Research

THE MOSAIC APPROACH: a Multidimensional Strategy for Strengthening America’s Critical Minerals Supply Chain 10/18/2021

The Mosaic Approach: a Multidimensional Strategy for Strengthening America’s Critical Minerals Supply Chain

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian and Faculty Fellow Ian Lange contribute to this report by the Wilson Center on how the United States faces a troubling scenario when it comes to the supply chain for critical minerals. Rapidly increasing demand, under-developed national resources, intense international competition, and years of neglect in this issue area place the U.S. at a distinct disadvantage vis-à-vis China in securing access to the metals and Rare Earth Elements that are vital for the energy transition and for geopolitical ambitions. This paper reflects the dialogue sustained by a high-level group of stakeholders in the summer of 2021 and argues that the United States must take a number of key steps to make the critical minerals supply chain more resilient.  October 18, 2021.

Beirut Power: Trends and Turning Points 10/14/2021

Beirut Power: Trends and Turning Points

Payne Institute Communications Associate Elsa Barron, Earth Observation Group Senior Research Associate Christopher Elvidge and Research Associate Feng-Chi, Hsu write about how in Beirut, it plunged the 2.4 million-person city into darkness this weekend. The Lebanese power grid shut down on Saturday due to depleted fuel resources, which comes after months of economic crisis in the country. October 14, 2021.

Revealing the Dynamics and Roles of Iron Incorporation in Nickel Hydroxide Water Oxidation Catalysts 10/12/2021

Revealing the Dynamics and Roles of Iron Incorporation in Nickel Hydroxide Water Oxidation Catalysts

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Ryan Richards collaborates on a paper that looks at how the surface of an electrocatalyst undergoes dynamic chemical and structural transformations under electrochemical operating conditions. There is a dynamic exchange of metal cations between the electrocatalyst and electrolyte. Understanding how iron in the electrolyte gets incorporated in the nickel hydroxide electrocatalyst is critical for pinpointing the roles of Fe during water oxidation. Here, we report that iron incorporation and oxygen evolution reaction (OER) are highly coupled, especially at high working potentials.  October 12, 2021.

Application of Mobile Energy Storage for Enhancing Power Grid Resilience: A Review 10/10/2021

Application of Mobile Energy Storage for Enhancing Power Grid Resilience: A Review

Mines/NREL Advanced Energy Systems PhD student Jesse Dugan, Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Salman Mohagheghi, and NREL Researcher Benjamin Kroposki write about how natural disasters can lead to large-scale power outages, affecting critical infrastructure and causing social and economic damages. These events are exacerbated by climate change, which increases their frequency and magnitude. Improving power grid resilience can help mitigate the damages caused by these events. Mobile energy storage systems, classified as truck-mounted or towable battery storage systems, have recently been considered to enhance distribution grid resilience by providing localized support to critical loads during an outage. This paper provides a comprehensive and critical review of academic literature on mobile energy storage for power system resilience enhancement.  October 10, 2021.

Mines professor part of team using supercomputing, big data to answer seismology’s biggest questions 10/7/2021

Mines professor part of team using supercomputing, big data to answer seismology’s biggest questions

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Ebru Bozdag is one of the five principal investigators of a $3.2 million NSF research project over four years that will unite seismic data analysis and modeling with supercomputing power to answer some of the biggest questions about Earth’s seismic activity, interior, and dynamics. October 7, 2021.

Phytoremediation and phytoextraction in Sub-Saharan Africa Addressing economic and social challenges 10/6/2021

Phytoremediation and phytoextraction in Sub-Saharan Africa: Addressing economic and social challenges

Payne Institute Program Manager Jordy Lee, Faculty Fellow Rennie B. Kaunda, Thomson Sinkala, Payne Scholar Caleb F. Workman, Director Morgan D. Bazilian, and Deputy Director Greg Clough write about how mining and mineral processing continues to be a source of lasting environmental problems in many developing economies. Phytoremediation has proven to be a viable strategy to remediate contaminated lands and limit environmental damage, but it has not been widely implemented partially due to social and economic challenges.  This paper provides a conceptual approach for phytoremediation-based mineral recovery and explores the social and economic challenges related to large-scale deployment.   October 6, 2021.  

