Category: Payne News

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.

Announcing the formation of the University Energy Institute Collaborative (UEIC) 8/1/2021

Announcing the formation of the University Energy Institute Collaborative (UEIC)

The Payne Institute is a proud founding partner of the University Energy Institute Collaborative (UEIC).  In September 2019, more than 100 leaders from U.S.-based colleges and universities began formation of The University Energy Institute Collaborative at a Summit in Pittsburgh, PA. The network has grown to encompass over 150 energy institutes. As a collaborating energy and climate research community, we appreciate that the scale of any solution needs to match the scale of the problem — at the global, national, and local levels — and we are committed to ensuring our country has the energy system that we all need.  August 1, 2021.  

Exploring Carbon Retirement Portfolios 7/30/2021

Exploring Carbon Retirement Portfolios

Payne Institute Fellow Brad Handler and Morgan Bazilian write a commentary on there are new financial instruments that are being designed and brought into the fight against climate change. One such potential instrument is a Carbon Retirement Portfolio (CRP), a collection of carbon-emitting assets, including oil & gas (O&G) producing wells and coal-fired power plants (coal plants). A CRP would buy these assets with the commitment to retire them more quickly than their business-as-usual case. Thus, CRPs can be a vehicle to accelerate a country or region’s reduction of its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  July 30, 2021. 

Identification of Smoldering Peatland Fires in Indonesia via Triple-Phase Temperature Analysis of VIIRS Nighttime Data 7/28/2021

Identification of Smoldering Peatland Fires in Indonesia via Triple-Phase Temperature Analysis of VIIRS Nighttime Data

The Payne Institute Earth Observation Group researchers Christopher D. Elvidge, Mikhail Zhizhin, Feng-Chi Hsu, and NOAA researcher Kimberly Baugh have contributed to the book titled Biomass Burning in South and Southeast Asia.  They apply a spectral un-mixing procedure to uniquely identify low-temperature (320–500 K) peatland smoldering in Indonesia using nighttime data collected by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS). The analysis begins with the detection of subpixel infrared (IR) emitters in six spectral bands spanning the near-infrared (NIR), shortwave infrared (SWIR), and midwave infrared (MWIR). With sunlight eliminated, the NIR and SWIR radiances can be fully attributed to the IR emitter. July 28, 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.

Orbital Sustainment and Space Mobility Logistics 7/21/2021

Orbital Sustainment and Space Mobility Logistics

Mines Student Alexander Jehle and Payne Institute Faculty Fellow George Sowers write about how water is the “oil” of space. Water, H2O – two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen, can be used as a steam or plasma propellant for spacecraft and space tugs and be split into hydrogen and oxygen as a chemical rocket propellant. Water is ubiquitous in the inner solar system and exists as ice on the Moon. Recent research indicates lunar water can be economically mined, processed, and exported into cislunar space. Refueling space vehicles using space-sourced propellant breaks the tyranny of the rocket equation, lowering the cost of missions beyond low Earth orbit. This paper describes cislunar propellant distribution architecture anchored by a logistics node at the first Earth-Moon Lagrange point.  July 21, 2021.