Tag Archives: environmental engineering

Researchers take new look at future Colorado River flows

The Colorado River provides water for more than 30 million people in the U.S. West, so water managers have been eager to understand how climate change will affect the river’s flow. But scientific studies have produced an unsettling range of estimates, from a modest decrease of 6 percent by 2050 to a steep drop of 45 percent by then.

A new paper by researchers at the University of Washington (UW), CIRES, NOAA and other institutions across the West investigates and explains why those estimates differ and summarizes what is known about the future of this iconic Western river—key information for decision makers. (more…)

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Monitoring concrete

UD professors study microbes as potential biomarkers for damaged concrete

Concrete is the most widely used construction material in the world. However, many concrete roadways and bridges crack due to internal chemical reactions, temperature fluctuations or external chemical and physical stresses.

One internal chemical reaction is the Alkali-Silica Reaction (ASR) that destroys the concrete from within.  (more…)

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Biofuels from Algae Hold Potential, but Not Ready for Prime Time

UA biofuel expert Joel Cuello explains how future innovations could help realize algal biofuels’ full potential.

Scaling up the production of biofuels made from algae to meet at least 5 percent – about 10 billion gallons – of U.S. transportation fuel needs would place unsustainable demands on energy, water and nutrients, says a new report from the National Research Council, or NRC. However, these concerns are not a definitive barrier for future production, and innovations that would require research and development could help realize algal biofuels’ full potential.

“Algal biofuels are not quite ready for prime time,” said NRC committee member Joel Cuello, a professor in the UA department of agricultural and biosystems engineering who co-authored the report. “In other words, if scaled up today, the resources that have to go into production would not be sustainable. However, in our report we say that this not a show stopper, because there are technology combinations that can be designed and developed to make the production process more environmentally sustainable.” (more…)

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No Left Turn: ‘Superstreet’ Traffic Design Improves Travel Time, Safety

The so-called “superstreet” traffic design results in significantly faster travel times, and leads to a drastic reduction in automobile collisions and injuries, according to North Carolina State University researchers who have conducted the largest-ever study of superstreets and their impacts.

Superstreets are surface roads, not freeways.  It is defined as a thoroughfare where the left-hand turns from side streets are re-routed, as is traffic from side streets that needs to cross the thoroughfare. In both instances, drivers are first required to make a right turn and then make a U-turn around a broad median. While this may seem time-consuming, the study shows that it actually results in a significant time savings since drivers are not stuck waiting to make left-hand turns or for traffic from cross-streets to go across the thoroughfare. (more…)

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