Colorado’s Skies Really Are That Much Smokier As Western Wildfires Worsen 9/28/2021

Colorado’s Skies Really Are That Much Smokier As Western Wildfires Worsen

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group Research Associate Tamara Sparks contributes to this article about how a surge of large wildfires in the West, fueled in part by climate change, has increased the number of days residents are breathing smoke across nearly every part of Colorado.  The number of days with smoky skies has grown over the last decade, the data show, blanketing Colorado from the Eastern Plains to the Western Slope — including northern parts of the state and the heavily populated Front Range corridor.  September 28, 2021.

Planning for a Resilient Home Electricity Supply System 9/28/2021

Planning for a Resilient Home Electricity Supply System

Emon Chatterji, Kate Anderson, and Payne Institute Director Morgan D. Bazilian write about the resilience of power systems is already a key issue that is getting frequent attention all over the world. It is useful to analyze resilience issues not only for bulk supply, but at all levels including at a customer level. This is because distributed energy resources can play a prominent role in enhancing resilience. A planning model is developed that incorporates multiple facets of resilience and individual customer preferences.  September 28, 2021. 

Tallgrass to track, measure emissions on U.S. interstate natgas pipeline 9/28/2021

Tallgrass to track, measure emissions on U.S. interstate natural gas pipeline

The Payne Institute is a data science partner with Project Canary to help Tallgrass Energy Partners monitor emissions, including methane and other greenhouse gases, on its Rockies Express Pipeline, making it the first U.S. company to measure the environmental impact of operations on an interstate natural gas pipeline.  September 28, 2021.  

Harnessing data for materials discovery goal of new $15M NSF Institute for Data-Driven Dynamical Design 9/28/2021

Harnessing data for materials discovery goal of new $15M NSF Institute for Data-Driven Dynamical Design

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Eric Toberer is leading the Harnessing Data Revolution Institutes funded nationwide.  A new $15 million interdisciplinary research institute led by Colorado School of Mines aims to create new theoretically grounded and experimentally validated approaches and tools to design and discover dynamical materials and structures while solving long-standing scientific challenges in the dynamical response of materials.  September 28, 2021.

Lights of a City Under Siege – Disruption to Kandahar Airport Lights Increases as the Taliban Entered the City 8/25/2021

Lights of a City Under Siege – Disruption to Kandahar Airport Lights Increases as the Taliban Entered the City

Payne Institute Communications Associate Brooke Bowser, Earth Observation Group Senior Research Associate Christopher Elvidge, and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how the airport in Kandahar, Afghanistan has been impacted as U.S. troops began their withdrawal from a 20-year conflict, and the Taliban steadily gained more ground in the city.  August 25, 2021.

Space exploration and development is essential to fighting climate change 8/16/2021

Space exploration and development is essential to fighting climate change

Payne Institute Fellow Alex Gilbert writes about how the recently released Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change presents a worrying scientific consensus: climate change is happening, humans are causing it, even our best efforts cannot prevent negative effects, and reducing emissions now is essential to preventing catastrophic consequences. The Biden Administration recognizes the urgency of addressing this challenge. This prioritization rightly reflects the growing capabilities of the public and private space sectors to help our society understand, adapt, and mitigate climate change.  Perhaps most importantly, growing space activities can accelerate the clean energy transition to reduce emissions by catalyzing technological development of existing and new energy technologies.  With foresight and targeted intervention, emerging space capabilities and industry can improve our climate outcomes.  August 16, 2021.

Expanding the scope of just transitions: Towards localized solutions and community-level dynamics 8/14/2021

Expanding the scope of just transitions: Towards localized solutions and community-level dynamics

Payne Institute Director Morgan D. Bazilian, Sanya Carley, David Konisky, Fellow Hisham Zerriffi, Sandeep Pai, and Fellow Brad Handler write about the academic interpretation of the concept of just transitions has evolved considerably over the last two decades. What was generally addressed in academic research in a technocratic way, with a primary focus on job replacement and the costs thereof, has given way to broader societal thinking around the need to address injustice in legacy energy systems.  We argue that further tools based in inter-disciplinary science, social science, and humanities approaches need to be adopted to evaluate communities’ experiences with transitions and to better design and implement policy and regulation.  August 14, 2021.

