Study will anchor new IPCC climate change assessment
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Just as thousand of delegates gather in Doha, Qatar for the UN’s annual climate talks, researchers are releasing a wealth of new observational data that verifies the output from existing climate models.
In recent example, a team of climate scientists from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and colleagues from 16 other organizations compared simulations from 20 different computer models to satellite observations, finding that tropospheric and stratospheric temperature changes are clearly related to human activities.
Natural and enhanced microbial degradation identified as key to minimizing impacts
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Ubiquitous oil-eating microbes may be the key to cleaning up future oil spills, according to a pair of researchers with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory who studied both the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska and last summer’s disastrous Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico.
Despite big differences in the impacted marine ecosystems and the circumstances of these two worst oil spills in U.S. history, oil-degrading microorganisms played a significant role in reducing the overall environmental impact of both spills, the scientists said.
Berkeley Lab study quantifies economic benefits of solar installations
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Adding a photovoltaic solar system to your home is a good environmental move, and now, new research by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory suggests that those homes sell for a premium over homes without solar systems.
“We find compelling evidence that solar PV systems in California have boosted home sales prices,” said lead author Ben Hoen, a researcher at Berkeley Lab. “These average sales price premiums appear to be comparable with the average investment that homeowners have made to install PV systems in California, and of course homeowners also benefit from energy bill savings after PV system installation and prior to home sale.”
The research finds that homes with PV in California have sold for a premium, expressed in dollars per watt of installed PV, of approximately $3.90 to $6.40/watt. This corresponds to an average home sales price premium of approximately $17,000 for a relatively new 3,100 watt PV system (the average size of PV systems in the Berkeley Lab dataset), and compares to an average investment that homeowners have made to install PV systems in California of approximately $5/W over the 2001-2009 period. Continue reading “Photovoltaic systems add to home resale values”→
New composite solves some of the challenges of storing enough hydrogen in a small space to make it useful as fuel for vehicles
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — A new composite nanotech material may speed up the development of hydrogen-based energy by storing concentrated amounts of hydrogen and releasing it easily without the application of extreme heat.
The material consist of nanoparticles of magnesium metal sprinkled through a polymer related to Plexiglas. This pliable nanocomposite rapidly absorbs and releases hydrogen at modest temperatures without oxidizing the metal after cycling.
Hardly, according to the latest update from the unified command center, which reported that 126 miles of shoreline are seeing moderate to heavy oil impacts. That includes 111 miles of shoreline in Louisiana, 10 miles in Mississippi, 3 miles in Alabama, and 2 miles in Florida.
Another 500 miles of shoreline, including 112 miles in Florida, are classified as experiencing light to trace oil impacts—about 229 miles in Louisiana, 94 miles in Mississippi, 64 miles in Alabama, and 112 miles in Florida.