Outstanding Reviewers for Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts in 2016

Following the success of Peer Review Week in September 2016 (dedicated to reviewer recognition) during which we published a list of our top reviewers, we are delighted to announce that we will continue to recognise the contribution that our reviewers make to the journal by announcing our Outstanding Reviewers each year.

We would like to highlight the Outstanding Reviewers for Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts in 2016, as selected by the editorial team, for their significant contribution to the journal. The reviewers have been chosen based on the number, timeliness and quality of the reports completed over the last 12 months.

We would like to say a big thank you to those individuals listed here as well as to all of the reviewers that have supported the journal. Each Outstanding Reviewer will receive a certificate to give recognition for their significant contribution.

Dr Hans Peter Arp, Norwegian Geotechnical Institute, Oslo
Professor Ning Dai, University at Buffalo
Professor Tom Harner, Environment and Climate Change Canada
Dr Douglas Latch, Seattle University
Dr Aijun Miao, Nanjing University
Dr Christina Remucal, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Dr Vanessa-Nina Roth, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry
Dr Richard Spinney, Ohio State University
Dr Zhanyun Wang, ETH Zurich
Professor Frank Wania, University of Toronto

 

We would also like to thank the Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts board and the environmental science community for their continued support of the journal, as authors, reviewers and readers.

 

If you would like to become a reviewer for our journal, just email us with details of your research interests and an up-to-date CV or résumé.  You can find more details in our author and reviewer resource centre.

 

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Emerging Investigator Series: Cora Young

We are delighted to be able to bring you the first in interview for our Emerging Investigators Series in Environmental Science: Processes and Impacts

Cora completed her undergraduate and doctoral studies in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Toronto. Under the supervision of Prof. Scott Mabury, her Ph.D. research focused on the atmospheric chemistry of polyfluorinated compounds and their role as long-lived greenhouse gases and sources of persistent compounds to the environment. She went on to a postdoctoral position in Boulder, CO with Dr. Steven Brown at the University of Colorado and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). There, she developed novel, state-of-the-science instruments and used them to measure reactive atmospheric trace gases and determine their impact on the oxidative potential of the atmosphere. Cora joined the Department of Chemistry at Memorial University as an Assistant Professor in September 2012.

Read her Emerging Investigators article “A 14-year depositional ice record of perfluoroalkyl substances in the High Arctic“, which is featured in Issue 1 of the journal, and find out more in the interview below:

Your recent Emerging Investigator Series paper focuses on improving the understanding of transport of perfluoroalkyl substances in the High Arctic. How has your research evolved from your first article to this most recent article?

One of my first papers as a graduate student also involved looking at long-range transport of perfluoroalkyl substances to the Devon Ice Cap and was published ten years ago. As instrumentation improves and we develop better analytical methods, we are able to learn so much more about how pollutants impact our environment. We were able to look at four times as many chemical species as the original study, which greatly increases our understanding of the environmental fate of these compounds. We have also expanded our research network to include Northern community members and Arctic researchers with complementary expertise, which allows us to interpret and apply our results more effectively.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment?

We have some new environmental field and laboratory samples, including ice cores and biomass burning smoke samples, that I am excited to analyze using analytical techniques recently developed in my group.

In your opinion, what is the biggest impact to the environment presented by perfluoroalkyl substances?

Perfluorinated compounds have no natural degradation pathways in the environment. When we emit these chemicals to the environment, they will remain for the foreseeable future. We know that many perfluoroalkyl molecules bioaccumulate and could affect the health of humans or animals, which is cause for concern because there is no going back to an environment uncontaminated with these chemical species.

What do you find most challenging about your research?

I find field work simultaneously the most rewarding and the most difficult aspect of my research. Addressing environmental chemistry questions often means challenging collection of samples (such as those from ice caps) or the design and/or operation of complex instrumentation under harsh conditions.

In which upcoming conferences or events may our readers meet you?

Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition in Toronto, Ontario (June 2017) and Healthy Buildings Europe in Lublin, Poland (July 2017). I can also be found online at cjygroup.com and on Twitter @SVOCora.

