Michigan State University breakthrough could speed solar technology development

It could also lead to using common materials to create solar technologies.

Today’s headlines:

ūüĆě SOLAR:¬†A scientist at¬†Michigan State University¬†revealed a¬†novel method¬†to hit molecules with a burst of light to better visualize molecule movement when solar energy is converted to chemical energy. The breakthrough could speed up the development of new solar technologies, especially those made from alternative, commonly available materials such as iron. The scientist suggested that this discovery could result in solar cells based on rust or paint chips once the science is expanded, but that is likely many years down the road.

ūüĒ¨ RESEARCH:¬†Scientists at¬†Ames National Laboratory¬†made a¬†discovery that has implications for energy efficiency. They found that skyrmions, quasiparticles driven by electric current, reproduce by splitting similarly to how biological cells divide. The process acts as a sort of self-healing measure not previously reported. The discovery could help guide the design for high-density and energy-efficient data storage and transfer devices.

ūüďą ECONOMY:¬†The¬†Carbon Capture Coalition¬†released a fact sheet¬†illustrating the potential for economic gain and jobs growth through 2050 linked to commercializing carbon capture technologies. At least 30 carbon capture projects are in progress in the United States, including in Illinois, Nebraska, and North Dakota.

ūüďĎ REPORT:¬†Only six of the 46 clean energy sectors and technologies the¬†International Energy Agency¬†examined in a new report are on track to meet temperature goals set by the Paris agreement,¬†Scientific American reports. The six technologies are solar photovoltaics, bioenergy power, electric vehicles, rail, lighting, and data centers and transmission networks. Energy efficiency and renewable energy generation comprise about 80% of the work needed to meet the goals.

DIVERSITY: The founders of BETA, a Twin Cities tech accelerator and organizer of Twin Cities Startup Week, laid out a commitment for better diversity and inclusion and said several board members will resign by the end of the year if the goals are not met. Goals include adding a black board member and including at least one black business founder in the next accelerator cohort.

ūüŹÜ AWARD:¬†A soil scientist at¬†Ohio State University¬†received the¬†World Food Prize¬†today, the¬†Associated Press reports. His findings on how atmospheric carbon can be held in soil to combat climate change led to improved soil health, greater agricultural production, better food nutrition, environmental restoration, and climate change mitigation.

ūüíĽ WEBINAR:¬†The¬†Detroit Center for Design and Technology¬†is offering a live online event series dedicated to climate change. The first event is Friday at noon Eastern and examines innovations and strategies for creating healthy, high-performance building districts. Representatives from the Ann Arbor, Detroit, and Grand Rapids¬†2030 Districts Network¬†will discuss how their communities are driving for a more sustainable built environment, from energy efficiency to advanced HVAC systems to water management and other technical advances, said Connie Lilley, executive director of¬†Detroit 2030 District. ‚ÄúAll districts are working toward not only carbon reduced cities or buildings, but also embodied carbon which is another new topic we’re starting to teach,‚ÄĚ she said.¬†Registration is¬†available online.

Do you know of Midwest entrepreneurs or researchers developing technology that improves the environment? Send news tips, press releases, and feedback to katie@centered.tech or connect on Twitter @centereddottech.

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