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Vox

Dharik Mallapragada, a principal research scientist at the MIT Energy Initiative, speaks with Vox reporter Neel Dhanesha about the pressing need to find new ways to store renewable energy. “We need to think about solutions that go beyond conventional lithium-ion batteries,” says Mallapragada. “No single technology is going to make this happen. We have to think about it as a jigsaw puzzle, where every piece plays its role in the system.”

Newsweek

MIT researchers have developed a new machine learning model that can identify and track blobs of plasma created in controlled nuclear-fusion research, reports Ed Browne for Newsweek. “Fusion research is a complex, multidisciplinary project that requires technologies from many fields,” explains graduate student Woonghee “Harry” Han.

CNBC

MIT startup Quaise Energy is developing an energy-based drill to make geothermal power more accessible, reports Catherine Clifford for CNBC. “The solution to drilling is to replace the mechanical grinding process with a pure energy-matter interaction,” says research scientist Paul Woskov. “Sufficient energy intensity will always melt-vaporize rock without need for physical tools.”

Bloomberg

MIT spinoff Quaise Energy is transforming a millimeter-wave drilling technique from nuclear fusion experiments to tap geothermal energy, reports Mark Bergen for Bloomberg. “The company’s drill – it is building three prototypes in laboratories – is about 100 feet tall and looks like convential equipment used in the oil and gas industry,” writes Bergen. “Except built into the center of the drill is a gyrotron, an electrical vacuum designed to heat plasma in thermonuclear fusion machines. 

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. 

E&E News

Prof. Michael Howland speaks with Camille Bond at E&E News about his research, which suggests that finding the ideal position for individual wind turbines could increase the overall efficiency of the entire wind farm. “If we're expanding wind energy quite substantially, it's important that we design the wind farms in the best way and we control them in the best way to achieve that goal,” said Howland.

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.”

The Boston Globe

Boston Metal, an MIT startup, is working to transition the steel industry from coal-based fuel to sustainably produced electricity, reports Scott Kirsner for The Boston Globe. The “key to making iron and steel production less environmentally damaging is getting access to sustainable power from wind, solar, hydro, or nuclear, and finding ways to store that power to use when it’s needed, such as in large-scale batteries,” explains Kirsner.

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. 

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.”

Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times reporter Sammy Roth spotlights Prof. Lawrence Susskind’s study that finds common sources of opposition to delayed or blocked renewable energy projects include concerns over land use and environmental impact. Roth writes that Susskind’s “research has convinced him that speeding up the clean energy transition will be possible only if developers take the time to make a good-faith effort to gather input from communities before dumping solar and wind farms on them.”