Purdue to co-lead U.S. Department of Defense-funded project to advance adoption of lead-free electronics

Read the full story from Purdue University.

A new consortium funded by an award from the U.S. Department of Defense has selected Purdue University to co-lead its first project aimed at advancing the adoption of lead-free electronics in defense systems.

The Defense Electronics Consortium (DEC), to be established and managed by the U.S. Partnership for Assured Electronics (USPAE), is designed to address the defense risks created by the contraction of the U.S. electronics manufacturing sector over the last 20 years.

Purdue, the University of Maryland and Auburn University will lead the consortium’s Lead-Free Defense Electronics Project, which has received $40 million to be distributed over a period of five to seven years. Of the $3.9 million in funds for the first year of the project, approximately $1 million has been awarded to researchers at Purdue’s West Lafayette and Northwest campuses.

The project’s goal is to foster research and action to accelerate the transition to lead-free electronics in aerospace, defense and other high-performance electronics. Consumer and automotive electronics have been transitioning to lead-free technologies since 2006 when the European Union banned the sale of lead-containing electronics. Japan, India and China followed suit with similar bans.

How Does a Utility Turn a Net-Zero Vision into Reality? That’s What They’re Arguing About in Minnesota

Read the full story at Inside Climate News.

Xcel Energy says natural gas must be part of the energy transition. Others say wind, solar and batteries can do the job.

How One Scientist Is Giving Old Phones a Second Life With E-Waste Microfactories

Read the full story at Discover.

Veena Sahajwalla launched a new way to recycle electronic waste that skips tons of transit and re-forms materials on-site. She’s since added plastics to the mix, and is expanding her microfactories across Australia.

This chilling font visualizes Arctic ice melt

Read the full story at Fast Company.

The new font captures ice melt loss in the Arctic, down to the letter.

New atlas website maps crayfish locations across the U.S.

by Lisa Sheppard, Prairie Research Institute

Researchers at the Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS) have developed the new American Crayfish Atlas, the first website to provide nationwide coverage of crayfish distributions, showing where crayfish species have been found and the extent of their ranges.

When using the American Crayfish Atlas, viewers can select specific species to find their range across the U.S., select information for a particular state, and use zoomable maps to learn which crayfish species are in their area.

Prior to the atlas, those seeking information on crayfish distributions might have discovered that the information found online is either difficult to find or is state-specific, making it hard to realize species’ full ranges.

“There was an obvious need for readily available crayfish distribution data for the entire U.S., not only for professional biologists, but also for the public to see which species were found within 10 miles of where they live,” said INHS curator Chris Taylor, who envisioned and then co-developed the atlas with one of his graduate students.

The atlas contains more than 43,000 records, gleaned from the INHS crustacean collection and from over 50 sources, including museums and the research literature and various institutions and state agencies, whose information had not been cataloged or made visible online.

Taylor and graduate student Caitlin Bloomer have ensured that the website data have been quality controlled. In developing the site, they looked for possible misidentifications, outdated taxonomy, and other errors in the historical data, such as wrong numbers in geographic coordinates that would indicate the incorrect location or the wrong species name. This process continues as they add records.

“Crayfish taxonomy has been changing rapidly in the last decade or so, with several new species described in the last few years,” Bloomer said. “This means that you must look through every Excel file that comes in and make sure all the scientific names have been updated.”

The atlas is particularly valuable for researchers and state and federal management agencies involved in making crayfish conservation assessments, Taylor said. One of the primary criteria to evaluate the species of greatest conservation need is the total extent of their range.

With the atlas, groups and agencies can quickly and accurately determine the ranges for various crayfish species. The site will also assist researchers in their crayfish studies and provide information for anyone who would like to know which species of crayfish may be found in an area or which species they might have seen while outdoors.

“Hopefully, the atlas will help spark research interests and garner more interest in these charismatic little crustaceans,” Bloomer said.

The American Crayfish Atlas can be found at https://findmycrayfish.web.illinois.edu/.

