delware environmental institute

IN THE NEWS

Environmental news from Delaware and the surrounding region.

03/24/2011 -

Contact: Leann Bullin, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, US Dept. of the Interior, 703-787-1755 or
Michael Globetti, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Dept. of Interior, DNREC initiate process for first lease of commercial wind power for offshore Delaware

"No competitive interest" determination made for area proposed by Bluewater Wind Delaware, LLC
LEWES, Del. (March 24, 2011) – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) Michael R. Bromwich today announced that the Department is initiating the process to offer the first commercial wind lease under the “Smart from the Start” Atlantic Offshore Wind program, off the coast of Delaware. The decision follows a determination that there is no competitive interest for commercial wind energy development in this area of the Outer Continental Shelf, precluding the need for competitive bidding.
“This is a significant milestone for our nation’s energy future,” said Secretary Salazar, “allowing Interior officials to move toward a non-competitive lease agreement with NRG Bluewater Wind Delaware for potential offshore wind development. This is another major step forward in tapping the enormous offshore wind potential of the Atlantic coast.” 

Land and Sea lecturer: U.S. wind energy future looks bright
03/20/2011 -

A recently announced U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) plan sets new goals for tapping the country's massive wind resource by 2020. Is it realistic? University of Delaware wind energy expert Willett Kempton told a standing-room-only crowd at the Friday, March 11, Land and Sea Lecture why he thinks it is.

The strategy, unveiled in February, calls for the development of 54 gigawatts of wind energy capacity by 2030 at the cost of 7 cents per kilowatt-hour (kwh). For comparison, Delmarva Power currently pays 11 cents for electricity generated by traditional sources. Today's offshore wind cost is 16 cents.

“Is it reasonable to talk about DOE's 7 cents/kwh if that's less than half of what we're seeing today?” he asked. “Is it crazy to say here's this clean energy resource that's actually going to cost less than the dirty energy that we're paying for today? I'm going to present evidence here that it is realistic.” (full article)

April 6: IPCC's Pachauri to discuss sustainable development in DENIN Dialogue Series
03/18/2011 -

Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), will be the featured speaker in the DENIN Dialogue Series at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 6, in Mitchell Hall.

The DENIN Dialogue Series is a semiannual lecture series sponsored by the Delaware Environmental Institute (DENIN) that brings experts of international renown in environmental research and policy to address the public at UD's Newark campus. Pachauri's appearance is cosponsored by the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy, the Center for Political Communication's Global Agenda Series and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. (full article)

03/18/2011 -

In support of the University of Delaware's sustainability efforts, the Delaware Geological Survey is offering its First State Geology newsletter as an online document.

First State Geology features news about Delaware geology and water resources, recent DGS publications, and DGS staff activities.

To subscribe, visit the First State Geology website.

Researchers to study positive genetic contributions of viruses
03/18/2011 -

The positive genetic contributions of viruses to life on Earth will be explored by researchers at the University of Delaware and the Delaware Biotechnology Institute through a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Marine Microbiology Initiative.

The two-year, $550,000 grant has been awarded to K. Eric Wommack, professor in UD's Department of Plant and Soil Sciences with appointments in the Department of Biological Sciences and the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, and Shawn Polson, research assistant professor in the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at DBI.

The grant will support the rollout of a computational infrastructure dedicated to the analysis of viral genetic data from environmental samples. The Viral Informatics Resource for Metagenome Exploration (VIROME) is hosted at DBI.

The project will be done in collaboration with researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), involved with the Community Cyberinfrastructure for Advanced Marine Microbial Ecology Research and Analysis (CAMERA) project, a web-based resource for advancing metagenomic research. (full article)

Lewes turbine corrosion research could benefit global wind industry
03/18/2011 -

The ocean's powerful winds make the coast an ideal location for a wind turbine. Ironically, it's that ocean air that presents a challenge to any turbine on or near the sea. The moist, salty air combined with a turbine's metallic materials can result in corrosion, a destructive process able to bring any power-generating source to a halt.

