Environment

Blue and gold make green in Silicon Valley

4/7/2010 - Clean and green technologies are on the rise in Silicon Valley. Electric car startups like Tesla Motors and solar cell and biofuel innovators are snapping up commercial space, while established companies like Applied Materials are growing their clean energy divisions. “Over the past six years, clean tech's portion of venture [capital] investments has grown from merely 3 percent to more than 25 percent,” reported the San Jose Mercury News in January. The newspaper went on to pronounce clean and green technologies the next great wave of innovation in Silicon Valley. It's no surprise to five Berkeley Engineering alumni who work in the up-and-coming sector.

What Thailand taught me

3/3/2010 - After 70 years in environmental engineering, Harvey Ludwig (B.S.'38, M.S.'42 CE) has learned a thing or two about the field. Ludwig ran his own environmental engineering consulting firm in the United States for 26 years before moving to Thailand to start a company that consulted on water and sanitation projects there and in other developing countries around Asia, the Middle East and Africa. It was an eye-opening experience, and ever since, Ludwig has freely shared his insights on how to translate Western technologies into best practices for emerging markets.

Chile reels in aftermath of quake, emergency workers provide aid

3/1/2010 The Washington Post - The earthquake, centered 200 miles southwest of the capital, was one of at least a dozen in Chile since 1973 that were larger than magnitude 7. The quakes release stresses between two tectonic plates that are moving past each other at a rate roughly one-third faster than the plates that define the San Andreas fault in California, according to Jonathan Bray, a professor of geotechnical engineering at the University of California at Berkeley.

Building codes, earthquake's 'shake' explain why Chile fared better than Haiti: experts

2/27/2010 Gwinnett Daily Online - Chile's preparedness and the extent of Saturday's earthquake explain why the loss of life and property was far less than the death and destruction Haiti's less powerful quake caused last month, experts say. "The Haiti earthquake was shallower, the high population area was closer to the fault that ruptured and, very importantly, the buildings and infrastructure in Chile are designed considering earthquake effects - whereas Haiti had no building codes,'' said Jonathan Bray, an earthquake engineering professor with the University of California, Berkeley.

Top 10 cleantech universities in the U.S. for 2010

1/7/2010 Berkeley Lab - UC Berkeley ranks second in a survey of U.S. academic institutions best suited to take advantage of cleantech trends by fostering a pipeline of collaboration of businesses, universities, state initiatives, investors and research dollars.

Sustainable Energy Solutions

11/13/2009 - Next month, representatives from around the world will convene at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in hopes of providing the broad outline for a new agreement that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions to sustainable levels. It is critical that, unlike Kyoto, the new agreement simultaneously provide for sustainable growth and energy utilization.

Women Find a Home at Berkeley Engineering

5/2/2009 - From Monica Tanza, a mechanical engineering senior interested in sustainable design, to Cagla Meral, a civil and environmental engineering Ph.D. student working on greener cement, women are pursuing their ambitions at Berkeley Engineering.

The Ozone Weekend Effect

3/2/2009 - A large part of gasoline and diesel engine pollution consists of two components: soot and nitrogen oxides, or NOx. Soot is made up of tiny carbon particles that hang in the air and dirty it, but NOx, a mix of nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide, has a more complicated story. NOx feeds chemical pathways that are fueled by sunlight and produce the noxious brew we call smog. In general, reducing NOx tailpipe emissions reduces this pollution. But, as CEE professor Robert Harley has found, there is an exception to this rule, known as the ozone weekend effect, that can confound air quality management efforts unless it is understood.

From Bacon to Biofuel

3/2/2009 - Brown grease - a nasty melange of leftover animal fat, pan scrapings and other gunky residue - is a sewer pipe's worst enemy. In San Francisco, a pilot project led by two Berkeley Engineering alumni is in the works to explore for the first time how wastewater treatment plants throughout California might turn the unappealing stuff into biodiesel fuel. "For the city, it's going to be a win-win situation," says Domenec Jolis (Ph.D.'92 CEE), a senior engineer at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and the project's co-principal investigator.

A Concrete Response to Climate Change

11/2/2008 - Up to 5 percent of the globe's climate-changing carbon dioxide emissions result from manufacturing the durable and immensely popular construction material known as Portland cement, says Cagla Meral, a 27-year-old doctoral student in the civil and environmental engineering department. Convinced that cement is far too useful and ubiquitous to ever be replaced, Meral is working to develop a greener form of it. Her research explores how carbon dioxide can be "sequestered" or locked back into blended cement while maintaining strength and other important properties of cement-based materials like concrete.

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