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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.

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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.

Battelle creates unique new polyurethane

December 12, 2012 9:47 am | by Paul Livingstone | News | Comments

Scientists at Battelle Memorial Institute have invented a novel, water-based polyurethane unlike any other—environmentally responsible, cost-effective, soy-based and free of N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) solvent. This new polyurethane has less odor than its petroleum-based counterpart and can be used in a wide variety of coatings and adhesives.

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Energy experts say drilling can be made cleaner

December 11, 2012 8:46 am | by Kevin Begos and Seth Borenstein, Associated Press | News | Comments

In the Colorado mountains, a spike in air pollution has been linked to a boom in oil and gas drilling. About 800 miles away on the plains of north Texas, there's a drilling boom, too, but some air pollution levels have declined. Opponents of drilling point to Colorado and say it's dangerous. Companies point to Texas and say drilling is safe.

Safety testing system proposed for development of new chemicals

December 10, 2012 7:59 am | by Jocelyn Duffy, CMU | News | Comments

Claiming that recent product recalls and bans indicate that product manufacturers do not have adequate tools for identifying and avoiding the use of harmful chemicals in their products, a group of scientists from North America and Europe has developed a five-tiered testing system that manufacturers can use to ensure that the consumer products they produce are free of endocrine disrupting chemicals like BPA or DDT.

Geoscientists cite need for basic research to unleash new energy sources

December 3, 2012 12:26 pm | News | Comments

Geological and environmental challenges facing developers of renewable energy and shale gas resources will be a dominant at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union this week in San Francisco. Experts on shale gas and hydraulic fracturing will be speaking about enhanced geothermal technology, which takes advantage of fracking techniques to access deep well thermal energy, delivered as steam.

Observations of “mechanochemical” synthesis could boost green chemistry

December 3, 2012 11:39 am | News | Comments

Solvents are omnipresent in the chemical industry, and are a major environmental and safety concern. “Mechanochemistry” offers a possible green, energy-efficient alternative that avoids using bulk solvents. The technique, now being researched at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, relies on high-frequency milling to drive reactions. Until now, however, the underlying chemistry of this method has eluded observation.

Study: Common flame retardant is an endocrine disruptor

October 25, 2012 9:19 am | News | Comments

Firemaster 550 is made up of four principal component chemicals and is used in polyurethane foam in a wide variety of products, ranging from mattresses to infant nursing pillows.  It was developed to replace a class of fire retardants being phased out of use because of concerns regarding their safety.

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U.S. research and development most prevalent in small number of regions

September 13, 2012 4:29 am | News | Comments

According to data from a 2008 Business R&D and Innovation Survey by the National Science Foundation, businesses perform the lion's share of their R&D activity in just a small number of geographic areas, particularly the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland area and the New York-Newark-Bridgeport area.

Gulf bacteria consumed a majority of the Deepwater oil spill

September 11, 2012 10:06 am | News | Comments

According to a new study that measured the rate at which bacteria in the Gulf of Mexico ate the oil and gas discharged by the broken Deepwater Horizon well, at least 200,000 tons of hydrocarbons were consumed by gulf bacteria over a five month period.

NC State signs research agreement with Eastman Chemical Co.

September 10, 2012 7:32 am | News | Comments

In a move signaling a new, innovative approach to multidisciplinary research with university partners, North Carolina State University has entered into a multiyear agreement with Eastman Chemical Co. to conduct joint cutting-edge research in chemistry, materials science, and other scientific disciplines.

Study finds how BPA affects gene expression

September 7, 2012 7:15 am | News | Comments

New research led by researchers at North Carolina State University shows that exposure to the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) early in life results in high levels of anxiety by causing significant gene expression changes in a specific region of the brain called the amygdala. The researchers also found that a soy-rich diet can mitigate these effects.

Photoacoustic technique 'hears' the sound of dangerous chemical agents

August 14, 2012 8:32 am | News | Comments

U.S. Army researchers have developed a new chemical sensor that can simultaneously identify a potentially limitless numbers of agents, in real time. The new system is based on a phenomenon discovered by Alexander Graham Bell known as the photoacoustic effect, in which the absorption of light by materials generates characteristic acoustic waves.

Experts: Some fracking critics use bad science

July 23, 2012 4:58 am | by Kevin Begos, Associated Press | News | Comments

Shale gas drilling has attracted national attention because advances in technology have unlocked billions of dollars of gas reserves, leading to a boom in production, jobs, and profits, as well as concerns about pollution and public health. In the debate over natural gas drilling, the companies are often the ones accused of twisting the facts. But scientists say opponents sometimes mislead the public, too.

Catalysts open green route to chemical products

July 9, 2012 4:16 am | by Kimm Fesenmaier, California Institute of Technology | News | Comments

California Institute of Technology chemists have developed a new class of catalysts that will increase the range of chemicals that can be synthesized using environmentally friendly methods. The new chemicals include the metal ruthenium and help drive a chemical reaction called olefin metathesis. The reaction has proven useful and efficient for making chemical products that involve pairs of carbon atoms connected by double bonds.

Exxon's CEO: Climate, energy fears overblown

June 27, 2012 12:58 pm | by Jonathan Fahey, AP Energy Writer | News | Comments

In a speech Wednesday, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson said fears about climate change, drilling, and energy dependence are overblown. He acknowledged that burning of fossil fuels is warming the planet, but said society will be able to adapt and dependence on other nations for oil is not a concern as long as access to supply is certain.

Nanopesticides: Solution or threat for a cleaner and greener agriculture?

June 20, 2012 7:22 am | News | Comments

Research is needed to evaluate the risks and benefits of nanopesticides to human and environmental health. Researchers from the University of Vienna recently performed an extensive analysis of this emerging field of research. The study presents the current state-of-art in nanopesticides and identifies direction priorities for future research.

Diversity Marks R & D 100 Awards in the 1990s

June 18, 2012 7:18 am | by R&D Editors | Articles | Comments

Information, environment, energy, and consumer products gain prominence as R&D 100 Award winners in the 1990s.

Green fuel from carbon dioxide and hydrogen?

June 13, 2012 8:19 am | News | Comments

A research team at the Freiburg Materials Research Center in Germany has developed a new system for producing methanol that uses carbon dioxide and hydrogen. The key to helping make their process more efficient is the use of the metal oxides of copper, zinc, and zirconium dioxide as catalysts, enabling the reaction to happen at lower temperatures. Ionic salts may also play a role.

Chemical engineers devise a new way to split water

June 5, 2012 12:11 pm | News | Comments

Providing a possible new route to hydrogen-gas production, researchers at the California Institute of Technology have devised a series of chemical reactions that allows them, for the first time, to split water in a nontoxic, noncorrosive way, at relatively low temperatures.

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