How do you spend your spare time?

I don’t have too much of it right now! When I do have free time, I enjoy travelling, walking, hiking, reading, and yoga.

Which profession would you choose if you were not a scientist?

It’s hard to imagine my life without science! If I wasn’t a scientist, I would want to do something that still involved science, like science communication or conservation management.

Can you share one piece of career-related advice or wisdom with other early career scientists?

Seek out a supportive career network of mentors, collaborators, and colleagues. I have been fortunate to have wonderful mentors from my doctoral and post-doctoral work, and throughout the environmental chemistry community. My excellent collaborators from other academic institutions, Environment Canada (who were collaborators on this project), and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration improve the quality and impact of my research and make it more fun to do!

To find out more about the series and submit an article, click here.

 

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What’s new in the analysis of complex environmental matrices?

What’s new in the analysis of complex environmental matrices?

Royal Society of Chemistry

Environmental Chemistry Group, Water Science Forum and the Separation Science Group Joint Meeting

Friday 3rd March 2017

at

Science Suite, Royal Society of Chemistry, Burlington House, Piccadilly, LONDON, W1J 0BA

The analysis of environmental matrices such as water, sediments and soils is often demanding and challenging for the chemist due to both matrix effects and the myriad of substances that can be present in the sample. This one-day Royal Society of Chemistry Meeting, jointly organised by three special interest groups (Environmental Chemistry Group, Separation Science Group and Water Science Forum), addresses this issue. It is the third in sequence of biennial conferences. The meeting brings together national and two international experts on the topic. The monitoring and screening-type analyses of a wide range of both regulatory and emerging pollutants (such as pharmaceuticals and personal care products) in water is major theme of the event. The detection of potentially hazardous compounds in dusts and consumer articles is also considered. Other topics to be addressed include new types of detectors (i.e. ion mobility spectrometry, direct probe time-of-flight mass spectrometry and selected ion flow tube mass spectrometry) for measuring environmental chemicals. In addition to the lectures, there will an exhibition where number of instrument manufacturers and suppliers of laboratory consumables will be presenting.

Important Date

Registration Deadline: 28th February 2017

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What are your colleagues reading in Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts?

The articles below are some of the most read Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts articles in 2016. You can view the full collection of our top 10 downloaded articles here.

 

Assessment of the long-term impacts of PM10 and PM2.5 particles from construction works on surrounding areas
Farhad Azarmi, Prashant Kumar, Daniel Marsh and Gary Fuller

 

The dilemma in prioritizing chemicals for environmental analysis: known versus unknown hazards
Sobek Anna, Bejgarn Sofia, Rudén Christina and Breitholtz Magnus

 

Role of snow and cold environment in the fate and effects of nanoparticles and select organic pollutants from gasoline engine exhaust
Yevgen Nazarenko, Uday Kurien, Oleg Nepotchatykh, Rodrigo B. Rangel-Alvarado and Parisa A. Ariya

 

Environmental transmission of diarrheal pathogens in low and middle income countries
Timothy R. Julian

 

Immobilized materials for removal of toxic metal ions from surface/groundwaters and aqueous waste streams
Iwona Zawierucha, Cezary Kozlowski and Grzegorz Malina

 

Keep up-to-date with the latest issues of Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts by joining our e-alerts.

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Novel isolate of Sphingopyxis sp. and its cyanotoxin degradation activity

a blog article by Luiza Cruz, PhD student at Imperial College London

Cyanotoxins are often found in surface waters worldwide. If contaminated water is consumed, they can bioaccumulate in the liver and cause death in high doses. They can also poison other animals and plants, causing a real threat to life and increasing the potential of disruption in drinking water supply in affected areas.  Among all cyanotoxins, microcystin (MC) is the most studied. Herein, Maghsoudi and colleagues report a new bacterium isolate that degrade these toxins and present a study on some factors involved on its biodegradation activity.

