Volume 3, Issue 6
March 27, 2017 – April 3, 2017
Jason Mulderrig | Will Atkinson | Rohit Dilip | Anushka Dasgupta

Automotive Industry:
California Upholds Auto Emissions Standards, Setting Up Face-Off With Trump
March 24, 2017 | New York Times | Hiroko Tabuchi
On Friday, California’s clean air agency voted to move forward with the state’s ambitious auto emissions standards, despite the president’s desire to loosen regulations. Because of a Clean Air Act waiver, California has the authority to set its own standards, which hold sway in 12 other states (including New York) that make up over a third of the US vehicle market. The outcome of this divide between state and government could be telling for future issues. -WA

Energy/Environmental Modeling:
Effects of exemplar scenarios on public preferences for energy futures using the my2050 scenario-building tool
March 13, 2017 | Nature Energy | Demski et al.
Political decisions regarding energy policy are largely determined by public opinions on what constitutes an acceptable “energy configuration,” particularly through environmental and economical lenses. This study uses a tool called my2050 to present data on energy futures from a subset in the UK. This study further explores how different energy futures impact areas such as carbon storage, nuclear fuel, etc., and could be used to determine which political actions have the greatest probability of being palatable to the public. -RD

The Grid:
What Rural Alaska Can Teach the World About Renewable Energy
March 26, 2017 | Scientific American | David W. Shaw
Much of Alaska sees the highest electricity costs in the nation, due to transportation expenses, while some of its rural villages have yet to be connected to the grid at all. The article presents Alaska as a fascinating case for the microgrid, which is customizable to small-scale hydro and wind power. Alaska has incorporated such renewable energy microgrids into existing diesel infrastructure surprisingly seamlessly. -AD

High-performance and compact-designed flexible thermoelectric modules enabled by a reticulate carbon nanotube architecture
March 24, 2017 | Nature Communications | Zhou et al.
Thermoelectric materials present an attractive avenue of energy generation, in particular due to the variety of thermal gradients that naturally arise in our daily lives. N-type thermoelectric materials are particularly attractive, but currently are limited in performance due to the absence of n-type materials with high-power factors. This paper uses a carbon nanotube network to develop a high-power factor thermoelectric film, which has significant applications in scaling up production of thermoelectric materials. -RD

Energy Storage:
The Beguiling Promise of John Goodenough’s New Battery Technology
March 17, 2017 | Forbes | James Conca
John Goodenough and his team at the University of Texas, Austin, have created a new battery with an energy density that is three times greater than lithium-ion batteries, which he just so happened to invent three decades ago. This novel battery is a sodium ion battery with a glass electrode (instead of a liquid electrode). This battery seems poised to play a role in future transportation applications as opposed to utility-scale battery storage applications. Be on the lookout for another Goodenough battery to potentially change the future once more! -JPM

Electric Vehicles:
Behind the Quiet State-by-State Fight Over Electric Vehicles
March 11, 2016 | The New York Times | Hiroko Tabuchi
In the past year, several states in America have eliminated tax credits or let tax credits expire for electric vehicles sold in their borders. Some states have even tacked on a required registration fee for electric vehicles purchased in their borders. This is causing great concern for the electric car industry who argues that the industry is still in its infant stages and needs the subsidies to continue to allow the industry to mature. Also, the industry is worried that the measures will allow foreign electric car makers to surge ahead of American electric car makers. Opponents to the electric car measures argue that the subsidies only benefit the rich (who make up the bulk of American electric car ownership) and electric car owners fail to contribute to transportation infrastructure projects/maintenance costs since they do not purchase taxed gasoline. -JPM