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This graphic shows the fraction of different types of electricity sources in the US in 2050 based on an energy mix plan that takes into account the preferences and demographics of various racial groups, with projections by the US Energy Information Administration based on current plans and policies for comparison (values in gray). Developed by a research team led by Kyushu University based on a 2020 survey of 3,000 people in the US, the preference-based plan includes 50% more energy from renewable sources than current projections. Allowing such bottom-up approaches that consider the preferences of the population to influence policymaking could help to realize emission and climate goals in the future. Credit: Kyushu University

As policymakers around the world aim to cut carbon emissions and meet climate goals, new research points to a critical group whose opinions could help to shape energy planning for the better: the consumers.

By taking into account the demographics and preferences of US , clarified through a nationally representative survey of 3,000 US residents, researchers led by Kyushu University created a ‘desirable’ electricity generation mix for 2050 that includes 50% more from than projections based on current plans and policies.

“In the US, consumers are being given more and more ways to choose their energy provider, so listening to and understanding these voices is crucial,” says Andrew Chapman, associate professor at Kyushu University’s International Institute for Carbon-Neutral Research (I2CNER) and leader of the study.

“In light of this, we set out to develop an energy plan that incorporates the broad range of voices and the rapidly shifting demographics of the US and then compared it with the current top-down plan in which energy goals are set by policymakers.”

To develop their energy plan, the international team of researchers from Kyushu University, Nagasaki University, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign surveyed 3,000 people in the US in 2020 on their preferences, awareness, priorities, and other opinions regarding energy technologies, policies, and issues.

Considering only future construction projects needed to replace at the end of their life and to meet predicted growth in , they allocated roughly 2.4 billion kWh of electricity generating capacity out to the year 2050 based on the preferences of each and the predicted future racial demographics of the country.

The resultant energy mix includes nearly 61% renewable-based electricity compared to 42% envisaged under the projected 2050 energy mix according to the US Energy Information Administration based on current plans and policies.

On the other hand, is reduced by over half and coal-based generation by over three quarters in the researchers’ plan compared to the projections. Natural gas is similar in both cases, indicating that consumers are aware of the practical need for a stable energy supply.

“There appears to be strong support for a further emphasis on technologies that will help to achieve emission and climate goals when planning the future energy system, as indicated by a strong desire to move away from fossil and nuclear toward renewables,” notes Chapman.

“Though each racial group prefers different sources in the future energy mix, all groups recognize the need for a stable energy supply, combining with their preference for renewables, led by solar and wind.”

Differences in regional preferences also emerged. For example, along the , there was significantly higher importance placed on dealing with climate change and realizing an equitable energy system. In the future, such input could be used to shape energy plans that leverage divisions among power grids across the US.

The researchers note that their plan’s allotment of hydroelectric and geothermal generation could be unrealistic because of how long such projects take to plan and implement. Furthermore, respondents consistently indicated a healthy economy as one of their priorities, so balancing costs and employment opportunities must also be considered in energy system design.

“In addition to consumer preferences seeming to support more renewables than current plans, we also found that preferences were linked to awareness, which is likewise strongly linked to education,” comments Chapman. “Thus, energy education is likely to be another important aspect for achieving carbon reduction goals and encouraging participatory energy system design.”

The research is published in Energy Economics.

Video: How having more than enough renewable energy capacity can make the grid more flexible

More information:
Andrew Chapman et al, Cultural and demographic energy system awareness and preference: Implications for future energy system design in the United States, Energy Economics (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.eneco.2022.106141

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Unconventional water sources may be the key to powering America’s lithium energy demands



Unconventional water sources may be the key to powering America's lithium energy demands

Schematic displaying that the creation of Li strong answer phases within the olivine iron phosphate by way of seeding can elevate the Na intercalation barrier and promote Li selectivity. Credit score: Courtesy of Liu Group

As industries throughout the nation start the transition to renewable energy, the demand for batteries, and due to this fact lithium, is projected to rise dramatically. However, with a lot of the worldwide lithium provide positioned outdoors of america, researchers are searching for new methods to extract it from native, if considerably unconventional, sources reminiscent of petroleum wastewater and geothermal brines.

