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.
Underground hydrogen storage to support renewable energy
Hydrogen is gaining traction as a key player in the transition from fossil fuel energy to renewable energy. When used as a fuel, hydrogen produces only water vapor as a byproduct, making it a low-carbon energy carrier that could replace carbon-intensive fossil fuels in energy-intensive sectors.
Assessing impacts of early warning systems for cholera risk in Bangladesh
A team of researchers set out to investigate the feasibility of developing an early warning system for cholera risk in Bangladesh, citing existing research that suggests that providing households with early warning of their local cholera risks could reduce potential exposures to cholera.
Improving your science through the IEE labs
The shared core facilities at Penn State are communal, open-access laboratories, which include the labs of the Institutes of Energy and Environment. They provide meaningful and essential support for Penn State’s researchers.
Penn State's role in solving climate change
The Climate Solutions Symposium will be held on May 22 and 23, 2023. Erica Smithwick, one of the symposium's organizers, shares about the climate crisis and the solutions being developed to improve mitigation, adaptation, and resilience.
Maximizing hydrological and environmental benefits of solar farms
Major ground-mounted solar panel installations, often called “solar farms,” are rapidly growing in Pennsylvania and around the world. Solar farms are part of a critical effort to increase our renewable energy portfolio and reduce our carbon footprint. However, due to their size (often covering hundreds of acres), solar farms have the potential to impact natural hydrological and ecological processes.
Understanding transitions to solar energy on Pennsylvania farmland
Solar energy continues to become more affordable and widely available. However, it requires large areas of land that are often in competition with agricultural, industrial, or residential uses, and this competition makes solar expansion complicated.
Addressing wicked environmental problems through engaging stakeholders
Complex environmental problems—such as climate change, excess nutrients in waterways, and droughts and wildfires—require collaborative approaches that seek to engage multiple stakeholders in defining and addressing the causes and consequences versus past techniques that pushed top-down solutions.
What does a warming Arctic mean for the future?
With numerous stories in the news about Arctic ice melting and glaciers collapsing, two Penn State researchers answer questions about warming in the Arctic and what it means for the future.
Is it possible to achieve food resilience after a global catastrophe?
In the wake of a global catastrophe, like nuclear war or a supervolcano, billions of people could starve due to nuclear winter. However, a team of researchers is investigating what could be done to feed the world if nuclear winter set in.
A sustainable circular economy of plastic
Plastic is not the enemy. That statement may seem unpopular considering the news surrounding plastic pollution. According to the United Nations, approximately 7 billion of the 9.2 billion tons of plastic produced from 1950–2017 became plastic waste, ending up in landfills or dumped. Only about 9–15% of that plastic gets recycled. The vast majority—about 80%—ends up in landfills or the environment.