MCs are small cyclic toxins composed of seven peptides and, as a result of structural variation, 89 analogues have been identified to date. Their hepatotoxicity is due to the presence of the unique amino acid, Adda, in their structure. They are resistant to enzymatic and physico-chemical breakdown owing to their small cyclic structure. However, they can be biodegraded by a few genus of bacteria.

The majority of studies that have focused on MC degradation have identified Sphingomonas sp as the most common degrades.  Among these, the gene mlrA encodes the enzyme responsible for cleaving the peptide bond between arginine and Adda and, therefore, causing the breaking down of the cyclic structure. However, different peptides that do not carry the arginine-Adda bond are also degraded by bacteria from the genus Sphingomonas. This indicates that different pathways may be involved in biodegradation. Using modern sequencing methods, Maghsoudi and colleagues also sought to identify and determine the role of theses genes in different MC variants.

The group collected samples of water from the Missisquoi Bay, Quebec, Canada, where several cyanobacterial blooms have been observed. A total of 22 strains were isolated with the ability to degrade cyanotoxins and, among these, four were able to degrade all MC variants (MCLR, YR, LY, LW and LF). Moreover, sequencing analysis showed that one of the isolates (MB-E) demonstrated 99% identity with the Sphingopyxis genus.

Following this finding, a next generation sequencing method was used for analysing the mlr gene cluster of the new strain. Results showed that organisation of mlr genes in this cluster is identical to those of several Sphingomonas strains that degrade MCs. Results also revealed that transcription of the mlrA gene is triggered by the presence of microcystin in the medium and that the same pathway is used in the biodegradation of all MC variants. This was the first time that this new sequencing method was used to characterise the genome of MC degraders.

Moreover, pH-dependent biodegradation is thought to be the determinant factor in the fate and disappearance of these toxins. However, limited information is known about the correlation of dynamic changes in pH and cyanotoxin degradation. Using MB-E, biodegradation was observed at pH values between 6.10 and 8.05. The highest biodegradation rate was observed at pH 7.22 and data showed that MB-E was not able to grow under basic conditions. Considering that cyanobacterial blooms are often associated with a high pH (between 8.5 and 11), MB-E may have had limited biodegradation activity in the bay. However, MB-E was still able to degrade toxins at pH 9.12, that is closer to the pH of drinking water during cyanobacterial blooms.

In summary, using new sequencing methods, Maghsoudi and colleagues proved that gene expression profile of a new isolate that exhibit microcystin biodegradation is identical to Sphingopyxis sp, a novel result. Moreover, further studies on dynamic pH changes during cyanobacterial blooms might be useful in providing insight into the persistence and biodegradation activity of MB-E in drinking waters.

To read the full article for free* click the link below:
Cyanotoxin degradation activity and mlr gene expression profiles of a Sphingopyxis sp. isolated from Lake Champlain, Canada
Ehsan Maghsoudi, Nathalie Fortin, Charles Greer, Christine Maynard, Antoine Pagé, Sung Vo Duy, Sébastien Sauvé, Michèle Prévost and Sarah Dorner
Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2016, 18, 1417-1426
DOI: 10.1039/C6EM00001K

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About the webwriter

Luiza Cruz is a PhD student in the Barrett Group at Imperial College London. Her work is towards the development of new medicines, using medicinal and natural products chemistry.

—————-

*Access is free until 08/02/2017 through a registered publishing personal account.

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New appointments to the Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts Advisory Board

Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts is pleased to announce the appointment of our new Advisory Board members

  Alexandria Boehm is a Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Stanford. Her primary research areas are coastal water quality and sanitation with a focus on waterborne pathogens. Her work is focused on key problems in both, developed and developing countries with the overarching goal of designing and testing novel interventions and technologies for reducing the burden of waterborne disease.


   
  Philip Gschwend is a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT. His research focuses on environmental organic chemistry, including phase exchanges and transformation processes, modeling fates of organic pollutants, roles of colloids and black carbons and passive sampling for site evaluation.


