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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Thursday, March 23, 2017
New flame retardant threat documented in Great Lakes
A flame retardant has been discovered in sediment of the Great Lakes for the first time, and researchers say it may be here to stay.

Researchers sampled sediment from lakes Michigan, Ontario and Superior to track organophosphate esters, a group of chemicals that are used as flame retardants. All three locations showed that the concentration of one of them--TCPP--has increased rapidly since 2000. It has replaced a more toxic flame retardant that was phased out. Source: Great Lakes Echo, 3/21/17

Cities Throw Shade at Rising Heat
To cool the urban heat islands that they've become, cities are planting trees and more trees. Source: Stateline, 3/23/17

Stone Brews 'Toilet' Beer Made from Recycled Wastewater
Maybe it's because people know alcohol kills germs. Or maybe it's because people will drink a beer under any conditions. But beer has been at the forefront of convincing people that drinking recycled sewage water isn't something to turn your nose up at -- unless you're trying to better appreciate the hoppy aroma. And last week, the Stone Brewery became one of the largest names to lend its support to the use of recycled wastewater. Source: Food & Wine, 3/21/17

Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Circular water companies make a splash heard 'round the world
Apana, Shell and Veolia use circular principles to retain and recycle water used in farming, fracking and washing machines. Source: GreenBiz, 3/22/17

Compelling new data on why we shouldn't waste wastewater
In the face of shortages, water recycling and reuse strategies may be necessary to ensure business continuity. Source: GreenBiz, 3/22/17

Combined heat and power could boost greenhouse emissions
At first glance, combined heat and power (CHP) plants sound ideal. Heat that would otherwise go to waste can drive industrial processes or heat buildings. And as gas prices fall and electricity prices rise, installing CHP is becoming more attractive to businesses to help keep energy costs down. But now a study shows that in some locations increasing CHP could boost greenhouse-gas emissions. Source: EnvironmentalResearchWeb, 3/22/17

Ford Water-Saving Technologies Reduced Usage by 13 Million Gallons
Water-saving technologies at Ford's Chicago Assembly Plant, implemented toward the end of 2016, helped the facility reduce water usage by 13 million gallons last year, and the automaker expects to that number to be significantly higher in 2017 after a full year of use. Source: Environmental Leader, 3/22/17

WWF, AHLA, Rockefeller Foundation Band Together to Tackle Hotel Food Waste
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), with support from The Rockefeller Foundation and the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), has launched a series of pilot projects aimed at further reducing food waste in the hotel industry. Source: Waste360, 3/22/17

Raising the Bar on Reuse, Recycling, Remanufacturing
A 13th institute is the newest addition to the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) five-year-old Manufacturing USA program whose goal is to improve U.S. manufacturing competitiveness by developing innovative advanced manufacturing technologies while also incorporating energy-reduction and sustainability principles.

The newest institute, Reducing Embodied-Energy and Decreasing Emissions (REMADE for short), is focused on key industrial platform technologies that will dramatically reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions associated with industrial-scale materials production. According to DOE, REMADE could reduce energy usage in the U.S. manufacturing sector by up to 6%, saving billions in energy costs. Source: ASME, March 2017

Tuesday, March 21, 2017
ACEEE Accepting Applications for Scholarship to Attend 2017 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Industry
ACEEE is now accepting applications for Linda Latham Scholarships to attend their 2017 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Industry in Denver, Colorado from August 15 -18, 2017.

Applicants must be an undergraduate or graduate student in an accredited college or university whose course work is related to energy/energy efficiency, climate change, environmental science, or a related field of study, and who is considering a career in energy/ energy efficiency. "Latham Scholars" will be exposed to new ideas and opportunities as they interact with energy efficiency experts from around the world.

The application deadline is April 10, 2017. Source: Environmental News Bits, 3/21/17

NASA's Green Thumb for Green Aviation
The New Horizon Aviation Program's charter is to strengthen the aviation industry over the next 20 years by introducing new technologies, as well as find ways to improve on efficiency and reduce pollution. Source: Machine Design, 3/20/17

7 Trends That Will Drive Corporate Sustainability in 2017
Corporate demand for clean energy is one of seven corporate trends propelling the US toward a sustainable future, writes Amy Augustine, director of the corporate program at Ceres. Renewables, which provide companies with low-cost electricity while also helping them meet their sustainability goals, among other trends, will continue to help the US move toward sustainability regardless of the current political climate. Source: Triple Pundit, 3/20/17

How Americans Think About Climate Change, in Six Maps
Americans overwhelmingly believe that global warming is happening, and that carbon emissions should be scaled back. But fewer are sure that the changes will harm them personally. New data released by Yale researchers gives the most detailed view yet of public opinion on global warming. Source: New York Times, 3/21/17

Ecolab, Trucost, Microsoft Team Up to Help Businesses Monetize Water Risks
Water-related impacts costs companies $14 billion in 2016, according to CDP. These financial impacts come from drought, flooding, tightening environmental regulation and the cost of cleaning up water pollution and fines.

But what does this mean specific to your company and its operations' water risks, now and in the future?

The Friday, March 17, 2017

Don't Plant Those Bee-Friendly Wildflowers Cheerios Is Giving Away
Bee populations are in decline, and Cheerios wants to help. So far, so good. But they are sending free packets of wildflower seeds to people all over the country--and some of the flowers included are invasive species that, in some areas, you should probably not plant. Source: Lifehacker, 3/17/16

Top Value Added Chemicals: The Biobased Economy 12 Years Later
In 2004, the United States Department of Energy published a landmark report titled "Top Value Added Chemicals from Biomass," in which they highlighted a dozen molecules as the most promising framework molecules that could potentially replace commonly used petroleum-based molecular building blocks. These 12 biobased value-added chemicals would provide prospective routes for everything from biofuels to less toxic paints and adhesives. Despite the fact that these innovations took almost 13 years to garner attention and be developed on an industrial scale, these molecules now embody the promising future of the biobased economy. The following update features four biobased chemicals with recent innovations on the market: Itaconic Acid, Glucaric Acid, 3-Hydroxybutryolactone, and 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural. Source: ACS Green Chemistry Blog, 3/16/17

Thursday, March 16, 2017
Study quantifies role of 'legacy phosphorus' in reduced water quality
For decades, phosphorous has accumulated in Wisconsin soils. Though farmers have taken steps to reduce the quantity of the agricultural nutrient applied to and running off their fields, a new study from the University of Wisconsin--Madison reveals that a "legacy" of abundant soil phosphorus in the Yahara watershed of Southern Wisconsin has a large, direct and long-lasting impact on water quality. Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison, 3/14/17

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