Avner Vengosh is a geochemist at Duke University. Along with other high profile work, Vengosh testified last April at a U.S. Congressional briefing on the Environmental Protection Agency’s coal ash amendments. This article is an interview of Vengosh from The American Scientist with an extended interview (in audio form) at the end of the page.
Itaipu, the world’s 2nd largest hydroelectric dam, sits between Paraguay and Brazil. The dam is still a sore subject in Paraguay. It emerged that in May, Paraguay’s current president struck a secret deal with Brazil, further reducing Paraguay’s access to cheap power. Within a few decades, Paraguay’s half of Itaipu’s output “will go to air-conditioning,'' says Christine Folch, a cultural anthropologist from Duke University who is the author of “Hydropolitics”, a forthcoming book about the dam. By that point, the country will need some other sources of energy.
Avner Vengosh, a geochemist from the Nicholas School of the Environment, was interviewed on PBS concerning the toxicity of coal ash. His recommendations include handling coal ash as the US handles other toxic materials. This audio interview is available in audio or text format.
Duke professors Volker Blum and David Mitzi are collaborating on a U.S. Department of Energy project to generate atomic-scale simulations in search of the best new solar cell materials and then physically test their actual capabilities. They're testing perovskites which offer a semiconductor material that may provide similar electronic properties, or perhaps even better ones, at a lower cost than a more expensively manufactured photovoltaic material.
Lori Bennear helps explain the potential implications of N.C. Senate Bill 559, which could change the way energy utilities charge customers. "It is likely that rates will go up," Bennear said, "but it is hard to tell how much at this moment because of the two different parts of the bill."
On Thursday, July 25th, climate policies seemed to take a step into the light. There was a blend of top-down effort from Washington to establish national climate policy direction and bottom-up action from states and the private sector. Actually bringing to life the emblematic nature of energy governance in the US that both complicates and enables low-carbon experimentation.
Duke Support for Interdisciplinary Graduate Networks (D-SIGN) enables graduate students to build or extend their networks and to integrate collaborative, cross-school experiences into their programs. Energy student Yating Li, Seth Morgan, Travis Dauwalter, Zainab Qazi, and Santiago Sinclair Lecaros are a part of the "Riding the Belt and Road" initiative. Their group's goal is to ignite discussion among students and faculty members on multiple facets of China’s new Belt Road Initiative, with a focus on environmental impacts.
Massively decarbonize our nation’s energy system within the next one to three decades. This has been called the moonshot of our time. Energy Initiative Director Brian Murray explains that it is much more than that. Our modern energy system is an amalgamation of science, technology, economics, law, and behavioral psychology. Solving the engineering part of decarbonization is not easy, but the other stuff is even harder.
Duke alumni Yoav Lurie (T'05) and Justin Segall (T'05) created a clean energy business named Simple Energy. They announced a merger with Tendril, another clean energy firm to create a new company, Uplight. Uplight provides software and services to more than 75 of the world’s electric and gas utilities, with the mission of motivating and enabling energy users and providers to accelerate the clean energy ecosystem.
Duke PhD student Chrissy Crute conducted research in China around the toxins that people become exposed to when dealing with e-waste. E-waste ends up in countries like China, where communities take it in, disassemble it, harvest the reusable materials and make a small profit. She explains the top four takeaways from her time in China and her research project.
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