Based on results from his recent study, the Energy Institute’s John DeCicco has authored an article for Yale’s Environment 360 blog. This thought-provoking piece opens:
Every U.S. president since Ronald Reagan has backed programs to develop alternative transportation fuels. But there are better ways to foster energy independence and reduce greenhouse gas emissions than using subsidies and mandates to promote politically favored fuels.
Using a community of fungus and genetically modified E. coli, a Michigan Engineering professor has developed a way to turn corn stalks and leaves into biofuel. The process breaks down waste plant materials into a sugar, which is then turned into isobutanol. Professor Nina Lin and her team argue that their isobutanol could be better than ethanol and other biofuels because it can be dropped into the fuel tank or pipeline without any disruption or corrosion.
The Energy Institute is pleased to announce a new round of Partnerships for Innovation in Sustainable Energy Technologies (PISET) funding. This program seeds new interdisciplinary research programs in sustainable energy science, technology, and policy with funding for a University of Michigan Sustainable Energy Research Fellowship. Successful proposals will combine innovative research plans with concrete timelines for establishing independent funding. Full information is available here.
Nina Lin and Neil Marsh met at an Energy Institute-hosted symposium three years ago. Both were interested in biofuels, but their research backgrounds are substantially different: Nina Lin is an assistant professor of Chemical Engineering, and Marsh is a professor in the Chemistry Department and of Biological Chemistry at the Medical School.
Energy Institute Director Mark Barteau has created the organization’s first Faculty Council, a group charged with providing input on Energy Institute initiatives and programs and better connecting UMEI staff with the university’s 140-plus energy faculty. The group met for the first time in July.
The members of the University of Michigan Energy Institute Faculty Council are:
The Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise and the University of Michigan Energy Institute are pleased to announce that Tom Lyon, of the Ross School of Business and the School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE), will be taking over dual responsibilities as Associate Director for Research at the Erb Institute and Associate Director for Social Science and Policy at the Energy Institute (UMEI). Lyon is the University’s Dow Professor of Sustainable Science, Technology and Commerce.
On June 25 in Washington D.C., University of Michigan Energy Institute Director Mark Barteau unveiled the results of a yearlong National Research Council study on diluted bitumen crude oil’s effect on pipelines. Barteau chaired the committee charged with researching the issue.
Daniel Sperling, director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis, is one of two recipients of the 2013 Blue Planet Prize. The prize, announced today by the Asahi Glass Foundation of Tokyo, has been described as the Nobel Prize for the environmental sciences.
More and more plug-in electric vehicles are hitting the roads each year, but is the technology really close to a tipping point for mass-market growth? In this analysis piece for the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), U-M Energy Institute research professor John DeCicco argues that the real turning point for EVs will come only after transportation systems are automated for driverless operation. Read the article here at Automotive Engineering International Online.
Since 2005, the United States has embarked on a steady expansion of renewable fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel, widely touted as a win-win proposition for energy security and the environment. However, the promised breakthroughs in biofuel technology have greatly lagged the rapid ramp-up of production mandated by Congress while adverse side effects of the policy have become ever more clear.