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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.

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.

Forbes

Prof. Jessika Trancik speaks with Forbes contributor Peter Cohan about the carbon emissions associated with gas, hybrid and electric vehicles, and the site she and her research group developed to allow consumers to compare personal vehicles against climate change mitigation targets. “In most locations, compared to [gas-powered vehicles], EVs produce emissions savings greater than 30%,” says Trancik. "Most savings are greater depending on the geographic location, the electricity supply, and the vehicle model.”

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.”

GBH

Lecturer Susan Murcott and graduate student Imane Ait Mbiriq speak with Paris Alston and Jeremy Siegel of GBH’s Morning Edition about the MIT Climate Clock, a creation from the D-Lab that will be projected on the Green Building through May 27. “Our overall vision is that we have climate clocks in every K-12 school, in every university campus in the United States and even in the world, so that people can wake up to the reality of this new age and take action,” says Murcott.

Mashable

Mashable reporter Emmett Smith spotlights how MIT researchers have developed a new technique to clear dust from solar panels without using water. The new method uses “electrostatic repulsion, where an electrode that glides above the panel electrically charges dust particles and subsequently repels them.”

Popular Science

MIT engineers have developed a new contactless method to clean solar panels that could save billions of gallons of water, reports Anuradha Varanasi for Popular Science. “I was amazed at the sheer amount of pure water that is required for cleaning solar panels,” says Prof. Kripa Varanasi. “The water footprint of the solar industry is only going to grow in the future. We need to figure out how to make solar farms more sustainable.”

Tech Briefs

Prof. Kripa Varanasi, graduate student Sreedath Panath, and a team of researchers are developing a water-free way to clear dust off of solar panels, reports Billy Hurley and Ed Brown for Tech Briefs. “Water is such a precious commodity, and people need to be careful about how to make use of this resource that we have,” says Varanasi. “The solar industry really needs to keep this in mind; we don’t want to be solving one problem and creating another.”

The Daily Beast

MIT researchers have developed a new water-free system that uses static electricity to clear dust from solar panels, reports Miriam Fauzia for The Daily Beast. “By using this technique, we can recover up to 95 percent of a solar panel’s power output,” explains graduate student Sreedath Panat.

New Scientist

New Scientist reporter Chen Ly writes that MIT researchers have developed a new technique that uses static electricity to remove the dust from solar panels, which could save around 45 billion liters of water annually. “I think water is a precious commodity that is very undervalued,” says Prof. Kripa Varanasi. “What I’m hoping is this will spur more people to think about water issues.”

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.

NBC News

Prof. Sara Seager speaks with Tom Metcalfe of NBC News about the Venus Life Finder missions, which will carry a robotic space payload partially funded by MIT alumni to Venus to search for signs of life in the planet's atmosphere. “Space is becoming cheaper in general, and there is more access to space than ever before,” says Seager. 

Financial Times

In a letter to the Financial Times, Prof. Donald Sadoway underscores the need for new smelting capacity to meet the growing need for copper for the transition to clean energy. “Imagine a process that produces superior metal at lower cost with zero greenhouse gas emissions,” writes Sadoway. “Such technology would recapture domestic market share from foreign producers. We must invent the future; we cannot simply legislate for it.”

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.”