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MIT Energy Initiative

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CBS Boston

Ambri, an MIT startup that has developed a liquid-metal battery that can be used for grid-level storage of renewable energy, has announced that it is months away from delivering its first battery to a customer, reports Jacob Wycoff for CBS Boston. "We want to have a battery that can draw from the sun even when the sun doesn't shine," said Prof. Donald Sadoway of the inspiration for Ambri’s battery.

Popular Mechanics

Researchers from MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC) and Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS) are working on making commercial nuclear fusion a reality, reports Juandre for Popular Mechanics. “CFS will build [the tokamak] SPARC and develop a commercial fusion product, while MIT PSFC will focus on its core mission of cutting-edge research and education,” says Prof. Dennis G. Whyte, director of the PSFC. 

WBUR

WBUR reporter Bruce Gellerman spotlights a new report by MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) researchers that emphasizes the importance of developing and deploying new ways to store renewable energy in order to transition to clean energy. “There are a variety of technologies and if we can develop [them] and drive those costs down, it could make getting to net-zero or zero in the electricity sector more affordable,” says Prof. Robert Armstrong, MITEI director.

The Boston Globe

A new report by researchers from MIT’s Energy Initiative (MITEI) underscores the feasibility of using energy storage systems to almost completely eliminate the need for fossil fuels to operate regional power grids, reports David Abel for The Boston Globe. “Our study finds that energy storage can help [renewable energy]-dominated electricity systems balance electricity supply and demand while maintaining reliability in a cost-effective manner,” says Prof. Robert Armstrong, director of MITEI.

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.”

The Washington Post

A study by MIT researchers finds that by adjusting grid operations, China could increase its usage of wind power, reports Chelsea Harvey for The Washington Post. Prof. Valerie Karplus explains that the study “considers the operation of the electric grid and how wind interacts with other sources of generation, particularly coal generation.” 

Vox

A Vox article on the potential and challenges of scaling solar power cites the MITEI Future of Solar Energy report’s findings about the relationship between market penetration of solar, market prices, and solar revenues. In the article, MITEI researcher Jesse Jenkins discusses what it will take to make solar energy competitive.

CBS News

In an article for CBS News about carbon capture, Jonathan Berr speaks with Senior Research Engineer Howard Herzog about why the technology has not been more widely implemented. "It comes down to financing," says Herzog. "The markets are just not developing."

The Washington Post

Washington Post reporter Joby Warrick writes that a team of MIT engineers has won top prize in a competition designed to spur innovation in desalination technologies for a solar-powered system they developed. “The system, when fully operational, can supply the basic water needs of a village of between 2,000 and 5,000 people,” Warrick explains. 

The Daily Beast

Eleanor Clift writes for The Daily Beast about the role U.S. Energy Secretary and MIT Professor Emeritus Ernie Moniz plays in President Obama’s cabinet. Describing his relationship with Congress, Moniz says, “Maintaining open communications channels and using them early and often helps.”

PRI’s The World

Prof. Emeritus Ernest Moniz, the U.S. Energy Secretary, speaks with Marco Werman of PRI about his work on the Iran nuclear deal. Moniz explains that he and his Iranian counterpart in negotiations, an MIT alumnus, applied “the MIT problem solving approach…to march through quite a few issues.”