You see acres and acres of it on most of your car trips. Grasses. Along rights-of-way and medians it grows along much of Illinois' 16,500 miles of state highways. These long, narrow green spaces are important for pedestrian and motorist safety as well as habitat for native insects, birds, and animals surrounded by cultivated fields. Taxpayers money is used to mow the grass from springtime into fall. A team of scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, including researchers from ISTC, is helping the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to consider these lands for growing native grasses for renewable energy use. More on Energy Corps
Twice a year a group of U of I students lock themselves away for 24 hours. They don’t come out until they have made the world a better place. For this spring semester the “Extreme Entrepreneurial Lock-In” challenge theme or focus was “Sustainability in the Home”. This event is part of the university’s Innovation Living-Learning Community (LLC) which gives students another stage to test their ideas for starting a business. More on Lock-in
The latest ISTC Research Report details recent research which demonstrates that the compound triclosan, a key active ingredient in many antibacterial products, produces resistance in environmental bacteria. Rapid urbanization in the U.S. during the 20th century has meant wastewater treatment plants today deal with unprecedented loads and complex mixtures of potential pollutants. More on bacterial resistance
ISTC has published a report in its Technical Report series (TR-054) for a project that it funded titled “Exploratory Study on Gasification of Pelletized Grassy Biomass” by Peter Ping Liu and Jerry Cloward of Eastern Illinois University. The project studied the characteristics of grassy biomass (switchgrass) pellets in terms of their gasification behavior and identified realistic operation conditions for those grasses, either native or readily available in the State of Illinois. The study will help provide background information as Illinois embraces more and better uses of renewable biomass resources grown in the region.
The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) is pulling out all the stops for this year’s 6th Naturally Illinois Expo. Because 2015 is ISTC’s 30th anniversary, we will be having an Open House in conjunction with the Expo! More on ISTC at the Expo
The Illinois Green Office Challenge is program patterned after the Chicago Green Office Challenge that encourages friendly competition amongst office buildings to achieve energy and water conservation and waste reduction. It aims to make Illinois more livable, sustainable, and prosperous.
During 2015, industrial facilities in Cook County will have the opportunity to become more competitive, thanks to an alliance of technical assistance and economic development organizations. Companies will have free access to a range of talent from the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, Illinois Manufacturing Extension Center, ComEd, Cook County, Chicago Southland Economic Development Corporation, and Calumet Area Industrial Commission. The program will include waste to profit and E3-Economy, Energy, and Environment approaches to sustainable manufacturing. In 2013, similar technical assistance services were offered to facilities in DuPage County. Among the reductions: 1.2 million kWh of electricity, 1.8 million gallons of water, 87,830 gallons of hazardous wastes.
Indoor air quality concerns will take ISTC researchers to Alaska as part of a U.S. EPA initiative to study the use of indoor cookstoves for cooking, heat and light. Different biomass fuel sources are traditional in different parts of the world and teams from six universities are assessing emissions through seasonal cycles. More on indoor air quality research
Billion Gallon Water Challenge
ISTC and the Illinois Green Economy Network (IGEN) are partnering to train college faculty and staff to conduct water audits on their campuses, increasing knowledge about water use on college campuses as part of a new research grant to IGEN entitled “Water Use and Conservation on Illinois College Campuses: The Ripple Effect”. This project will further ISTC's goal of reducing water consumption in Illinois by one billion gallons as part of its One Billion Gallon Water Challenge efforts. In the first phase of a three-phase program, IGEN co-hosted a webinar with ISTC to educate interested colleges on the basics of water audits.
A video overview of applied research activities at the Prairie Research Institute premiered this week during the National Council for Science and the Environment’s (NCSE) Conference on Energy and Climate Change, January 27-29 in Washington, D.C. It outlines the capabilities of the Institute’s five units for applied research on the prediction, mitigation, and adaptation to climate change. The event, also known as the 15th National Conference and Global Forum on Science, Policy and the Environment, was held in advance of the November 30 - December 11, 2015, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris. Click here to view the seven minute video.
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