sustainability

The United States of America Library of Congress

Living and working sustainably

Alternative Fuel Vehicles & Combustion Processes

This guide lists relevant sources of information on alternative fuel vehicles and includes electric vehicles, hybrid vehicles, and personal transportation vehicles, as well as the technology of fuel economy and alternative fuels. It also includes advanced autoignition and lean-burn combustion processes for improving engine fuel economy.

In order to meet the challenge of reducing consumption and lowering emissions using better mixture preparation and combustion control, the chemistry of combustion, especially the autoignition processes at moderate cylinder pressure, must be better understood. Ideally, a lean-burn process that eliminates the throttle plate and uses alternative fuels could be applied to hybrids to boost highway fuel mileage. Future hybrids may combine a combustion engine with electric motors and batteries that, in full-blown form, can let a car run on battery power alone at low speeds or allow the engine to make use of a wide range of fuels such as kerosene, diesel, alcohol, or soy bean oil. 

A related title in the Science Tracer Bullet series is TB 92-3, Electric Vehicles. Not intended to be a comprehensive bibliography, this compilation is designed--as the name of the series implies--to put the reader "on target."

Desalination - Science Tracer Bullet

Over the last few decades desalination technologies have been used increasingly throughout the world to produce drinking water from brackish groundwater and seawater, to improve the quality of existing supplies of fresh water for drinking and industrial purposes, and to treat industrial and municipal wastewater prior to discharge or reuse. Desalination technologies include distillation (multiple-effect evaporation, multi-stage flash distillation, vapor compression, and solar distillation), reverse osmosis, electrodialysis, ion exchange, and freeze desalination. The selection of the most appropriate desalination technology for a particular use depends on many site-specific factors. Many of these same technologies can also be used to remove contaminants other than salt from water supplies. This guide furnishes a review of relevant literature on desalination in the collections of the Library of Congress. Not intended as a comprehensive bibliography, this guide is designed--as the name of the series implies--to put the reader "on target."

Electric Power - A Tracer Bit (Brief Tracer Bullet)

 This guide is not intended as a comprehensive bibliography, but highlights selected works about the production, distribution, and transmission of electric power. Most of these works are available in the Science reference collection in the Science and Business Reading Room, which is located on the fifth floor of the Adams Building at the Library of Congress.

Electric Vehicles - Science Tracer Bullet

 This update of TB 80-8 reviews the literature in the collections of the Library of Congress on electric vehicles. Not intended as a comprehensive bibliography, this guide is designed--as the name of the series implies--to put the reader "on target."

Geothermal Energy - Science Tracer Bullet

Geothermal energy is derived from heat that originates in the Earth; it is considered to be a renewable energy source. Currently, geothermal energy use falls into three main categories, each of which employs its own specialized technology. Direct use of hot springs and geothermal pools has been practiced for thousands of years, and direct use continues today, with various recreational, agricultural, and industrial applications. In direct use, geothermal water is used in heating spas and pools, in aquaculture and greenhouses, and in various industrial applications. A second category of geothermal energy use, electric power generation, utilizes energy in water and rocks at a greater depth beneath the Earth’s surface. Electric power generation using geothermal resources may take place in several different types of plants, but most rely on the process of piping water or steam into a plant from underground. Geoexchange systems, a third category of geothermal energy use, are becoming increasingly common throughout the United States and Europe. These systems use relatively shallow, but constant, earth temperatures for efficient heating and cooling of buildings.

This guide, a revision and update of TB 83-9, is not intended as a comprehensive bibliography, but highlights selected works and resources about geothermal energy. Many of these titles are available in the reference collection in the Science and Business Reading Room, located on the fifth floor of the Adams Building at the Library of Congress.

Green Roofs - Science Tracer Bullet

Green roofs, widely implemented in Germany, Switzerland, and other European countries, as well as in Canada, are becoming increasingly well known in the United States. Green roofs can help to counteract the effect of impervious surfaces in urban areas. Impervious surfaces, including sidewalks, roads, rooftops, parking lots, and runways, are usually constructed of impenetrable materials such as asphalt, concrete and stone, which repel water and prevent precipitation from seeping into soil. Because approximately 40 percent of the impervious surface area in our cities is located on rooftops, vegetated rooftops can have an important beneficial impact on the urban environment by reducing and controlling stormwater runoff. Green roofs act as filters for both air and water. They can also play an important role in reducing energy consumption for both heating and cooling, and in reducing the effects of urban heat islands. In addition, green roofs can contribute public green spaces to cities.

This guide is not intended as a comprehensive bibliography, but highlights selected works and resources about green roofs. Many of these works are available in the Science reference collection in the Science and Business Reading Room, which is located on the fifth floor of the Adams Building at the Library of Congress.

High Speed Rail Transportation - Science Tracer Bullet

High speed passenger rail systems (125 mph and above) now operate in Japan, France, and Great Britain. Several states and local governments, as well as private sector groups, have undertaken feasibility studies to assess the outlook for introducing high speed passenger rail technology in the United States. High speed rail systems are best situated in 100-300 mile corridors serving a number of cities with high population and high population densities, and supported by well developed transit systems to feed the high speed line. In addition, there must be sufficient need for travel between the cities in the corridor. Alternatives in the design, development, and construction of high speed rail transportation include the upgrading of conventional diesel-powered equipment on existing track, upgrading existing track, or the construction of high speed lines, including the introduction of advanced ground transportation schemes, such as magnetic levitation technologies (maglev), which rely on magnetic suspension instead of conventional steel wheels on rails. Factors used to evaluate such alternative transportation systems also include terrain and land use. This guide provides a review of the literature in the Library of Congress on high speed rail transportation. Not intended as a comprehensive bibliography, this compilation is designed--as the name of the series implies--to put the reader "on target."

