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The Verge

The Verge reporter Justine Calma writes that a new study by MIT researchers finds that while wind energy has measurably improved air quality, only 32% of those benefits reached low-income communities. “The research shows that to squeeze out the greatest health benefits, wind farms need to intentionally replace coal and gas power plants,” writes Calma. “And to clean up the most polluted places — particularly those with more residents of color and low-income households — those communities need to be in focus when deploying new renewable energy projects.”

HealthDay News

A new study by MIT researchers finds that increased usage of wind power is improving air quality in parts of the U.S., however only a third of the health benefits are being seen in disadvantaged communities, reports Alan Mozes for HealthDay. "Going forward," explains Prof. Noelle Selin, "more targeted policies are needed to reduce the disparities at the same time, for example by directly targeting [fossil fuel] sources that influence certain marginalized communities."

The Hill

Increased usage of wind energy has led to health benefits, but does not affect all communities equally, reports Saul Elbein for The Hill. The researchers found that in order to increase the benefits of wind energy, “the electricity industry would have to spin down the most polluting plants at times of high wind-supply — rather than their most expensive ones,” writes Elbein.

Forbes

Alumna Geeta Sankappanavar founded Akira Impact, an investment firm that directs capital to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals, reports Cheryl Robinson for Forbes. “The firm invests in companies that support gender equality, clean water and sanitation, clean energy and responsible consumption and production,” writes Robinson.

Popular Science

Popular Science reporter Helen Bradshaw writes that MIT researchers have improved the energy capacity of nonrechargeable batteries, the batteries used in pacemakers and other implantable medical devices, by employing a new type of electrolyte. “Expanding the life of primary batteries may also make them sustainable contenders,” writes Bradshaw. “Fewer batteries will have to be used in pacemakers as their lifespans increase, decreasing overall battery waste in addition to reducing the number of battery replacement surgeries needed.”

Vox

Dharik Mallapragada, a principal research scientist at the MIT Energy Initiative, speaks with Vox reporter Neel Dhanesha about the pressing need to find new ways to store renewable energy. “We need to think about solutions that go beyond conventional lithium-ion batteries,” says Mallapragada. “No single technology is going to make this happen. We have to think about it as a jigsaw puzzle, where every piece plays its role in the system.”

Newsweek

MIT researchers have developed a new machine learning model that can identify and track blobs of plasma created in controlled nuclear-fusion research, reports Ed Browne for Newsweek. “Fusion research is a complex, multidisciplinary project that requires technologies from many fields,” explains graduate student Woonghee “Harry” Han.

The Boston Globe

Prof. Kripa Varanasi and his colleagues have founded Alsym Energy, a startup working toward developing a lithium battery alternative, reports Hiawatha Bray for The Boston Globe. The founders say “they’ve built a new kind of rechargeable battery that delivers the performance of lithium ion cells at half the cost,” writes Bray.

CNBC

MIT startup Quaise Energy is developing an energy-based drill to make geothermal power more accessible, reports Catherine Clifford for CNBC. “The solution to drilling is to replace the mechanical grinding process with a pure energy-matter interaction,” says research scientist Paul Woskov. “Sufficient energy intensity will always melt-vaporize rock without need for physical tools.”

WBUR

Researchers from MIT’s Concrete Sustainability Hub discuss their research showing that increasing the reflectivity of paved surfaces could help lower air temperatures in U.S. cities by an average of 2.5 degrees. “If we reflect more energy back out, it’s the same as emitting less CO2,” says Randolph Kirchain, co-director of the Concrete Sustainability Hub.

Energy Wire

In an effort to combat the use of air conditioners, MIT researchers have developed a passive cooling system that relies on evaporation and radiation and requires no electricity, reports Camille Bond for EnergyWire. “With passive cooling, the advantage is that you can address the ever-increasing need for cooling with a very low carbon footprint,” explains postdoc Zhengmao Lu.

Bloomberg

MIT spinoff Quaise Energy is transforming a millimeter-wave drilling technique from nuclear fusion experiments to tap geothermal energy, reports Mark Bergen for Bloomberg. “The company’s drill – it is building three prototypes in laboratories – is about 100 feet tall and looks like convential equipment used in the oil and gas industry,” writes Bergen. “Except built into the center of the drill is a gyrotron, an electrical vacuum designed to heat plasma in thermonuclear fusion machines. 

The Boston Globe

In a cartoon for The Boston Globe, Sage Stossel highlights research underway at the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center, where scientists are working on developing the future of fusion energy.

The Wall Street Journal

Prof. Christopher Knittel speaks with Wall Street Journal reporter Andrew Duehren about how European governments are beginning to experiment with new ways to control energy prices.“Especially with the European energy-market policy interventions, what policy makers do not want to do is exacerbate these problems with their policies, and my fear is that is what these proposals would do,” says Knittel.

The Boston Globe

Prof. Emeritus Donald Sadoway and his colleagues have developed a safer and more cost-effective battery to store renewable energy, reports David Abel for The Boston Globe. The battery is “ethically sourced, cheap, effective and can’t catch fire,” says Sadoway.