delware environmental institute

IN THE NEWS

Environmental news from Delaware and the surrounding region.

Unidel Challenge:  Unidel commits additional $5 million to ISE Lab; UD announces challenge
01/15/2013 -

The University of Delaware has received a $5 million commitment from the Unidel Foundation Inc. to support the construction of the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Laboratory (ISE Lab). To help motivate others to invest in the ISE Lab project, the University has decided to use this gift to establish a challenge to other prospective donors.

The Unidel Challenge will be in effect during 2013 to provide donors the chance to significantly upgrade their naming opportunity within the ISE Lab building. As long as sufficient matching funds remain during the challenge period, all new gifts to the ISE Lab of $50,000 to $2.5 million will receive a 1:1 match for the purpose of naming opportunities. For example, a donor who makes a gift of $50,000 during the Unidel Challenge period will receive a naming opportunity valued at $100,000. There are currently 126 naming opportunities still available in the ISE Lab.

Rising seas:  Research magazine focuses on sea level rise risks, preparation
12/22/2012 -

As the flattest state in the U.S., Delaware has a lot to lose in the face of rising seas. An estimated 8 to 11 percent of its land will be inundated by the end of this century, according to the state’s recent sea level rise vulnerability assessment, putting as many as 17,000 homes at risk, among other serious impacts.

The latest issue of the University of Delaware Research magazine showcases UD efforts to prepare for a “new normal,” from a new climate change education initiative for grades 8-12 — a National Science Foundation project that is a partnership with the University of Maryland — to the development of a new salt-tolerant crop plant for coastal farms.

Invasive species: Fooks, students help remove privet from Sharp Farm near Odessa
12/12/2012 -

University of Delaware instructor Jacob Fooks wanted students in his Department of Applied Economics and Statistics sustainable development class to experience things beyond the classroom, so when the opportunity arose to assist Delaware Wild Lands, a nonprofit land conservancy, with an invasive species removal project, he jumped at the opportunity. The UD students were assigned to work on a project at Delaware Wild Lands’ Sharp Farm near Odessa, said Fooks, who is a doctoral student in UD’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics.

Renewable news:  Wind, solar power paired with storage could be cost-effective way to power grid
12/11/2012 -

Renewable energy could fully power a large electric grid 99.9 percent of the time by 2030 at costs comparable to today’s electricity expenses, according to new research by the University of Delaware and Delaware Technical Community College.

A well-designed combination of wind power, solar power and storage in batteries and fuel cells would nearly always exceed electricity demands while keeping costs low, the scientists found.

“These results break the conventional wisdom that renewable energy is too unreliable and expensive,” said co-author Willett Kempton, professor in the School of Marine Science and Policy in UD’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment. “The key is to get the right combination of electricity sources and storage — which we did by an exhaustive search — and to calculate costs correctly.”

News Journal: New Castle levees under scrutiny
12/10/2012 -

Coastal dikes in northern Delaware survived Superstorm Sandy without major breaches, but officials got a preview of just how vulnerable the levees could be during the catastrophic weather. Pounding surf and tides eroded chunks of the earthen structures, depositing mounds of debris on them and uprooting trees during the storm that struck the Atlantic coastline in late October.

News Journal: Report displays future concerns on sea-level rise
12/10/2012 -

An already grim picture of global sea-level rise darkened last week, with a new federal report warning that global warming could push world average sea levels up by as much as 6.6 feet by 2100. The estimate by National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration scientists – well above current state or United Nations estimates – is particularly troubling along the Mid-Atlantic, where sea-level already is rising faster than the world average because of local geologic factors.

Driving energy solutions: UD researcher among 66 to share in energy technology funding
12/10/2012 -

University of Delaware professor Yushan Yan is among America’s top scientists and engineers working to develop transformational energy technology solutions. His work is one of 66 cutting-edge research projects selected for more than $130 million in funding from the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) OPEN 2012 program, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced Nov. 28.

News Journal: Threat of rise in seas grows
12/10/2012 -

Global sea levels are expected to rise by as much as 6.6 feet by the end of this century, a new estimate that increases the flooding threat of future storms like Sandy and expands the risk to more of the nation’s military, energy and commercial assets near the ocean, the U.S. government reported Thursday. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s latest assessment included a worst-case, end-of-century rise that is more than three times higher than the most-recent United Nations outlook, and twice the mid-range number currently in use by Delaware officials for climate change and sea-level rise planning efforts.

12/10/2012 -

The unseasonably warm weather of the past few days, which is expected to continue, is part of a three-year trend in Delaware that’s breaking temperature records more than a century old. The first 10 months of this year were the warmest since meteorologists began keeping records in 1895, said Delaware State Climatologist Daniel Leathers. The temperature from January through October averaged 61.6 degrees, compared with the normal 57.45 degrees, he said. The same periods in 2010 and 2011 were the third- and fourth-warmest on record, respectively, he said. The second-warmest was in 2002.

Coastal economy: Delaware's coastal economy is topic of UD 'Focus on the Delaware Coast' seminar
11/29/2012 -

Delaware’s coastal economy will be the next topic in a series of seminars that focuses on coastal resource issues in Delaware.

The seminar will take place Friday, Dec. 7, from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at the Virden Center at the University of Delaware’s Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes, Del. The event is hosted by the Delaware Sea Grant College Program and the Sussex Economic Development Action Committee (SEDAC).