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The Atlantic

An analysis by The Atlantic’s Ronald Brownstein notes despite Republican resistance to electric vehicles, many new production facilities are located in GOP-represented states. MIT Innovation Fellow Brian Deese explains EV companies are simply seeking space and nearby manufacturing and construction capacity, but said “it’s pretty hard to think of a technology where there was a cheaper, better technology to solve a consumer need and consumers prioritized a cultural or political patina over lower costs and higher quality.”

CNN

Prof. Carlo Ratti and the WeBuildGroup have developed a proposal to help rebuild the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland, reports Anna Cooban for CNN. Ratti explained that the blueprint was designed to “produce a safer bridge by widening the channels through which ships can pass, among other measures.” The design will help prevent “the risk of a tragedy such as the one of March 26 happening again,” Ratti explains. 

The Hill

Writing for The Hill, Principal Research Scientist Randolph Kirchain and Research Scientist Hessam Azarijafari address how the condition of the nation’s road system impacts transportation emissions. “Investing in a higher-performance road system is a lever within state control that will improve the efficiency and carbon emissions of all vehicles, regardless of how each is powered,” write Kirchain and Azarijafari. “Smoother, stiffer roads allow cars to travel along it more efficiently. Every time a car tire traverses a bump, crack, or pothole, energy is wasted.”

Fast Company

Fast Company reporter Adele Peters spotlights how researchers at MIT have combined cement with carbon black to make concrete that can store energy as one of the climate tech innovations that provide hope “that it’s still possible to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.” With this new technology, “the foundation of your future house could eventually store solar power from your roof,” explains Peters.

Newsweek

MIT researchers have developed a supercapacitor comprised of concrete and charcoal, that can store electricity and discharge as needed, reports Aleks Phillips for Newsweek. Researchers hope the device can provide “a cheap and architectural way of saving renewable energy from going to waste,” writes Phillips.

Associated Press

In an article about how researchers are exploring why ancient Roman and Mayan buildings are still standing, AP reporter Maddie Burakoff highlights how researchers from MIT found that an ancient Roman technique for manufacturing concrete gave the material “self-healing” properties. “We don’t need to make things last quite as long as the Romans did to have an impact,” says Prof. Admir Masic. If we add 50 or 100 years to concrete’s lifespan, “we will require less demolition, less maintenance and less material in the long run.”

GBH

Senior Lecturer and Senior Research Associate Fred Salvucci BS '61 SM '62 speaks with GBH’s The Big Dig Podcast host Ian Coss about his role in Boston’s “Big Dig” project. “The idea for the Big Dig began with an unlikely friendship,” explains Coss. “During the highway debates in the early 70s, Fred Salvucci – one of the highway opponents – went to a ton of meetings. And across the table at many of those meetings was a man named Bill Reynolds; he was there to represent the road builders.”

GBH

Professor Karilyn Crockett speaks with GBH’s The Big Dig Podcast host Ian Coss about the impact of The “Big Dig” – Boston’s highway project – on the city, its people and urban planning. Crockett “argues that despite all the incentives to build, build, build, the costs of that building would eventually force city residents to think the unthinkable,” says Coss. “So the anti-highway fight becomes a moment of imagining possibilities,” says Crockett. 

The Boston Globe

Researchers at MIT have developed a supercapacitor, an energy storage system, using cement, water and carbon, reports Macie Parker for The Boston Globe. “Energy storage is a global problem,” says Prof. Franz-Josef Ulm. “If we want to curb the environmental footprint, we need to get serious and come up with innovative ideas to reach these goals.”

Fast Company

Fast Company reporter Adele Peters writes that MIT researchers have developed a new type of concrete that can store energy, potentially enabling roads to be transformed into EV chargers and home foundations into sources of energy. “All of a sudden, you have a material which can not only carry load, but it can also store energy,” says Prof. Franz-Josef Ulm.

New Scientist

MIT engineers have uncovered a new way of creating an energy supercapacitor by combining cement, carbon black and water  that could one day be used to power homes or electric vehicles, reports Jeremy Hsu for New Scientist. “The materials are available for everyone all over the place, all over the world,” explains Prof. Franz-Josef Ulm. “Which means we don’t have the same restriction as with batteries.”

Popular Science

MIT researchers have discovered that when combined with water, carbon black and cement can produce a low-cost supercapacitor capable of storing electricity for later use, reports Andrew Paul for Popular Science. “With some further fine-tuning and experimentation, the team believes their enriched cement material could one day compose portions of buildings’ foundations, or even create wireless charging,” writes Paul.

Science

Researchers at MIT have found that cement and carbon black can be combined with water to create a battery alternative, reports Robert Service for Science. Professor Franz-Josef Ulm and his colleagues “mixed a small percent of carbon black with cement powder and added water,” explains Service. “The water readily combines with the cement. But because the particles of carbon black repel water, they tend to clump together, forming long interconnected tendrils within the hardening cement that act like a network of wires.”

Wired

Researchers at MIT have discovered what makes ancient Roman concrete “exponentially more durable than modern concrete,” reports Jim Morrison for Wired. “Creating a modern equivalent that lasts longer than existing materials could reduce climate emissions and become a key component of resilient infrastructure,” writes Morrison.

WBUR

Prof. David Hsu speaks with WBUR reporter Paula Moura about the importance of providing equitable access to electric vehicle charging stations. “The city definitely should provide equal access to services to everybody,” says Hsu. “There are barriers to doing that, but the government’s job is to overcome those barriers for everybody.”