University of Delaware
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Environmental news from Delaware and the surrounding region.

Lewes turbine corrosion research could benefit global wind industry
03/18/2011 -

The ocean's powerful winds make the coast an ideal location for a wind turbine. Ironically, it's that ocean air that presents a challenge to any turbine on or near the sea. The moist, salty air combined with a turbine's metallic materials can result in corrosion, a destructive process able to bring any power-generating source to a halt.

Stephen Dexter, professor of marine biosciences in the University of Delaware's College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE), is working to address this threat to renewable energy production. He is overseeing a two-year, Department of Energy-supported corrosivity study at the site of UD's wind turbine, located at UD's Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes.

“One of the primary reasons UD constructed the 2-megawatt wind turbine in 2010 was to facilitate scientific study of specific issues with this renewable energy source,” CEOE Dean Nancy Targett said. “This is one of multiple projects fulfilling that purpose and one that could benefit Delaware's pursuits in wind energy as well as those around the country and the globe.” (full article)

UD research showcased on Capitol Hill
03/17/2011 -

A group of University of Delaware faculty, administrators and students packed their prototypes, their posters, their interactive displays and their UDairy ice cream and brought them all on a quick trip down Interstate 95.

The people and their displays became a showcase of UD's federally funded research projects on Capitol Hill at UD Day in Washington, D.C., on March 8. Invited guests included alumni, staffers representing several congressional offices and federal program officials representing the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense, as well as Delaware's congressional delegation. Delaware's U.S. senators, Tom Carper and Chris Coons, and congressman, John Carney, all commented on UD's research prowess.

“Our University does terrific work these days,” Carper said.

Scattered around the Kennedy Caucus room in the Russell Senate Office Building were 25 displays. They represented the broad range of research conducted at UD with emphasis on four core areas: defense, health, energy and the environment. In addition, partnerships, outreach and commercialization efforts were featured to show the broad impact of UD research. (full article)

DENIN and DNREC launch EcoCafé workshops
03/16/2011 -

The University of Delaware and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) have created a new avenue to connect science with resource management by launching a series of workshops where environmental academicians and regulators can share current research and discuss research needs.

Through the sponsorship of the Delaware Environmental Institute (DENIN), the informal workshops bring personnel from both groups together for presentations, conversation and exploration of possible collaboration. Known as the EcoCafé, the workshops offer a time and place for faculty in environmental sciences, engineering and policy to sit down with like-minded colleagues at DNREC and share experiences, needs and issues over coffee.

“We know there is a lot of common ground between us,” said Don Sparks, S. Hallock du Pont Chair of Soil and Environmental Chemistry at UD and director of DENIN. “We just needed a place to gather and find out what the other is doing and what each other's needs are. Environmental expertise is spread very widely across the University, but DENIN has the mission and the capability to bring people together and provide an entry point for people outside the University who share environmental concerns.” (full article)

Scientists sequence genome of first harmful algal bloom species
03/14/2011 -

Even in the microscopic world of phytoplankton, Aureococcus anophagefferens is small. But this algal species is mighty. It causes brown tides, blooms of algae that have decimated fisheries and destroyed seagrass beds.

Scientists wanting to understand the proliferation of Aureococcus sequenced its genome -- the first ever sequencing of a harmful algal bloom (HAB) species -- and found that a specialized gene set allows it to dominate other marine phytoplankton and thrive in ecosystems affected by human activity. The finding could help explain global increases in HABs of this species over the past few decades.

The discovery was reported in the Feb. 21 online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Christopher Gobler of Stony Brook University's School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences led the project in collaboration with a team of scientists from 11 institutions that included the University of Delaware. (full article)

Securing 'energy future' requires partnership, UDEI symposium speaker says
03/14/2011 -

“When I was nine, I believed that the world was an unlimited place, one where technology would solve the problems of tomorrow.”

This was the opening statement of John Shinn's keynote address at the University of Delaware Energy Institute's (UDEI) annual symposium held March 10.

The symposium highlighted cutting edge research by UD faculty and students in such areas as biomass, solar voltaics, wind energy, advanced magnets and fuel cells.

