A research team in Massachusetts developed a more-economical biofuels extraction and production process from a bacterium that grows in supercritical carbon dioxide and the antimicrobial liquid as a solvent. The researchers edited the bacteria's genes to produce isobutanol and overcome potential bacterial contamination and low yields in the solvent -- two issues frequently encountered in conventional biofuel production.
A joint venture between Bayer and synthetic biology firm Ginkgo Bioworks intends to test its engineered microbes for use with wheat and corn plants under field conditions in California at a Sacramento-area facility. Joyn Bio aims to reduce or eliminate the use of synthetic fertilizers in corn and wheat fields by fixing nitrogen in the soil.
Canadian company Tentree International is using algae foam sourced from Bloom Foam to make padding for its backpacks. The foam was manufactured by pumping water filled with algae into a filtration system, scraping off the floating algae clump as the water recirculates back into its source and drying the algae mass before expanding it into the semi-spongy product.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority plans to invest $65 million toward meeting its sustainability goals over the next six years. The agency's initiative includes "a detailed roadmap to reduce energy usage, cut greenhouse gas emissions and generate up to $29 million annually in energy and operational cost savings."
Wipe-makers may claim their products are flushable, but there isn't a regulatory body overseeing the issue, and no "flushable" wipe brands can truthfully make the claim, says Brianne Nakamura of the Water Environment Federation. Wipes should always be disposed of in the garbage.
The Mountain Studies Institute, the Colorado School of Mines and the US Forest Service's Rocky Mountain Research Station are monitoring pollution effects and recovery efforts in Colorado's Hermosa Creek and Animas River after a major fire devastated the area last summer. MSI's Scott Roberts hopes the observations will lead to a better understanding of mudslides' effect on waterways, as well as recovery timelines.
Equitrans Midstream wants to build pipeline infrastructure that would carry produced water, or shale gas wastewater, from fracking operations in the Appalachian Basin. Companies in the area reuse wastewater or transport it to treatment facilities via truck, but observers say the process may not be sustainable as output increases.
New York has allocated an additional $15 million in funding for projects that help farmers store waste and protect local waterways. The funding is part of the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program, which New York has invested nearly $220 million in since 1994.
Daphnia, also known as water fleas, are tiny crustaceans that consume algae, bacteria and yeast while filtering fresh water in the process, says University of Michigan ecologist Meghan Duffy. She is researching how Daphnia's anti-fungal properties might someday be used in medicinal products.
On March 22, four Water Environment Federation staff members strapped on their helmets and pedaled their way around the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area to celebrate water resource recovery facility (WRRF) operators. Jessica Rozek, Steve Harrison, Megan Livak and Brad Lovett celebrated World Water Day by biking to three local WRRFs.