University of Delaware
delware environmental institute


Environmental news from Delaware and the surrounding region.

New Critical Zone Observatory seeks to answer climate change questions
10/02/2009 -

The University of Delaware, in collaboration with Stroud Water Research Center in Avondale, Pa., has received a $4.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation to establish the Christina River Basin as a new “Critical Zone Observatory” for researching questions relating to climate change.

Scientists define the “critical zone” as the portion of the planet from the treetops to the groundwater that sustains terrestrial life.

The observatory is one of only six in the United States. It is funded through a competitive, five-year grant awarded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Historic bill lets electric car owners sell back to the grid
09/22/2009 -

The University of Delaware was a major player at a Monday, Sept. 21, event that marked the launch of the first vehicle-to-grid (V2G) electric cars made in Delaware and the signing of Senate Bill 153 by Gov. Jack A. Markell, which rewards owners of V2G technology for plugging in.

The event was held at AutoPort Inc. near Wilmington, which retrofitted a Toyota Scion that was on display. Another star of the show was the University of Delaware's eBox V2G vehicle, which was developed by vehicle-to-grid pioneer Willett Kempton, professor in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE).

The bill, which Markell said was the first of its kind in the world, compensates owners of electric cars for electricity sent back to the grid at the same rate they pay for electricity to charge the battery.

Sparks to lead Delaware Environmental Institute; launch set Oct. 23
09/21/2009 -

Donald L. Sparks, S. Hallock du Pont Chair in soil and environmental chemistry at the University of Delaware, has been appointed director of the Delaware Environmental Institute, which will be officially opened on Friday, Oct. 23, at the University's Newark campus.

The Delaware Environmental Institute (DENIN) is a multidisciplinary institute focused on providing solutions to global environmental challenges through knowledge-based partnerships that integrate environmental science, engineering and policy.

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

Federal stimulus spurs science and technology development at UD
09/16/2009 -

University of Delaware researchers have won over $41 million in federal stimulus funds, to date, for leading-edge science, engineering, and technology projects with the potential to create jobs and foster long-term economic growth. The University has received the funds through competitive grants awarded by federal agencies as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), enacted by Congress in February.

As of Sept. 15, a total of 36 projects involving UD faculty have been funded by ARRA grants, according to Mark Barteau, senior vice provost for research and strategic initiatives.

UD inventors develop diagnostic tool for trees
09/15/2009 -

An invention by a University of Delaware doctoral student can provide information about the biological and physiological characteristics of trees that will yield valuable information for forest scientists and ecologists.

The LaserBarkTM, an automated instrument for the measurement of bark microrelief, was developed by John Van Stan, a Ph.D. candidate in geography, in conjunction with his adviser, associate professor Delphis Levia, and a mechanical engineering consultant, Matthew Jarvis.

Novel research to root out how microbes affect rice plants
09/08/2009 -

Plants that live in the soil don't live alone -- a mere teaspoon of soil teems with an estimated billion microscopic organisms.

Yet comparatively little is known about which of these tiny organisms interact with plants or how they may affect plant performance and crop yields, according to Harsh Bais, assistant professor of plant and soil sciences at the University of Delaware.

With a three-year, $1.9 million grant from the National Science Foundation, Bais is teaming up with researchers from the University of California Davis and Delaware State University to uncover the diversity and potential impacts of microbes that literally lie at the roots of rice, one of the world's most important food crops.