Media contact: Chris Taylor, 217-244-2153, cataylor@illinois.edu

This story first appeared on the Prairie Research Institute blog. Read the original article.

Rheaply Raises $8M to Scale the Circular Economy and Enable Businesses to Take Action Against Climate Change

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Rheaply, a climate tech company that combines a resource-sharing network with a user-friendly asset management platform, today announced that it has raised $8M in a Series A round led by High Alpha, with investment from 100 Black Angels & Allies Fund, Concrete Rose Capital, Hyde Park Angels, M25, MCJ Collective, Morgan Stanley Multicultural Innovation Lab, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, and Salesforce Ventures. Rheaply’s platform eliminates potential waste by instituting the principles of a circular economy, a model that emphasizes “designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems.”1

Energy infrastructure needs for a net-zero economy

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The Decarb America Research Initiative analyzes policy and technology pathways for the United States to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Our work aims to advance our understanding of the tradeoffs between different proposed strategies for achieving net-zero emissions and to identify the national, regional, and state-level economic opportunities that a new clean energy economy will generate. Our analytical results are intended to inform policymakers as they consider options for addressing climate change and modernizing America’s energy systems.

To develop these results, Decarb America commissioned Evolved Energy Research and Industrial Economics, Inc. to undertake a rigorous, multi-part modeling analysis (more information is available at About the Initiative). The analysis explores five main research topics: 1) Pathways to Net-Zero Emissions; 2) Energy Infrastructure Needs for a Net-Zero Economy; 3) Power Sector Deep Dive; 4) Clean Energy Innovation Breakthroughs; and 5) Impacts on Jobs and the Economy.

This report presents key takeaways on topics (1) and (2) from our modeling results to date, with a focus on infrastructure needs for a net-zero economy. These modeling results address four critical questions:

  • What types of clean energy infrastructure are we likely to build—and where—to achieve net-zero by 2050? 
  • How will this infrastructure differ from today’s energy systems?
  • How much clean energy infrastructure needs to be deployed, and how quickly? 
  • What are the challenges for achieving rapid deployment on a large scale?

Overall, our early findings underscore the magnitude of the net-zero challenge: decarbonizing the U.S. economy by mid-century will require new clean energy infrastructure to be developed, financed, sited, and constructed at unprecedented rates. But our results also highlight the economic benefits that a major national investment in infrastructure modernization can create: All regions of the country have an opportunity to develop new clean energy industries, and the energy-producing states of today can continue to lead domestic energy production in a net-zero future.

Powerful magnet could allow a closer look inside cleantech materials

Read the full story at Centered.

The average person probably doesn’t think much about magnets beyond using them to hang stuff on the refrigerator. But magnets play major roles in scientific endeavors, especially in cleaner energy production. 

Scientists from three U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories — Argonne and Fermi in Illinois and Lawrence Berkeley in California — designed, built, and fully tested a huge magnet prototype that helps create powerful X-rays to peer inside materials. When scientists can see inside materials at a molecular level, they can identify areas for improvement and figure out ways to make the materials better. This includes materials for making clean energy technologies. 

40% of food in America ends up in the trash. Is nanopackaging the answer?

Read the full story at Massive Science.

Consumer habits aren’t enough to curb the impacts of food waste — packaging companies have the opportunity to make a big difference

Small groups can make lasting impacts on plastic

Read the full story at EarthDay.org.

For EARTHDAY.ORG and The Great Global Cleanup, it means we have needed to shift from our traditional ways of having cleanups to safer systems that allow us to continue to battle the constant flow of pollution plaguing our global environment.

COVID has forced us to be creative in our events structure. We had to find ways to continue to provide and promote cleanup events, while maintaining the safety of ourselves and others. Even though major cleanup events with hundreds of volunteers working together are a great way to build community ties and clean up the environment, they are not the only option. Small group and individual cleanups (designed in compliance with local COVID regulations) are perfect alternatives that allow for safe and effective cleanups all around the world.