemically converting carbon dioxide — a greenhouse gas — to carbon monoxide with 92 percent efficiency. The carbon monoxide then can be used to develop useful chemicals.

The researchers recently reported their findings in Nature Communications.

UDaily: Oceanographer honored - CEOE's George Luther named fellow of the Geochemical Society
01/31/2014 -

Oceanographer George Luther, Maxwell P. and Mildred H. Harrington Professor of Marine Studies in the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE), has been named a fellow of the Geochemical Society. 

The honor is given to outstanding scientists who have made significant contributions to the field of geochemistry, the study of chemical reactions driving geological processes.

01/30/2014 -

A new statewide report produced at the direction of DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara and DNREC’s Division of Energy and Climate, “Climate Change Projections and Indicators for Delaware,” projects increasing temperatures, more extreme heat days, and more frequent heavy rain events through the year 2100. This analysis of Delaware’s changing climate was conducted by Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, one of the nation’s leading atmospheric scientists. Dr. Hayhoe’s future projections for temperature and precipitation in Delaware are consistent with climate projections for much of the northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States.

UDaily: Moving mountains  Research in the Andes examines rock glacier dynamics for mining industry
01/29/2014 -

When it comes to mining for copper and gold, prospectors will move mountains to make it happen. As in, physically dig up the rock, extract the precious metals and move the debris elsewhere. 

In the chilly high altitudes of the Andes Mountains, however, what may look like part of a mountain can in fact be a huge, frozen block of rock fragments and ice. When some of that ice melts in the spring, these so-called “rock glaciers” become a valuable source of water for local populations.

UDaily: Delaware Sea Grant hosts marine science quiz competition Feb. 1
01/22/2014 -

The Chesapeake Bay Bowl will test high school students’ knowledge of the ocean on Saturday, Feb. 1, hosted by Delaware Sea Grant at the University of Delaware’s Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes, Del. Twelve teams will answer challenging questions about the marine environment, with topics that can range anywhere from whale ecology to the chemistry of seawater. High school students from Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. will participate. Most have taken high school courses in marine science and biology and show promise in entering scientific careers. 

01/22/2014 -

Snow flurries rode a faint chemical breeze across Red Lion Creek marsh near Delaware City on Thursday as Environmental Protection Agency contractors maneuvered a sediment probe across cold muck and crackling reeds. The labor, science and mothball-like aromas were legacies of the Standard Chlorine/Metachem debacle, a 2002 chemical plant bankruptcy that followed years of spills, loose regulation and illegal operations that left state and federal taxpayers with a cleanup bill last estimated at $100 million. 

01/21/2014 -

Left to themselves, coastal wetlands can resist rapid sea level rise. But humans could be sabotaging some of wetlands' best defenses, according to results published in the journal Nature. Thanks to an intricate system of feedbacks, wetlands are remarkably good at building up soils to outpace sea level rise. The questions are: When do they reach their limit, and how have we lowered that point? Without human-caused climate change, "we wouldn't be worried about wetlands surviving the rates of sea level rise we're seeing today," says lead paper author Matthew Kirwan of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and the National Science Foundation (NSF) Virginia Coast Reserve Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) site.

UDaily: Blue carbon - World's mangroves, salt marshes hold potential for reducing carbon emissions
12/17/2013 -

Mangroves, the dense forests found along tropical and subtropical coastlines, have some specialized trees that can take in air through their roots at low tide and excrete salt right out of their leaves. The unusual ecosystems can also absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide, making them a natural solution for controlling greenhouse gases.

Disrupt them, however, and they’ll put that carbon right back into the atmosphere.

Sunny Jardine, an assistant professor of marine policy who joined the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment earlier this year, studies the environmental benefits of mangroves and the economics behind their deforestation.

UDaily: Delaware's climate outlook - Katharine Hayhoe's lecture on the state's changing climate available online
12/14/2013 -

To get a sense of Delaware’s weather 75 years from now, check the conditions in Georgia today.

“Delaware will feel like a state much further south does,” said Katharine Hayhoe, director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University, at a lecture on the University of Delaware campus this week.

Hayhoe outlined the warming temperatures and precipitation trends that can be expected over the next century in her presentation, “Delaware’s Future Climate: Connecting Global Change to Local Impacts.”

UDaily: Green innovator - UD's Wool wins Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award
12/12/2013 -

The Environmental Protection Agency has honored the University of Delaware’s Richard Wool with its Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award for his extensive work developing bio-based materials to support the green energy infrastructure.

Wool was recognized today during a presentation at EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C

Now in its 18th year, the EPA awards program recognizes the design of safer and more sustainable chemicals, processes and products. Awards are conferred annually in five categories: Academic, Small Business, Greener Synthetic Pathways, Greener Reaction Conditions and Designing Greener Chemicals.