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Sustainability News

LightWorks Lecture Series: Achieving zero waste at ASU

February 18, 2014

ZeroWaste1On January 24, 2014, LightWorks kicked off its first lecture series of the new year with a panel-style discussion on Arizona State University’s zero carbon initiative. The discussion addressed ASU’s recent partnership with Ameresco Inc. and Rocky Mountain Institute to achieve climate neutrality goals by 2025. The panelists covered accomplishments made so far and steps to take the university closer to this goal.

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Selling Sunshine: History of Solar Energy at Arizona State University

January 21, 2014

SellingSunshine1In the fall of 2013, ASU Libraries hosted the exhibit Selling Sunshine, which showcased early solar energy research and steps made to solidify Arizona as a national player in solar energy development. The materials in the Selling Sunshine exhibit included technical papers, early reports, photographs, drawings, and much more. The exhibit inspired a conversation about the history of solar energy research and development at ASU and was recorded by ASU Libraries as a featured podcast.

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Energy education made fun through LightWorks’ “Dr. Energy” Platform

December 27, 2013

DrEnergy1The need for future innovators in the energy field is becoming increasingly important to our day and age. In August 2013, LightWorks and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University launched a platform aimed to encourage students and educators to become more involved in energy education. The “Ask an Energy Expert” program is an integral part of ASU’s “Ask An Expert” Program and is hosted by LightWorks. The Dr. Energy platform aims to bring awareness and clarity around energy topics for K-12 students and educators by offering a platform where users can submit questions that are answered by ASU faculty and researchers. Dr. Energy also launched a social media presence that provides a consistent stream of energy-related educational material, games, and news available online.

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Shell GameChanger: Investing in energy innovation for the future

December 5, 2013

ShellGamechanger1Since its foundation in 1996, Shell GameChanger has practiced its open invitation to innovative ideas that have the potential to impact the future of energy. On November 13, GameChangers Henk Mooiweer and Hans Haringa visited Arizona State University to discuss how the program is working toward increasing innovation at Shell by turning ideas into reality. The lecture was made possible by the co-sponsoring of ASU LightWorks and the Center for Science and the Imagination.

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Making good: Solar Mosaic’s Billy Parish inspires future “changemakers”

November 5, 2013

MakingGood1On October 2, ASU’s Changemaker Central hosted Billy Parish, founder and president of Solar Mosaic, The Energy Action Coalition, and Rolling Stone Magazine’s “Climate Hero”. Parish led a student engagement brunch and followed up with an evening lecture in which he shared his inspiring life experience. Parish designed his lecture in a workshop format leaving behind resonating lessons for the audience.

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Clean energy stiches: Paul Nosa’s Solar Sewing Rover visits ASU

October 24, 2013

CleanEnergyStiches1On September 27, 2013, visual artist and Arizona native Paul Nosa visited the Global Institute of Sustainability and the ASU Art Museum for a sewing performance with his Solar Sewing Rover. The sewing machine is portable and powered by a solar panel or a bicycle with an electric generator. Nosa is currently on a cross-country tour to promote people’s creativity, providing a tangible sewn patch of their ideas, and to teach how to use alternative energy sources.

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Securing clean energy through policy: Spotlighting ASU’s Energy Policy Innovation Council

October 4, 2013

CleanEnergyPolicy1The Energy Policy Innovation Council (EPIC) is a leading-edge initiative developed by Arizona State University’s Program on Law and Sustainability. This fast-acting think tank is designed to inform and educate policymakers on current and complex issues in energy policy to advance Arizona’s energy industry potential. EPIC stands to solve one of the most pressing legal questions of sustainability today—securing clean energy laws and regulations for the future.

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Act on climate Phoenix: game-changing steps to combat climate change

August 8, 2013

ActOnClimate1On July 31, 2013, over 150 Phoenicians and 20 participating community organizations took part in the “I Will Act” on climate change challenge. The Act On Climate Change Phoenix event kicked off with an outdoor press conference in the Civic Space Park featuring elected officials, climate experts, and community members. Organizers of the event passed out red umbrellas, sporting the Twitter handle #ActOnClimate, as a visual demonstration against climate change. The red umbrellas were then donated to the homeless and public transit riders to be used for shading against the hot Phoenix sun.

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Not just biofuel: spotlighting the variety of non-fuel options for algae

August 6, 2013

NotJustBiofuel1Although algae has been highlighted for its potential as an alternative fuel source, this special microorganism has also established itself in an array of other marketable fields. Feeds, cosmetics, and plastics are only a few areas in which algae can be utilized to create a product. This blog post will dive deeper into areas of algae research that strengthen and secure the future of important markets other than energy.

