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MIT Energy Initiative

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The New York Times

Prof. Steven Barrett speaks with New York Times reporter Paige McClanahan about the pressing need to make air travel more sustainable and his research exploring the impact of contrails on the planet’s temperature. “Eliminating contrails is quite a big lever on mitigating the climate impact of aviation,” said Barrett.

Forbes

Forbes has named Commonwealth Fusion Systems one of the biggest tech innovations and breakthroughs of 2022, reports Bernard Marr. “Commonwealth Fusion Systems is now working with MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center on plans to build a factory that can mass-produce components for the first commercial fusion reactors,” writes Marr.

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.

Wired

Research led by Prof. Michael Howland has found that adjusting the orientation of wind turbines on a farm can reduce the wake effect and boost the total output, reports Maria Perez Ortiz for Wired. “Howland and his team’s algorithm first uses atmospheric physics and operational farm data—such as temperature and wind conditions—to estimate the wakes that turbines are creating and how these are impacting other turbines,” writes Ortiz. 

Science

Researchers from MIT and elsewhere have developed a new cost-effective battery design that relies on aluminum ion, reports Robert F. Service for Science. “The battery could be a blockbuster,” writes Service, “because aluminum is cheap; compared with lithium batteries, the cost of materials for these batteries would be 85% lower.”

Forbes

Researchers at MIT have developed a battery that uses  aluminum and sulfur, two inexpensive and abundant materials, reports Alex Knapp and Alan Ohnsman for Forbes. “The batteries could be used for a variety of applications,” write Knapp and Ohnsman.

The Daily Beast

MIT researchers have created a new battery using inexpensive and plentiful materials to store and provide power, reports Tony Ho Tran for The Daily Beast. “The study’s authors believe that the battery can be used to support existing green energy systems such as solar or wind power for times when the sun isn’t shining or the air is still,” writes Tran. 

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.