Understanding the nexus of energy, environment and conflict: An overview 8/13/2021

Understanding the nexus of energy, environment and conflict: An overview

Samuel W. Kerber, Payne Institute Fellow Alexander Q. Gilbert, Faculty Fellow Mark R. Deinert, and Director Morgan D. Bazilian write about how energy, environment, and conflict are each the subject of significant research efforts. However, their nexus has received relatively little attention, and even less when climatic shifts are considered. Here, we examine existing literature on these individual areas, their overlaps, and elucidate the fundamental gaps in understanding their nexus.  August 13, 2021.

AR6 Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis Report 8/10/2021

AR6 Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis Report

Several Payne Institute Fellows contributed to this monumental report with the most up-to-date physical understanding of the climate system and climate change, bringing together the latest advances in climate science, and combining multiple lines of evidence from paleoclimate, observations, process understanding, and global and regional climate simulations.  August 10, 2021.

Measuring Gas Flaring in Russia with Multispectral VIIRS Nightfire 8/5/2021

Measuring Gas Flaring in Russia with Multispectral VIIRS Nightfire

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group Researcher Mikhail Zhizhin, Alexey Matveev, Researcher Tilottama Ghosh, Researcher Feng‐Chi Hsu, Martyn Howells, and Senior Researcher Christopher Elvidge write about the data reported by the international and governmental agencies, the Russian Federation remains one of the world’s major associated petroleum gas (APG) flaring nations. In the past decade, numerous studies have shown the applicability of satellite-based methods to estimate gas flaring. New satellite-based observations might offer an insight in region-, company-, and site-specific gas flaring patterns, as the reported data are often incomplete. We provide a detailed catalog of the upstream and downstream gas flares and an in-depth analysis at the country, region, company and site level of the satellite monitoring results of flaring in Russia from 2012 to 2020.  August 5, 2021. 

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.  

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.  

Enhancing Military and Commercial Spacepower through Nuclear

Enhancing Military and Commercial Spacepower through Nuclear

Payne Institute Fellow Alex Gilbert writes about how the strategic competition among great powers is increasing the importance of maintaining and increasing U.S. national power in outer space. The United States, Russia, and China are all pursuing space reactors and nuclear rockets but spacepower and associated theories have yet to fully consider how space nuclear technologies enable national space capabilities. Similarly, the role of space nuclear energy in the Department of Defense (DOD) – namely, the U.S. Space Force planning remains unclear. This article examines space nuclear energy’s contribution to U.S. national power. July 20, 2021.

BOOTLEG FIRE – LARGEST ACTIVE FIRE IN US 7/16/2021

BOOTLEG FIRE – LARGEST ACTIVE FIRE IN US

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group student worker Elijah Mt. Castle writes about the Bootleg fire in Oregon, the largest active fire in the United States. The fire started on July 6th and has burned 232,763 acres since it started. The fire has destroyed 21 homes and 54 other structures and is threatening 1,900 others. Drought, high temperatures, and high winds have severely hampered fire suppression efforts.  July 16, 2021.

Critically exploring the future of gaseous energy carriers 7/14/2021

Critically exploring the future of gaseous energy carriers

Payne Institute Fellow Dolf Gielen and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how opinions are divided if natural gas is a boon or bane in the context of climate change mitigation. This article explores the arguments around what role this fuel, and so called “green gas” will play in a future energy mix. The analysis splits the natural gas resource from the associated infrastructure, and argues that the pipeline infrastructure may have an important role to play in the transition. Green gas has emerged as a solution that may play an important role in the future, provided costs can be reduced further. Both “green” and “blue” hydrogen, as well as biomethane are explored in this context. July 14, 2021.  