Shinn, from Chevron Research and Technology Company, is a noted authority on successful business approaches to climate change and sustainable development who said he now understands that resources are limited and technology alone is not enough to secure our energy future.

Energy problems have gone from complicated, highly technical issues to dynamic interplays between technical, environmental and social issues. Global energy demand is expected to increase 50 percent by 2050, while demands to reduce greenhouse gas risks by 50 percent are predicted in the same time frame. (full article)

03/11/2011 -

The Delaware Geological Survey (DGS) released a new technical report entitled Simulation of Groundwater Flow in Southern New Castle County, Delaware, which was prepared by Changming He and A. Scott Andres of the DGS.

DGS Report of Investigations No. 77 is a preliminary step in developing a detailed understanding of the subsurface hydrology and evaluating groundwater availability in major aquifer systems beneath southern New Castle County and parts of northern Kent County, which are expected to have greater demands for groundwater in the next 20 years due to population growth.

With increases in computational speed and power, numerical models have been increasingly used in aquifer characterization, water-resources management, and resource optimization. This report documents the results of a study in which a three-dimensional numerical model was used to simulate groundwater flow in the Columbia (water table), Rancocas, Mt. Laurel, combined Magothy/Potomac A, Potomac B, and Potomac C aquifers and intervening confining beds. (full article)

03/10/2011 -


Contact:  Melanie Rapp, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902; and Shaun Bailey, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, 302-655-4990, ext. 113

Photos available upon request

Governor announces investment in Delaware Bay jobs and oyster reefs

Similar past investments yielded $25 to $50 for every dollar spent

LEIPSIC (March 9, 2011) – At one of Delaware’s most picturesque towns along Route 9, the fishing village of Leipsic in Kent County, Governor Jack Markell today announced the state’s plan to invest in habitat that will help restore and stabilize the oyster population in the Delaware Bay.

The Governor was joined by Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Collin O’Mara and Executive Director of the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary Jennifer Adkins and commercial oyster harvesters, seafood wholesalers and restaurateurs committed to the revitalization of the state’s oyster industry and the ecological restoration of our native oyster.

March 23: BP Solar's Carlson to speak on photovoltaics, climate change
03/10/2011 -

David E. Carlson, chief scientist and manager of future technology programs for BP Solar, will speak at 3 p.m., Wednesday, March 23, as part of the Distinguished Lecturer Seminar Series sponsored by the University of Delaware Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Carlson will speak on the topic “Photovoltaics and its Potential Impact on Climate Change.”

The lecture will be held in Room 206 Kirkbride Hall with a reception to follow in the lobby of DuPont Hall.

The lecture will be available via webcast
. (full article)

03/10/2011 -

The Delaware Geological Survey (DGS) has published a new geologic map of the Rehoboth Beach area in eastern Sussex County entitled Geologic Map of the Fairmount and Rehoboth Beach Quadrangles, Delaware. Geologic Map 16 presents the results of research by Kelvin W. Ramsey of the DGS.

The map shows and describes the geologic units found at the land surface and in the shallow subsurface in the map area. The purpose of the map is to provide geologic information that can be used for determining such things as the geology of watersheds, recognition of the relationship between geology and regional environmental or land-use issues to support land-use and regulatory decision making, and identification of potential locations of sand and gravel resources.

When used in conjunction with subsurface geologic information, the map can be used to aid in locating water supplies for public, domestic, agricultural, and industrial use, mapping groundwater recharge areas, and protecting ground- and surface-water resources in a rapidly growing area in Sussex County. (full article)

Fashion, chemical engineering students work together on 'eco-clothes'
03/08/2011 -

In a unique partnership between the departments of Fashion and Apparel Studies and Chemical Engineering at the University of Delaware, faculty and students are designing and developing apparel and footwear using renewable sources and waste, with hopes that their end products will be fashionable, affordable and environmentally sustainable.

The undergraduate research team includes Paula Bonanno, Jillian Kramer and Stacey Lipschitz from fashion and Quan Dan from chemical engineering. Their project aims to solve many of the environmental problems currently plaguing the fashion industry, from a growing dependence on nonrenewable petroleum-derived materials to carbon emissions associated with traditional textiles such as leather, PVC and wool. (full atrticle)