  Andreas Kappler is professor for geomicrobiology at the University of Tübingen, Germany, and his main research is the biogeochemical cycle of iron and the consequences for the fate of pollutants and trace metals in modern environments as well as the consequences for rock formation on early Earth.
  Karen Kidd is based at the University of New Brunswick, Canada. Her research interests focus on fate and effects of contaminants in aquatic food webs.


   
  Lindsey Marr is a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech. She is interested in characterizing the emissions, fate, and transport of air pollutants in order to provide the scientific basis for improving air quality and health.


  Junji Cao is the Director of the Key Laboratory of Aerosol Chemistry and Physics and the Vice President of the Institute of Earth Environment at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. His work encompasses three main strands – carbonaceous aerosol chemistry, atmospheric chemistry and urban atmospheric pollution.

 

  Urs Baltensperger is the Head of the Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry at the Paul Scherrer Institute. His work focuses on aerosol science and technology.


  Beate Escher is the Head of the Department of Cell Toxicology at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research. Her research interests focus on mode-of-action based environmental risk assessment, including methods for initial hazard screening and risk assessment of pharmaceuticals, pesticides, disinfection by-products and persistent organic pollutants with an emphasis on mixtures.


  Derek Muir is a Senior Research Scientist and Section Head at the Environment and Climate Change Canada. His work aims to develop knowledge on the distribution, fate and bioaccumulation of priority substances in order to provide policy- and decision-makers with information to make sound decisions on assessment and management of chemicals.


  Jasquelin Peña is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Geoscience and Environment at the University of Lausanne. Her research is aimed at improving the environmental quality of soils and waters impacted by metal pollution.


  Kathrin Fenner is a Senior Scientist in the Department of Environmental Chemistry at Eawag. The goal of her research is to develop more accurate methods to assess persistence and risk from transformation product formation in regulatory risk assessment procedures. Her work focuses on three main strands – prediction of biodegradation pathways and rates, hazard and risk assessment of transformation products and improved tools for persistence assessment.


  David Waite is a Scientia Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Dean of Research in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of New South Wales. His biogeochemical work aims to improve our understanding of natural aquatic systems and enables us to i) prevent environmental degradation and ii) develop appropriate solutions to challenges such as provision of water supply and improving human health.


 
Sachchida Nand (Sachi) Tripathi
is a Rajeeva and Sangeeta Lahri Chair Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering & Department of Earth Sciences at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur. His research focuses on the chemical, microphysical and optical properties of aerosols.
  Stuart Harrad is a Professor of Environmental Chemistry at the University of Birmingham. His research addresses all aspects of the environmental sources, fate and behaviour of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). He has particular interests in human exposure to POPs with a focus on indoor pathways. He is also active in research that explores the environmental forensics utility of chirality.


  Jian-Ying Hu is a Professor of Urban and Environmental Science at the Peking University. Her work focuses on the occurrence and fate of environmental contaminants, toxicology mainly for endocrine disrupting chemicals and health/ecological risk assessment.

Also appointed but not pictured:

Ruben Kretzschmar is a Full Professor of Soil Chemistry and head of the Institute of Biogeochemistry and Pollutant Dynamics, Department of Environmental Sciences at ETH Zurich. His current work focuses on the biogeochemistry of metals and metalloids in periodically flooded or water-saturated soils, such as contaminated river floodplains and irrigated rice paddies.

 

Also of interest: Read some of the high-impact research authored by our new Advisory Board members in Environmental Science: Processes & impacts using the links below:

Steroidal estrogen sources in a sewage-impacted coastal ocean
David R. Griffith, Melissa C. Kido Soule, Timothy I. Eglinton, Elizabeth B. Kujawinski and   Philip M. Gschwend
Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2016, 18, 981-991
DOI: 10.1039/C6EM00127K

Sorption selectivity of birnessite particle edges: a d-PDF analysis of Cd(II) and Pb(II) sorption by δ-MnO2 and ferrihydrite
Case M. van Genuchten and Jasquelin Peña
Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2016, 18, 1030-1041
DOI: 10.1039/C6EM00136J

