UMass Amherst has been awarded a $1.1 million state grant from the Advancing Commonwealth Energy Storage project to work with Tesla Energy to construct a large battery at the Central Heating Plant. Working with Tesla and the Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment’s Clean Energy Extension, the goal is to reduce peak energy demand on the Amherst campus and related costs. (Business West12/8/17, Energy Manager Today 12/8/17, Masslive/Springfield Republican 12/7/17, Commonwealth magazine 12/7/17, WBUR 12/7/17, State House News Service 12/7/17, Electrek 12/10/17, Framingham Source 12/8/17, Daily Hampshire Gazette 12/13/17, Greenfield Recorder 12/14/17)
News from the Media
Martha Sylvia, a research technician at the University of Massachusetts Cranberry Station in Wareham and scientists have studied the wild bogs in Provincetown and Truro for the last 25 years, in part to learn how a bog behaves without the cultivation practices used in cranberry farming. (Cape Cod Times11/22/17)
Technology in cranberry farming has come a long way in just a handful of years. Hillary Sandler, director of the Cranberry Station at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, explains how drones, lasers and smartphones are used to grow and harvest cranberries. (WUMW 11/23/17)
Antimicrobial compounds added to preserve food during storage are believed to be benign and non-toxic to the consumer, but there is “a critical scientific gap in understanding the potential interactions” they may have with the hundreds of species of microbes in our intestines, say David Sela, a nutritional microbiologist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and colleagues. (Globe, 12/20/17; Technology Networks, 12/19/17; News Office release)
Tracy Allen, chemist and supervisor, UMass Soil Laboratory, discusses soil samples the lab tests for and amendment recommendations made across the country. (Gazette 12/15/17)
Rich says the biggest health threat from mosquitoes is the spread of West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis, which is very rare but untreatable and often fatal. (Gazette 12/13/17)
This year, the balmy weather has scrambled the classic autumn script.
As a result, some tree species, particularly Norway maple, oak, and pear, are “not giving up the ghost in terms of winding up the growing season,” said Richard W. Harper, extension assistant professor of urban forestry at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. (Globe 12/8/17)
University of Massachusetts professor, Prashant Shenoy, has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in recognition of his “efforts toward advancing science applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished.” Professor Shenoy is the Principal Investigator of the Massachusetts Energy Extension Initiative. (Gazette 12/5/17, News Office 11/20/17)
According to Richard Harper, professor in the Environmental Conservation department at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, warmer nights can certainly delay and even mute the color of fall leaves. (Crain's New York Business 11/7/17)
Tracy Allen, supervisor, UMass Soil Laboratory, explains that soil properties are not going to change much in the winter because soil processes slow way down in the cold, so soil test results and recommendations that offered this fall will be accurate and useful for the whole growing season in your garden next year.
In the spring, the lab is deluged with requests and that can cause a backlog. "It could take twice as long to get your results back and that is valuable time in the planting season," Allen said. (MassLive 11/1/17, News Office 11/1/17, Recorder 11/4/17)