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MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI)

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New Scientist

Prof. Donald Sadoway and his colleagues have developed a battery that can charge to full capacity in less than one minute, store energy at similar densities to lithium-ion batteries and isn’t prone to catching on fire, reports Alex Wilkins for New Scientist. “Although the battery operates at the comparatively high temperature of 110°C (230°F),” writes Wilkins, “it is resistant to fire because it uses an inorganic salt that can’t burn as its electrolyte, the material that allows charge to flow inside a battery.” Sadoway explains that “this is a totally new battery chemistry."

Boston.com

MIT scientists have discovered a new method to maximize wind farm output, reports Gwen Egan for Boston.com. “While there are pros and cons to this strategy, it’s possible that it could allow for smaller wind farms that take up less land to produce more energy,” says Prof. Michael Howland. “It’s critically important we do this now, as we embark on building much more offshore wind. We need to ensure that our future wind farms maximize efficiency to increase the pace of decarbonization.”

The Boston Globe

MIT scientists have found that changing the angle of turbine blades on wind farms could increase energy output, reports David Abel for The Boston Globe. “Given the scale of wind deployment needed to achieve state and federal climate goals, we need optimal wind farm performance to ensure efficient, rapid decarbonization,” says Prof. Michael Howland. “Our method resulted in significant energy gains over standard industry operations, and, importantly, it can be instituted with minimal cost.”

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.”  

Marketplace

Prof. Christopher Knittel speaks with Andy Uhler of Marketplace about gasoline process and the crack spread, the difference between the cost of oil and the cost to refine it. “Increases in the crack spread that we’ve seen recently has been just supply and demand,” said Knittel.

This Old House

Ross Trethewey, co-host of This Old House, visits Prof. Vladimir Bulović, director of MIT.nano, to learn more about the future of solar technology, including an electricity-generating film that can be applied to windows and other materials. “Dramatic advancements are on the horizon,” says Bulović. “We can make solar cells that don’t weigh very much at all so deployment of them on top of your roof could be as simple as unrolling a carpet and stapling it to the roof with a plug. Maybe your windows will be turned into solar cells.” 

The Boston Globe

Writing for The Boston Globe, Prof. Ernest Moniz, former secretary of energy, makes the case for addressing climate change and energy insecurity collectively. “US decision makers in the public and private sector need to implement data-driven plans that reflect real needs and enable a credible and sustained energy transition to zero-carbon energy in the mid-century time frame,” writes Moniz.

TechCrunch

TechCrunch reporter Devin Coldewey writes that a new report by MIT researchers finds that in order to successfully transition to a renewable energy grid, the federal government must intervene to help build green energy storage at a scale that will meet the nation’s needs. “The federal government has the means both to subsidize the utilization of existing storage options and to fund intensive research into new and promising ones,” writes Coldewey of the report’s findings. 

WBUR

Prof. Donald Sadoway is the recipient of the 2022 European Inventor Award for his work in liquid metal batteries, reports WBUR. “MIT says the battery could enable the long-term storage of renewable energy,” says WBUR.

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.”

CNBC

Ubiquitous Energy, an MIT startup, is developing technology to transform windows into surfaces that capture solar energy, reports Catherine Clifford for CNBC. “Ubiquitous makes a coating for windows that uses semiconducting materials to convert sunlight into electricity,” writes Clifford. “The coating is just nanometers thick and tiny wires connect the solar window to electrical systems where the energy is used.”

IEEE Spectrum

IEEE Spectrum reporter Prachi Patel writes that researchers from MIT and Google Brain have developed a new open-source tool that could streamline solar cell improvement and discovery. The new system should “speed up development of more efficient solar cells by allowing quick assessment of a wide variety of possible materials and device structures,” writes Patel.

Climate Now

Climate Now host Ozak Esu speaks with Senior Research Engineer Howard Herzog about the origins and mechanics of carbon capture technology. “The primary method today is what we call scrubbing. And it could be either chemical or physical scrubbing depending on the concentration,” says Herzog.

The Washington Post

Washington Post reporter Steven Zeitchik highlights Prof. Jessika Trancik’s work developing a carbon counter that details the carbon impacts of different cars and MIT startup Form Energy, which is “taking the oxidization process, normally only good for ruining your Saturday garage clean-up, and deploying it to store energy on power grids.” Says Trancik of the importance of allowing people the ability to take stock of their environmental impact: “One of the really important aspects of addressing climate change is bringing everyone into the discussion.”

Financial Times

Financial Times reporter Tom Wilson writes that researchers from MIT and Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS) have successfully demonstrated the use of a high-temperature superconductor, which engineers believe can allow for a more compact fusion power plant. “It’s the type of technology innovation that you know shows up every once in a while in a given field,” CFS chief executive, Bob Mumgaard, tells Wilson.