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Prairies vanish in the U.S. push for green energy

November 13, 2013 11:15 am | by Chet Brokaw and Jack Gillum, Associated Press | News | Comments

Across the Dakotas and Nebraska, more than 1 million acres of the Great Plains are giving way to cornfields as farmers transform the wild expanse that once served as the backdrop for American pioneers. This expansion of the Corn Belt is fueled in part by America's green energy policy, which requires oil companies to blend billions of gallons of corn ethanol into their gasoline.

Cheap metals can be used to make products from petroleum

October 21, 2013 2:30 pm | News | Comments

A new process developed at the Univ. of Illinois at Chicago suggests that base metals may be used as catalysts in the manufacture of countless products made from petroleum-based raw materials. The metals, copper and iron, could potentially replace a rare and expensive metal catalyst currently required for the chemical process called borylation.

Calif. finds more instances of offshore fracking

October 21, 2013 7:56 am | by Alicia Chang and Jason Dearen, Associated Press | News | Comments

In waters off Long Beach, Seal Beach and Huntington Beach—some of the region's most popular surfing strands and tourist attractions—oil companies have used fracking at least 203 times at six sites in the past two decades. This discovery made from drilling records and interviews shows that offshore fracking is more widespread and frequent that state officials believed.

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Researchers address economic dangers of “peak oil”

October 16, 2013 3:08 pm | News | Comments

Experts from the Univ. of Maryland and a leading university in Spain demonstrate in a new study which sectors could put the entire U.S. economy at risk when global oil production peaks. This multi-disciplinary team recommends immediate action by government, private and commercial sectors to reduce the vulnerability of these sectors.

First pilot system to extract dandelion rubber for making tires

October 14, 2013 12:24 pm | News | Comments

Rubber can be extracted from the juice of the dandelion, but transitioning this technology to the industrial setting has been a challenge. The Fraunhofer Institute in Germany has joined with Continental tire company to build the first-ever pilot system to extract vast quantities of dandelion rubber for making tires

Ice that burns helps make potable water from oil and gas production

August 29, 2013 9:13 am | News | Comments

In the midst of an intensifying global water crisis, scientists are reporting development of a more economical way to use one form of the “ice that burns” to turn very salty wastewater from fracking and other oil and gas production methods into water for drinking and irrigation. The method removes more than 90% of the salt.

Gulf “dead zone” above average but not near record

July 31, 2013 8:02 am | by Janet McConnaughey, Associated Press | News | Comments

This summer's "dead zone" at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, where there's so little oxygen that starfish suffocate, is bigger than average but doesn't approach record size as scientists had predicted, according to findings released this week. The area of low oxygen covers 5,840 square miles of the Gulf floor—roughly the size of Connecticut.

Chemical reaction could streamline manufacture of pharmaceuticals

July 23, 2013 8:50 am | News | Comments

Researchers in Texas have discovered a new chemical reaction that has the potential to lower the cost and streamline the manufacture of compounds ranging from agricultural chemicals to pharmaceutical drugs. The reaction resolves a long-standing challenge in organic chemistry in creating phenolic compounds from aromatic hydrocarbons quickly and cheaply.

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DOE study: Fracking chemicals didn't taint water

July 22, 2013 2:04 pm | by Kevin Begos, Associated Press | News | Comments

A landmark federal study on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, shows no evidence that chemicals from the natural gas drilling process moved up to contaminate drinking water aquifers at a western Pennsylvania drilling site. After a year of monitoring, the researchers found that the chemical-laced fluids used to free gas trapped deep below the surface stayed thousands of feet below the shallower areas that supply drinking water

Chemicals that break down water contaminants pass safety test

July 22, 2013 11:59 am | by Jocelyn Duffy, Carnegie Mellon | News | Comments

A family of molecules developed at Carnegie Mellon Univ. to break down pollutants in water is one step closer to commercial use. Recently published study results show that the molecules, which are aimed at removing hazardous endocrine disruptors from water sources, aren't endocrine disruptors themselves. They proved to be non-toxic to developing zebrafish embryos.

Computing toxic chemicals

July 18, 2013 2:19 pm | News | Comments

There is increasing pressure on the chemical and related industries to ensure that their products comply with increasing numbers of safety regulations. Researchers at the Univ. of Kansas have developed a computational technique that could allow the industry to predict whether a given compound will be toxic even at a low dose and thus allow alternatives to be found when necessary.

Nanoparticle-based technology helps recover more oil

June 14, 2013 9:42 am | by Claude R. Olsen/Else Lie. Translation: Darren McKellep/Carol B. Eckmann | News | Comments

When petroleum companies abandon an oil well, more than half the reservoir’s oil is usually left behind as too difficult to recover. Now, however, much of the residual oil can be recovered with the help of nanoparticles and a simple law of physics. A partnership of Norwegian and Chinese scientists has succeeded in recovering up to 50% of residual in North Sea rock samples.

