Blog

Our blog features brief essays, op-eds, and Q&As that cover a wide variety of energy and environmental topics. Each entry is written by researchers from around Penn State, including faculty members and graduate students. 

Unlocking the true potential of wind energy

Wind energy is a powerful and abundant renewable resource. It could hold the key to a cleaner and more sustainable future. But harnessing its full potential requires overcoming a crucial hurdle: efficiently transmitting electricity generated by wind farms to the power grid.

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The first Arctic researchers

For millennia, Inuit communities have served as stewards of the Arctic, intimately attuned to its rhythms. Their observations and adaptations offer invaluable scientific insights. When researchers join forces with these communities, a more comprehensive understanding of climate change emerges.

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Glacier lake outburst floods: Loss of life and infrastructure 

A massive glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) devastated Sikkim, India in October 2023. The disaster, triggered by a landslide and heavy rainfall, caused widespread death and destruction. Scientists had warned of the GLOF risk, but development projects in the fragile Himalayan region may have exacerbated the damage. The event highlights the need for improved disaster planning that considers scientific knowledge, local community concerns, and the impact of climate change.

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Engaging locally in water quality planning

To address pollution concerns in the Chesapeake Bay, communities throughout the watershed have been engaging stakeholders in an effort to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment loads, which are responsible for harmful algal blooms and turbid waters.

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Carbon sequestration and mineralization

Addressing the incontrovertible risks of climate change requires deep decarbonization. In addition to green measures like upscaling renewables and improving energy efficiency, there is broad scientific consensus that large-scale carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) remains critical to limiting global temperature rise below 2°C.

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Penn State delegation: Reflection on COP28

A six-person Penn State delegation traveled to Dubai for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change's COP28. A month after the event, the delegation reflects on COP28, what was important, and what the future may bring.

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Learning from and working with local communities to save the baobab tree

An ecological survey of Madagascar's baobab trees initially aimed to learn more about the history of the tree and how it was dispersed, but pivoted after meeting people from the local community who wanted to save their dying trees.

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How free radicals could be the key to understanding air pollution and improving health

A unique "fingerprint" produced by an air pollutant could help researchers better understand the health impacts of new and emerging environmental pollutants and their associated negative health effects.

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Penn State delegation: What to watch for at COP28

A six-person Penn State delegation will be traveling to Dubai for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change's COP28, which runs from November 30–December 12, 2023. They will be official observers of the meeting, which means that they have the right to speak, make presentations, and engage with governments, NGOs, industry, and the media. They will also be collaborating with other higher education institutions.

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Groundwater: Deep need, deep trouble

Groundwater is a hidden resource that many people have come to rely on. Large amounts of it are used to supply drinking water to communities and irrigation to farmlands. However, with groundwater being pumped faster than it is replenished and climate change exacerbating its decline, that commodity is in danger of disappearing.

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