Planting the seeds for carbon capture through artificial photosynthesis

Welcome back to Monday, on what will be a short workweek. Before we get into today’s headlines, we have a note about a story Centered linked to in Friday’s newsletter. The story in a public transit trade magazine examined the Indianapolis transit agency’s decision to abandon its electric bus program earlier this year. The story has been removed from the publication’s website, and an editor told us today that the story mistakenly was published before the contributor received approval from their organization.

Today’s headlines:

🏭 CARBON CAPTURE: Argonne National Laboratory researchers are working on new ways to capture carbon from the air by using artificial photosynthesis, mimicking the natural process by which a plant absorbs carbon dioxide from the air. Once captured, the CO2 would be converted to valuable fuels or chemicals. Methanol, which is used as a fuel for making electricity, is one example of a possible end product.

“Our approach aims to combine CO2 capture and artificial photosynthesis into a single process, called photoreactive capture. … We will explore molecular photoreactors that can both scrub CO2 and use sunlight to convert it into useful chemicals,” said Ksenija Glusac, Argonne’s lead investigator on the project and an associate professor of chemistry at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “It would be enormously satisfying to open up a new, environmentally sound means of generating energy.”

⚙️ MANUFACTURING: An Indiana University researcher is using a $70 million U.S. Department of Energy grant to advance energy-efficient and secure technology use in manufacturing as part of a new cybersecurity manufacturing innovation institute. The researcher also founded IU’s IoT Energy Efficiency Lab to use data-driven innovation to help manufacturers reduce their energy consumption.

🔌 ENERGY EFFICIENCY: A project in Detroit led by the University of Michigan and four community organizations will send team members to work with 200 low- and moderate-income households to improve residents’ energy efficiency and lower their bills. Evaluators will develop customized energy efficiency improvement plans that could include adding technologies such as smart thermostats and LED lightbulbs.

💼 JOBS: The Wall Street Journal looks at the trend during the pandemic of tech workers leaving Silicon Valley and New York for tech jobs in America’s mid-section, including at 75F, a smart, energy-saving HVAC control systems developer in Bloomington, Minnesota, and AppHarvest, an energy-efficient indoor farm developer in Lexington, Kentucky.

💡 LIGHT: High school students in Walworth County, Wisconsin, are members of a group called Geneva Lake Astrophysics that is working to reduce light pollution by launching an electronic light-pollution sensor that they designed and built, reports the Star Tribune. Night sky brightening has been linked to increased energy consumption.

🚙 EVs: Nissan is reportedly in talks with Detroit startup Hercules Electric Vehicles to develop an electric pickup truck, according to Bloomberg.

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