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Archive for the ‘sustainability’ category: Page 8

Jan 20, 2024

Innovations in recycling

Posted by in categories: innovation, sustainability

Scientists are looking for new ways to recycle plastic in an endless loop, so it never becomes waste. Now, revolutionary technology is advancing the movement.

Jan 20, 2024

Microsoft AI discovers 18 new battery materials in two weeks

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, sustainability, transportation

Using AI and cloud computing, Microsoft was able to identify promising new battery materials for the Department of Energy (DoE) — in a fraction of the time it would usually take.

The challenge: Batteries are an essential part of the clean energy future. We need them to power electric vehicles and to store energy from solar and wind.

Continue reading “Microsoft AI discovers 18 new battery materials in two weeks” »

Jan 19, 2024

OpenDAC: The OpenDAC project is a collaborative research project between Fundamental AI Research (FAIR) at Meta and Georgia Tech

Posted by in categories: climatology, robotics/AI, space, sustainability

The OpenDAC project is a collaborative research project between Fundamental AI Research (FAIR) at Meta and Georgia Tech, aimed at significantly reducing the cost of Direct Air Capture (DAC).

Direct Air Capture (DAC) involves directly capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and has been widely recognized as a crucial tool in combating climate change. Despite its potential, the broad implementation of DAC has been impeded by high capture costs. Central to overcoming this hurdle is the discovery of novel sorbents — materials that pull carbon dioxide from the air. Discovering new sorbents holds the key to reducing capture costs and scaling DAC to meaningfully impact global carbon emissions.

The DAC space is growing rapidly with many companies entering the space. To engage the broader research community as well as the budding DAC industry, we have released the OpenDAC 2023 (ODAC23) dataset to train ML models. ODAC23 contains nearly 40M DFT calculations from 170K DFT relaxations involving Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs) with carbon dioxide and water adsorbates. We have also released baseline ML models trained on this dataset.

Jan 19, 2024

New Findings Revolutionize What We Understand About America’s Forests

Posted by in categories: climatology, sustainability

Forests serve as crucial players in the fight against climate change due to their ability to absorb and store carbon. A recent study, with contributions from researchers at Northern Arizona University, is poised to revolutionize forest conservation strategies across the United States. This study introduces innovative and precise models designed to more accurately estimate and forecast the carbon storage capacity of forests.

The U.S. Forest Service, along with an impressive list of research partners including those at Northern Arizona University, has introduced new National Scale Volume Biomass (NSVB) models that provide a consistent and scientifically accurate method to predict tree volume, biomass (a term that describes the collective mass of the woody parts of trees) and carbon content nationwide.

Jan 18, 2024

Revolutionizing Electric Car Batteries: MIT’s Cost-Efficient, Cobalt-Free Solution

Posted by in categories: energy, sustainability, transportation

“I think this material could have a big impact because it works really well,” said Dr. Mircea Dincă. “It is already competitive with incumbent technologies, and it can save a lot of the cost and pain and environmental issues related to mining the metals that currently go into batteries.”


Electric vehicles (EVs) have become a household name in the last few years with several companies fighting to compete in the everchanging EV landscape as EV technology continues to improve in cost, efficiency, and the materials used to manufacture the batteries responsible for sustaining this clean energy revolution. While EV batteries have traditionally used cobalt for their battery needs, a recent study published in ACS Central Science discusses how organic cathode materials could be used as a substitute for cobalt for lithium-ion batteries while potentially offering similar levels of storage capacity and charging capabilities, as cobalt has shown to be financially, environmentally, and socially expensive.

“Cobalt batteries can store a lot of energy, and they have all of features that people care about in terms of performance, but they have the issue of not being widely available, and the cost fluctuates broadly with commodity prices,” said Dr. Mircea Dincă, who is a W.M. Keck Professor of Energy at MIT and a co-author on the study.

Continue reading “Revolutionizing Electric Car Batteries: MIT’s Cost-Efficient, Cobalt-Free Solution” »

Jan 18, 2024

Caltech’s space solar power project completes inaugural space mission

Posted by in categories: solar power, space, sustainability

Caltech’s Space Solar Power Demonstrator (SSPD-1) was launched into space one year ago.


After nearly a year in orbit, Caltech’s Space Solar Power Demonstrator (SSPD-1) reached its end of mission.

Jan 18, 2024

Robots construct resilient structures with LEGO-like ‘metamaterials’

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, space travel, sustainability

The autonomous setup constructs and links hollow lattice blocks, adeptly disassembling and repurposing them as needed for efficient functionality.


The researchers envision their new system as revolutionizing material life cycles, fostering sustainability, and furthering space exploration.

Jan 18, 2024

Tesla Model Y Powered By Solar Panels On Its Roof — Smart Move?

Posted by in categories: sustainability, transportation

An intrepid DIY Tesla Model Y owner has done what many dream of doing — directly powered his Tesla with solar panels. That’s right, not happy with simply powering his car with house rooftop solar panels, he’s doing it with a solar panel array on the roof of his crossover.

This Tesla Model Y Performance owner created a folding solar array capable of charging 20-60mi per day via a 2000W-4000W system.

Jan 17, 2024

Insect Conservation and Solar Energy: A Five-Year Study Reveals Surprising Results

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

“This research highlights the relatively rapid insect community responses to habitat restoration at solar energy sites,” said Leroy Walston.


How could solar energy facilities contribute to insect populations? This is what a recent study published in Environmental Research hopes to address as a team of researchers investigated how insect and plant populations in re-established habitats comprised of wildflowers and native grasses changed during a five-year period in the vicinity of photovoltaic (PV) solar array parks. This study holds the potential to help scientists, engineers, and conservationists gain greater insight into the ecological impact of solar farms on newly planted vegetation.

For the study, the researchers surveyed two solar sites located approximately 100 miles (160 km) apart in southern Minnesota, Eastwood Solar Site and Atwater Solar Site, between 2018 and 2022 for changes in insect and plant populations on restored land with native forbs and grasses. After conducting 358 observations of across sites, the researchers found increases in the biodiversity of both sites, including plant species and total insect abundance.

Continue reading “Insect Conservation and Solar Energy: A Five-Year Study Reveals Surprising Results” »

Jan 17, 2024

From Earth to Space: Insights and Discoveries from SSPD-1’s Mission

Posted by in categories: satellites, solar power, sustainability

Solar energy is traditionally known for using massive solar panels that collect sunlight and convert it into clean energy, but what if this same energy was instead beamed from satellites in orbit around the Earth, known as space solar power? This is the goal of Space Solar Power Demonstrator (SSPD-1), which is a 110-pound (50-kilogram) project run by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). SSPD-1 was launched onboard the SpaceX Transporter-6 mission on January 3, 2023, and recently concluded its mission after conducting a series of experiments, including the ability to wirelessly beam solar power from space to Earth, which it accomplished in early 2023.

“Solar power beamed from space at commercial rates, lighting the globe, is still a future prospect. But this critical mission demonstrated that it should be an achievable future,” said Dr. Thomas F. Rosenbaum, who is the President of Caltech and the Sonja and William Davidow Presidential Chair and professor of physics.

SSPD-1 successfully demonstrated three experiments during its one-year mission: DOLCE (Deployable on-Orbit ultraLight Composite Experiment), ALBA, and MAPLE (Microwave Array for Power-transfer Low-orbit Experiment). DOLCE demonstrated the architecture necessary for developing space solar power, ALBA demonstrated how to harness solar energy in space, and MAPLE demonstrated how this energy could be wirelessly beamed to Earth.

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