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NBC Boston

MIT and Delta airlines are developing a plan to eliminate persistent contrails, reports Susan Tran for NBC Boston 10.A possible solution here is to get rid of these clouds flying at different altitudes,” says Tran. “They [researchers] say that up to 90 percent of all contrails could be avoided by flying at different heights.”

Bloomberg

MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Delta Air Lines are working together to find new ways to eliminate persistent contrails, the white clouds that trail behind airplanes, using an algorithm that predicts altitudes and locations where contrails are likely to form, reports Omose Ighodaro for Bloomberg. “The joint research group has already completed more than 40 testing flights and has plans for live experiment flights and simulations,” writes Ighodaro.

Bloomberg

Researchers from the MIT Energy Initiative have found that “without restrictions on carbon-dioxide emissions, the Northeast will have even higher per-kilowatt emissions from electricity generation in 2050 than it does now,” reports Justin Fox for Bloomberg. Fox writes that the “modeling results are an indication that the Northeast faces unique challenges in decarbonizing.”

NPR

Loh Down on Science host Sandra Tsing Loh spotlights Prof. Cathy Wu and graduate student Vindula Jayawardana and their work developing a new method for self-driving vehicles that would help minimize idling at red lights. “In their method, self-driving can be taught to minimize stops at red lights. To make this work, traffic lights and self-driving cars would have sensors. This would let them check in with each other on their surroundings,” says Loh.

NPR

Quaise Energy co-founder Carlos Araque BS ’01 MS ’02 speaks with Guy Raz, host of NPR’s How I Built This, about his time on the MIT Electric Vehicle Team, starting his company and the future of geothermal energy. “We would build these cars together, literally from scratch,“ said Araque about the EVT. "Very hands on, a lot of engineering went into that. And it [offered] very early experience with building things that work -- not only work, but work reliantly and consistently.”  

The Washington Post

Postdoctoral fellow Joshua A. Schwartz and University of Pennsylvania PhD candidate Sabrina B. Arias write for The Washington Post about their research exploring how American cities and towns are taking action to help reduce carbon emissions. “Major urban areas account for about 30 percent of the U.S. carbon footprint,” they write. “This means even relatively narrow efforts focused on those cities could still have a significant impact.”

Bloomberg

Jennifer Rumsey MS ’98 has been named the first female CEO of Cummins Inc., a truck engines and power-generation equipment manufacturing company, reports Brooke Sutherland for Bloomberg. “Rumsey’s technical background is exactly what Cummins needs right now as the company pivots from its legacy as a maker of diesel engines and plots its role in the energy transition,” writes Sutherland.

Forbes

Alumna Jennifer Rumsey SM ’98 will become the first woman to lead Cummins, the largest maker of diesel engines for trucks and heavy-duty vehicles, since its founding in 1919, reports Alan Ohnsman for Forbes. “Rumsey… intends to continue the shift to products that generate far less climate-warming emissions,” writes Ohnsman.

New York Times

Researchers at MIT have found that due to the ongoing circulation of dust, sea salt, and organic matter produced by vegetation, even eliminating all human-caused pollution would still leave half of the world’s population exposed to particulate levels deemed unsafe by the World Health Organization, writes David Wallace-Wells for The New York Times. “When pollution combines with extreme heat, researchers have found, overall mortality risk can grow by more than 20 percent.”

TechCrunch

Research affiliate Jason Prapas founded Fyto, a company dedicated to developing hardware and software to automate and scale the production of aquatic plants, reports Christine Hall for TechCrunch. Prapas says that “Fyto’s technology taps into a farm’s waste streams as inputs to enable farmers to increase productivity and improve nutrient management while reducing production costs, water usage and greenhouse gas emissions, in some operations by over 50%.”

Radio Boston (WBUR)

Associate Provost Richard Lester and Prof. Noelle Selin speak with Tiziana Dearing, host of Radio Boston, about MIT’s Climate Grand Challenges. “To me, the Climate Grand Challenges effort really represents that we’re kind of at a frameshift when thinking about the climate problem. It’s not just a problem that some people can work on,” says Selin. “A climate challenge is a whole of society challenge, and therefore it really has to be a whole of MIT challenge.” Lester adds he hopes the challenges will “inspire a new generation of students to roll up their sleeves, put their shoulders to the wheel and help us solve this problem.”

TechCrunch

TechCrunch reporters Kyle Wiggers and Devin Coldewey spotlight how MIT researchers developed a new technique for simulating an overall system of independent agents: self-driving cars. “The idea is that if you have a good amount of cars on the road, you can have them work together not just to avoid collisions but to prevent idling and unnecessary stops at lights,” write Wiggers and Coldewey.

Popular Science

Popular Science reporter Andrew Zaleski spotlights Prof. Antoine Allanore and his work developing new methods to extract materials from rock without burning fossil fuels. “The electrification of metal production is groundbreaking,” says Allanore. “It not only allows us to avoid certain fuels and carbon emissions, it opens the door to higher productivity.”

State House News

MIT President L. Rafael Reif and Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry discussed the urgency of addressing climate change during the Climate Grand Challenges Showcase event, reports Chris Lisinski for the State House News Service. “Climate change has been called a ‘super wicked’ problem. In Boston, that might sound like a local way of saying ‘really hard,’ but this phrase is actually a technical term,” Reif said. “It describes any enormously complex societal problem that has no single right answer and no clear finish line as well as multiple stakeholders with conflicting priorities and no central authority empowered to solve it.”

Bloomberg News

Bloomberg News reporter Janet Wu speaks with President L. Rafael Reif and Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry during the Institute’s Climate Grand Challenges showcase event. “If you can capture the emissions -- literally, genuinely -- then you’re reducing the problem,” said Kerry of the importance of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions.