UI professor studies wind turbine durability

Photo by Kenneth Spencer, Flickr.

University of Iowa researcher K.K. Choi used to study military vehicles, now he’s looking at improving wind turbines.

Read more from Midwest Energy News here:

Improving wind turbine reliability has become a national priority in recent years. The U.S. Department of Energy highlighted reliability in its July 2008 report on increasing wind generation to 20 percent of the nation’s electricity supply by 2030. Continue reading

British startup company creates green cement

Photo by Eddie Welker, Flickr.

Construction of new buildings and facilities will continuously go on around all of us across the planet.  A British company called Novacem has developed a green cement that will greatly decrease the impact construction has on our environment.

Read more from the Smithsonian Magazine here:

“You know, cement is everywhere,” Nikolaos Vlasopoulos, an environmental engineer at Imperial College in London, says while sitting in a brightly lit college conference room in a hulking seven-story building held up by the topic of conversation. “It’s all around us.” Continue reading

Six Iowa watersheds receive management funding

Last week watershed management received a boost across Iowa when the Economic Development Authority and the Department of Natural Resources distributed funding to monitor flooding.

Read more from the Iowa DNR press release below:

The Economic Development Authority (IEDA) and Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced funding for six Watershed Management Authority (WMA) applications.  Recipients of the seed money will form a WMA to reduce future flood risks and improve water quality in a watershed.  Continue reading

Study finds lower ozone levels lift farm worker productivity

Photo by Mike Houge, Flickr.

The National Bureau of Economic Research released a report earlier this month, detailing the positive impact that low ozone levels have on farm workers.

Read more from the New York Times here:

The study found that on average, when ozone levels declined by 10 parts per billion — approximately the level of tightening proposed by the E.P.A. — worker productivity climbed 4.2 percent. Extrapolating from that result, an across-the-board reduction of 10 parts per billion might yield a $1.1 billion annual increase in economic value in the nation’s agricultural sector. Continue reading

Johnson County moves to increase small wind use

Photo by Mr. T in DC, Flickr.

The Johnson County Board of Supervisors will meet on Dec. 8 to pass an amendment that could potentially increase residential wind turbine usage in the area.

The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports:

Turbines between 81 and 150 feet tall, which currently do not have an applicable ordinance, would be eligible for a conditional use permit under the change. Those generators — generally businesses that use the energy to power their own developments — are limited to a generating capacity of 100 kilowatts. Continue reading

UI to release field guides on Midwestern frogs, toads and turtles

Photo by Mahalie Stackpole, Flickr.

The University of Iowa Press will release two new guides on some Midwestern wildlife on Nov. 22.

Read more from a UI news release below:

Two new Bur Oak Guides — Turtles in Your Pocket and Frogs and Toads in Your Pocket — will become available from the University of Iowa Press on Nov. 22.

Both laminated, fold-out pocket guides were written by Terry VanDeWalle, a senior biologist with Stantec Consulting, and feature photographs by Suzanne L. Collins, an executive officer of the Center for North American Herpetology. Continue reading