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The New York Times

Researchers from MIT and elsewhere have found that climate pledges made by banks to reduce carbon emissions and finance energy transitions may not be as effective as previously thought, reports Eshe Nelson for The New York Times. “The researchers found that since 2018 the banks had reduced lending 20 percent to sectors they had targeted in their climate goals, such as oil and gas and transport,” explains Nelson. “That seems like progress, but the researchers argued it was not sufficient because the decline was the same for banks that had not made the same commitment.”

Grist

Senior Lecturer John Parsons speaks with Grist reporter Gautama Mehta about the future of nuclear energy in the United States. “It’s also possible that nuclear, if we can do it, is a valuable contribution to the system, but we need to learn how to do it cheaper than we’ve done so far,” explains Parsons. “I would hate to throw away all the gains that we’ve learned from doing it.”

Popular Science

MIT researchers have developed a 3D printer that can use “unrecognizable printing materials in real-time to create more eco-friendly products,” reports Andrew Paul for Popular Science. The engineers “detailed a newly designed mathematical function that allows off-the-shelf 3D-printer’s extruder software to use multiple materials—including bio-based polymers, plant-derived resins, or other recyclables,” explains Paul.

The Boston Globe

Prof. Kripa Varanasi co-founded Alsym Energy, a startup “developing rechargeable batteries that won’t be based on lithium or cobalt,” reports Hiawatha Bray for The Boston Globe. “The founders said they expect to build batteries that match the performance of today’s lithium-ion cells but at about half the cost,” writes Bray.

The Washington Post

Yuly Fuentes-Medel, program director for textiles in the MIT Fabric Innovation Hub, speaks with Washington Post reporter Daliah Singer about the need for a more sustainable shoe industry. “You don’t want to consider your shoe something you’re going to throw away, and that’s a long-term change,” says Fuentes-Medel. “It’s a mental model that needs to change for us to keep building all the products of the future.”

Fast Company

Using microwave plasma technology developed at MIT, 6K inc., is turning metals “including scrap, into high-performance materials for various applications,” reports Alex Pasternack for Fast Company. “The process produces no salt or liquid waste, uses just 10% of the water and half of the energy of conventional processes, and reduces costs by half,” writes Pasternack. “Its technique can also precisely control the composition and structure of materials at the atomic level.”

Boston.com

Boston.com reporter Natalie Gale spotlights the upcoming MIT Sustainability Summit, which will be held this year on April 26. The event, called ‘Systems Change,’ “aims to help bridge the ‘collaboration gap’ on climate solutions, bringing together ideas from different sectors like science, business, and policy making speed up solutions,” writes Gale.

The Boston Globe

Paris Smalls PhD '22 founded Eden GeoPower – a startup that uses “a new kind of fracking that uses jolts of electricity, rather than blasts of water, to shatter underground rocks,” reports Hiawatha Bray for The Boston Globe. “While the process can work for extracting oil and natural gas, Smalls mainly wants to tap into a squeaky-clean energy source — the natural heat of the planet’s crust,” writes Bray.

New York Times

New York Times reporter Stephen Wallis spotlights Prof. Carlo Ratti’s proposal for the world’s first “farmscraper” in Shenzhen, China, a 51-story building that would be wrapped in a vertical hydroponic farm and could produce enough food annually to feed 40,000 people. “At this critical moment, what we architects do matters more than ever,” Ratti emphasizes. “Every kilowatt-hour of solar power, every unit of zero-carbon housing and every calorie of sustainably sourced vegetables will be multiplied across history.”

Forbes

Prof. Emeritus Donald Sadoway co-founded Boston Metal, an MIT startup that has developed a carbon-free steel manufacturing process, reports Amy Feldman for Forbes. “Boston Metal’s process – which uses an electricity conducting, molten-metal proof anode to liquify iron ore, separating the pure metal without harmful byproducts – allows factories to create carbon-free steel as long as they use a clean energy source, such as hydroelectric power,” explains Feldman. “It also can create steel from lower-grade ores rather than relying on scarce high-grade ones. That’s an important advantage in terms of both cost and availability compared to other methods of making green steel, according to the company.”

The Hill

Writing for The Hill, Prof. Christopher Knittel and graduate student Kailin Graham emphasize the importance of ensuring the transition away from fossil fuels is an equitable process that provides support for vulnerable workers. “If we’re serious about achieving a truly just transition, far more federal policy action is needed,” they write.

GBH

Former postdoc Leah Ellis speaks with GBH All Things Considered host Arun Rath about   Sublime Systems, an MIT startup she co-founded that aims to produce carbon-free cement to combat climate change. “Sublime Systems and this technology spun out of my postdoctoral work at MIT,” says Ellis. “My co-founder and I are both electric chemists, so we have experience with battery technologies and electrochemical systems. Our idea was thinking about how we might use renewable energy—which we know has become more abundant, inexpensive and available—to eliminate the CO2 emissions from cement.”

The New York Times

Researchers at MIT and elsewhere have provided an analysis of the successes and shortcomings of President Biden’s climate bill, reports Brad Plumer for The New York Times. The report says “the biggest obstacles facing renewable electricity are logistical,” writes Plumer. “Wind and solar are facing lengthy waits to connect the nation’s clogged electric grids, and it can take a decade or more to get permits for new high-voltage transmission lines and build them.”

USA Today

Researchers at MIT and elsewhere have found that the “U.S. is generally heading in the right direction to achieve its energy goals to combat climate change, but it could still face headwinds due to siting and permitting delays, backlogged electric grid connection requests and supply chain challenges,” reports Elizabeth Weise for USA Today.