Highly time resolved chemical characterization of submicron organic aerosols at a polluted urban location
Bharath Kumar, Abhishek Chakraborty, S. N. Tripathi and Deepika Bhattu
Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2016, 18, 1285-1296
DOI: 10.1039/C6EM00392C

Emerging halogenated flame retardants and hexabromocyclododecanes in food samples from an e-waste processing area in Vietnam
Fang Tao, Hidenori Matsukami, Go Suzuki, Nguyen Minh Tue, Pham Hung Viet, Hidetaka Takigami and Stuart Harrad
Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2016, 18, 361-370,
DOI: 10.1039/C5EM00593K

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Quantifying UK carbon reduction potential

Written for Chemistry World by Rebecca Brodie

With 2016 set to become the warmest year on record, global warming has never been more prominent in the news. Researchers have found that scientifically viable carbon capture and reduction technologies could reduce the UK’s carbon footprint by 8–32%.

This year the UK signed up to the Paris climate agreement, which aims to limit global temperature increases to below 2°C compared with pre-industrial temperatures. One way to start meeting this agreement is for the UK to aim for net zero CO2 emissions through the use of negative emissions technologies (NETs) – these include methods to capture CO2 either directly from the air of before it is released from fossil fuel emissions, planting trees and creating forests, accelerating natural geological weathering to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, changing agricultural practices and land use, and binding CO2 in the form of biochar.

Negative emission technologies

Carbon dioxide flows among atmospheric, land, ocean and geological reservoirs for different negative emission technologies. Source: © Royal Society of Chemistry

Pete Smith, from the University of Aberdeen, UK, and colleagues have assessed the impact that UK-based NETs could have on reducing the country’s CO2emission levels. Smith’s team discovered that if the UK implemented all possible NETs, regardless of their technical viability, it would reduce current emissions by 8–32%. However, the actual proportion of this potential that can be realised might be smaller than this; factors such as cost, energy requirements, environmental impact and public acceptance will all affect these technologies’ viability.

Read the full article in Chemistry World.


Pete Smith, R. Stuart Haszeldine and Stephen M. Smith
DOI: 10.1039/C6EM00386A
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Introducing our new Editorial Board Member – Marianne Glasius

Marianne Glasius joins the Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts team as Editorial Board Member

We are delighted to introduce Marianne Glasius as a new Editorial Board Member for Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts. Marianne joins the team as an Editorial Board Member, and will start her role as Associate Editor from January 2017.


Marianne will be joining Liang-Hong Guo, Helen Hsu-Kim, Edward Kolodziej, Matthew MacLeod and Paul Tratnyek as Associate Editors handling submissions to the journal.

Marianne Glasius is Associate Professor at the Department of Chemistry at Aarhus University, Denmark (since 2006), where she is also affiliated with the Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center and the Arctic Research Centre. She received her Ph.D. in Chemistry from University of Southern Denmark in 2000. During her studies she stayed at the European Commissions Joint Research Centre, Ispra, Italy for a year. Dr. Glasius was a scientist and senior scientist at the National Environmental Research Institute, Denmark for six years. Recently, she visited University of California, Berkeley for one year, working with Prof. A.H. Goldstein at the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management.

The research of Dr. Glasius focuses on development and application of advanced chemical analyses for identification and characterization of organic compounds in complex matrices. The aim is to obtain understanding of processes whether these involve atmospheric aerosols affecting air pollution and climate, or development of bio-fuels of the future.



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Please join us in welcoming Marianne to Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts.

Interested in the latest news, research and events of the Environmental Science journals? Find us on Twitter:@EnvSciRSC

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Major society chemistry publishers jointly commit to integration with ORCID

ORCID provides an identifier for individuals to use with their name as they engage in research, scholarship and innovation activities, ensuring authors gain full credit for their work.

Today, we signed their open letter, along with ACS Publications, committing to unambiguous identification of all authors that publish in our journals.

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The Royal Society of Chemistry and the Publications Division of the American Chemical Society (ACS) today each became signatories to the ORCID Open Letter, reasserting the commitment of both organizations to enhancing the scholarly publishing experience for researchers worldwide who are involved in chemistry and allied fields.

