From green business and new environmental legislation to how nature impacts our environment in ways never before considered, Earth Wise offers a look at our changing environment.

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Hydrogen from water and sunlight


If hydrogen fuel cell cars are going to become commonplace, we need cleaner and cheaper ways to produce hydrogen. Making it from natural gas is not environmentally desirable and so far, using electrolysis to break apart water has been too energy intensive and too expensive.



Splitting water with a AAA battery

AAA Batteries 

Several major automakers are betting on hydrogen fuel cell cars as the non-polluting future of personal transportation. Indeed both Toyota and Honda will begin selling fuel cell cars in the US some time next year.



Hydrogen cars are coming

Hydrogen Car

Cars that run on electricity instead of fossil fuels are becoming increasingly common and may eventually replace their internal combustion counterparts entirely. However, it is not at all certain what the source of electricity in cars will be.



Mercury’s toxic legacy



New research from Harvard University indicates that the amount of mercury in the environment is much higher than previously thought. Prior estimates put mercury levels at around 720,000 metric tons; the new study suggests it’s actually two-and-a-half times that number.



Energy from stopping trains


Hybrid cars, buses and trucks are as much as 30% more energy efficient than their conventional counterparts. The bulk of this energy savings comes from regenerative braking. This is the process of recapturing the energy that is lost to friction in the process of slowing or stopping the vehicle. Instead of heating up brakes, the wheels slow down by turning a generator and making electricity that can be put to use to power the vehicle or other onboard systems.


Earth Wise is a presentation of WAMC Northeast Public Radio and The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies Follow us Facebook Twiter RSS Podcast