A New Strategy for Efficient Hydrogen Production

A joint research team, affiliated with UNIST has introduced the Hybrid-Solid Electrolysis Cell (Hybrid-SOEC) system with highest reported electrochemical performance in hydrogen production. The proposed system has attracted much attention as a new promising option for the cost-effective and highly-efficient hydrogen production, as it shows excellent performance compared with other water-electrolysis systems.

Utility-scale Solar Installations Can Avoid Using Farmland, Study Says

Across the U.S., the energy and agricultural industries are battling it out over whether to place solar panels or crops on large stretches of flat, sunny land. Now, a new study finds that developing solar energy arrays on alternative sites like buildings, lakes, and contaminated land would allow California to meet its 2025 electricity demands without sacrificing farmland.

Drinking coffee may lower risk of early death from colorectal cancer

People with colorectal cancer (CRC) who drank at least four cups of coffee per day after their diagnosis had a significantly lower risk of early death—from either their cancer or any cause—than those who didn’t drink coffee, according to a new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Cleaner air, longer lives

The air we breathe contains particulate matter from a range of natural and human-related sources. Particulate matter is responsible for thousands of premature deaths in the United States each year, but legislation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is credited with significantly decreasing this number, as well as the amount of particulate matter in the atmosphere. However, the EPA may not be getting the full credit they deserve: New research from MIT’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) proposes that the EPA’s legislation may have saved even more lives than initially reported.

In Mussels Across the Globe, Evidence of the Spread of Plastic Pollution

Scientists have discovered tiny bits of plastic in mussels in oceans across the globe, from supposedly pristine Arctic waters near Norway to the coasts of China, Chile, Canada, Britain, and Belgium, Reuters reported. The findings from several recent surveys are the latest evidence that plastic pollution isn’t just ending up in marine environments, but also in the food we eat. 

Climate change: Self-enhancing effect cannot be explained by soil animals

When the soil warms up, it releases more carbon dioxide (CO2) – an effect that further fuels climate change. Until now, it had been assumed that the reason for this was mainly due to the presence of small soil animals and microorganisms that would eat and breathe more in warmer temperatures. However, a new study in Nature Climate Change has shown that this is not the case. Quite the contrary: If warmth is accompanied by drought, the soil animals eat even less. In order to improve the predictive power of climate models, it is now crucial to understand the biological processes in the soil better, say the scientists.

Origins of photosynthesis in plants dated to 1.25 billion years ago

The world’s oldest algae fossils are a billion years old, according to a new analysis by earth scientists at McGill University. Based on this finding, the researchers also estimate that the basis for photosynthesis in today’s plants was set in place 1.25 billion years ago.

Mixing State of Black Carbon from Biomass Burning Differs Evidently in Different Combustion Phase

As a short-lived climate forcer, black carbon aerosols in the atmosphere play a vital role in climate change by absorbing solar radiation and altering the formation, lifespan and albedo of clouds. It also provides "seed" for haze formation in urban/regional scale. In northern China, open biomass burning (OBB), such as straw burning after harvesting, is one of important sources of refractory black carbon (rBC). OBB emits both soot particles and substantial amount of semi-volatile organic matters, both of which will undergo a very complicated mixing and evolution processes in the atmosphere to change their ability to form cloud condensation nuclei.

Can computers help us synthesize new materials?

Last month, three MIT materials scientists and their colleagues published a paper describing a new artificial-intelligence system that can pore through scientific papers and extract “recipes” for producing particular types of materials.

Climate Change Has Doubled Snowfall Around North America's Highest Peak

The amount of snow falling in Alaska’s Denali National Park, home to North America’s tallest mountain, has more than doubled over the past 150 years, according to a new study.