Environment

  • Alcatraz Island is unlikely place of learning for students of energy innovation

    Monday, Jun 17, 2019
    by Molly Seltzer, Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment

    On Alcatraz Island, students from Princeton University peered across the San Francisco skyline from a solar rooftop. Their visit to the historic prison’s electricity microgrid was one stop on a spring break trip to see emerging energy technologies, part of a new course on energy innovation and entrepreneurship.

    “Before this class I didn't even know what the energy sector looked like,” said Diego Fierros, a senior studying mechanical and aerospace engineering. “It was a giant engineering conglomerate.”

  • Course explores the Millstone River, Princeton’s backyard wilderness

    Thursday, May 23, 2019
    by Morgan Kelly, Princeton Environmental Institute

    An 8-foot deer shape cut from a discarded mirror stood along one wall of the Lucas Gallery at 185 Nassau St. on the Princeton campus, its humanoid body reflecting the people gathered around a table set with native New Jersey plants, a sun-bleached turtle shell and discarded bottles stuffed with secret messages.

  • Princeton senior Lohmann explores Nauru, where the environmental future is now

    Monday, May 20, 2019
    by Morgan Kelly, Princeton Environmental Institute

    When planning his stay on the remote Pacific island of Nauru last year, Princeton senior Jack Lohmann had expected that a place often portrayed as a post-environmental dystopia would present challenges. Being besieged by feral dogs the moment he left the airport was not one he had anticipated.

    "Packs of wild dogs roam the island and a lot of people are terrified," Lohmann said. "They come snarling and barking wherever you walk. The ones by the airport are particularly bad."

  • Princeton senior Petticord explores a Kenyan ecosystem one tortoise at a time

    Tuesday, May 14, 2019
    by Morgan Kelly, Princeton Environmental Institute

    As Princeton senior Daniel Petticord was conceptualizing his thesis on animal movement in the African savanna, he could have chosen to study elephants, zebras, giraffes, impalas or any of the iconic animals that inhabit central Kenya. He chose the ubiquitous leopard tortoise.

  • Reducing Carbon Emissions While Improving Health is Economically Attractive, Study Shows

    Thursday, May 2, 2019
    by Rose Kelly Source: Woodrow Wilson School

    It’s a classic policy dispute: How much should the current generation invest in reducing carbon emissions for the benefit of future generations?

    A study published in Nature Communications helps answer this question by quantifying whether reducing carbon emissions — which will have global benefits in the future — also improves air quality now. Preventing many of the human health burdens that result from air pollution would be a powerful positive incentive to act sooner than later. 

  • Occurrence of back-to-back heat waves likely to accelerate with climate change

    Wednesday, May 8, 2019
    by Joseph Albanese for the Princeton Environmental Institute

    As the planet continues to warm, multi-day heat waves are projected to increase in frequency, length and intensity. The additive effects of these extreme heat events overwhelm emergency service providers and hospital staff with heat-related maladies, disrupt the electrical grid and can even cause delays in air travel.

    But existing studies do not consider the increased loss of life and economic hardship that could come from back-to-back — or compound — heat waves, which bring cycles of sweltering temperatures with only brief periods of normal conditions in between.

  • Harnessing sunlight to pull hydrogen from wastewater

    Monday, May 6, 2019
    by Molly Seltzer, Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment

    Hydrogen is a critical component in the manufacture of thousands of common products from plastic to fertilizers, but producing pure hydrogen is expensive and energy intensive. Now, a research team at Princeton University has harnessed sunlight to isolate hydrogen from industrial wastewater.

  • Local plant-microbe alliances shape global biomes

    Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019
    by Morgan Kelly, Princeton Environmental Institute

    Dense rainforests, maple-blanketed mountains and sweeping coniferous forests demonstrate the growth and proliferation of trees adapted to specific conditions. The regional dominance of tree species we see on the surface now, however, might actually have been determined underground long ago.

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