University of Delaware
delware environmental institute


Environmental news from Delaware and the surrounding region.

04/05/2011 -


Contact: Melanie Rapp, Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.

DNREC showcases energy savings programs, state parks and rain gardens at the Green and Healthy Living Expo on April 9

NEWARK (April 4, 2010) –Energy savings programs for homeowners and businesses, the beauty and amenities of Delaware State Parks, and Rain Gardens for the Bays will be showcased by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control at the Green and Healthy Living Expo on Saturday, April 9. The expo, which is free to the public, will be held at the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Secretary Collin O’Mara will give welcoming remarks at 11 a.m. and detail the state’s energy savings, green initiatives and environmental programs that help Delaware residents and businesses.

At the Expo, DNREC’s Delaware Energy Office and the Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility’s (SEU) Energize Delaware are teaming up in an exhibit that includes programs and solutions to help Delawareans save energy and money. At the exhibit, homeowners and businesses will find materials and information that will connect them to the latest energy-saving ideas, products and services.

A flood of innovation: UD and the state work together to mitigate coastal flooding in Delaware
04/05/2011 -

Living along the southern coast of Delaware definitely has its perks. Fishing, beaches and cool bay breezes can make for an idyllic way of life. But members of the Kent County community can tell you that living by the water is not always a carefree existence.

On Mother’s Day in 2008, the Delaware Bay coast of Kent County suffered a serious coastal flooding event. One person died and at least 150 residents were evacuated from their homes. Monetary estimates of the damage ranged from $1–2 million. Not only were community members unprepared for the event, but emergency management officials had no accurate gauge as to how serious the flooding would be, and thus their response was delayed.

The aftereffects of the Mother’s Day flood left citizens and emergency management officials alike wondering if there was a better way to plan for these types of events.  Two state agencies, the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), collaborated with the University of Delaware and the Delaware Geological Survey (DGS) and found an answer in the Delaware Environmental Observing System (DEOS).

Protecting the world’s coastlines: Fulbright scholar to study sand movement in UK
04/05/2011 -

Jack Puleo studies beaches and what he sees concerns him.

Sea levels are rising. Climate change experts estimate global sea levels will rise nearly five feet over the next century, increasing shoreline erosion and costing the U.S. an estimated $130 million annually on beach nourishment alone.

More importantly, Puleo is eager to collect new data to predict how beaches evolve and erode over time.

Puleo has developed a sensor to capture data about the transport of sediment (in this case beach sands) on critical land-ocean boundaries. He will take his research to a new level this October when he deploys the sensors under natural conditions for the first time – in a landmark field study conducted as part of his recently awarded 2011-2012 Fulbright scholarship at the University of Plymouth in the United Kingdom. (full article)

04/05/2011 -

Delaware EPSCoR and the Delaware Small Business and Technology Development Center (DSBTDC) are cosponsoring a free workshop titled “The Innovation Process: Science to Commercialization” on April 18–19, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at the Delaware Biotechnology Institute in Newark.

This workshop is recommended for any faculty member or researcher on campus who is interested in exploring commercial applications for their research.

In addition to providing an overview of the innovation-to-commercialization process, with a panel of successful inventors sharing their first-hand experiences, the workshop will focus on the National Science Foundation’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. These and other federal programs designed to encourage innovation and economic development can be important in enabling the innovation process to move forward. There will also be time allotted during the workshop for one-on-one counseling for researchers who are wondering how to proceed with marketing their innovations. (full article)

Writing the book on solar: University of Delaware researchers contributed heavily to the ‘go-to’ book on solar energy
04/04/2011 -

The one-story building housing some of the world’s premier solar researchers could easily be mistaken for a garage or large storage shed.  The work happening there is far more spectacular than the drab building belies.

Inside, the University of Delaware Institute for Energy Conversion (IEC) investigates and innovates advances in photovoltaics, the conversion of light into electricity. Established in 1972, IEC is the world’s oldest solar lab.  Today it and UD are world leaders in this area, a boast backed by UD’s overwhelming presence in a new book, the Handbook of Photovoltaic Science and Engineering, second edition.  Steve Hegedus, a scientist at IEC, co-edited the 1,168-page hardcover, in which he and four other UD researchers wrote chapters. 

“The combination of our long historical view and our very up-to-date technology awareness really made them good choices to contribute to the book,” Hegedus said.

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
03/21/2011 -

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)