Environmentalists and corporations don’t always see eye-to-eye on climate change. But the Climate Change and Business Research Initiative has shown that the two sides’ objectives can not only co-exist, but be mutually beneficial.
Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) researchers have developed computer assisted design (CAD)-type tools for engineering RNA components to control genetic expression in microbes. This holds enormous potential for microbial-based production of advanced biofuels, biodegradable plastics, therapeutic drugs and a host of other goods now derived from petrochemicals.
Trees are dying in Africa’s Sahel, and human-caused climate change is to blame, according to a new study led by a scientist at UC Berkeley. Using climate change records, aerial and satellite images and field data, researchers found that one in five tree species disappeared in the past half-century. They attribute the tree deaths to the historic drops in rainfall and increased temperatures in the region.
Could cultivating dense fields of weeds help mitigate climate change by soaking up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere? Berkeley scientists Dennis Baldocchi and Whendee Silver are exploring that possibility in California’s agricultural heartland, the San Joaquin Valley. National Public Radio reports.
Jay Keasling and his colleagues at the Joint BioEnergy Institute have engineered bacteria to turn switchgrass – a hard to digest plant – into gasoline, diesel and jet fuels. This could vastly reduce the cost of producing plant-based fuels to replace fuels from oil and coal.
UC Berkeley-led researchers have found a dramatic one-third reduction in severe pneumonia diagnoses among children in homes with smoke-reducing chimneys on their cookstoves. Reducing wood smoke could have a major impact on the burden of pneumonia, the leading cause of child mortality in the world, the researchers said. A separate pilot study also found a link between prenatal maternal exposure to woodsmoke and poorer performance in markers for IQ among school-aged children.
In 2005, Charlie Huizenga and two UC Berkeley MBA graduates started Adura Technologies to install energy efficient wireless lighting systems in buildings. Their technology, based on innovations by UC Berkeley architects and engineers, has significantly reduced lighting costs in more than 2 million square feet of public and private buildings, including UC Berkeley’s undergraduate library.
UC Berkeley graduate student Greg Goldsmith may have his head in the clouds, but he is firmly grounded in the reality of global warming and the danger it poses to the Central American cloud forests he loves. He developed an elementary school curriculum as a way to help save them.
Record attendance at last week’s fifth-annual Energy Symposium at UC Berkeley demonstrated the swelling interest among students on campus and nationwide in bridging the gap between universities’ renewable energy research and the private sector.
UC Berkeley’s Solar Vehicle Team, is one day from successfully completing the 3,000-kilometer trans-Australia World Solar Challenge, which brought 37 solar cars to the Aussie outback. This is the first time Berkeley has competed.
The Berkeley Initiative in Global Change Biology was awarded a $2.5 million grant by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation for research focusing on global change forecasting for California ecosystems. The grant funds seven major projects involving faculty members from eight campus departments.
Modified corn genes have the potential to make switch grass a much more efficient biofuel, according to new research by a team led by George Chuck of Berkeley’s College of Natural Resources. The study was published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Lessons to be learned from nature could lead to the development of an artificial version of photosynthesis that would provide us with an absolutely clean and virtually inexhaustible energy source, says Berkeley Lab photosynthesis authority Graham Fleming and three international colleagues.
Nuclear engineering professors Per Peterson and Ehud Greenspan are part of a $7.5 million project led by MIT and funded by the Department of Energy to research salt-cooled nuclear reactor technology. The grant is part of a larger initiative by the Department of Energy’s Nuclear Energy University Projects to maintain U.S. leadership in nuclear energy research.
U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu awarded the 2011 APEC Science Prize to UC Berkeley Professor Ali Javey in San Francisco today. Professor Javey is well known for developing low-cost, flexible, and lightweight photovoltaic cells. He has also developed transistor arrays that use a fraction of the power of conventional silicon transistors.
UC Berkeley engineers have shown that by using ferroelectric materials, they can pump up the charge accumulated at a capacitor for a given voltage, a phenomenon called negative capacitance. The achievement could reduce the power draw of today’s electronics, and break the bottleneck that has stalled improvements in computer clock speed.
UC scientists built and worked in towers — some as tall as 1,500 feet — as part of the largest single atmospheric research effort in the state. The data they’ve collected will guide policymakers dealing with air pollution.
Photos and observations posted to the website of the Global Amphibian BioBlitz now cover more than 700 species: 10 percent of the world’s frog, toad and salamander species that the social networking effort hopes to track. This success has now spawned a Reptile BioBlitz.