Eco-news in brief 9-4
By CG News Editor April Jaynes
University’s sustainable energy project awarded national funding
Ohio University’s Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment, a research center at the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, recently received $1.9 million from the National Science Foundation through the Sustainable Energy Pathways (SEP) Program. The four-year grant will fund research concerning alternative energy needs for future development of sustainable buildings. Specifically, the research center’s project, “Sustainable Housing through Holistic Waste Stream Management and Algal Cultivation,” will focus on the design, construction and optimization of an algae-based power system through lab studies and advanced modeling software. The algae-based power system will aim to support the energy requirements and waste stream management of residential communities and homes.
Cunningham Energy revising lease for local drilling
Last week local attorney John Lavelle told The Athens NEWS that Cunningham Energy of Charleston, W.Va., is re-negotiating its leasing terms to drill for deep shale oil-and-gas in Athens counties. Lavelle e-mailed local media and clients who have signed lease agreements with Cunningham to inform them that the lease payment structure is under revision. In July, Lavelle told his clients that Cunningham Energy secured a venture partner to fund the leases with an estimated $65 million to drill five wells throughout Athens county. Lavelle has not revealed the identity of the venture partner and did not provide any further information regarding the re-negotiation of the lease.
Possible trapped methane beneath Antarctic causes concern
Researchers reported in Nature last week that swamp gas trapped under miles of Antarctic ice could escape and contribute to global warming if it contains methane. The gas most likely came from isolated microbes about 35 million years ago that digested organic matter to produce methane, according to research findings. Methane is a more harmful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and others. Researchers are concerned that if the ice melts, due to global warming, some of the trapped methane could belch into the atmosphere, furthering contribution to global warming. Although researchers have not actually detected methane or methane-producing microbes under the ice, drilling projects that are taking place now could reveal evidence of methane later this year. Jemma Wadham of the University of Bristol, England is heading the research team that’s predicting the discovery of methane.