August 2008, Vol. 20, No.8

Waterline

California Student Is U.S. Winner of Stockholm Junior Water Prize

Joyce Chai of Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., was named the U.S. winner of the 2008 Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP). Chai’s work, “Modeling the Toxic Effects of Silver Nanoparticles Under Varying Environmental Conditions,” demonstrated a novel technique for quantifying the potential toxicity of silver nanoparticles to the world’s water sources and the environment, as well as repudiated the assertion that consumer products containing nanosilver are more reliable and less environmentally hazardous, according to the award judges. Chai’s project was selected from more than 40 state SJWP winners at the national competition held June 19 to 21 in Orlando, Fla.

Chai, a student from Palos Verdes Peninsula High School in Rolling Hills Estates, Calif., received $3000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Stockholm, Sweden, where she will compete against national winners from more than 30 countries for the international honor during World Water Week, scheduled for Aug. 17 to 23. HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden will present the international award — $5000 and a crystal sculpture — during a royal ceremony held in conjunction with the Stockholm Water Symposium.

In addition, Chai’s school will receive a $1000 grant toward enhancing water science education, and she will present her research to more than 18,000 water quality professionals at WEFTEC®.08 this October in Chicago.

Three U.S. finalists — Timothy Chang of Rego Park, N.Y.; Ashutosh Patra of Portland, Ore.; and Eugene Rodrick of Gainesville, Fla. — received $1000 awards.

The Water Environment Federation (Alexandria, Va.) sponsors the U.S. SJWP with support from ITT Corp. (White Plains, N.Y.; also the international sponsor), The Coca-Cola Co. (Atlanta), and Delta Air Lines (Atlanta). The Florida Water Environment Association served as the host of the 2008 U.S. competition, and Chai received sponsorship from the California Water Environment Association. For more information about SJWP, see www.wef.org/AboutWater/ForStudents/SJWP.



Energy That Grows on Trees

An energy company recently announced plans to produce a new biodiesel feedstock — in the form of the shrub or small tree known as Jatropha curcas L.

After researching various new sources of biodiesel for 2 years, Global Energy Trading Co. (GETCO; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) decided to produce the feedstock in underdeveloped nations as an environmentally friendly, sustainable, and economically rewarding fuel source, according to a company press release.

Jatropha is native to areas without prolonged periods of frost, the press release says. The drought-resistant plant has golf-ball-size seeds that are pressed to extract oil that has been used locally for decades as a lighting and heating energy source. The plant grows in poor, rocky soil and has been used recently to combat desertification.

According to the GETCO Web site, the crop does not compete with the food industry, because its seeds are inedible, and it does not take cropland out of production, because it grows in soils that do not support most crops. The plants have a 40-year fruit production life cycle and require few pesticides or fungicides, according to GETCO, and when the plant’s leaves fall and decay, they could enrich poor-quality soils.

GETCO says it has focused on biodiesel because of a high demand, easy production, and a diesel engine’s ability to run on biodiesel without modifications. In addition, the company claims that the fruit’s oil can be blended at any level with petroleum diesel.

Jatropha “provides sustainable, renewable energy that is clean for the environment, economically rewarding for the communities where it is produced, advantageously priced for consumers, and helps in the fight against global warming,” according to GETCO Chairman and CEO James Fanning.



Does Borax Pass the Sniff Test?

A recent study suggests that a common laundry additive might help eliminate odors in animal manure. Researchers from the U.S. Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Michigan State University (East Lansing) have found that dusting hog manure with borax powder can help neutralize the release of hydrogen sulfides, ammonia, and other odorous gases emitted by stored hog waste.

For the study, manure pits under swine nursery rooms were treated with a powder containing either 1% or 2% borax once a week for 6 weeks. Other nursery rooms were left untreated to provide a comparison of gas emissions and indoor air quality. The team measured the treatment’s effects on the manure’s sulfide-reduction bacterial population using molecular genetics tools that are able to detect and quantify a gene that distinguishes these bacteria from other microbes found in manure.

The borax treatments were found to reduce sulfate-reduction bacteria populations by 99% after the first week and hydrogen sulfide levels by 80% after 6 weeks, according to an ARS news release. The study demonstrates the borax treatment’s ability to suppress hydrogen sulfide and reduce sulfate-reducing bacteria levels in stored swine manure.

 

 

 

 

An energy company recently announced plans to produce a new biodiesel feedstock — in the form of the shrub or small tree known as .After researching various new sources of biodiesel for 2 years, Global Energy Trading Co. (GETCO; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) decided to produce the feedstock in underdeveloped nations as an environmentally friendly, sustainable, and economically rewarding fuel source, according to a company press release. is native to areas without prolonged periods of frost, the press release says. The drought-resistant plant has golf-ball-size seeds that are pressed to extract oil that has been used locally for decades as a lighting and heating energy source. The plant grows in poor, rocky soil and has been used recently to combat desertification.According to the GETCO Web site, the crop does not compete with the food industry, because its seeds are inedible, and it does not take cropland out of production, because it grows in soils that do not support most crops. The plants have a 40-year fruit production life cycle and require few pesticides or fungicides, according to GETCO, and when the plant’s leaves fall and decay, they could enrich poor-quality soils.GETCO says it has focused on biodiesel because of a high demand, easy production, and a diesel engine’s ability to run on biodiesel without modifications. In addition, the company claims that the fruit’s oil can be blended at any level with petroleum diesel. “provides sustainable, renewable energy that is clean for the environment, economically rewarding for the communities where it is produced, advantageously priced for consumers, and helps in the fight against global warming,” according to GETCO Chairman and CEO James Fanning. A recent study suggests that a common laundry additive might help eliminate odors in animal manure. Researchers from the U.S. Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Michigan State University (East Lansing) have found that dusting hog manure with borax powder can help neutralize the release of hydrogen sulfides, ammonia, and other odorous gases emitted by stored hog waste.For the study, manure pits under swine nursery rooms were treated with a powder containing either 1% or 2% borax once a week for 6 weeks. Other nursery rooms were left untreated to provide a comparison of gas emissions and indoor air quality. The team measured the treatment’s effects on the manure’s sulfide-reduction bacterial population using molecular genetics tools that are able to detect and quantify a gene that distinguishes these bacteria from other microbes found in manure.The borax treatments were found to reduce sulfate-reduction bacteria populations by 99% after the first week and hydrogen sulfide levels by 80% after 6 weeks, according to an ARS news release. The study demonstrates the borax treatment’s ability to suppress hydrogen sulfide and reduce sulfate-reducing bacteria levels in stored swine manure.