A new iron age?

A new iron age?

Smelters refine aluminum ore, but not iron ore, with electricity. A new electrolytic process for refining iron ore could save vast amounts of greenhouse gases. More »

Hurricanes

Hurricanes

Synopsis: Hurricanes, the most powerful and dangerous storms of all, get their energy from the difference in temperature between a warm ocean and a cooler atmosphere. A century ago, hurricanes blew in with almost no warning; now they are tracked… More »

Energy report: Plentiful supplies, warning signs

Energy report: Plentiful supplies, warning signs

Conservation and fracking will help United States reach energy independence by 2030. How will cheap natural gas affect renewable energy? How will a one-third increase in fossil fuel use affect greenhouse warming? Are we about to be locked into a 3.6ºC of global warming? More »

Greenhouse gas maps

Greenhouse gas maps

Using at least 20 sources of data, scientists have modeled releases of carbon dioxide from Indianapolis. The new view will help cities map reductions in greenhouse warming, and help people understand that the climate warming problem belongs to everybody. More »

Wave power

Wave power

The first ocean wave energy-capturing device with a permit to connect back to a public power grid will enter the Pacific next month. How much power could the U.S. potentially harness from the waves crashing into its the coastline? According to researchers, wave energy might be one of our best renewable resources. More »

Fracking

Fracking

Classroom Activity Page: Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a high-pressure technique for cracking rocks and allowing natural gas to reach wells. Amid a boom in U.S. natural gas production, industry promises that fracking will bring Americans jobs and low-cost energy for decades. Opponents warn that the drilling-and-fracking process threatens to pollute air, surface water, and most importantly, groundwater. Will these concerns stymie an ongoing boom in natural gas production? Should they? More »

Nuclear nightmare in Japan

Nuclear nightmare in Japan

With three nuclear reactors and three pools of spent fuel teetering on the edge of meltdown, Japanese technicians struggled to throttle the nuclear demons after the gigantic tsunami. Is Fukushima closer to Chernobyl or Three Mile Island? How will the disaster affect plans for a renaissance of nuclear power? More »

Biofuel advance

Biofuel advance
Ethanol in gasoline now comes mainly from corn, a food crop. Cellulose, found in crop wastes, wood and switchgrass, could be a great source of ethanol, if only the yeast that makes ethanol could digest cellulose. A new genetic alteration forced yeast to break down cellulose, and then convert it into ethanol. More »

Future grid, smart grid

Brick building side showing 12 stories of windows, each with an air conditioner
We need more electricity. More alternative energy. Less greenhouse warming, and better ways to manage our power supply. Can the electric grid meet multiple challenges and help us survive prosperity? What good are smart meters? And what is this going to cost? More »

Gulf oil spill: It’s a gusher – one mile deep!

A large structure on water on fire, large black cloud, large surrounding ships spraying water

What kind of ecological damage can we expect from a sustained blowout in the Gulf of Mexico? What are the lessons of Exxon Valdez, and how well do they apply to the current outbreak of oil? Is prevention really the only strategy? More »

Tar sands = Clean oil?

Tar sands = Clean oil?

Canada’s oil-drenched sands are the second-largest oil reserves, but they pollute air and water, destroy forests and boost warming. A good idea? More »

Katrina’s Whirlwind: Could Marshes Slow the Floods?

As New Orleans sinks and the seas rise, hurricanes are getting worse. Does it make sense to start restoring marshes and barrier islands that dampen the hurricanes? Could wetlands moderate the next Katrina? More »