The Science of Sustainability

Engineering

Dredging Up a Problem

Dredging Up a Problem

The Cuyahoga River in northeast Ohio — known for catching fire in the 1960s — relies on frequent dredging to keep the shipping channels open. Now a controversial new proposal to dump the dredged material into Lake Erie has residents worried about contamination of the public water supply.

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The Ski-cast: Is There Hope for the Slopes?

The Ski-cast: Is There Hope for the Slopes?

Despite predictions that many ski resorts in New England and around the nation may no longer be economically viable in just 15 years, researchers point to adaptation as the key to staying the course.

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Landowners Make Way for More Shoreline

Landowners Make Way for More Shoreline

How one family’s decision to remove their waterfront wall has sparked the recovery of coastal ecosystems on a popular Washington island.

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Could your driveway be poisoning your kids?

Could your driveway be poisoning your kids?

Parking lots coated with coal tar, a gooey black waste product of steel manufacturing, shed the coatings at a high rate. This toxic residue is showing up in dust on nearby apartment surfaces.

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Denimite: Discovering New Frontiers for Old Jeans

Denimite: Discovering New Frontiers for Old Jeans

A husband and wife team explore the potential for using recycled denim to create solid composite countertops, dashboards and other unexpected items.

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Birds, Blades, and the Brutal Business of Clean Energy

Birds, Blades, and the Brutal Business of Clean Energy

Does a shift toward renewable energy sources mean choosing between wind turbines and wildlife? Author William H. Funk weighs in.

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In Dry Year, California Looks to Cloud Seeding

In Dry Year, California Looks to Cloud Seeding

There’s no doubt about it – it’s dry out there. 2013 ended as the driest year ever recorded in many parts of California. So water managers are trying to squeeze out every last drop with an old technology: cloud seeding.

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A Better Way to Patch Potholes

A Better Way to Patch Potholes

Inspired by footraces across a giant bathtub of cornstarch, engineering students think they have hit on a more efficient and environmentally friendly way to fix potholes.

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Career Spotlight: Kite Designer

Career Spotlight: Kite Designer

Damon Vander Lind works at Makani Power building high-altitude kites that can generate more power than conventional wind turbines.

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Career Spotlight: Mechatronics Engineer

Career Spotlight: Mechatronics Engineer

Leila Madrone is a mechatronics engineer who leads a team that is designing heliostats — mechanisms used in concentrating solar power systems.

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Building Better Homes for Bumblebee Queens

Building Better Homes for Bumblebee Queens

A Nebraska scientist is building bumblebee boxes in an effort to learn more about these mysterious pollinators and get the public engaged in the scientific process.

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Going Off The Grid: Competition Spurs Innovations in Solar Home Design

Going Off The Grid: Competition Spurs Innovations in Solar Home Design

Watch students from the Missouri University of Science and Technology as they compete in the Solar Decathlon; a contest that challenges university teams to build energy efficient homes powered entirely by the sun.

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Largest Solar Plant in the World Goes Through Last Test Before Opening

Largest Solar Plant in the World Goes Through Last Test Before Opening

The largest solar plant in the world – in California’s Mojave Desert – goes through its last test before opening, after a debate that pitted renewable energy against a threatened tortoise.

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After the Frack

After the Frack

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a process of extracting natural gas that creates large amounts of contaminated wastewater. QUEST travels to Ohio to investigate how this wastewater is produced and the controversy over how to safely dispose of it.

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Improving Golf’s Environmental Scorecard

Improving Golf’s Environmental Scorecard

How thinking outside the (tee) box can help the environment, save money, and improve your golf game.

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Biodiesel Power

Biodiesel Power

From the deep fryer to the fuel tank, how one North Carolina company is using cooking grease to power a community.

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Stanford Solar Car Races Across Australian Desert

Stanford Solar Car Races Across Australian Desert

Stanford University students design and race a single passenger solar car 1,800 miles across the Australian continent in an international competition that pushes the boundaries of solar-powered technology.

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Cementing a More Sustainable Future

Cementing a More Sustainable Future

A team of innovative students at UNC Charlotte develop a game-changing material poised to improve the way we build our cities and our homes.

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Stanford Students Debut Solar-Powered Prefab Home

Stanford Students Debut Solar-Powered Prefab Home

Stanford University students set out to revolutionize home design by entering a solar powered prefab house into the Department of Energy's biennial Solar Decathlon competition.

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The Seattle Seawall Project: Transforming Salmon Habitat

The Seattle Seawall Project: Transforming Salmon Habitat

Seattle’s urban waterfront — a noisy highway viaduct and failing seawall — is being transformed to create a welcoming environment for salmon and people.

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