University of Delaware
delware environmental institute


Environmental news from Delaware and the surrounding region.

AutoPort to roll out first cars equipped with UD's V2G technology
01/19/2010 -

A University of Delaware technology that could change the energy world is now on a roll.

The University of Delaware has signed the first license for its vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology with AutoPort, Inc., a major vehicle processing and modification facility in New Castle, Del. Under the terms of the licensing agreement, AutoPort has been granted non-exclusive rights in the area of commercial fleet vehicles.

The licensing agreement launches the first large-scale demonstration of the UD-developed V2G technology, which enables electric car owners to plug in their vehicles and send electricity back to electrical utilities. The system is designed to generate cash for the driver, while strengthening the nation's power supply and reducing dependence on fossil fuels.

01/14/2010 -

Editor’s note: Video from the news conference is available online.

The state of Delaware is the first in the country to use a new “green energy savings bond” model invented at the University of Delaware Center for Environmental and Energy Policy (CEEP) to fund energy efficiency and renewable energy projects for public buildings.

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell announced the new initiative Jan. 6, in partnership with Delaware's Sustainable Energy Utility (SEU).

The SEU, a unique nonprofit organization created to foster a sustainable energy future for the state, was developed in part by John Byrne, Distinguished Professor of Energy and Climate Policy and CEEP director, along with several UD graduate students and policy fellows.

$1.1 million NSF project to study Delaware Estuary mud
01/13/2010 -

If you've ever stepped a bare foot on the bottom of the Delaware River, you've discovered what scientists already know -- there's gooey, gray muck down there, and lots of it. Each year, more than a million tons of sediment washes into the Delaware River estuary, which winds 134 miles from Trenton, N.J., to the mouth of the bay.

Not only is the sediment plentiful, it's crucially important in maintaining the natural balance of the estuary's ecosystem. Some of the sediment settles to the river bottom, where it adds to its stability and helps deter erosion. Some of it is deposited in neighboring marshes, where it helps maintain the marsh above sea level and provides nutrients that allow plants and animals to survive there.

But there's a lot that scientists are still learning about all that mud.

Dentel elected to environmental organization board
01/11/2010 -

Steve Dentel, professor in the University of Delaware's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has been elected to a three-year term on the board of directors of the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP).

Founded in 1963 as a private nonprofit organization, AEESP has grown to more than 700 members in universities throughout the world. The association assists its members in improving education and research programs, encourages graduate education, and serves the profession by providing information to government agencies and the public.

EPSCoR seed grants awarded for environmental research
01/07/2010 -

The Delaware EPSCoR office has awarded three seed grants to investigators whose projects address environmental challenges in Delaware.

EPSCoR, the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, is a federal program that helps states develop their research initiatives and academic institutions.

The National Science Foundation's EPSCoR is the largest and locally includes the University of Delaware, Delaware State University, Wesley College and Delaware Technical and Community College.

Phragmites partners with microbes to plot native plants' demise
12/23/2009 -

University of Delaware researchers have uncovered a novel means of conquest employed by the common reed, Phragmites australis, which ranks as one of the world's most invasive plants.

The research by an interdisciplinary UD team led by Harsh Bais, assistant professor of plant and soil sciences, is reported in the December issue of the scientific journal Plant Physiologyand also is highlighted in one of the journal's editorials.The invasive strain, which hails from Eurasia, overtakes its “native” cousin, which has lived in North America for the past 10,000 years, ironically by provoking the native plant to “take itself out,” through a combination of microbial and enzymatic activity in the soil.

Copenhagen Oceans Day participants say more focus on oceans needed
12/23/2009 -

 Oceans Day at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) this month brought together 320 leaders from 40 countries, representing governments, U.N. agencies, non-governmental organizations, the scientific community, and industry to focus on the direct link between climate change, ocean health, and human well being.

The nearly 50 percent of the world's population living in coastal areas will suffer disproportionately from climate change impacts such as ocean warming, sea-level rise, extreme weather events, and ocean acidification, attendees said. The effects of such changes are expected to be wide ranging and include loss of food security and threats to the diversity of ocean wildlife.During the Dec. 14 event -- co-sponsored by the Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands, housed at UD -- world leaders affirmed the urgent need to protect the central role of oceans in Earth's life support system and address threats facing coastal and island communities.

University plans new interdisciplinary science, engineering building
12/17/2009 -

In 1810, German educator and philosopher Wilhelm von Humboldt wrote, in his now-famous prescription for the future University of Berlin, that “universities should treat learning as not yet wholly solved problems and hence always in research mode.”

If Humboldt were still alive, he would undoubtedly be pleased with the plans for the new interdisciplinary science and engineering building that will be constructed at UD with donor support. With a goal of engaging students and stimulating excitement about science and engineering, the new building is being designed to be dynamic, dramatic and distinctive, while providing badly needed classroom and lab space for a growing number of engineering students.

New enterprise to focus on environment
12/16/2009 -

The University has launched the Delaware Environmental Institute, a multidisciplinary initiative focused on providing solutions to global environmental challenges through knowledge-based partnerships that integrate environmental science, engineering and policy.

Known as DENIN, the institute will be closely allied with the colleges at UD and other educational institutions in the state. Institute research initially will focus on three areas: Processes at the air, land and sea interface; environmental forecasting and restoration; and ecosystem health and sustainability.

Donald L. Sparks, S. Hallock du Pont Chair in soil and environmental chemistry at the University, has been appointed director of DENIN, which was officially opened at an Oct. 23 celebration on campus. The event drew more than 200 people, including a cadre of elementary and high school students who contributed posters on topics ranging from the benefits of trees to the problems associated with invasive species.

UD experts weigh in on U.N. climate conference in Copenhagen
12/16/2009 -

University of Delaware professors attending the U.N. climate conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, and their colleagues in Newark, Del., are this week weighing in on the key issues at the 192-nation summit, which ends Dec. 18.

The conference aims to curb global greenhouse gas emissions and to identify how the world will pay for dramatic reductions, and reach an agreement to succeed the 1997 Kyoto protocol, which required 37 industrial countries to cut emissions an average 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2012.

John Byrne, director of the UD Center for Energy and Environmental Policy (CEEP) and co-chair of the Sustainable Energy Utility (SEU), will present a "how to" in reducing CO2 emissions on the final day of the summit. His presentation is based on examples of CEEP's research into communities empowered to take collective action that have led to cuts in energy waste and fostered job and economic growth.