News: Environment

Finding local fertilizer alternatives

Professor Antoine Allanore and his research team have demonstrated a new method of fertilizer production can better suit the needs of farms in Africa and around the globe.  

A new way to provide cooling without power

MIT researchers have devised a new way of providing cooling on a hot sunny day, using inexpensive materials and requiring no fossil fuel-generated power. The passive system, which could be used to supplement other cooling systems to preserve food and medications in hot, off-grid locations, is essentially a high-tech version of a parasol.  

A new concept for thermal energy storage

More than half of all the energy used to power mechanical, chemical, and other processes is expelled into the environment as heat. Power plants, car engines, and industrial processes, for example, produce vast amounts of heat but use a relatively small fraction of it to actually do work. And…  

Aluminum production could get much better for the environment

You probably don’t think about aluminum very much. But you should. The ubiquitous metal is in airplanes, iPhones, and engine blocks made by General Motors, to name just a few uses. A 12-inch MacBook, for example, consists of over half a pound of aluminum. And since the late 19th century, the…  

Investing in Tech That’s Worth the Wait

Innovations in fields like energy and transportation often take time—and extra support—to develop. The Engine at MIT is helping them make the leap from the lab to the marketplace. Liquid separation wouldn’t top most people’s lists of world-changing technologies. But consider this: every…  

A new approach to rechargeable batteries

A type of battery first invented nearly five decades ago could catapult to the forefront of energy storage technologies, thanks to a new finding by researchers at MIT. The battery, based on electrodes made of sodium and nickel chloride and using a new type of metal mesh membrane, could be used…  

New technique allows rapid screening for new types of solar cells

The worldwide quest by researchers to find better, more efficient materials for tomorrow’s solar panels is usually slow and painstaking. Researchers typically must produce lab samples — which are often composed of multiple layers of different materials bonded together — for extensive testing.…  

10 years of energy research at MIT

Q: What are some of the most significant research impacts the MIT energy community has made over the past decade? A: While the horizon for the majority of energy research we do here at MIT is generally at least several decades, some researchers have already been able to translate their…  

2017 Fall Wulff Lecture

  Fantastic Feather: Form and Function When we think of birds, we think of feathers. Feathers give birds their color, from the bright red of a male Cardinal to the iridescent reds and greens of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. Feathers keep birds warm and dry: down…  

Will metal supplies limit battery expansion?

The dramatic rise in production of electric vehicles, coupled with expected growth in the use of grid-connected battery systems for storing electricity from renewable sources, raises a crucial question: Are there enough raw materials to enable significantly increased production of lithium-ion…  

Making a pledge for the climate with our careers

Jeremy Poindexter, a graduate student in DMSE, recently published a piece titled "Making a pledge for the climate with our careers" in The Tech. "As I enter my fifth year as a PhD student at MIT and contemplate my post-graduation career trajectory, I chuckle when rereading these old words…  

Projects make inroads on global food and water challenges

With goals that include finding better ways to purify and desalinate water, improving fertilizer production, and preventing food contamination, nearly two dozen research teams presented updates on their work at a day-long event on Sept. 15. The workshop featured the recipients of grants from the…