41 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 Penn State Institute of Energy and the Environment

    • Science
    • 5.0 • 2 Ratings

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.

    Evaluating lighting efficiency

    Evaluating lighting efficiency

    Before the early 20th century, light measurement lacked a standard, repeatable approach. At that time, scientists developed a spectral sensitivity curve, representing the "average human observer." This graph quantified light output and standardized lamp brightness calculations. Although experts recognized its imperfection and proposed alternatives, this graph, remarkably, remains the standard a century later. On this episode of Growing Impact, we discuss light sources, the measurement of those sources, and how updating this century-old standard could significantly improve energy efficiency.

    • 22 min
    Underground carbon storage

    Underground carbon storage

    Storing carbon dioxide underground could offset the record amounts of CO2 that humans emit each year. If this technology is successful, it could be an answer to climate change impacts, such as rising temperatures and acidification of the ocean. However, the process is complex and costly. A team of researchers is exploring one way liquid CO2 could be injected into rock formations, which may efficiently convert the molecule into a solid.

    • 38 min
    Investigating thawing permafrost

    Investigating thawing permafrost

    Once a frozen haven, climate-driven rising temperatures are rapidly thawing the Arctic permafrost, posing a major threat to communities and infrastructure. Researchers are investigating how these changes will transform rivers, with potential consequences for erosion, sediment transport, and the entire Arctic landscape. Additionally, their project incorporates art to communicate these critical findings in an engaging way.

    • 28 min
    Youth climate leadership

    Youth climate leadership

    The global push to involve youth in climate action is gaining momentum, harnessing their innovative spirit, deep investment in the future, and strong collective voice to combat climate change. Getting young people involved ensures that climate policies are forward-thinking and geared towards sustainable development, while their global solidarity and use of digital platforms amplify the call for urgent action. At the forefront of this movement, Penn State's Global Youth Storytelling and Research Lab aims to become a pivotal transnational research hub, empowering young leaders to shape the future of climate and environmental justice.

    • 25 min
    Low-cost PFAS filtration

    Low-cost PFAS filtration

    For decades, PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) have been a staple in products from detergents to cosmetics, making items more durable and resistant to water and stains. However, the creation and use of these "forever chemicals" is not without consequences. They persist in the environment and are now ubiquitous, even in our drinking water. Emerging evidence links PFAS exposure to significant health risks, prompting a team of researchers to evaluate affordable filtration technology. The team's project aims to safeguard drinking water, especially in communities reliant on well water, by effectively removing PFAS, thus mitigating their impact on public health.

    • 30 min
    Community-powered solar farming

    Community-powered solar farming

    Solar energy's surge, driven by cost efficiency and climate change urgency, is prompting a rapid transition to a renewable energy source with substantial land requirements. This trend parallels past land rushes, like the contentious Marcellus Shale gas movement, triggering reservations among farmers as well as rural citizens and landowners. To inform just and sustainable rural land use with solar, a research team is working in rural communities to determine the potential for harmonious coexistence between solar and agriculture.

    • 35 min

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