30 episodes

Redefining Energy - Tech, a channel of the award-winning Redefining Energy podcast, features deep and broad conversations between global decarbonization leaders and technologists and host Michael Barnard.
His informed perspectives on energy, industry and transportation enable him to have intense conversations with brilliant and knowledgeable people.
You’ll be informed, stimulated and amused.

Redefining Energy - TECH Michael Barnard

    • Technology

Redefining Energy - Tech, a channel of the award-winning Redefining Energy podcast, features deep and broad conversations between global decarbonization leaders and technologists and host Michael Barnard.
His informed perspectives on energy, industry and transportation enable him to have intense conversations with brilliant and knowledgeable people.
You’ll be informed, stimulated and amused.

    29. Electrifying the Future: Industrial Heat Redefined (1/2)

    29. Electrifying the Future: Industrial Heat Redefined (1/2)

    In our latest podcast episode, Host Michael Barnard is thrilled to have Paul Martin. Paul, a seasoned chemical engineer, share his profound insights on the electrification of industrial heat processes. Here’s a brief summary of the conversation:

    The discussion kicked off with a critical analysis of the inefficiencies associated with using fire for heat generation compared to electricity. Paul emphasized that electricity not only offers cost advantages but also enhances safety.

    A significant portion of the conversation was dedicated to the concept of exergy, highlighting its crucial role in the energy transition towards decarbonization. Paul underscored the potential of direct electricity usage for heating processes, moving away from traditional methods of burning chemical energy. 

    We also delved into the advancements in battery technology, discussing how these innovations are revolutionizing energy storage and management. Paul provided fascinating insights into the practical applications of batteries in industrial settings, particularly for short-term high-power requirements. 

    The episode further explored the diverse heat requirements in industrial food preparation, comparing the efficiency of natural gas with other energy sources. Paul highlighted the practicalities and benefits of heat pumping in industrial processes, stressing the importance of understanding different heat metrics for efficiency calculations.

    In addition to these technical discussions, Paul addressed the challenges and misconceptions surrounding the technology readiness levels and market readiness of heat pumping applications. He also explained the significance of temperature lift in heat pumping and its applications below 200 degrees Celsius.

    Overall, this episode is a treasure trove of knowledge for anyone interested in industrial heat electrification and the future of energy systems.  

    • 44 min
    28. Blueprints for the Ocean: 3D Printing Coral Ecosystems (2/2)

    28. Blueprints for the Ocean: 3D Printing Coral Ecosystems (2/2)

    In this engaging podcast episode (part 2/2), Professor Amy Wagner Johnson shares the challenges and innovative strategies for coral reef restoration. She highlights the potential of artificial reef materials that support healthy growth without detrimental chemical leaching, and introduces cutting-edge methods like 3D printed structures, referred to as arcs, which are tailored for mobile ecosystems.

    Throughout the conversation, Wagoner Johnson emphasizes the critical need for interdisciplinary collaboration to achieve successful reef restoration. The discussion covers the slow growth rates of coral polyps and the dynamics of larval settlement, both vital for effective reef rebuilding. Challenges such as enhancing disease resistance and adapting to environmental conditions are explored, alongside novel strategies like tenting damaged corals with larvae to boost repopulation efforts.

    Further insights reveal ongoing research into the effectiveness of different substrates and methods to improve larval settlement, underscoring the complex and multifaceted nature of coral reef preservation. Wagoner Johnson calls on global listeners involved in climate solutions and technological advancements to join forces in marine ecosystem conservation, stressing the urgency for diverse expertise and creative solutions.

    The episode concludes with a strong call to action, urging collaborative innovation and collective efforts toward sustainable conservation practices for protecting coral reefs. The discussion not only sheds light on the complexities of coral restoration but also inspires hope through the possibilities of multidisciplinary approaches in environmental conservation.     

    • 38 min
    27. Reef Revival: 3D Printing Coral's Future (1/2)

    27. Reef Revival: 3D Printing Coral's Future (1/2)

    In this insightful episode of "Redefining Energy Tech" (part 1/2) Professor Amy Wagoner Johnson, a materials scientist from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, delves into her groundbreaking work in coral reef restoration. Transitioning from her background in bone tissue engineering, Amy discusses how she applies similar principles to innovate in the field of coral regeneration, utilizing advanced techniques such as 3D printing and material science.

    Wagoner Johnson begins by detailing the significance of coral reefs in supporting biodiversity, protecting shorelines, and sustaining local economies through tourism. Despite their importance, these ecosystems face severe threats from climate change, overfishing, and pollution. To combat these challenges, Wagoner Johnson's research focuses on developing calcium carbonate-based substrates enriched with trace elements, designed to enhance coral skeletal growth and promote larval settlement. This approach is particularly crucial given the rapid environmental changes threatening coral survival and biodiversity.

    A significant aspect of her research involves the use of flume tanks to simulate oceanic conditions that influence larval settlement patterns. By studying the interaction between fluid mechanics and surface structures, Wagoner Johnson and her team are uncovering how to optimize conditions for coral larvae to settle and thrive. Mimicking natural cues from algae, the team explores strategies to encourage larval metamorphosis into polyps, enhancing reef recovery and resilience.

    The podcast episode covers a broad range of topics related to coral reefs, from the basic structure and chemistry of coral polyps to the challenges of adaptation and the potential of oceanic geoengineering to mitigate acidification effects. Each segment builds on Wagoner Johnson's innovative approach to coral restoration, emphasizing collaboration, such as her work with Carmabi Lab in Curaçao and support from the National Science Foundation.

