Category Archives: Air and Water

‘Noah’s Ark’ Takes On Water

‘Noah’s Ark’ Takes On Water

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, built into a hillside in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard far above the Arctic Circle, is often described as humanity’s last hope against extinction after some global crisis.  While there are more than 1,700 gene banks around the world that keep collections of seeds, all of them are vulnerable to war, natural disasters, equipment malfunctions, and other problems.  Except the Svalbard vault – or so we thought.  It has been dubbed the “Noah’s Ark” of seeds and a last chance for the world to regenerate if the worst should come to pass.  It’s mission is to keep the world’s seeds safe. 

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Improving Energy Storage

Improving Energy Storage

The transition to sustainable energy sources faces many challenges.  One important one is to make those sources as reliable as conventional energy systems.  For technologies like solar and wind power, which can’t operate around the clock, an enabling element is effective energy storage.   Energy storage is critical for both the electricity grid and for transportation. Continue Reading

Surging Wind Power In The U.S.

Surging Wind Power In The U.S.

So far, it has been a big year for the U.S. wind industry, which experienced its fastest first-quarter growth since 2009.  In total, about 2,000 megawatts of new capacity was installed, enough to power about 500,000 homes.   With this addition, wind now produces 5 1/2% of the country’s electricity. Continue Reading

Carbon From The Alaskan Tundra

Carbon From The Alaskan Tundra

The soils that encircle the northern reaches of the Arctic are a vast repository for carbon in the form of undecayed organic matter from dead vegetation.  The enormous amount of material trapped in the permafrost contains enough carbon to double the current amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere. Continue Reading