Pollution

New tech said to clean up fracking water

Publication: NBC News   Date: February 5, 2013   View Article

A new water desalination technology may prove a savior for the oil and natural gas industries confronting growing concerns about the wastewater that flows to the surface in the months and years after a well is fracked.

In fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, operations 3 million to 5 million gallons of water are injected deep underground, along with sand and a chemical cocktail, to fracture shale rock and extract the embedded natural gas.

Apple bends to pressure, aims to reduce pollutants in supply chain

Publication: NBC News   Date: February 4, 2013   View Article

Under pressure from environmental groups and other activists, Apple, the maker of iPhones and iPads, has reduced the amount toxic pollutants its suppliers release into the environment, according to a new report.

“They are far from done, but they are definitely in motion,” Linda Greer, head of the health and environment program at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a U.S. based environmental group, told NBC News.

Mystery ‘oil sheen’ grows near site of BP Gulf disaster, says researcher

Publication: NBC News   Date: January 31, 2013   View Article

A persistent, mysterious “oil sheen” in the Gulf of Mexico near the site of BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster grew to more than seven-miles long and one-mile wide during a recent stretch of calm seas, based on aerial observations made by a former NASA physicist turned environmental activist.

“We had maybe three or four days (of calm weather) and that’s all it took for the stuff to build up considerably,” Bonny Schumaker, the physicist who now runs the non-profit On Winds of Care, which makes regular flights over regions of the Gulf affected by the 2010 oil spill.

Surprising strategy to fight global warming: Cut down on soot

Publication: NBC News   Date: January 17, 2013   View Article

A quick hit way to slow the pace of global warming may be to tackle soot emissions from things such as diesel cars and coal-burning cookstoves, according to a new study that finds the black carbon these devices emit is the second-biggest contributor to global climate change.

All told, soot has about two-thirds the effect on warming as the best-known greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide. The findings push methane, which is emitted by everything from belching cattle to fracking operations, from the No. 2 spot.

Hacking the climate could lead to whiter, brighter skies

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: May 31, 2012   View Article

Pumping a steady stream of sunlight-blocking particles into the stratosphere to fight global climate change would leave us with inescapable hazy and white skies such as those found over big cities, according to new research.

“The skies would be whiter/hazier everywhere, including on weekend getaways to the mountains,” study lead author Ben Kravitz of the Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University told me in an email today.

Real fish follow a robotic one

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: February 29, 2012   View Article

When we start to follow human-like robots wherever they choose to lead us, we’ll know the apocalypse has arrived. For fish, that moment is now.

Researchers have built a robot that sort of looks and swims like a fish and used it to lure real fish into schooling around it.

Poop-to-power projects pumped up

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: November 9, 2011   View Article

Innovators from around the world who see power in steaming piles of poop are getting serious money from Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates’ foundation to help the world’s 2.1 billion urban dwellers without access to sewers live safer, more sanitary and electrified lives.

Grantee Daniel Yeh, a civil and environmental engineer at the University of South Florida, for example, will use the funds to field test an advanced technology that harvests nutrients, energy, and water from wastewater.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach