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Category: Environment

Reducing food waste to increase access to affordable foods | MIT News
January 5, 2022

energy, and fertilizer that went into growing, processing, and distributing the food is wasted. On the other end of the supply chain are cash-strapped consumers, who have been further distressed in recent years by factors like the Covid-19 pandemic and inflation. Spoiler Alert, a company founded by two MIT alumni, is helping companies bridge the gap between food waste and food insecurity with a platform connecting...

Helping to make nuclear fusion a reality | MIT News
January 3, 2022

Up until she served in the Peace Corps in Malawi, Rachel Bielajew was open to a career reboot. Having studied nuclear engineering as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, graduate school had been on her mind. But seeing the drastic impacts of climate change play out in real-time in Malawi — the lives of the country’s subsistence farmers swing wildly, depending on the rains — convinced Bielajew...

Predator interactions chiefly determine where Prochlorococcus thrive | MIT News
January 3, 2022

Prochlorococcus are the smallest and most abundant photosynthesizing organisms on the planet. A single Prochlorococcus cell is dwarfed by a human red blood cell, yet globally the microbes number in the octillions and are responsible for a large fraction of the world’s oxygen production as they turn sunlight into energy. Prochlorococcus can be found in the ocean’s warm surface waters, and their population drops off...

Selective separation could help alleviate critical metals shortage | MIT News
December 18, 2021

New processing methods developed by MIT researchers could help ease looming shortages of the essential metals that power everything from phones to automotive batteries, by making it easier to separate these rare metals from mining ores and recycled materials. Selective adjustments within a chemical process called sulfidation allowed professor of metallurgy Antoine Allanore and his graduate student Caspar Stinn to...

“Vigilant inclusion” central to combating climate change | MIT News
December 8, 2021

“To turbocharge work on saving the planet, we need effective, innovative, localized solutions, and diverse perspectives and experience at the table,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm, the keynote speaker at the 10th annual U.S. Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C3E) Women in Clean Energy Symposium and Awards. This event, convened virtually over Nov. 3-4 and engaging more than 1,000...

3 Questions: Tolga Durak on building a safety culture at MIT | MIT News
December 2, 2021

Environment, Health, and Safety Managing Director Tolga Durak heads a team working to build a strong safety culture at the Institute and to implement systems that lead to successful lab and makerspace operations. EHS is also pursuing new opportunities in the areas of safe and sustainable labs and applied makerspace research.  Durak holds a BS in mechanical engineering, a MS in industrial and systems engineering, and a...

Climate modeling confirms historical records showing rise in hurricane activity | MIT News
December 2, 2021

When forecasting how storms may change in the future, it helps to know something about their past. Judging from historical records dating back to the 1850s, hurricanes in the North Atlantic have become more frequent over the last 150 years. However, scientists have questioned whether this upward trend is a reflection of reality, or simply an artifact of lopsided record-keeping. If 19th-century storm trackers had access to...

Scientists and musicians tackle climate change together | MIT News
December 1, 2021

Audiences may travel long distances to see their favorite musical acts in concert or to attend large music festivals, which can add to their personal carbon footprint of emissions that are steadily warming the planet. But these same audiences, and the performers they follow, are often quite aware of the dangers of climate change and eager to contribute to ways of curbing those emissions. How should the industry reconcile...

Timber or steel? Study helps builders reduce carbon footprint of truss structures | MIT News
November 29, 2021

Buildings are a big contributor to global warming, not just in their ongoing operations but in the materials used in their construction. Truss structures — those crisscross arrays of diagonal struts used throughout modern construction, in everything from antenna towers to support beams for large buildings — are typically made of steel or wood or a combination of both. But little quantitative research has been done on...

Nanograins make for a seismic shift | MIT News
November 24, 2021

In Earth’s crust, tectonic blocks slide and grind past each other like enormous ships loosed from anchor. Earthquakes are generated along these fault zones when enough stress builds for a block to stick, then suddenly slip. These slips can be aided by several factors that reduce friction within a fault zone, such as hotter temperatures or pressurized gases that can separate blocks like pucks on an air-hockey table. The...

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