STATE OF COLORADO EXPERIENCES WORST WILDFIRE SEASON IN 2020 6/14/2021

STATE OF COLORADO EXPERIENCES WORST WILDFIRE SEASON IN 2020

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group has the capability to look at the devastation created by fires with their VIIRS Nightfire systems.    2020 was the worst fire season on record for the State of Colorado. The Cameron Peak Fire, rated as the state’s largest, broke records by consuming 208,663 acres, forced evacuation of over 20,000 residents, and burnt a sizeable portion of Rocky Mountain National Park. Not far behind was the Pine Gulch fire, which burnt 139,007 acres. In total, 625,356 acres burnt in 2020 across Colorado.  June 14, 2021.  

VIIRS Boat Detection Data (VBD) 6/8/2021

VIIRS Boat Detection Data (VBD)

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group Director Christopher Elvidge and his researchers produce global fishing boat detection data in near-real time from low light imaging data collected by the NASA / NOAA Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS). The detections are produced with a nominal four-hour temporal latency – with files typically ready by 06:00 local time. Most of the detections come from vessels deploying heavy lighting to attract catch. This is a common practice in Asia and several other areas. EOG send email alerts on vessel detections in marine protected areas to government agencies and NGO’s in Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand.  June 8, 2021. 

Comparative analysis of selected African natural gas markets and related policies 6/7/2021

Comparative analysis of selected African natural gas markets and related policies

John Ayaburi, Shashwat Sharma, and Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian write about how natural gas discoveries in emerging economies have changed the global gas map dramatically over the last 15 years.  Understanding these policy dynamics is not only critical to effective resource utilization but also critical as the world commits to ending energy poverty.  June 7, 2021.

Cascading risks: Understanding the 2021 winter blackout in Texas 6/2/2021

Cascading risks: Understanding the 2021 winter blackout in Texas

Payne Fellow Joshua W. Busby, Kyri Baker, Director Morgan D. Bazilian, Fellow Alex Q. Gilbert, Emily Grubert, Varun Rai, Joshua D. Rhodes, Sarang Shidore, Caitlin A. Smith, and Michael E. Webber write about the Texas freeze of February 2021 that left more than 4.5 million customers (more than 10 million people) without electricity at its peak, some for several days.  This piece offers a retrospective on what caused the blackouts and the knock-on effects on other services, the subsequent financial and political effects of the freeze, and the implications for Texas and the country going forward. June 2, 2021.

Talking Transition: Putting a stop to flaring 5/20/2021

Talking Transition: Putting a stop to flaring

The Payne Institute continues our partnership with the World Bank and OGCI to put a stop to global gas flaring.  Flaring is the most visible part of the decarbonization challenge in the oil and gas industry. It causes both carbon dioxide and methane emissions, it wastes valuable energy – and aside from unavoidable safety measures it can be stopped.  May 20, 2021.

MULTIPLE WILDFIRES IN MANITOBA CONTAINED 5/19/2021

MULTIPLE WILDFIRES IN MANITOBA CONTAINED

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group student worker Elijah Mt. Castle writes about how the Canadian province of Manitoba has been experiencing multiple wildfires over the last couple of weeks. Dry conditions are to blame for the fires. As of May 14th, all blazes have been contained. The most recent wildfire sparked the 13th and grew to around 80 hectares (198 acres). May 19, 2021.  

Arabian Night Lights 5/17/2021

Arabian Night Lights

The Payne Institute Earth Observation Group’s VIIRS nighttime light research is featured in this article about how Satellite views of Earth at night have proven useful for disaster response and recovery, for detection of population changes and urban development, for studies of energy consumption, and many other uses. Since the 2011 launch of the NOAA-NASA Suomi NPP satellite—as night light data have become freely available to scientists and the public within hours of acquisition—the applications have proliferated.  May 17, 2021.