One of the promising of those extraction methods is electrochemical intercalation, a course of by which electrodes draw from in any other case unusable water. Till lately, the expertise had not reached the specified stage of Li selectivity for very dilute water assets.

Now, researchers on the College of Chicago’s Pritzker Faculty of Molecular Engineering (PME) have proven that “seeding” electrodes with lithium ions will help improve the host’s lithium selectivity and repel undesirable components. Their findings have been printed in Nature Communications.

A fabric distinction

In chemistry, intercalation is the method by which “visitor” ions are drawn into and saved inside a “host” materials, the latter appearing as a form of molecular beehive. The method can be reversible, that means those self same ions will be extracted and the method repeated time and again. It’s the key mechanism behind rechargeable batteries.

When used for lithium extraction, electrochemical intercalation depends on a —on this case, olivine iron phosphate (a sort of crystal)—that’s particularly properly suited to draw and retailer lithium ions. Whereas extensively studied and one of many best-suited supplies for the job, olivine iron phosphate is much from good. Competing ions are sometimes drawn into the host materials together with lithium, components reminiscent of sodium, which scale back the system’s effectiveness.

Liu and her group needed to know what drove these co-intercalations and what occurred as soon as the 2 ions have been saved throughout the crystal.

Unconventional water sources may be the key to powering America's lithium energy demands
To salvage unused lithium from oil and fuel wastewater, Asst. Prof. Chong Liu (proper) and her group reengineer supplies on the molecular stage. Credit score: Picture by John Zich

Working with researchers on the College of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Liu and her group used to look inside their host materials. They discovered that lithium and sodium tended to separate when given the possibility. This prompt that lithium and sodium ions repelled one another contained in the crystal materials, a lot in the identical manner that oil and water separate when combined, a course of known as part separation.

To verify that habits, the group developed computational fashions in collaboration with researchers on the Illinois Institute of Expertise.

“It was outstanding to see these ions part separate into two the place one area was solely lithium and one was solely sodium,” Liu stated. “It made us marvel how we may use it to spice up lithium selectivity.”

Sowing the seeds of inquiry

Appearing on their findings, Liu and her group devised a system to pre-seed their olivine host with lithium. They theorized this could improve the for , making it tougher for undesirable components to enter the host.

They discovered that seeding 20 to 40 % of the general host supplies’ storage websites can in crease the selectivity to 1.6-fold and three.8-fold, respectively. The seeded high-Li strong answer phases confirmed a powerful correlation to the selectivity enhancement.

The group additionally noticed that a number of elements, together with the host morphology and defects, contributed to the lithium selectivity, providing a number of avenues for additional analysis. Future research will examine the best seeding circumstances and host morphology to maximise lithium selectivity.

“We have demonstrated an efficient manner of manipulating the kinetic pathway in a number materials,” Liu stated. “For those who can management the lithium-sodium pathway, you might have a robust lever for influencing lithium selectivity. That realization opens a door for extra research and, finally, a sustainable system for extracting lithium.”

Emerging technology could help extract lithium from new sources

Extra data:
Gangbin Yan et al, The position of strong options in iron phosphate-based electrodes for selective electrochemical lithium extraction, Nature Communications (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-32369-y

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Wireless tech measures soil moisture at multiple depths in real time



Wireless tech measures soil moisture at multiple depths in real time

Credit score: CC0 Public Area

Researchers from North Carolina State College have developed a wi-fi system that makes use of radio transmitters and receivers to estimate soil moisture in agricultural fields at a number of depths in actual time, bettering on present applied sciences that can be utilized to tell irrigation practices that each enhance crop yield and cut back water consumption.

“Estimating is necessary as a result of it may be utilized by growers to irrigate their fields extra effectively—solely irrigating fields when and the place the water is required,” says Usman Mahmood Khan, first writer of a paper on the work and a Ph.D. pupil at NC State. “This each conserves and helps issues like good agriculture applied sciences, equivalent to automated irrigation programs. What’s extra, conserving water sources may also assist cut back , as a result of much less energy is used to pump water by way of the irrigation system.”

