Is 3D printing an environmental win?

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

Technophilic environmentalists, including myself, tout the 3D printing revolution as a boon that could eliminate waste in manufacturing. But is that really true? Even if it is true, does it matter compared to the extra energy used? And what about toxins — does it release more, or less?

No one has done this comparison before in a comprehensive, quantitative way, so some colleagues and I in the UC Berkeley mechanical engineering department set out to find the answers. The results were tricky and surprising.

Supply chain innovation is a double edged sword for sustainability

Read the full story in The Guardian.

When rethinking business operations, innovation is often hailed as a way to improve sustainability but changes need to be carefully thought through.

Two-in-one: New material could enable low-cost polymer LEDs, solar cells

Read the full story in R&D Magazine.

Considerable improvement in device performance of polymer-based optoelectronic devices is reported today by researchers from Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), South Korea. The new plasmonic material, can be applied to both polymer light-emitting diodes (PLEDs) and polymer solar cells (PSCs), with world-record high performance, through a simple and cheap process.

Recycling Seafood Boxes in the Big Easy

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

A New Orleans seafood company is testing recyclable seafood boxes that, if used by retailers and restaurants nationwide, could result in a net benefit of combined cost savings and revenue of $200 million, says Global Green USA’s Coalition for Resource Recovery (CoRR), which is organizing the pilot program.

The pilot began at New Orleans Fish House, testing recyclable coated corrugated boxes as methods of transporting locally caught seafood. The boxes, made by CoRR members Cascades Industrial Packaging and Interstate Container, are designed to be recyclable, unlike the paraffin-coated packaging typically used, and also withstand the icy seafood packing process.

New technology prevents degradation of silicon PV modules

Read the full story in R&D Magazine.

Atsushi Masuda and Kohjiro Hara of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) have developed a technology that suppresses output decline in crystalline silicon solar cells caused by potential-induced degradation (PID), by coating the glass substrate with a thin film of titanium oxide-based composite metal compound, in collaboration with Sustainable Titania Technology Inc. (STi).

The technology puts a thin-film coating of titanium oxide-based composite metal compound on the glass substrate used in photovoltaic modules. This suppresses the diffusion of sodium ions, etc. from the glass substrate that is considered the major cause of PID. The developed technology is expected to further enhance the reliability of crystalline silicon photovoltaic modules and help enhance the long-term reliability of mega solar and other solar power generation systems, installation of which is expected to accelerate in the near future.