24 episodes

Growing Impact explores cutting-edge projects of Penn State researchers and scientists who are solving some of the world's most challenging energy and environmental issues.

Growing Impact Institutes of Energy and the Environment

    • Science
    • 5.0 • 1 Rating

Growing Impact explores cutting-edge projects of Penn State researchers and scientists who are solving some of the world's most challenging energy and environmental issues.

    Fuels from waste

    Fuels from waste

    Combustible fuels have been around ever since humans realized that they could burn wood. Over time, we discovered new energy sources—fossil fuels, which still dominate the world’s energy portfolio. But what if we could find another fuel source, one that was abundant, easy to procure, and people were happy to give it away? Something like municipal or agricultural waste? One fuel, called hydrochar, which is a proposed replacement for coal, can be made in a laboratory from waste using water and some low-cost catalysts. It might be the answer to a burning energy question.

    • 22 min
    Cleaner community air

    Cleaner community air

    A lot of our lives is impacted by the air we breathe, both inside and outside. And where we live is an important factor in this equation. For those living in the Pittsburgh area, it is likely that they could be impacted by poor air quality related to large industrial sites that dot the western Pennsylvania landscape. To better understand the air quality concerns of this region and how it's impacted by complex terrain, a team of interdisciplinary researchers is working closely with communities and organizations in the region to explore what concerns exist and how they might be addressed.

    • 19 min
    The art of renewable energy

    The art of renewable energy

    As Mihyun Kang sees it, if renewable energy is the future, then it should be engaging and appealing. She combined that idea with her passion for nature and sustainability to develop art installation concepts that she hopes to bring to life throughout Pennsylvania, in an effort to bring rationally sound and emotionally compelling solutions to climate change.

    • 14 min
    Farms of the future

    Farms of the future

    What does it take to get a piece of steak or chicken to someone's table? The amount of time, energy, water, land, and the resulting carbon footprint may be surprising. Today, scientists are exploring the farms of the future, including the generation of meat products through cellular agriculture. These animal-based proteins have plenty of pros, including sustainable production, and groups, ranging from U.S. government to the meat industry, are investigating the future of cellular agriculture.

    • 20 min
    Climate signals from wetlands

    Climate signals from wetlands

    Wetlands are some of the richest ecosystems in the world. They support an extensive variety of plants and animals, from the smallest of microbes to the largest of mammals. Wetlands also filter and protect water, improving its quality. However, as climate change intensifies, wetlands are threatened by changes in precipitation, both too much and too little. They also may provide early signals of climate change. 

    • 15 min
    Food-energy-water dynamics

    Food-energy-water dynamics

    The groundwater level in India is consistently dropping year to year. In fact, India uses more groundwater than any country in the world. However, it is also a nation that lacks water availability, and its population continues to grow. A team of researchers is analyzing how an Indian government policy aimed at installing and using solar irrigation pumps in agriculture may further lower groundwater levels, impact energy use, and help or hinder food production in India.

    • 23 min

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