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Sustainability

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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.

Fortune

Researchers from MIT’s Research Laboratory for Electronics have developed a portable desalinator that can turn seawater into safe drinking water, reports Ian Mount for Fortune. Research scientist Jongyoon Han and graduate student Bruce Crawford have created Nona Technologies to commercialize the product, writes Mount.

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.”

New York Times

Principal Research Scientist Randolph Kirchain, co-director of the Concrete Sustainability Hub, speaks with Jane Margolies of The New York Times about how the Inflation Reduction Act expands eligibility for tax credits for installing emissions-reduction equipment at manufacturing plants. “These credits are really valuable to keep technology coming down in cost,” says Kirchain.

The Hill

David HC Correll, a research scientist at the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics, writes for The Hill about how environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria impacts global supply chain managers and their sustainability efforts. “From 2020 to 2021, we observed that investors were by far the fastest-growing driver of sustainability pressure on firms,” writes Correll. “At the same, the understanding of what exactly ESG and supply chain sustainability entails changes depending on the geography, industry and year that we ask.”

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.

Bloomberg

Researchers from the MIT Energy Initiative have found that “without restrictions on carbon-dioxide emissions, the Northeast will have even higher per-kilowatt emissions from electricity generation in 2050 than it does now,” reports Justin Fox for Bloomberg. Fox writes that the “modeling results are an indication that the Northeast faces unique challenges in decarbonizing.”

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."

NPR

Loh Down on Science host Sandra Tsing Loh spotlights Prof. Cathy Wu and graduate student Vindula Jayawardana and their work developing a new method for self-driving vehicles that would help minimize idling at red lights. “In their method, self-driving can be taught to minimize stops at red lights. To make this work, traffic lights and self-driving cars would have sensors. This would let them check in with each other on their surroundings,” says Loh.

WBUR

The Emerald Tutu, a climate resiliency project in Boston led by Gabriel Cira ’08, is developing a system of floating wetlands designed to reduce coastal flooding by knocking down waves, reports Hannah Chanatry for WBUR. The Emerald Tutu was the winning project at the 2018 MIT Climate Changed Ideas competition. “Fundamentally, it’s like a giant sponge that fits around urban coastlines like we have here in Boston,” said Cira. “It buffers those coastlines from the intense effects of coastal storms.”

The Boston Globe

Gradiant, an MIT startup founded by Anurag Bajpayee PhD ’12, S.M. ‘08 and Prakash Govindan PhD ’12, has developed an energy efficient system that purifies water by mimicking natural rainfall cycles, reports Aaron Pressman for The Boston Globe. “Nature has the advantage of having all the surface area of the oceans available freely and a free source of energy from the sun,” Govindan said. “We have to engineer this into a compact, highly efficient, and energy-efficient industrial device.”

Salon

Researchers at MIT have developed a silk-based substitute that could be used to replace microplastics, reports Matthew Rozsa for Salon. Prof. Benedetto Marelli and postodoctoral associate Muchun Liu explain that they have demonstrated that “silk protein can be used as a technological material in agricultural products and cosmetics – it can protect and control the release of active ingredients, and it can be biodegraded.”

Newsweek

Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS), an MIT spinout, has signed an agreement with the U.K. Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) to “support the fastest path to clean commercial fusion energy,” reports Ed Browne for Newsweek. “CFS says its agreement with UKAEA could involve exchanges of knowledge and collaboration on things like fuel, modeling, manufacturing and maintenance,” writes Browne.