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MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) articles

Displaying 1 - 20 of 48

An alternative way to store thermal energy

An alternative way to store thermal energy
  In large parts of the developing world, people have abundant heat from the sun during the day, but most cooking takes place later in the evening when the sun is down, using fuel — such as wood, brush or dung — that is collected with significant time and effort. Now, a new chemical composite developed by researchers at MIT could provide an alternative.
20th November 2017

DNA scaffolds could be used to harvest light energy

DNA scaffolds could be used to harvest light energy
  By organising pigments on a DNA scaffold, an MIT-led team of researchers has designed a light-harvesting material that closely mimics the structure of naturally occurring photosynthetic structures. The researchers showed that their synthetic material can absorb light and efficiently transfer its energy along precisely controlled pathways.
16th November 2017

Sensors applied to plant leaves warn of water shortage

Sensors applied to plant leaves warn of water shortage
MIT engineers have created sensors that can be printed onto plant leaves and reveal when the plants are experiencing a water shortage. This kind of technology could not only save neglected houseplants but, more importantly, give farmers an early warning when their crops are in danger, says Michael Strano, the Carbon P. Dubbs Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT and the senior author of the study.
8th November 2017


Andorra becomes a 'living lab' for urban innovation research

Andorra becomes a 'living lab' for urban innovation research
Researchers have developed CityScope Andorra, a 3D augmented-reality platform that visualises complex urban data on a small-scale model of the country in real-time. The platform simulates the impact of multiple urban interventions — from urban planning proposals to shared autonomous vehicles — and facilitates civic engagement and decision making.
13th October 2017

Graphene creates transparent and flexible solar cells

Graphene creates transparent and flexible solar cells
Can you imagine a future in which solar cells are all around us - on windows and walls, cell phones or laptops? A new flexible, transparent solar cell developed at MIT is bringing that future one step closer. The device combines low-cost organic (carbon-containing) materials with electrodes of graphene, a flexible, transparent material made from inexpensive and abundant carbon sources. This advance in solar technology was enabled by a novel method of depositing a one-atom-thick layer of graphene onto the solar cell - without damaging nearby sensitive organic materials.
1st August 2017

Batteries absorb seawater to power long-range UUUVs

Batteries absorb seawater to power long-range UUUVs
The long range of airborne drones helps them perform critical tasks in the skies. Now MIT spinout Open Water Power (OWP) aims to greatly improve the range of unpiloted UUVs, helping them better perform in a range of applications under the sea. Recently acquired by major tech firm L3 Technologies, OWP has developed a novel aluminum-water power system that’s safer and more durable, and that gives UUVs a tenfold increase in range over traditional lithium-ion batteries used for the same applications.
16th June 2017

How human activity affects space weather around Earth

How human activity affects space weather around Earth
Effects of human behaviour are not limited to Earth's climate or atmosphere; they are also seen in the natural space weather surrounding our planet. 'Space weather' in this context includes conditions in the space surrounding Earth, including the magnetosphere, ionosphere, and thermosphere. A recent survey by a team of scientists including Phil Erickson, assistant director of MIT Haystack Observatory, has resulted in an article in the journal Space Science Reviews.
1st June 2017

Electrochemical method can clear pollutants from water

Electrochemical method can clear pollutants from water
  When it comes to removing very dilute concentrations of pollutants from water, existing separation methods tend to be energy- and chemical-intensive. Now, a new method developed at MIT could provide a selective alternative for removing even extremely low levels of unwanted compounds.
10th May 2017

Harvesting fresh water out of thin air

Harvesting fresh water out of thin air
Severe water shortages already affect many regions around the world, and are expected to get much worse as the population grows and the climate heats up. But a new technology developed by scientists at MIT and the University of California at Berkeley could provide a novel way of obtaining clean, fresh water almost anywhere on Earth, by drawing water directly from moisture in the air even in the driest of locations.
19th April 2017

'Virtual batteries' could lead to cleaner power

'Virtual batteries' could lead to cleaner power
In the power grid, supply and demand need to match exactly. If consumers demand more power than producers can supply, or if producers provide more power than consumers need, the result can be rolling blackouts. Power producers usually keep turbines spinning at a few offline plants, so they can ramp up production if demand spikes. Or they maintain coal-fueled backup generators that can be fired up quickly. But these approaches are either costly, polluting, or both.
27th March 2017

