Penn State Energy and Environment News

NASA challenge transforms Penn State’s Environmental Sustainability course


For many, the adage “shoot for the moon” is often a hyperbolic statement, but some Penn State students got a chance to do just that.

How this designer is using Black hair to inspire the architecture world


Felecia Davis is driving a conversation about Blackness, identity, and design through the Hair Salon project. 

Global Learning in Agriculture Community Kick-Off Week starts Feb. 6


The Global Teach Ag Network at Penn State brings together educators to level up their teaching so they can engage their students in the world’s biggest challenges in global agriculture and food security. The digital Global Learning in Agriculture (GLAG) Community is now open free of cost to any educator. In order to mark this change, GLAG Kickoff Week will take place Feb. 6-10. Educators can find more information and request to join at

Applications sought for undergraduate research fellowship


The Materials Research Institute (MRI) is accepting applications for the MRI Undergraduate Fellowship program, which gives Penn State undergraduate students access to cutting-edge, advanced instrumentation normally reserved for graduate students.  

New sensor enables 'smart diapers,' range of other health monitors


Waaahhh! While babies have a natural mechanism for alerting their parents that they need a diaper change, a new sensor developed by researchers at Penn State could help workers in daycares, hospitals and other settings provide more immediate care to their charges. 

'Growing Impact' podcast discusses making fuels from waste


The February episode of the "Growing Impact" podcast features a seed grant project that is focused on turning agricultural and municipal wastes into bioproducts, primarily low-carbon biofuels.

Hefty heating bills leave some Philadelphians aghast


This winter has been wrought with anxiety for consumers, who are facing higher costs of heating their homes due to a myriad of factors. "We're paying more money to get cold," said one. This article quotes Daniel Ciolkosz, associate research professor of agricultural and biological engineering.

$50,000 Intel grant awarded to develop course on quantum computing


Technology company Intel awarded Penn State $50,000 to develop a three-credit college course on programming quantum computers. 

Radiocarbon lab equips scientists, students with key knowledge, techniques


The researchers in Penn State’s Radiocarbon Laboratory provide radiocarbon measurements on materials up 45,000 years old, and they collaborate with researchers from around the world, sharing best practices, their expertise and training opportunities.

Rashonda Harris to become the next assistant vice president for Research


Rashonda Harris has been announced as the new assistant vice president for Research, post-award contractual compliance. In her role, Harris will report to the Associate Vice President for Research/Director of Sponsored Programs in the Office of Sponsored Programs.

Growing Impact: Fuels from waste

| Featuring Jacqueline O'Connor

Combustible fuels have been around ever since humans realized that they could burn wood. Over time, we discovered new energy sources—fossil fuels, which still dominate the world’s energy portfolio. But what if we could find another fuel source, one that was abundant, easy to procure, and people were happy to give it away? Something like municipal or agricultural waste? One fuel, called hydrochar, which is a proposed replacement for coal, can be made in a laboratory from waste using water and some low-cost catalysts. It might just be the answer to a burning energy question.

Penn State researchers share Spotted lanternfly findings


Researchers at Penn State are still working to learn as much as they can about an invasive insect in Pennsylvania that continues to be a threat to local agriculture. This article quotes Julie Urban, Associate Professor, Entomology.