Integrated Pest Management - Science Tracer Bullet

Currently several techniques exist for limiting damages caused by agricultural pests. The application of pesticides alone is the most common approach, but it can be harmful to the agroecosystem in which it is used and can be less effective than other methods. Another means of pest control is biological control, which seeks to eliminate the use of pesticides. In biological control preservation of the pest’s natural enemies is essential, as is the utilization of biopesticides, naturally occurring substances that are harmful to the pest. A third technique in agricultural pest control is Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, which utilizes biological control techniques, but also uses chemical pesticides as a last resort. This guide updates TB 82-6, Biological Control of Insects, and provides a representative sample of Library of Congress titles on the control of agricultural pests. Not intended as a comprehensive bibliography, this compilation is designed--as the name of the series implies--to put the reader "on target."

Pesticides and Foods - Science Tracer Bullet

Pesticides are of great concern to the American consumer. While the use of pesticides and other agrochemicals has increased the availability of fruits and vegetables, some research indicates the residues of these compounds may constitute a health hazard. New studies linking pesticides to diseases in children, reproductive disorders in men, and breast cancer in women contribute to these concerns. The issues involved are complex, and the literature dealing with the topic is often very technical. This compilation furnishes a review of the literature in the collections of the Library of Congress on pesticides and food. Not intended as a comprehensive bibliography, this compilation is designed--as the name of the series implies--to put the reader "on target."

Solar Energy - Science tracer Bullet

 This compilation updates Library of Congress Science Tracer Bullet 92-4, emphasizing the literature on three solar topics--passive solar architecture, photovoltaics, and solar thermal engineering. However, many of the sources listed in the Abstracting and Indexing Services Section also provide references to literature on other aspects of solar energy and its applications. Not intended to be a comprehensive bibliography, this guide is designed--as the name of the series implies--to put the readers “on target.”

Solar Ovens and Solar Cooking - Science Reference Guide

 Cooking with the sun's power is a fun way to use a renewable resource, and with excellent results. Food cooked in solar ovens retains its moisture and nutrients as it cooks slowly, and does not burn as with other types of heat. Many organizations are introducing solar cooking to the world's less developed regions to prevent further deforestation in fuel-starved areas. They hope also to liberate the women and their children who must spend their days trying to gather fuel instead of working or going to school.

In more developed nations, solar cooking helps to decrease the use of fossil fuel and to keep the house cool in summer. Many are finding it a creative and practical way to produce delicious meals with less trouble than it takes to use a conventional range.

Designs for ovens and cookers abound. They range from very affordable home made models to those one can buy ready-made. Most of the cookbooks listed below also have an explanation of the different types of ovens as well as tips for the novice solar chef.

Sustainable Agriculture - Science Tracer Bullet

Environmental health, economic profitability, and equity are the goals of sustainable agriculture. The following concepts are integral to sustainable agriculture: understanding of the interrelationship between air, water, and soil; the need to provide farmer and consumer safety; and the commitment to a stewardship of the land. The movement for sustainable agriculture addresses many social and environmental concerns, in addition to promoting innovative and economically viable farming methods such as crop diversification and biological pest control. Sustainable agriculture brings together such aspects of agricultural science as pest management, soil and water conservation, food safety, and animal welfare. Although many use the term "sustainable agriculture” to define the movement or system, other terms often used include "agroecology,” "agrobiodiversity,” "alternative agriculture,” "alternative farming,” "biodynamic,” "low-input agriculture,” "natural farming,” "organic farming,” "permaculture,” and/or "regenerative agriculture.” Not intended to be a comprehensive bibliography, this guide is designed, as the name of the series implies, to put the reader "on target.”

Urban Transportation - Science Tracer Bullet

 Transportation in urban areas relies on the application of technology and scientific principles to plan, design, construct, operate, maintain, and manage in a safe, rapid, comfortable, convenient, economical, and environmentally compatible way the infra-structure and facilities associated with the movement of people and goods. A balanced urban transportation program may better utilize space and energy by improving and upgrading the existing transportation infrastructure and public transport, and by applying traffic control management strategies in order to maintain efficient movement of traffic on existing networks, improve mobility, and reduce traffic congestion, energy use, noise, accidents, pollution, and delays. Demand management measures may include ridesharing programs, staggered work hours, and encouraging the use of carpools, vanpools, and high-occupancy vehicles. Electronic technologies, control software, systems engineering, and integrated applications of advanced surveillance, communications, computer, display, and control process technologies, may be used, both in vehicles and on highways or guideways. Automated guideway transit may include shuttle and loop transit, group rapid transit, and personal rapid transit. This guide furnishes a review of the literature in the collections of the Library of Congress on urban transportation. Not intended as a comprehensive bibliography, this guide is designed--as the name of the series implies--to put the reader "on target."

Wind Power - Science Tracer Bullet

Wind power or wind energy is the process by which the wind is used to generate mechanical power or electricity and is one of the fastest-growing forms of electricity generation in the world. An update of TB 81-5, this guide is a review of the literature in the Library’s collections on wind power with an emphasis on recent material. Not intended to be a comprehensive bibliography, this guide is designed--as the name of the series implies--to put the readers “on target