Colorado oil and gas company aims to produce “cleanest molecules” anywhere 5/13/2021

Colorado oil and gas company aims to produce “cleanest molecules” anywhere

The Payne Institute Earth Observation Group continues our partnership with Project Canary with continuous monitoring of well sites, by collecting the data to provide an independent analysis of the information. Crestone Peak has teamed up with Project Canary to track emissions; however, environmentalists say regulations are still needed.  Amid escalating worries about climate change and pollution from oil and gas operations, Colorado’s largest electric utility is going to buy natural gas from a company that is continuously monitoring its emissions and working to certify its product as responsible. Xcel Energy said Wednesday that it will buy some of its gas for use in Colorado from Denver-based Crestone Peak Resources as part of a pilot project to show that it’s dedicated to delivering “a cleaner energy product.” Xcel was the first utility in the country to announce a goal of delivering carbon-free electricity.  May 13, 2021.

Gas Flaring Declined in 2020, Study Finds 5/10/2021

The Payne Institute Earth Observation Group provided the satellite data research analysis for the recently released World Bank Global Gas Flaring Tracker Report in April 2021.  According to the GGFR, gas flaring worldwide decreased by 5 percent in the pandemic year, mostly because of lower demand for oil. May 10, 2021.

Of actors, cities and energy systems: advancing the transformative potential of urban electrification 5/6/2021

Of actors, cities and energy systems advancing the transformative potential of urban electrification

Patricia Romero-Lankao, Alana Wilson, Joshua Sperling, Clark Miller, Daniel Zimny-Schmitt, Benjamin Sovacool, Chris Gearhart, Matteo Muratori, Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian, and Daniel Zünd write about how the electrification of transportation and the integration of electric vehicles (EVs) with buildings connected to clean grids has been touted as one of the key solutions to the global decarbonization challenge. Cities are on the frontlines of current and future electrification, as they depend on and drive electricity generation, distribution, and use.  May 6, 2021.

Global Climate Change and Human Health: From Science to Practice, 2nd Edition 5/1/2021

Global Climate Change and Human Health: From Science to Practice, 2nd Edition

Payne Institute Fellow Dr. Jay Lemery, Kim Knowlton, and Cecilia Sorenson write the Second Edition of Global Climate Change and Human Health delivers an accessible and comprehensive exploration of the rapidly accelerating and increasingly ubiquitous effects of climate change and global warming on human health and disease. The distinguished and accomplished authors discuss the health impacts of the economic, climatological, and geopolitical effects of global warming.  May 2021.  

Fostering Effective Energy Transition 2021 edition 4/20/2021

Fostering Effective Energy Transition 2021 edition

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian contributes to the World Economic Forum‘s Fostering Effective Energy Transition 2021 report on how as countries continue their progress in transitioning to clean energy, it is critical to root the transition in economic, political and social practices to ensure progress is irreversible. The Energy Transition Index, which benchmarks 115 countries on the performance of their energy systems, finds that while 92 of the countries increased their score over the past 10 years, only 10% of countries were able to make consistent gains, showing the need for renewed focus and resilience to meet the climate goals of the next decade. April 20, 2021.

Frozen Out in Texas: Blackouts and Inequity 4/14/2021

Frozen Out in Texas: Blackouts and Inequity

JP Carvallo, Payne Institute Earth Observation Group Researcher Feng Chi Hsu,  Zeal Shah, and Jay Taneja write about how in February, blackouts in the Texas power grid left over 4.5 million customers in the dark, many of them for several days. A substantial amount of these blackouts were transmission disconnections and emergency load shedding events triggered by ERCOT, the entity in charge of ensuring a reliable supply of electricity in Texas. In this analysis, we use satellite data on nighttime lights to track blackouts at the census block group (CBG) level and correlate it with demographic data to understand how equitable these blackouts were.  April 14, 2021.

Optimality versus reality: Closing the gap between renewable energy decision models and government deployment in the United States 4/12/2021

Optimality versus reality: Closing the gap between renewable energy decision models and government deployment in the United States

National Renewable Energy Laboratory Kate Anderson, Maggie Nevrly, Emma Elgqvist, and Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian write about the energy decision models that are widely used to evaluate the technical and economic feasibility of renewable energy, as well as to help inform the deployment of these technologies. However, a gap exists between the optimal model solutions and what is deployed. April 12, 2021.

