Category: Advanced Energy Systems

A Data-Driven Approach to Evaluation of Sustainability Reporting Practices in Extractive Industries 8/4/2021

A Data-Driven Approach to Evaluation of Sustainability Reporting Practices in Extractive Industries

Cansu Perdeli Demirkan, Payne Institute Faculty Fellows Nicole Smith and Sebnem Duzgun, and Aurora Waclawski write about how sustainability reporting is one of the tools that contribute to incorporating sustainable development in the design of extractive operations (i.e., “Design for Sustainability”), and the demand for sustainability reports is increasing due to the increased focus on sustainable development and sustainable financing efforts. The extractive industries are believed to have unique strengths to
contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. August 4, 2021.  

Industrial decarbonization via hydrogen: A critical and systematic review of developments, socio-technical systems and policy options 8/3/2021

Industrial decarbonization via hydrogen: A critical and systematic review of developments, socio-technical systems and policy options

Payne Institute Fellow Steve Griffiths, Ben K. Sovacool, Jinsoo Kim, Director Morgan Bazilian, and Joao M. Uratani write about how industrial decarbonization is a daunting challenge given the relative lack of low-carbon options available for “hard to decarbonize” industries such as iron and steel, cement, and chemicals. Hydrogen, however, offers one potential solution to this dilemma given that is an abundant and energy dense fuel capable of not just meeting industrial energy requirements, but also providing long-duration energy storage.  This review takes a sociotechnical perspective to examine the full range of industries and industrial processes for which hydrogen can support decarbonization and the technical, economic, social and political factors that will impact hydrogen adoption.  August 3, 2021.

Olympics medals made of mashed up smartphones 7/27/2021

Olympics medals made of mashed up smartphones

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian contributed to this article about recycled goods being used at the 2020 Olympics.  The Olympic torch, a sacred flame that dates back to ancient Greece, has now become an icon of the future, made up of aluminum waste from temporary housing built after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. Meanwhile, 79,000 tons of metal salvaged from donated smartphones and electronics are now the key ingredients in 5,000 Olympic and Paralympic medals, according to the International Olympic Committee.  July 27, 2021. 

Rare Earths Explained 7/26/2021

Rare Earths Explained

Payne Institute Program Manager Jordy Lee writes about how you may not know what “rare earths” are, but you probably know they’re important. Indeed, over the last year, rare earths — which are elements, as in carbon or iron — have been the focus of presidential executive orders, Defense Department intervention and geopolitical tension with China. With a moniker that sounds like something engineered to kill Superman, it’s easy to imagine that rare earths are both exotic and important, which in many ways they are.   July 26, 2021.  

Energy Independence Doesn’t Mean What It Used To 7/26/2021

Energy Independence Doesn’t Mean What It Used To

Payne Institute Program Manager Jordy Lee and Parker Bolstad write about why energy independence is a national security issue.  For decades, U.S. policymakers failed to understand the full meaning of energy independence.  Their definition centered on the need for a self-sufficient supply of cheap oil and gas.  That understanding was so dominant it became matter of national security – eclipsing nearly all other environmental considerations.  U.S. President Biden is making a different bet.  July 26, 2021.  

Innovators and the Development of Mini-Mills for Steel Recycling: Lessons for the Development of a Circular Economy from the Steel Industry 7/23/2021

Innovators and the Development of Mini-Mills for Steel Recycling: Lessons for the Development of a Circular Economy from the Steel Industry

Payne Institute Student Researcher McKenzie Jones and Fellow Sara Hastings-Simon write about how as the global population grows and societies become increasingly industrialized, the demand for resources is outpacing the capacity for sustainable production. Meeting this growing demand will require a change to the current linear approach to resource use – from one where resources are used and then discarded as waste to a more “circular economy” model. A circular economy combines an environmental and economic outlook on resources with the goal to dramatically reduce the new resources needed. Systems would be redesigned to reduce overall material needs, starting from design that enables items to be repaired and reused, requiring new value chains and business models.  July 23, 2021.

Climate change threatens California’s wine country 7/19/2021

Climate change threatens California’s wine country

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian contributes to this article about how California’s Napa Valley is home to some of the country’s most expensive farmland, at as much as $1 million per acre, but wildfires and empty reservoirs are destroying the grapes, property and equipment at the core of the region’s wine industry.  Climate change is spelling calamity for Napa Valley.  July 19, 2021.

Analysis: EU forces pace on carbon cuts, challenges others to follow 7/15/2021

Analysis: EU forces pace on carbon cuts, challenges others to follow

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian contributes to this article about how the European Union is using its heft as a wealthy trade bloc of half a billion consumers to set the global pace of climate change action, challenging others to match the ambitions of its latest carbon cutting plans. The question now is whether the EU gambit becomes an established benchmark upon which investors and sectors like the auto industry set transition strategies and how big emitters like the United States and China respond ahead of UN climate talks later this year.  July 15, 2021.

Fit for 55 marks Europe’s climate moment of truth 7/14/2021

Fit for 55 marks Europe’s climate moment of truth

Payne Institute Fellow Simone Tagliapietra writes about how the European Commission’s long-awaited ‘Fit for 55’ package, intended to facilitate a European Union greenhouse gas emissions cut of 55% by 2030 compared to 1990, has as its core mission to turn the 2020s into a transformative decade for climate action. If agreed and implemented, the Fit for 55 proposals would both deepen and broaden the decarbonisation of Europe’s economy to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. Without the package, under current EU climate legislation, Europe will only achieve a 60% emissions reduction by 2050.  July 14, 2021.

ROLLING BACK TRUMP’S METHANE RULES ISN’T ENOUGH: WE NEED A METHANE TAX TO BUY TIME TO DECARBONIZE 7/12/2021

ROLLING BACK TRUMP’S METHANE RULES ISN’T ENOUGH: WE NEED A METHANE TAX TO BUY TIME TO DECARBONIZE

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Ben Gilbert, Mark Agerton, and Jim Krane write about how global CO2 releases have risen by more than 50% since 1992, the year of the U.N.’s first climate summit. Three decades of failure show that stanching CO2 emissions is arguably the toughest collective problem humanity has ever faced.  While taming carbon is crucial, that process shouldn’t delay Americans from choking off emissions of a much more powerful greenhouse gas: methane.  July 12, 2021.