Growing Impact is a podcast by the Institutes of Energy and Environment (IEE) that explores cutting-edge projects of researchers and scientists who are solving some of the world's most challenging energy and environmental issues. Each project has been funded through the IEE Seed Grant Program.
The latest episode of the Growing Impact podcast features Juliana Vasco-Correa, an assistant professor of agricultural and biological engineering, who shares how biofiltration could reduce greenhouse gas emissions, specifically methane and carbon dioxide.
This episode of Growing Impact features Emily Pakhtigian, assistant professor of public policy and the Jeffrey L. and Sharon D. Hyde-McCourtney Career Development Professor. On the podcast, she discusses her seed grant project, titled“Assessing Distributional Effects of Coal-Fired Power Plant Operations on Pollution and Health,” through which she and her colleagues are investigating how the transition away from coal-fired power plants is impacting the environment and health of communities in Pennsylvania.
In this episode of Growing Impact, Lisa Emili, an associate professor of physical geography and environmental studies at Penn State Altoona, discusses her project titled “Coastal Carbon Dynamics in a Riparian Buffer Ecosystem, Lake Erie Basin,” which is investigating carbon accumulation in freshwater wetlands around the Great Lakes area. She and her team are interested in better understanding how these wetlands fit into the carbon cycle and how these areas can help impact climate change.
Julian Wang and Anne-Marie Chang discuss their seed grant project that investigates how indoor lighting can be adjusted to save energy on a building’s heating and cooling and positively impact human health.
According to reports, the building industry is responsible for a lot of the carbon emissions in the world, about 37% in the U.S. This includes the production of materials, construction, operation, and even deconstruction. Additionally, the world will need alternative building materials to keep up with the demand of the construction industry. In this episode of Growing Impact, we explore a seed grant project that looks to use mycelium, the root structure of fungi, as a renewable, biodegradable building material with a small carbon footprint.
Splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen requires a lot of energy. By introducing catalysts into the process, these renewable energy sources can be created more efficiently. The challenge is that these catalysts use precious metals and are expensive. Mauricio Terrones and Lauren Zarzar are working on a novel method to develop inexpensive and efficient catalysts to split water.
In order for the world to meet the challenge of climate change, decarbonization and negative emissions must be part of the discussion. Wei Peng looks to provide policy and tech leadership with information on what decarbonization technology might be effective in the future and how to strategically employ it.
Some countries in Africa and Asia have been locked into contracts that prevent improvements to existing electricity systems. Mohamed Badissy and his team are examining these contracts to find ways that could make these systems more efficient, sustainable, and cleaner.
Steve Chmely and Chris Costello discuss how wind energy has a dirty secret surrounding the wind turbine blades and their disposal. The research team is exploring materials to reduce the waste associated with the blades.
Green stormwater infrastructure uses the power of plants and soils to improve water quality. More than that, Lauren McPhillips discusses how making stormwater infrastructure green is saving cities money, impacting environmental justice, and cooling urban heat islands with aesthetically pleasing gardens.