Environment

  • New platform speeds up effort to turn crops into fuel

    Monday, Aug 30, 2021
    by Scott Lyon, School of Engineering and Applied Science

    Princeton researchers have developed a new way to make fuel from cellulose—Earth's most abundant organic compound, found in all plant cells—speeding up a notoriously slow chemical process and in some cases doubling energy yields over comparable methods.

    Their platform uses a recently developed cellulose emulsion that makes it easier to metabolize the compound into other chemicals. Combining that emulsion with engineered microbes and a light-based genetic tool, the team showed that they could more efficiently make biofuels from cellulose.

  • The Arctic Ocean’s deep past provides clues to its imminent future

    Monday, Aug 16, 2021
    by Liz Fuller-Wright, Office of Communications

    As the North Pole, the Arctic Ocean and the surrounding Arctic land warm rapidly, scientists are racing to understand the warming’s effects on Arctic ecosystems.

    With shrinking sea ice, more light reaches the surface of the Arctic Ocean. Some have predicted that this will lead to more plankton, which in turn would support fish and other animals.

    Not so fast, says a team of scientists led by Princeton University and the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry.

  • Planting forests may cool the planet more than thought

    Monday, Aug 9, 2021
    by By Liana Wait for the High Meadows Environmental Institute

    Planting trees and replenishing forests are among the simplest and most appealing natural climate solutions, but the impact of trees on atmospheric temperature is more complex than meets the eye.

  • Americans are unaware of carbon capture and sequestration technology, according to a new study

    Tuesday, Jun 15, 2021
    by Molly A. Seltzer, Andlinger Center for Energy + the Environment

    Capturing carbon at the smokestack is a promising way to combat climate change, but the majority of Americans are unfamiliar with the technology, according to a new study from Princeton University.

    “It’s a signal that more communication is necessary to the general public,” said Elke Weber, the senior author of the study, who is the Gerhard R. Andlinger Professor in Energy and the Environment and a professor of psychology and the School of Public and International Affairs.

  • How we measure biodiversity can have profound impacts on land-use

    Monday, Jun 28, 2021
    by Liana Wait, Princeton School of Public and International Affairs

    The world’s human population is expanding, which means even more agricultural land will be needed to provide food for this growing population. However, choosing which areas to convert is difficult and depends on agricultural and environmental priorities, which can vary widely.

  • The 'hidden' life of an ecosystem engineer

    Tuesday, Jun 1, 2021
    by Morgan Kelly, High Meadows Environmental Institute

    The two years Princeton senior Joe Kawalec spent studying the natural camouflage of the ubiquitous downy woodpecker oddly enough began and ended the same way — tracing the outlines of birds.

  • Research meets the challenge of measuring urban carbon emissions

    Monday, May 17, 2021
    by Morgan Kelly, High Meadows Environmental Institute

    As more people call for action against climate change, more than 500 cities worldwide have established low-carbon and net-zero carbon goals intended to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades.

    But a major challenge to these decarbonization plans is the lack of a consensus on how to measure urban carbon emissions in the first place.

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