The commitment by these two global chemistry publishers to undertake new workflow integration with technology infrastructure provided by ORCID, a not-for-profit organization that provides unique identifiers for researchers and scholars, will enable both societies to provide unambiguous designation of author names within chemistry and across the broader sciences. This partnership with ORCID will resolve ambiguity in researcher identification caused by name changes, cultural differences in name presentation, and the inconsistent use of name abbreviations that is too often a source of confusion for those who must rely on the published scientific record.

By becoming signatories to the ORCID Open Letter, these two major chemical societies are voicing their intent to collect ORCID iDs for all submitting authors through use of the ORCID API, and to display such identifiers in the articles published in their respective society journals. The integration of such activities within the publishers’ workflows means authors will benefit from automated linkages between their ORCID record and unique identifiers embedded within their published research articles, ensuring their contributions are appropriately recognized and credited.

During the publishing process, ACS and the Royal Society of Chemistry will automatically deposit publications to Crossref, which in turn will coordinate with ORCID to link and update the publishing activity populated to authors’ respective ORCID profiles, thus attributing each published work to the correct researcher. Existing holders of an ORCID iD will encounter a one-time prompt to grant permission for the linkage. If authors do not have an ORCID iD, they can easily enroll without navigating away from the publishers’ manuscript submission site. If users wish to revoke integrated ORCID profile access at any time, they can elect to do so through their ACS, Royal Society of Chemistry or ORCID accounts.

Both ACS Publications and the Royal Society of Chemistry understand the importance of attributing accurately the scholarly contributions of research scientists in the context of their other professional activities. “ACS has supported ORCID since the outset of the initiative,” says Sarah Tegen, Ph.D., Vice President of Global Editorial & Author Services at ACS Publications. “We are pleased now to align with the Royal Society of Chemistry in this endeavor, as both societies underscore our willingness not only to encourage and assist our respective authors in establishing their unique ORCID profiles, but also to help tackle the broader challenge of researcher name disambiguation in the scholarly literature. With the integration of author ORCID iDs in our publishing workflows, we will ensure that researchers receive proper credit for their accomplishments.”

Emma Wilson, Ph.D., Director of Publishing at the Royal Society of Chemistry adds, “We have been a supporter of ORCID since 2013, recognizing the benefits it brings to researchers; ORCID can and will make a huge difference to our authors’ ability to gain full credit for their work. ORCID will also help researchers meet the requirements of their research funders — for example, a number of funders have already announced that all grant applicants must now include a researcher’s ORCID iD. A unified system that integrates and links research-related information with accurate and timely linkage to the publishing output of authors has the potential to simplify and speed up their grant applications — something we know is important to researchers.”

“The ACS and the Royal Society of Chemistry have been long-standing supporters of ORCID,” says Laurel Haak, Ph.D., Executive Director, ORCID. “We are pleased to see ORCID integration into ACS and Royal Society of Chemistry Publications systems. This will be a substantial benefit to researchers in the chemistry community, both in improving search and discovery of research articles, and for attribution and recognition of researchers’ contributions to the discipline.”

About the American Chemical Society and ACS Publications

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With nearly 157,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

ACS Publications, a division of the American Chemical Society, is a nonprofit scholarly publisher of 50 peer-reviewed journals and a range of eBooks at the interface of chemistry and allied sciences, including physics and biology. ACS Publications journals are among the most-cited, most-trusted and most-read within the scientific literature. Respected for their editorial rigor, ACS journals offer high-quality service to authors and readers, including rapid time to publication, a range of channels for researchers to access ACS Publications’ award-winning web and mobile delivery platforms, and a comprehensive program of open access publishing options for authors and their funders. ACS Publications also publishes Chemical & Engineering News — the Society’s newsmagazine covering science and technology, business and industry, government and policy, education and employment aspects of the chemistry field.