Comparative Analysis of Selected African Natural Gas Markets and Related Policies

Comparative Analysis of Selected African Natural Gas Markets and Related Policies

John Ayaburi, Shashwat Sharma, Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Dr. Greer Gosnell, and Director Morgan D. Bazilian write about the discovery of natural gas resources across the African continent that have inspired debate on how such resources should be developed and best utilized. In several African countries, the discovery of commercial quantities of natural gas reserves has led governments to explore a number of strategies, investments, and policy directions. Two contrasting cases are that of Nigeria, which has pursued policies promoting domestic natural gas consumption and export, and Ghana, which has focused on encouraging sectoral-level domestic consumption.  April 5, 2021.

Black carbon emissions from flaring in Russia in the period 2012–2017 4/2/2021

Black carbon emissions from flaring in Russia in the period 2012–2017

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group Dr. Mikhail Zhizhin’s (and others) research shows how gas flaring in the oil and gas industry has been identified as an important source of anthropogenic black carbon (BC) affecting the climate, particularly in the Arctic. Our study provides spatially-explicit estimates of BC emissions from flaring in Russia utilising state-of-the-art methodology for determining the emission factors. We utilised satellite time series of the flared gas volume from Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) for the period 2012 to 2017, supplemented with information on the gas and oil field type.  April 2, 2021.

Mobilizing Investment for Clean Energy in Emerging Economies 4/1/2021

Mobilizing Investment for Clean Energy in Emerging Economies

The Payne Institute is proud to be a partner organization with the World Economic Forum on their new initiative Mobilizing Investment for Clean Energy in Emerging Economies. Accelerating clean energy transitions is a global imperative for the world to address the climate emergency. The decarbonization of energy production and use will require trillions of dollars to be invested in the deployment of new clean energy capacity and energy efficiency, as well as to retire existing carbon-intensive energy infrastructure that would otherwise lock-in emissions for decades. April 1, 2021.

CARGO VESSELS WAITING TO PASS THE SUEZ CANAL DOUBLED IN 24 HOURS 3/26/2021

CARGO VESSELS WAITING TO PASS THE SUEZ CANAL DOUBLED IN 24 HOURS

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group Research Associate Feng Chi Hsu looks at the Ever Given, one of the largest cargo vessels in operation, that has been stuck in the Suez Canal for days, via satellite.  The vessel blocks the two-way traffic of the canal, which has caused the number of cargo vessels waiting to pass through the canal to double in 24 hours from March 25th to 26th, 2021.  March 26, 2021.

The rise of electric vehicles—2020 status and future expectations 3/25/2021

The rise of electric vehicles—2020 status and future expectations

Matteo Muratori, Marcus Alexander, Doug Arent, Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian, Ercan M. Dede, John Farrell, Chis Gearhart, David Greene, Alan Jenn, Matthew Keyser, Timothy Lipman, Sreekant Narumanchi, Ahmad Pesaran, Ramteen Sioshansi, Emilia Suomalainen, Gil Tal, Kevin Walkowicz, and Jacob Ward wrote this article about how electric vehicles (EVs) are experiencing a rise in popularity over the past few years as the technology has matured and costs have declined, and support for clean transportation has promoted awareness, increased charging opportunities, and facilitated EV adoption.  This detailed review paints a positive picture for the future of EVs for on-road transportation, and the authors remain hopeful that remaining technology, regulatory, societal, behavioral, and business-model barriers can be addressed over time to support a transition toward cleaner, more efficient, and affordable transportation solutions for all.  March 25, 2021.

The material foundations of a low-carbon economy 3/19/2021

The material foundations of a low-carbon economy

Payne Institute Program Manager Jordy Lee, Senior Research Associate Sara Hastings-Simon, and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how the transition to a low-carbon environment is rapidly accelerating and with it the potential for severe environmental and social degradation. The extraction and processing of key materials have already begun to affect developing economies, and policy changes are essential to ensuring a just transition.  March 19, 2021.

Why don’t environmental bonds fully cover reclamation costs? 3/17/2021

Why don’t environmental bonds fully cover reclamation costs?

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Graham Davis and Peifang Yang write about how governments often require that extractive industry firms post environmental bonds as financial assurance to cover eventual reclamation liabilities. Such bond requirements frequently do not fully cover the reclamation cost. We show that a revenue-maximizing government may reasonably require a bond amount smaller than the full reclamation cost.  March 17, 2021.  