Early exposure to bisphenol A might damage the enamel of teeth

June 10, 2013 12:53 pm | News | Comments

Are teeth the latest victims of bisphenol A (BPA)? Yes, according to the conclusions of a team lead by researchers in France. They have shown that the teeth of rats treated with low daily doses of BPA could be damaged the chemical.

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FEI, University of Oklahoma collaborate to develop unconventional oil, gas resources

June 6, 2013 12:14 pm | News | Comments

A research collaboration agreement has been formed between imaging company FEI and the University of Oklahoma to establish an oil and gas center of excellence. Called the FEI-OU Pore Scale Characterization Laboratory, the center will focus on the development of routine quantitative methods to classify shales in the economic assessment of tight oil and gas plays.

New filtration material could make petroleum refining cheaper, more efficient

May 23, 2013 10:55 pm | News | Comments

A newly synthesized material might provide a dramatically improved method for separating the highest-octane components of gasoline. These components are expensive to isolate. Created in the laboratory of Jeffrey Long, professor of chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, the material is a metal-organic framework, or MOF, which can be imagined as a sponge with microscopic holes.

Dow Chemical gets $2.2B Kuwait dispute payment

May 7, 2013 4:56 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Dow Chemical Co. said Tuesday it received a $2.2 billion payment from Petrochemical Industries Company of Kuwait, settling a dispute over a scrapped joint venture. A year ago, an international arbitration court awarded Dow $2.2 billion in damages stemming from Kuwait's move to withdraw from the joint venture.

New technology propels “old energy” boom

May 6, 2013 9:38 am | by Jonathan Fahey, AP Energy Writer | News | Comments

Oil companies big and small have used technology to find a bounty of oil and natural gas so large that worries about running out have melted away. New imaging technologies let drillers find oil and gas trapped miles underground and undersea. The result is an abundance that has put the United States on track to become the world's largest producer of oil and gas in a few years.

Decades-old question: Is antibacterial soap safe?

May 3, 2013 9:15 am | by Matthew Perrone, AP Health Writer | News | Comments

t's a chemical that's been in U.S. households for more than 40 years, from the body wash in your bathroom shower to the knives on your kitchen counter to the bedding in your baby's basinet. But federal health regulators are just now deciding whether triclosan—the germ-killing ingredient found in an estimated 75% of antibacterial liquid soaps and body washes sold in the U.S.—is ineffective, or worse, harmful.

U.N. chemicals summit expected to adopt new controls

April 27, 2013 1:42 pm | by JOHN HEILPRIN - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

At the start of a major conference to regulate chemical and hazardous waste safety, top officials voiced optimism Saturday that delegates will approve new international controls on several industrial compounds and agree to clamp down on some cross-border pollution.

China's struggle to measure economy clouds outlook

April 16, 2013 9:32 pm | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

After China reported quarterly economic growth of 7.7% this week, global markets reacted by falling, wiping out billions of dollars in stock. The reason? Growth came in under the 8% expected by forecasters. The plunge highlighted complaints about the possible inaccuracy of Beijing's official data and the intense, possibly excessive importance traders attach to a handful of Chinese economic indicators.

Monsanto, Dow cross-license biotech corn traits

April 11, 2013 1:14 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences LLC said Thursday they reached a new licensing agreement to collaborate on biotech-engineered corn that is resistant to herbicide and insects. Under the agreement, Monsanto will license Dow's new Enlist weed control technology, which allows corn to tolerate weed-killing chemicals.

PPG, Georgia Gulf complete $2.5B chemicals deal

January 28, 2013 1:59 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

PPG has completed the sale of its $2.5 billion commodity chemicals business to Georgia Gulf, the companies said Monday. The combination of the former PPG unit and Georgia Gulf has been renamed Axiall Corp., which will start trading Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange under the "AXLL" ticker.

Dow opens innovation center at the University of Illinois

January 16, 2013 7:29 am | News | Comments

The Dow Innovation Center, a new research facility to be located at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, has recently been announced by Dow and will develop data management solutions. At the same time, Dow has entered into an industry partnership with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, providing access to expertise and equipment which will accelerate Dow’s discovery processes.

New treatment could combat deadly chemical agents

January 14, 2013 1:00 pm | News | Comments

Organophosphorus agents (OP) are used as pesticides in developing countries and it is estimated about 200,000 people die each year across the world from OP poisoning through occupational exposure, unintentional use, and misuse. Using a modified human enzyme, researchers in Europe have created a “bioscavenger” which was found to protect mice against these types of chemical agents.

Analysis of Marcellus flowback finds high levels of ancient brines

December 19, 2012 9:03 am | News | Comments

According to a recent study, brine water that flows back from gas wells in the Marcellus Shale region after hydraulic fracturing is many times more salty than seawater, with high contents of various elements, including radium and barium. The findings show that these elements, found in high levels in the late stages of hydraulic fracturing, come from the ancient brines rather than from salts dissolved by the water and chemicals used as part of the fracking process.

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