    In closing, the episode touches on future directions for Wagoner Johnson's research, including her plans to incorporate specific minerals into restoration materials to better attract larvae and foster their growth. This episode not only highlights the critical role of interdisciplinary research in addressing environmental issues but also calls for continued support and interest in such vital conservation efforts.

    • 44 min
    26. Autonomy in the Skies: XWing's Flight into the Future (2/2)

    26. Autonomy in the Skies: XWing's Flight into the Future (2/2)

    In the second half of the discussion with Kevin Antcliff from XWing, the focus shifted to the transformative power of autonomy in aviation, exploring its broad applications, the hurdles it faces, and its potential to reshape industries like cargo delivery and aerial photography. The conversation illuminated the critical function of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) across diverse sectors, highlighting their operations within tightly controlled environments managed by advanced ground stations and the essential communication with air traffic controllers for seamless integration into the airspace.
    A central concern discussed was the emerging threat posed by regional air mobility, fuelled by advancements in electric aircraft and digital air traffic control systems, to the realm of general aviation. This led to an exploration of the necessity for structured airspace environments specifically designed for autonomous flight operations—a sharp contrast to the unstructured dynamics of road travel, underscoring the complexities of safely and efficiently integrating autonomous systems into the global airspace.
    Kevin Antcliff shared XWing's journey towards commercial autonomy in cargo delivery, detailing their successes in military demonstrations and laying out an ambitious roadmap for obtaining commercial certification for autonomous cargo delivery within the next decade, despite the challenges posed by rigorous safety regulations. The dialogue opened up about the obstacles in the certification process, against the backdrop of optimistic projections for advancements that could revolutionize logistics, particularly in remote areas.
    The podcast delved into the critical role of autonomous technologies in tackling global sustainability challenges, suggesting their potential to contribute significantly toward creating smarter, greener transportation systems. It painted a future where the rapid evolution of autonomous aviation could lead to more efficient, sustainable, and safer aviation ecosystems.
    The episode highlighted several key insights, including the utility of UAVs in tasks such as aerial photography and agriculture, the evolution and significance of digital air traffic control, the operational challenges and certification hurdles X Wing navigates, and the overarching impact of autonomous technologies in promoting a sustainable, efficient future. This discussion serves as a pivotal resource for stakeholders in the aviation industry and those interested in the intersection of technology, sustainability, and transportation.

    • 42 min
    25. From NASA to Next-Gen: Charting the Course of Electric Flight (1/2)

    25. From NASA to Next-Gen: Charting the Course of Electric Flight (1/2)

    In a captivating episode of "Redefining Energy Tech," host Michael Barnard welcomed Kevin Antcliff, the head of product at X Wing, to discuss the transformative trends in the aviation industry. Kevin, who has an impressive background with a 13-year tenure at NASA, shared his journey from a childhood fascination with aerospace to leading product vision at X Wing, a startup focusing on autonomous aviation.
    At NASA, Kevin was deeply involved in projects related to urban air mobility and autonomy mapping, experiences that fortified his belief in the future of unmanned flight. The conversation delved into the aviation industry's current challenges, including the significant pilot shortages, the high operational and crew expenses, turnover rates, and the restrictive regulatory environment. An important part of their discussion highlighted the advantages of electric aircraft, such as lower certification and maintenance costs and operational savings, which stand in stark contrast to traditional planes.
    Furthermore, they explored the concept of regional air mobility (RAM), emphasizing its potential to utilize existing airport infrastructure to enhance connectivity. This segment brought to light the historical backdrop of the abundance of airports in the US following World War II and the impact of liability concerns on aircraft manufacturing until recent regulatory changes encouraged new entrants into the small plane production market.
    The episode painted a picture of an aviation industry at a pivotal point, moving towards increased autonomy and electrification, driven by the need for cost efficiency, safety improvements, and the leveraging of RAM to improve regional connectivity.
    Kevin's insights from his NASA days, particularly his work on mapping the autonomy landscape and drafting a white paper on RAM, provided valuable context to understand the ongoing shifts in the industry. 

    • 44 min
    24. Charting a Zero Carbon Course: Biofuel Innovations (2/2)

    24. Charting a Zero Carbon Course: Biofuel Innovations (2/2)

    In this insightful second episode, Roberta Cenni, the head of biofuels at the Maersk McKinney Mueller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, delves into the potential of biofuels as a sustainable energy source for the shipping industry.
    With biodiesel currently being the only commercially available biofuel derived from fats, oils, and greases, she discusses its limitations due to supply constraints and explores the possibilities of other biofuels like biomethane and biomethanol, which could be produced from waste materials through processes such as gasification and pyrolysis.
    Cenni elaborates on the technical aspects of converting biomass into valuable fuels, highlighting methods like gasification that converts biomass into synthesis gas for methanol or synthetic diesel production, and pyrolysis, a less energy-intensive process for breaking down solid substances. She also touches on hydrocracking and hydro treating processes that use hydrogen to upgrade biocrude or clean feedstocks of impurities.
    Additionally, the conversation covers the potential of ammonia as an alternative fuel, despite its toxicity risks, emphasizing the importance of safety in its maritime use. The episode not only provides a deep dive into the science behind biofuel production but also stresses the significance of using waste biomass sustainably.
    Cenni's discussion underscores the need for responsible sourcing practices to prevent negative impacts on biodiversity and ensure the sustainability of biofuel production for the shipping industry. Through a comprehensive exploration of biofuels, from their current state to future potentials and challenges, this episode sheds light on the critical role of innovative energy solutions in achieving zero carbon shipping.

    • 46 min

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