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AccuWeather

Prof. Desiree Plata speaks with AccuWeather senior on-air meteorologist Geoff Cornish about her research in using zeolite clay to control and remove methane emissions from the air.  “So, the really interesting thing about zeolite is it has these cool pore spaces so when you drop copper into those pore spaces it can grab onto a methane molecule and attach an oxygen atom to it and that helps convert that methane into carbon dioxide which is a much less potent greenhouse gas and so the net benefit to the climate can be quite dramatic,” explains Plata.

Gizmodo

MIT researchers have found that zeolite, a material used to soak up odors in kitty litter, can be used to grab methane out of the air, reports Angely Mercado for Gizmodo.  “Zeolite has tiny pores that act like sponge, and the clay is pretty multifunctional: It can help improve water retention in soil, and it’s found in natural kitty litter,” explains Mercado.

The Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal reporter Ryan Dezember visited Prof. Desiree Plata’s lab to learn more about her group’s work developing a new tool to help address climate change. Plata and her colleagues “soaked an odor-eating clay used in cat boxes in a copper solution to create a compound that they say snatches methane from passing air and turns it into carbon dioxide, a much less harmful greenhouse gas.” The new technique has the “potential to greatly reduce the amount of methane in the atmosphere and slow warming temperatures on the planet.”

Wired

Wired reporter Gregory Barber spotlights Prof. Desirée Plata’s work developing a new process for removing methane emissions using zeolite. Plata’s team is currently working on converting their system to a filter that air can be pushed through. “Plata wants to install the filters in places where methane is concentrated, but there’s not enough of it to burn,” Barber explains.

The Engineer

MIT researchers have developed an approach to control methane emissions by using zeolite clays with small amounts of copper, reports The Engineer. “The systems’ ideal location, the team concluded, would be in places with a concentrated source of methane such as dairy barns and coal mines,” according to The Engineer. “These already tend to have air-handling systems in place since a buildup of methane can be a safety hazard.”

Fast Company

MIT researchers have developed a new approach to removing methane emissions from the air using zeolite, an inexpensive material used in cat litter, reports Adele Peters for Fast Company. Prof. Desiree Plata explains that compared to carbon dioxide, “methane is actually much worse, from a global warming perspective. What this allows us to do is bring immediate climate benefit into the Earth system and actually change global warming rates in our lifetime.”

Bloomberg

Prof. Carlo Ratti has proposed a 51-story skyscraper for China’s technology hub of Shenzhen that would produce crops to feed populations of up to 40,000 per year, reports Bloomberg News. “Ratti envisions his farmscraper as a self-contained food supply chain, where the crops can be cultivated, sold and eaten all within the same building.”

BBC News

Graduate student Ashley Beckwith speaks with BBC Radio 5 about her work developing a new concept for growing wood in the lab, as part of an effort to supplement traditional forestry methods. "We dedicate a lot of resources to growing whole plants, when all we use really is a very small portion of the plant,” says Beckwith. “So somehow we needed to figure out a more strategic way to reproduce materials that isn't so reliant on the land."

Wired

Writing for Wired, Keith Gillogly spotlights how MIT researchers have devised a new technique that could lead to the development of lab-grown wood and other biomaterials. “The hope is that, if this becomes a developed process for producing plant materials, you could alleviate some of [the] pressures on our agricultural lands. And with those reduced pressures, hopefully we can allow more spaces to remain wild and more forests to remain in place,” says graduate student Ashley Beckwith,

The Washington Post

In an article for The Washington Post, graduate student Aidan Milliff and Saksham Khosla of Dalberg Advisors explore why farmers are protesting in India. Milliff and Khosla write that farmers are concerned that new laws aimed at deregulating agricultural markets in India could create a situation where “farmers would see less long-term stability, and could be at the mercy of big business.”

Fast Company

Fast Company reporter Kristin Toussaint writes about how MIT researchers have developed a new technique for growing wood-like plant tissues in the lab. The work, they say, is still in its very early stages, but provides a starting point to a new way of producing biomaterials. “It’s a process that eventually could help accelerate our shift away from plastics and other materials that end up in landfill toward materials that can biodegrade,” writes Toussaint.

TechCrunch

TechCrunch reporter Darrell Etherington writes that MIT researchers have developed a new method for growing plant tissues in a lab. “Potential applications of lab-grown plant material are significant,” writes Etherington, “and include possibilities in both agriculture and in construction materials.”

BBC

The BBC series “Follow the Food” spotlights how MIT researchers are tackling the issue of runoff pesticide pollution by developing a technology that helps pesticide better adhere to plant leaves. “What we are trying to do is come up with a technology that can help farmers and significantly reduce the amount [of pesticide] sprayed,” explains Prof. Kripa Varanasi.

NBC Mach

Reporting for NBC Mach, Jaclyn Jeffrey-Wilensky writes that MIT researchers are developing augmented plants that can serve as sensors. Jeffrey-Wilensky explains that the researchers believe the plants could one day be used to “guard our homes, connect us to distant friends and send us gentle push notifications without the sensory overload of a computer screen.”

Popular Mechanics

Popular Mechanics reporter Dave Grossman writes that MIT researchers are “utilizing plants' natural abilities of sensory detection and attempting to co-join them with modern tech.”