'Tree-on-a-chip' generates passive hydraulic power

'Tree-on-a-chip' generates passive hydraulic power
Trees and other plants, from towering redwoods to diminutive daisies, are nature’s hydraulic pumps. They are constantly pulling water up from their roots to the topmost leaves, and pumping sugars produced by their leaves back down to the roots. This constant stream of nutrients is shuttled through a system of tissues called xylem and phloem, which are packed together in woody, parallel conduits.
21st March 2017

Inexpensive storage systems could enable boom in renewables

Inexpensive storage systems could enable boom in renewables
One of the key technologies needed to transform world energy supplies away from fossil fuels and toward clean, renewable sources is a cheap and reliable way of storing and releasing energy. That will enable intermittent supplies such as solar and wind power, with their variable and often unpredictable outputs, to store energy that’s produced when it’s not needed and to release it when it’s needed most (or can be sold for the best price).
9th March 2017

Improving solar panels with custom designs

Improving solar panels with custom designs
Residential solar power is on a sharp rise in the United States as photovoltaic systems become cheaper and more powerful for homeowners. A 2012 study by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) predicts that solar could reach 1 million to 3.8 million homes by 2020, a big leap from just 30,000 homes in 2006.
23rd February 2017

Gel-based robots can catch and release live fish

Gel-based robots can catch and release live fish
Engineers at MIT have fabricated transparent, gel-based robots that move when water is pumped in and out of them. The bots can perform a number of fast, forceful tasks, including kicking a ball underwater, and grabbing and releasing a live fish. The robots are made entirely of hydrogel — a tough, rubbery, nearly transparent material that’s composed mostly of water. Each robot is an assemblage of hollow, precisely designed hydrogel structures, connected to rubbery tubes.
1st February 2017

Phone-charging park benches power cities worldwide

Phone-charging park benches power cities worldwide
  Equipped with high-tech versions of common city fixtures — namely, smart benches and digital information signs — and fueled by a “deploy or die” attitude, MIT Media Lab spinout Changing Environments is hoping to accelerate the development of “smart” cities that use technology to solve urban challenges.
30th January 2017

MIT and CI announce collaboration on climate adaptation

MIT and CI announce collaboration on climate adaptation
  MIT and Conservation International (CI) will participate in a multiyear collaboration to develop and advance nature-based solutions to global climate change, through research, education, and outreach efforts, the organisations announced.
30th January 2017

Technological progress alone won’t stem resource use

Technological progress alone won’t stem resource use
Are humans taking more resources from the Earth than the planet can safely produce? The answer lies partly in whether we can “dematerialise,” or reduce the amount of materials needed to produce goods and services. While some scientists believe that the world can achieve significant dematerialisation through improvements in technology, a new MIT-led study finds that technological advances alone will not bring about dematerialisation and, ultimately, a sustainable world.
19th January 2017

Study tracks 'memory' of soil moisture

Study tracks 'memory' of soil moisture
The top 2 inches of topsoil on all of Earth’s landmasses contains an infinitesimal fraction of the planet’s water — less than one-thousandth of a percent. Yet because of its position at the interface between the land and the atmosphere, that tiny amount plays a crucial role in everything from agriculture to weather and climate, and even the spread of disease.
17th January 2017

Yeast could convert plant sugars into oils

Yeast could convert plant sugars into oils
MIT engineers have genetically reprogrammed a strain of yeast so that it converts sugars to fats much more efficiently, an advance that could make possible the renewable production of high-energy fuels such as diesel. The researchers, led by Gregory Stephanopoulos, the Willard Henry Dow Professor of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology at MIT, modified the metabolic pathways of yeast that naturally produce large quantities of lipids, to make them about 30% more efficient.
17th January 2017

Fine-tuning metal-oxide catalysts enhances energy storage

Fine-tuning metal-oxide catalysts enhances energy storage
Chemical reactions that release oxygen in the presence of a catalyst, known as oxygen-evolution reactions, are a crucial part of chemical energy storage processes, including water splitting, electrochemical carbon dioxide reduction, and ammonia production. The kinetics of this type of reaction are generally slow, but compounds called metal oxides can have catalytic activities that vary over several orders of magnitude, with some exhibiting the highest such rates reported to date.
10th January 2017


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