SPACE: THE FINAL FRONTIER—IN TECHNOLOGY 3/15/2021

SPACE: THE FINAL FRONTIER—IN TECHNOLOGY

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Angel Abbud-Madrid on the Mines Conveyor podcast discussing how space is the edge, is the frontier in technology. And space being infinite, that means you have an infinite amount of opportunities in which to get involved with the most advanced technology with discoveries and with possibilities that, in his own opinion, no other field can match.  March 15, 2021.

Annual Time Series of Global VIIRS Nighttime Lights Derived from Monthly Averages: 2012 to 2019 3.2.2021

Annual Time Series of Global VIIRS Nighttime Lights Derived from Monthly Averages 2012 to 2019

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group researchers Director Christopher Elvidge, Mikhail Zhizhin, Tilottama Ghosh, Feng-Chi Hsu, and Jay Taneja have released their new research – a consistently processed annual global nighttime lights time series (2012–2019) that was produced using monthly cloud-free radiance averages made from low light imaging day/night band (DNB) data collected by the NASA/NOAA Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS). The processing steps are modified from the original methods developed to produce annual nighttime lights products from nightly data. Only two years of VIIRS nighttime lights (VNL) were produced with the V.1 methods: 2015 and 2016. Here they report on methods used to produce a V.2 VNL time series from the monthly averages with filtering to remove extraneous features such as biomass burning, aurora, and background.  March 2, 2021.

Mt. Etna Erupts 4 Times in Four Days 2/26/2021

Mt. Etna Erupts 4 Times in Four Days

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group student worker Elijah Mt. Castle writes about how Mt. Etna, in the Sicilian province of Catania, has been intermediately erupting for four days now. The eruptions began on February 16th 2021. At this time the volcano is no danger to any of the surrounding villages and the lava is flowing into the uninhabited valley below the summit.  February 26, 2021.

Understanding and Disrupting Key Convergence Nodes of the Illicit Gold and Mercury Supply Chains in Latin America and Africa 2/18/2021

Understanding and Disrupting Key Convergence Nodes of the Illicit Gold and Mercury Supply Chains in Latin America and Africa

Payne Institute Faculty Fellows Nicole Smith, Sebnem Duzgun, Strategy and Operations Manager Greg Clough, William Soud, and Katy Seguin have received an NSF award for their research on “Disrupting Operations of Illicit Supply Networks (D-ISN)” that will enhance national health, prosperity and welfare by contributing to a better understanding of illicit supply chains and the ability to detect, disrupt, and disable them. The project involves an examination and comparison of key convergence nodes in the global supply chains for illicit gold and mercury in Latin America and Africa. It specifically focuses on Peru and Kenya because of the similar characteristics they share on their respective continents as important trading hubs to other regional markets via both air and maritime transport, as well as acting as trading hubs for other illicit commodities and goods.  February 18, 2021.

Climate change and industrial F-gases: A critical and systematic review of developments, sociotechnical systems and policy options for reducing synthetic greenhouse gas emissions 2/13/2021

Climate change and industrial F-gases: A critical and systematic review of developments, sociotechnical systems and policy options for reducing synthetic greenhouse gas emissions

Benjamin K. Sovacool, Payne Institute Fellow Steve Griffiths, Jinsoo Kim, and Morgan Bazilian write about how humanity has come to depend on synthetic, factory made gases that have extremely significant global warming potential. Fluorinated greenhouse gases, or F-gases, such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) have been termed “super pollutants” and “super greenhouse gases” given their severe and powerful impact on the climate.   February 13, 2021.

 

The Payne Institute experts are regional, national, and international leaders in applied research in natural resources, energy, and the environment. Our team is involved in a wide variety of research projects in these fields, and are committed to sharing these results with academic and professional audiences.

 

DISCLAIMER: The opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints expressed are those of the author alone and do not reflect the opinions, beliefs, viewpoints, or official policies of the Payne Institute or Colorado School of Mines.