New algorithm, metrics improve autonomous underwater vehicles' energy efficiency

Robotics researchers have found a way for autonomous underwater vehicles to navigate strong currents with greater energy efficiency, which means the AUVs can gather data longer and better.

AUVs such as underwater gliders are valuable research tools limited primarily by their energy budget – every bit of battery power wasted via inefficient trajectories cuts into the time they can spend working.

ENN: Top Stories

Kick-starting an African clean energy revolution – one pedal at a time

The cyclists of the Tour de France may not set off until next week but in Kenya a group of young people have taken to their bikes to raise awareness about the power of sustainable energy ahead of the country’s general election on August 8.
JOE WARE reports
Environment news & analysis, climate change reports –
The Ecologist

Air Pollution Casts Shadow over Solar Energy Production

Global solar energy production is taking a major hit due to air pollution and dust.

According to a new study, airborne particles and their accumulation on solar cells are cutting energy output by more than 25 percent in certain parts of the world. The regions hardest hit are also those investing the most in solar energy installations: China, India and the Arabian Peninsula.

The study appears online June 23 in Environmental Science & Technology Letters.

“My colleagues in India were showing off some of their rooftop solar installations, and I was blown away by how dirty the panels were,” said Michael Bergin, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Duke University and lead author of the study. “I thought the dirt had to affect their efficiencies, but there weren't any studies out there estimating the losses. So we put together a comprehensive model to do just that.”

ENN: Top Stories

Faster-Moving Sea Ice Forces Polar Bears To Use More Energy

Ocean Leadership ~

Polar bear diets are changing as ice melts. (Credit: Shailapic76/Flickr)

(Click to enlarge) Polar bear diets are changing as ice melts. (Credit: Shailapic76/Flickr)

Rapid global warming has sped up the movement of sea ice off Alaska’s coasts, and already at-risk polar bears are paying a price, a new U.S. study says.

(From AP News / by Dan Joling) — Most sea ice moves throughout the year and the iconic white bears are on a perpetual walk to stay within their preferred habitat, said U.S. Geological Survey research ecologist George Durner, lead author of the study.

He compares it to living on a treadmill that has picked up speed because ice is thinner, more brittle and moving faster because of wind and ocean currents.

“Increased sea ice drift rates likely exacerbate the physiological stress due to reduced foraging opportunity already experienced by many polar bears in the warming Arctic, adding yet another ‘straw to the camel’s back,’” Durner said.

Polar bears were listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 2008 amid the alarming loss of summer sea ice in recent decades and climate models indicating the trend would persist. However, the government said the act would not be used to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

The U.S. polar bear recovery plan says that without action to address climate change — the primary cause of diminishing sea ice — it is unlikely that polar bears could be saved. The plan released in January noted positive signs such as emission goals in the Paris climate agreement.

President Donald Trump, however, withdrew from the international pact last week, arguing that it had disadvantaged the U.S. “to the exclusive benefit of other countries,” leaving American businesses and taxpayers to absorb the cost.

Trump also has called for expanded petroleum development in polar bear habitat, including offshore Alaska waters and parts of areas the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Margaret Williams, Arctic program managing director for the World Wildlife Fund, called withdrawal from the Paris agreement frightening but said private, state and local efforts to reduce carbon emissions and turn to renewable energy are a positive sign.

“There’s still a lot of hope,” she said.

The political moves come as the Geological Survey and University of Wyoming study documented how polar bears use more energy to stay within their home range.

Researchers made a conservative estimate that bears will have to kill one to three more seals a year to compensate for faster-moving ice, a challenge for bears already facing fewer hunting opportunities.

Durner compared their plight to people living in a town hit by both inflation and rising unemployment.

“For the polar bear, the Arctic is becoming more expensive to live in,” he said.

Polar bears can go for extended periods without eating but then gorge on ringed and bearded seals. Ringed seals give birth on sea ice in spring and early summer, and polar bears sniff out their lairs.

To read the full article, click here: https://apnews.com/e13e7f08146e4640b179ef71141efaa5/Faster-moving-sea-ice-forces-polar-bears-to-use-more-energy

 

The post Faster-Moving Sea Ice Forces Polar Bears To Use More Energy appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.


Consortium for Ocean Leadership

Trump’s coal plan sends U.S. energy “back to the past”: Vatican

OSLO (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump is sending U.S. energy production “back to the past” with disastrous decisions to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement and to promote the coal industry, a senior Vatican official said on Friday.


Reuters: Environment

Cold conversion of food waste into renewable energy and fertilizer has 'enormous potential'

Researchers from Concordia’s Department of Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering (BCEE) in collaboration with Bio-Terre Systems Inc. are taking the fight against global warming to colder climes.

Their weapon of choice? Cold-loving bacteria.

In a study published in Process Safety and Environmental Protection, authors Rajinikanth Rajagopal, David Bellavance and Mohammad Saifur Rahaman demonstrate the viability of using anaerobic digestion in a low-temperature (20°C) environment to convert solid food waste into renewable energy and organic fertilizer.

ENN: Top Stories

Why Don't Green Buildings Live Up to Hype on Energy Efficiency?

Not long ago in the southwest of England, a local community set out to replace a 1960s-vintage school with a new building using triple-pane windows and super-insulated walls to achieve the highest possible energy efficiency. The new school proudly opened on the same site as the old one, with the same number of students, and the same head person—and was soon burning more energy in a month than the old building had in a year.

ENN: Top Stories

Not All Cool Pavements Are Created Equal

Cool pavements can help keep cities cool, right? Yes, but according to new research from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), many reflective pavements have some unexpected drawbacks relative to conventional pavements when considering the entire life cycle of the materials.

Scientists in Berkeley Lab’s Heat Island Group, in collaboration with the UC Pavement Research Center (UCPRC), the University of Southern California (USC), and thinkstep Inc., conducted life cycle assessments of conventional and cool pavements. Looking at the technologies over a span of 50 years, including manufacture, installation, use, and disposal/recycling, they found that the extra energy and emissions embodied in cool pavement materials usually exceed the expected energy and emissions savings from reduced space conditioning (cooling and heating) in buildings.

ENN: Top Stories

Leaked: UK £7 billion export credit for fossil fuel industry violates ‘clean energy’ pledge

Between 2011 and 2016 the UK’s export finance agency UKEF provided £109m to underwrite exports of equipment to coal mines in Russia, writes Lawrence Carter – despite the agency’s commitment not to support ‘investment in dirty fossil-fuel energy production’. And that’s just a fraction of the £6.9 billion UKEF has lavished on the corrupt, polluting sector since 2000, while it was meant to be backing the clean energy technologies of the future.
Environment news & analysis, climate change reports –
The Ecologist

New, stronger regulator for Canada energy projects: panel advice

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) – Canada should reverse the approval process for major energy projects, putting them through federal review before a final decision by new regulatory bodies, an official panel recommended on Monday.


Reuters: Environment