About the Royal Society of Chemistry

The Royal Society of Chemistry is the world’s leading chemistry community, advancing excellence in the chemical sciences. With over 50,000 members and a knowledge business that spans the globe, we are the U.K.’s professional body for chemical scientists; a not-for-profit organisation with 175 years of history and an international vision for the future. We promote, support and celebrate chemistry. We work to shape the future of the chemical sciences — for the benefit of science and humanity.

About ORCID

ORCID’s vision is a world where all who participate in research, scholarship and innovation are uniquely identified and connected to their contributions across disciplines, borders and time. ORCID provides an identifier for individuals to use with their name as they engage in research, scholarship and innovation activities. It provides open tools that enable transparent and trustworthy connections between researchers, their contributions and affiliations. The organization provides this service to help people find information and to simplify reporting and analysis. ORCID is a not-for-profit organization, sustained by fees from member organizations. Its work is open, transparent and non-proprietary. The organization strives to be a trusted component of research infrastructure with the goal of providing clarity in the breadth of research contributions and the people who make them.

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What to expect from Negative Emission Technologies (NETs) in the UK

a blog article by Luiza Cruz, PhD student at Imperial College London

As the Paris climate deal takes legal effect, it is necessary to assess the technical aspects and challenges to limit the global temperature increase. Given the problems in completely eliminating greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions from human activities, one of the possible solutions is using Negative Emission Technologies (NETs) as a way of compensating for those emissions. As the UK has recently stated a target of net zero emission, Smith and colleagues took on a preliminary assessment of land-based NETs in this country in order to estimate their potential and impact.

There are a number of ways negative emissions could compensate for CO2 emissions:

1) Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS), using crops to extract CO2 and then burning them for energy and sequestering the result emissions, thought to hold the most potential to bring down CO2 levels

2) Direct Air Capture of CO2 (DAC) from ambient air and either burying it underground or using it in chemical processes

3) Enhanced Weathering of minerals (EW), by spreading pulverised rocks onto soils to increase the natural weathering process that takes up CO2

4) Afforestation and Reforestation (AR)

5) Soil Carbon Sequestration (SCS), which uses modern farming methods to reverse past losses of soil carbon and sequester CO2

6) Biochar, that converts biomass into biochar for use as soil amendment

Smith and colleagues considered the use of UK land specifically and only technical aspects of these technologies. Other factors, e.g. of a socio-political nature, were not considered and are thought to lower the potential of the NETs considerably.

Regarding land availability, BECCS and AR use land that can no longer be used for food production, assumed to be 1.5 Mha. The same value is assumed for biochar, since growing feedstock for it cannot be done in the same land used for food. SCS and EW can be practised on land without changing its use, here assumed to be 8.5 Mha. Finally, DAC has no land footprint so it is not constrained by land availability.

Negative emission potential for BECCS, AR and biochar are 4.5‒18, 5.1 and 1.73‒11.25 Mt C eq. per year, respectively. SCS would deliver 0.255‒8.5 Mt C eq. per year and the combined potential for EW would be 22.5 Mt C per year. DAC is compared at the same level of BECCS, i.e. 4.5‒18 Mt C eq. per year.

In the UK, total emissions of GHGs are equal to an average of 153 Mt C eq. per year. Considering that not all NETs can be applied at the same time and assuming no interaction between practices, the maximum aggregate potential of land-based NETs is estimated to be 12‒49 Mt C eq. per year (BECCS plus SCS plus EW). This represents only 8‒32% of current UK GHGs emissions.  DAC, however, could increase this number further.

This maximum aggregate potential is limited by a number of factors, including cost, energy, environmental and socio-political constraints. More studies are needed to fully understand and hopefully overcome the barriers to implementation and reach the target of net zero emission.

To read the full article for free* click the link below:

Pete Smith, R. Stuart Haszeldine and Stephen M. Smith
Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2016, 18, 1400-1405
DOI: 10.1039/C6EM00386A

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About the webwriter

Luiza Cruz is a PhD student in the Barrett Group at Imperial College London. Her work is towards the development of new medicines, using medicinal and natural products chemistry.

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*Access is free until 23/12/2016 through a registered publishing personal account.

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