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The Daily Beast

Daily Beast reporter Miriam Fauzia writes that MIT researchers have developed a new way to create carbon fibers that are stronger and lighter than steel, using leftover waste from crude oil processing. “The new findings could usher in an age of heavy-duty cars that consume less fuel thanks to their decreased weight,” writes Fauzia.

The Hill

Hill reporters Saul Elbein and Sharon Udasin spotlight how MIT researchers have developed a way to make lightweight fibers for possible use in the bodies of cars out of the waste material from the refining of petroleum. “The ‘heavy, gloppy’ leftovers from the petroleum refining process could become a key ingredient in making electric vehicles lighter, less expensive and more efficient,” they write.

Forbes

Forbes has named Paul Cheek, a lecturer and the Entrepreneur in Residence at the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship to their list of the 30 Under 30 Leading The Green Energy Transition. “On a mission to end plastic pollution, Paul cofounded Oceanworks to be a global marketplace for facilitating trade in recycled plastic.”. 

CNN

CNN reporter Jacopo Prisco spotlights Prof. Carlo Ratti and architect Italo Rota on their eco-friendly design of Italy’s pavilion at the Dubai Expo 2020. “One thing I do not like about temporary events – like various international exhibitions or the Olympic Games – is that a huge amount of waste ends up in landfills after just a few weeks or months,” says Ratti. “This is why we wanted the Italian Pavilion to address the temporary nature of the Dubai Expo 2020. Most architectural elements are recycled or recyclable, refused or reusable.”

Smithsonian Magazine

MIT researchers have been working to turn polyethylene plastics into woven fabrics, reports Smithsonian Magazine reporter Frederick Reimers. “We strongly believe that adoption of PE textiles will be very beneficial for the world from the sustainability standpoint,” says Principal Research Scientist Svetlana Boriskina tells Reimers. 

United Press International (UPI)

UPI reporter Brooks Hays writes that MIT researchers have developed a new technique for turning plastic into a wearable material. “Engineers at MIT have managed to weave polyethylene into fibers that absorb and evaporate water more quickly than cotton, nylon, polyester and other common textiles,” writes Hays. “The authors of the new paper hope their technology will incentivize plastic recycling.”

BBC News

BBC News reporter Helen Briggs writes that MIT researchers have developed a technique to create fabrics from polythene, a plastic found in food packaging and plastic bags. "There's no reason why the simple plastic bag cannot be made into fibre and used as a high-end garment," says research scientist Svetlana Boriskina. "You can go literally from trash to a high-performance garment that provides comfort and can be recycled multiple times back into a new garment."

Fast Company

Fast Company reporter DJ Pangburn spotlights how researchers in the Mediated Matter Group have created polymers derived from organic materials that are designed to decompose. Pangburn explains that “the group’s biopolymers are designed to decompose upon reaching the end of its product life cycle, returning to the earth instead of being destined for a dump.”

BBC News

BBC Click spotlights how CSAIL researchers have developed a robot that can automatically sort recycling. “Many paper and plastic cups look the same, but by introducing the ability to squeeze the object and to know whether it is flexible or not we are able to go one step beyond what today’s methods can do, explains Prof. Daniela Rus, director of CSAIL.

TechCrunch

TechCrunch reporter Brian Heater writes that MIT researchers have developed a robot that can recycle materials using sensors that allow it to differentiate between objects. Heater explains that “the system utilizes a Teflon gripper with built in sensors that are capable of determining an object’s makeup based on size and stiffness.”

Fast Company

In an article for Fast Company about recycling, Adele Peters highlights MIT startup Renewlogy, which turns mixed plastic products into low-carbon, cost-competitive fuel. “To shift the needle and get recycling rates over 10%, you really need to focus on these low-value plastics,” says Renewlogy CEO Priyanka Bakaya, an MIT alumna.

Scientific American

Scientific American reporter Prachi Patel writes that a new study by Prof. Elsa Olivetti found that demand for cobalt, which is critical to electric vehicle batteries, could soon outstrip supply. “The best lithium battery cathodes [negative electrodes] all contain cobalt, and its production is limited,” Olivetti explains. 

PBS NewsHour

The PBS NewsHour highlights how one organization used tracking technology developed by Prof. Carlo Ratti to learn what happens to recycled electronic waste. “Tracking is really the first step in order to design a better system,” Ratti said. “One of the surprising things we discovered is how far waste travels.”

Popular Science

MIT scientists have shown recycled lead can be used in solar cells, reports Popular Science’s Emily Gertz. “The group's work demonstrates that the perovskite created from the lead in just one old car battery could provide materials for 30 households-worth of solar energy cells,” writes Gertz. 

IEEE Spectrum

Martin LaMonica writes for IEEE Spectrum about how MIT researchers have developed a system that uses car batteries to produce solar cells. “The beauty is that this new process is pretty interchangeable with the current production method,” says Prof. Angela Belcher.