Science & Technology

Science & Technology

www.nnmrec.oregonstate.edu

Oregon State University's Marine Renewable Energy program has been awarded new federal funding. The additional cash will help them get closer to connecting wave power to the grid.

Oregon State and the University of Washington were selected in 2008 to form one of three centers to research wave and tidal energy.

Belinda Batten is a Director for the program. She says for two years, they've had an offshore test site north of Yaquina Head, where they've been studying the size and force of waves. The new funding will help them move forward:

Oregon State University

Researchers at Oregon State University have found trace levels of radiation from Fukushima in albacore tuna caught off the Oregon coast. Results of the study are being published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was destroyed by the earthquake that hit Japan in 2011. Radiation has made its way into the Pacific Ocean, raising concerns about exposure to Cesium-134 and 137.

USGS

The Eugene Water and Electric Board hopes to start repairing Leaburg Dam as soon as May. The cost to fix the 83-year-old structure on the McKenzie River is projected to be $2.8 million. That's about twice the previous estimate.

The motor in one of the dam's three roll gates failed in 2012. The gate has been in the down position ever since.  The roll-gates regulate how much water flows through the dam, which generates power for about 10-thousand homes. Joe Harwood is spokesman for EWEB. He says it's not surprising the first cost estimate of $1.2 million was off.

Steve O'Connell

Everyday people are exposed to chemicals and pollutants. Researchers at Oregon State University in Corvallis have developed a silicone wristband that can detect these compounds. The new accessory can help scientists understand the link between exposure to toxins and disease. The wristband looks similar to the ubiquitous colorful rubber wristbands that often promote causes or charities, such as breast cancer. Kim Anderson is a professor in the OSU Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology.

Cameron Yee

Fallen trees from the recent ice storm in the South Willamette Valley can still be seen littering parks and yards.  After the storm, it became obvious that certain kinds of trees were damaged more than others.  KLCC wondered why.

Alby Thoumsin is an arborist with Eugene’s Sperry Tree Care.  He says Oregon white oaks, silver maples and sweet gums were hit the hardest during the ice storm.  The reason has to do with the silhouette of the trees.  Vase-shaped trees sustained more damage than those shaped like cones.  

Jes Burns

The South Willamette Valley consistently ranks high nationally for levels of air pollution.  According to the American Lung Association, Eugene-Springfield was the 14th worse in the country for “short-term particle pollution” in 2013.  

Air pollution is a complex mixture of chemicals and particulate matter –so complex, scientists still don’t know exactly what’s in the air we breathe.  But now they’re one step closer.

Boosting Biofuel Crops With Super Forecasts

Feb 3, 2014
Anna King

Northwest farmers are trying to get into the business of biofuels. They know the jets of the future may run on oil from crops like canola seeds. But that’s far from commercially viable. One of the challenges is getting the most out of the crops that can be turned into biofuels. Now, agricultural researchers are studying how drone-like aircraft and even satellites can help make more accurate forecasts than ever.

John Sulik plugs in the batteries to his remote-control helicopter. It’s about the size of a car tire.

Anna King: "That’s it? It look’s like a daddy long legs."

Jes Burns

University of Oregon student-entrepreneurs walked away with a cash prize after competing in the inaugural Colligan User Interface Design Challenge. The aim of the so-called "Duck Tank" was to give students real-world experience conceptualizing a product and pitching it to investors. 

Fans of reality TV may be familiar with ABC's "Shark Tank."  In the show, entrepreneurs pitch a business idea before a panel of venture capitalists who either fund or reject the pitch.

"Duck Tank" is a bit less cut-throat.

The University of Oregon Ducks looked much-improved Saturday, while the Oregon State Beavers faced a tough road opponent in Arizona. 

The Ducks rebounded from last week's loss to Stanford with a 44-21 victory over the University of Utah Utes. Quarterback Marcus Mariota went into the game with questions about the health of his left knee, but threw for 288 yards and three touchdowns at Autzen Stadium.

Photo courtesy of electriccarsport.com

This (last) week, governors from eight states including Oregon’s John Kitzhaber joined an initiative to put 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025.

The governors met in Sacramento, to sign a joint memorandum to purchase more electronic vehicles, or E-V’s, increase infrastructure, and offer financial incentives. U.S. electric car sales more than tripled in 2012. Oregon’s Chief E-V Officer, Ashley Horvat says the state has more fast chargers than any other who has them, and that’s helping E-V sales.

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