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.
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.
Kirk French talks about his newest project, "Climate Change on the Hudson: A Century After Nanook." In the discussion, Kirk talks about the importance of documenting climate change through film and how revisiting "Nanook of the North" empowered the Inuit to tell their story, even in the face of COVID.