The brand new expertise, referred to as Contactless Moisture Estimation (CoMEt), doesn’t require any in-ground sensors. As a substitute, CoMEt assesses soil moisture utilizing one thing referred to as “part,” which is a attribute of radio waves that’s affected by each the wavelength of the radio waves and the gap between the radio wave’s transmitter and the wave’s receiver.

Wi-fi indicators are radio waves, and the medium that these indicators are touring by way of impacts the wavelength of these radio waves. When the sign travels by way of a medium like air, it can have a selected wavelength. However when the sign travels by way of a distinct medium, equivalent to soil, its wavelength modifications.

“We all know that these part shifts are additionally influenced by the quantity of water within the soil. If we all know how far the sign has traveled, and we measure how a wi-fi sign’s wavelength has modified, we are able to decide the part shift of the sign,” Khan says. “This, in flip, permits us to estimate the quantity of water within the soil.”

CoMEt depends on an above-ground wi-fi gadget that transmits radio waves into the soil. Some portion of the radio waves passes by way of the soil earlier than being mirrored again into the air, the place the wi-fi gadget can obtain the sign and measure the part shift. The system permits customers to evaluate soil moisture at a number of depths by rising the ability of the transmitted sign—the extra highly effective the sign, the deeper the evaluation.

“This course of permits us to evaluate soil moisture at a number of depths utilizing a single sign, with out utilizing any sensors within the soil or in touch with the ,” says Muhammad Shahzad, co-author of the paper and an affiliate professor of pc science at NC State. “For instance, we have demonstrated in experimental testing that if we use a sign that’s highly effective sufficient to penetrate 38 centimeters into the soil, we’re capable of assess how the part of the sign modified on the floor degree of soil, 38 centimeters beneath the floor, and at an intermediate degree between these two.”

That is doable as a result of the CoMEt gadget comprises a number of antennas, permitting it to seize a big quantity of knowledge from the radio waves that “bounce” out of the soil. The measurements collected by the gadget’s suite of antennas are then plugged into an algorithm that may decide each modifications within the sign’s wavelength and the way deep the sign traveled into the soil. This enables the CoMEt gadget to precisely assess the part change of the sign, which in flip offers customers a soil moisture estimate for the related depths.

“Estimating the soil moisture at a number of depths is necessary, as a result of farmers typically want to take care of sure ranges of moisture at totally different depths relying on the crop and the place they’re within the crop-cycle,” Khan explains.

“We predict CoMEt might be utilized in a number of methods,” says Shahzad. “Growers might manually transfer the CoMEt gadget to measure soil moisture at varied factors within the discipline; they may use CoMEt along side a operated by hand drone to evaluate soil moisture; or they may use CoMEt with an automatic drone that flies an outlined sample over the sector.”

Applied sciences which can be presently in use by growers to measure soil moisture depend on in-ground sensors. Nonetheless, this method requires farmers to put a number of sensors across the discipline with a purpose to seize moisture ranges, since moisture ranges fluctuate because of variations in drainage, proximity to irrigation strains, and so forth. For giant fields, growers want plenty of sensors—and that will get costly.

“We predict it might be doable to fabricate CoMEt units for about the identical amount of cash as an correct in-ground sensor,” says Khan. “However the place a grower would solely want one CoMEt gadget, they must purchase fairly just a few in-ground sensors to gather the identical quantity of knowledge on soil moisture. In brief, we expect CoMEt can be considerably more economical.

“What’s extra, set up and upkeep of in-ground sensors is time-consuming and inconvenient. And CoMEt requires neither.”

“At this level, we’re in search of trade companions to discover how we are able to get this expertise into the fingers of growers who will have the ability to make use of it,” Shahzad says.

The paper, “Estimating Soil Moisture utilizing RF Indicators,” shall be introduced on the twenty eighth Annual Worldwide Convention On Cell Computing And Networking (ACM MobiCom), being held Oct. 17–21 in Sydney, Australia.