Stephen Dexter, professor of marine biosciences in the University of Delaware's College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE), is working to address this threat to renewable energy production. He is overseeing a two-year, Department of Energy-supported corrosivity study at the site of UD's wind turbine, located at UD's Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes.

“One of the primary reasons UD constructed the 2-megawatt wind turbine in 2010 was to facilitate scientific study of specific issues with this renewable energy source,” CEOE Dean Nancy Targett said. “This is one of multiple projects fulfilling that purpose and one that could benefit Delaware's pursuits in wind energy as well as those around the country and the globe.” (full article)

UD research showcased on Capitol Hill
03/17/2011 -

A group of University of Delaware faculty, administrators and students packed their prototypes, their posters, their interactive displays and their UDairy ice cream and brought them all on a quick trip down Interstate 95.

The people and their displays became a showcase of UD's federally funded research projects on Capitol Hill at UD Day in Washington, D.C., on March 8. Invited guests included alumni, staffers representing several congressional offices and federal program officials representing the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense, as well as Delaware's congressional delegation. Delaware's U.S. senators, Tom Carper and Chris Coons, and congressman, John Carney, all commented on UD's research prowess.

“Our University does terrific work these days,” Carper said.

Scattered around the Kennedy Caucus room in the Russell Senate Office Building were 25 displays. They represented the broad range of research conducted at UD with emphasis on four core areas: defense, health, energy and the environment. In addition, partnerships, outreach and commercialization efforts were featured to show the broad impact of UD research. (full article)

DENIN and DNREC launch EcoCafé workshops
03/16/2011 -

The University of Delaware and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) have created a new avenue to connect science with resource management by launching a series of workshops where environmental academicians and regulators can share current research and discuss research needs.

Through the sponsorship of the Delaware Environmental Institute (DENIN), the informal workshops bring personnel from both groups together for presentations, conversation and exploration of possible collaboration. Known as the EcoCafé, the workshops offer a time and place for faculty in environmental sciences, engineering and policy to sit down with like-minded colleagues at DNREC and share experiences, needs and issues over coffee.

“We know there is a lot of common ground between us,” said Don Sparks, S. Hallock du Pont Chair of Soil and Environmental Chemistry at UD and director of DENIN. “We just needed a place to gather and find out what the other is doing and what each other's needs are. Environmental expertise is spread very widely across the University, but DENIN has the mission and the capability to bring people together and provide an entry point for people outside the University who share environmental concerns.” (full article)

Securing 'energy future' requires partnership, UDEI symposium speaker says
03/13/2011 -

“When I was nine, I believed that the world was an unlimited place, one where technology would solve the problems of tomorrow.”

This was the opening statement of John Shinn's keynote address at the University of Delaware Energy Institute's (UDEI) annual symposium held March 10.

The symposium highlighted cutting edge research by UD faculty and students in such areas as biomass, solar voltaics, wind energy, advanced magnets and fuel cells.

Shinn, from Chevron Research and Technology Company, is a noted authority on successful business approaches to climate change and sustainable development who said he now understands that resources are limited and technology alone is not enough to secure our energy future.

Energy problems have gone from complicated, highly technical issues to dynamic interplays between technical, environmental and social issues. Global energy demand is expected to increase 50 percent by 2050, while demands to reduce greenhouse gas risks by 50 percent are predicted in the same time frame. (full article)

Scientists sequence genome of first harmful algal bloom species
03/13/2011 -

Even in the microscopic world of phytoplankton, Aureococcus anophagefferens is small. But this algal species is mighty. It causes brown tides, blooms of algae that have decimated fisheries and destroyed seagrass beds.

Scientists wanting to understand the proliferation of Aureococcus sequenced its genome -- the first ever sequencing of a harmful algal bloom (HAB) species -- and found that a specialized gene set allows it to dominate other marine phytoplankton and thrive in ecosystems affected by human activity. The finding could help explain global increases in HABs of this species over the past few decades.

The discovery was reported in the Feb. 21 online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Christopher Gobler of Stony Brook University's School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences led the project in collaboration with a team of scientists from 11 institutions that included the University of Delaware. (full article)