Environment

Eco-driving: Ready for prime time?

6/16/2011 Institute of Transportation Studies - The time may finally be right to sell Americans on eco-driving, according to a group of transportation experts from four University of California campuses as well as representatives from industry and government who attended an all-day conference on May 18. Sometimes called green driving, eco-driving refers to techniques drivers can use to maximize their mileage while saving fuel and minimizing tailpipe emissions.

Environmental engineering professor Kara Nelson receives grant for sanitation research

5/2/2011 The Daily Californian - UC Berkeley professor of environmental engineering Kara Nelson has been awarded a five-year $100,000 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for her unconventional research in sanitation and human waste management. Nelson said she will use the grant money to treat human waste at the point where it is being produced, in an effort to eliminate the amount of contact humans have with fecal pathogens.

PEER presents briefing on Japan earthquake and tsunami

4/27/2011 Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center - The Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center will give a public briefing presenting the preliminary results of a U.S. research team's reconnaissance trip to Japan to survey damage from the 9.0 magnitude Tohoku earthquake and ensuing tsunami of March 11, 2011. The briefing, to be held on April 28, is jointly organized by the PEER, GEER, and EERI's Learning from Earthquakes Program.

Radioactive particles arriving in the Bay Area, but pose no risk, say UC scientists and health officials

3/18/2011 San Jose Mercury News - While public health officials downplayed fears that a plume from Japan's crippled nuclear reactors was descending on California, scientists at UC Berkeley declared they were already detecting radioactive particles from 5,000 miles across the ocean. The differing accounts illustrated the confusion on the fallout from Japan's crisis, but scientists and public health experts agreed that whatever radiation may drift to California and the West Coast will be too minuscule to pose any health risks. "We see evidence of fission particles -- iodine, cesium, barium and krypton, a whole dog's breakfast of radiation," said Ed Morse, professor of nuclear engineering at UC Berkeley, whose students have set up a monitor on the rooftop of the campus's Etcheverry Building.

Gulf of Mexico oil spill response should be focused, Berkeley engineering professor says

3/16/2011 NOLA - The latest detailed analysis of the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico offers no new theories on what caused the deepwater-well blowout in April, but it does bring a fresh take on how the oil industry and government can make drilling safer. Bob Bea, the UC Berkeley engineering professor who achieved renown for his independent analysis of the levee failures after Hurricane Katrina, says top oil companies need to put their heads together to develop best practices and equipment for drilling in the most dangerous conditions.

How to measure an oil spill

2/2/2011 - When oil was flowing from BP’s broken well at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico last spring, the company estimated the flow rate at about 1,000 barrels a day. But news outlets wanted an independent estimate. Could Ömer Sava?, an expert in fluid mechanics and turbulent flows, help? Soon Sava? became involved in a national effort to establish the “official” flow rate, a number that would dictate not only the level of resources assigned to the cleanup but also its legal ramifications once the emergency had passed.

Energizing the energy agenda

12/14/2010 - While climate change and carbon emissions are very much in today’s headlines, what is less often discussed is the need to provide technological societies with the economic imperative to make changes in our global energy system.

Wheels of change in South Africa

12/14/2010 - More than 9 million South African children walk to school every day. Three million walk for more than an hour, and in the rural countryside, some walk more than four hours. “It's madness,” says Louis de Waal (M.S.’72 CEE), who grew up in rural South Africa and spent his professional life designing and building thousands of kilometers of roads there, many of which opened up inaccessible places deep in the country's interior. Now retired, De Waal is on a mission to improve mobility for all South Africans, especially in rural areas. The goal, says the 73-year-old Cape Town resident, is to keep children in school and help adults reach work more easily, ultimately easing poverty and slowing the flood of people forced to move to urban areas for work.

Earthquake symposium on risk of collapsing buildings stirs some controversy

12/1/2010 Los Angeles Times - Structural engineers gather at UCLA Wednesday to talk about the threat from and economic impact of building collapse in an earthquake. Jack Moehle, a professor at UC Berkeley's Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center, comments on building codes, safety and lessons learned from this year's 8.8 earthquake in Chile.

Flight delays cost more than just time

11/4/2010 - Domestic flight delays put a $32.9 billion dent in the U.S. economy, and about half that cost is borne by airline passengers, according to a study led by UC Berkeley researchers and released last month. The comprehensive report analyzed flight delay data from 2007 to calculate the economic impact on both airlines and passengers, including the cost of lost demand and the collective impact of these costs on the U.S. economy. The report was commissioned by the Federal Aviation Administration to clarify key discrepancies in earlier studies.

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