Farmers can save water with wireless technologies, but there are challenges, like transmitting data through mud

Extra info:
Usman Mahmood Khan et al, Estimating Soil Moisture utilizing RF Indicators, ACM MobiCom Proceedings (2022). DOI: 10.1145/3495243.3517025


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Harmful artificial turf can be made into a useful resource



Harmful artificial turf can be made into a useful resource

Along with the corporate Green Recycling in Rogaland, SINTEF is planning to research quite a lot of applied sciences geared toward changing low high quality plastic from synthetic turf into recyclable supplies. Credit score: Pixabay

It’s troublesome to recycle synthetic turf and there are not any apparent deposit-return techniques for these plastics available on the market. However researchers are actually seeking to discover a answer to the issue.

“In the present day, all synthetic turf leads to the setting, both within the type of greenhouse gases or microplastic,” says SINTEF researcher Ross Wakelin.

However may it’s doable to make redundant synthetic turf into one thing helpful as a substitute? Along with the corporate Green Recycling in Rogaland, SINTEF has launched a mission wanting into applied sciences that may flip low high quality plastic from synthetic turf and different waste into reusable supplies. Such a course of is essential to what we name the “round financial system.”

One thought is to transform the bogus turf into chemical substances that can be utilized to fabricate new plastic merchandise. This may assist to scale back and prolong the lifetime of the fossil useful resource.

Why not merely ban synthetic turf?

It has been steered now and again that synthetic turf must be banned in Norway. One various is to make use of gravel pitches, however these don’t permit gamers to develop the identical degree of abilities as they might on turf. Footballs transfer in another way on gravel than on turf and sliding tackles could be virtually not possible.

“A straightforward answer could be to ban the usage of synthetic turf, however this generates different impacts that must be considered,” explains Wakelin. “The Norwegian local weather makes the upkeep of resilient pure grass pitches very troublesome, and these additionally generate emissions and have detrimental impacts on the setting,” he says.

“In Norway, entry to all-weather sports activities amenities is essential to offering youngsters with alternatives for bodily exercise, and is important to ,” says Wakelin It is a public well being subject,” he provides.

Deposit-return system for synthetic turf?

Ross Wakelin has quite a lot of concepts, based mostly on rules, that could possibly scale back the quantity of synthetic turf that finally ends up polluting the setting.

“The discharge of synthetic turf elements into the setting, comparable to rubber crumb granules, is linked to underestimates of the worth of synthetic turf,” he says.

Wakelin believes that we’ve to acknowledge the true worth of this materials. We merely have to extend the to not discard all of the elements in synthetic turf pitches, however to recycle them as the idea for brand spanking new merchandise.

“The deposit-return system employed for is an efficient instance of what occurs when waste is valued as a useful resource,” says Wakelin “In international locations that haven’t any such techniques, it’s nonetheless frequent to see plastic bottles kicking round within the cities and cities and polluting the pure setting,” he says.

However environmental safety measures, waste reception facilities and deposit-return techniques are simply the beginning. We nonetheless must discover a means of “changing” plastic waste into helpful merchandise.

We’re ‘super-consumers’

If we proceed to devour and discard our sources on the fee we’re at the moment, we are going to want greater than two planets by 2050. That is the unmistakable prognosis issued by the EU Fee in its doc “Roadmap for a Useful resource-Environment friendly Europe.”

This is the reason we can not proceed to disregard the truth that the sources obtainable to us at the moment usually are not inexhaustible.

“The issue isn’t confined to the tiny particles contaminating the , dumping, and poor waste administration,” says Challenge Supervisor Daniela Lima at Green Recycling. “As people, we’re at present consuming sources as if there was no tomorrow. Combustion amenities are sometimes the ultimate vacation spot for synthetic turf, however then new sources must be discovered to make new pitches,” she says.

“We launched this mission with SINTEF with the goal of discovering a sustainable and round answer for managing redundant ,” says Lima. “We consider that can happen with out over-exploiting the planet’s sources and negatively impacting on the setting,” she says.

Why artificial turf may truly be bad for kids

Dangerous synthetic turf could be made right into a helpful useful resource (2022, August 17)
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