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Liquid fuel from sunlight: A spotlight on cyanobacteria

June 28, 2013

WimVermass1Research and development of cleaner sources of energy is becoming increasingly more important in our society. Last week, President Barack Obama announced new measures to tackle climate change which included the need for new energy sources to reduce the nation’s increasing carbon footprint. The potential of cyanobacteria as a producer of biofuel is currently being supported as a cleaner fuel source with promising benefits. Researchers at Arizona State University are looking at how this very versatile and ancient organism and can help build a sustainable energy future.

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Solar-powered plane, Solar Impulse visits Phoenix and ASU

June 5, 2013

SolarImpulse1Solar Impulse, the innovative Swiss solar-powered airplane, arrived in Phoenix on May 4, 2013 marking a succesful first leg of their 2013 Across America mission. The Solar Impulse team participated in a variety of events including the Phoenix Event Week, Arizona State University's Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering Spring 2013 graduation ceremony, and a meeting with Gary Dirks, director of ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability and ASU LightWorks, to learn about ASU’s impressive research and development of solar energy. The Solar Impulse airplane took flight from Phoenix on May 22, 2013.

SolarImpulse2Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, the pilots and founders of the Solar Impulse, plan to fly across the USA from coast-to-coast solely through the use of solar power in their “Across America” challenge. Piccard and Borschberg marked the first leg of their trip as they landed in Phoenix on May 4, 2013. During their time in Phoenix, the Solar Impulse team hosted a Phoenix Event Week that highlighted both the innovative solar airplane and Arizona’s significant strides in solar energy and clean tech development. During the event, Bertrand named Arizona Governor Jan Brewer “Solar Queen” because of the significant investments in solar power that have been made in Arizona. The Solar Impulse Phoenix Event Week proved successful with the support of 2,200 people that came to the Phoenix Sky Harbor International airport to see the solar airplane.

Piccard and Borschberg also addressed the 2013 spring graduates of the ASU Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. The pilots spoke about their project and the Solar Impulse team, which is made up of 90 engineers, technicians, technical advisers, organizers, and communications and media managers. Piccard noted the significance of speaking to ASU engineering graduates as a meaningful part of their trip to Phoenix. Both pilots pointed out the importance of engineers having a diverse set of skills and collaborative techniques, skills that ASU engineering students have learned from the university’s interdisciplinary approach to education and research.

The Solar Impulse has broken barriers from being the first airplane that can fly day and night without the use of fuel. The Solar Impulse left Phoenix heading to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and their landing took place on Thursday, May 23rd. In their trip out of Phoenix, Solar Impulse was followed by a helicopter crew that captured the event on film. Watch the video of the Solar Impulse takeoff from the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport here.

Solar Impulse states that “the development of efficient and renewable energies is as important for the security and prosperity of our society as for the protection of the environment and our natural resources”. The steps that Piccard and Borschberg have taken speak highly to the advancements in solar technology and have helped changed the way we see the future of energy. Arizona State University is also an excellent example of taking the lead to incorporate solar as a present and future energy source, and we commend the Solar Impulse team for their vision and initiative.

Written by Gabrielle Olson, ASU LightWorks

Photos retrieved from Solar Impluse.

ASU LightWorks’ Dr. Ellen Stechel to Showcase Solar-to-fuel Solutions at 50th International Paris Air Show

June 3, 2013

ParisAirShow1The International Paris Air Show, inaugurated in 1909, is the world’s oldest (and largest) aviation show, drawing participants from all over the world. Open to both professionals and the general public, it is the leading global networking event in the aerospace industry and a prime location for the development and display of leading edge aviation and space innovations. The show is organized by Salon International de l'Aeronautique et de l'Espace (SIAE), a subsidiary of Groupement des Industries Françaises Aéronautiques et Spatiales (GIFAS). This year’s event will take place June 17-23, 2013 at Le Bourget Exhibition Center.

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The Human Future: Sir Crispin Tickell urges us to confront issues of our day

May 9, 2013

TheHumanFutureHow do humans work with growing populations? Sir Crispin Tickell, advisory council member of the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford, explores this question in his lecture “The Human Future” which took place on April 11, 2013. This lecture, sponsored as part of the GIOS Wrigley Lecture Series, confronted the issues of adaptation to climate change, the economics of health and wealth, and most importantly, the way we think about sustainability in regards to the future of energy.

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Low-Carbon Fuels from Sunlight and Waste Carbon Dioxide: It is Possible, is it Practical?

April 30, 2013

LowCarbon FuelsA network of issues buried beneath the strategic and economic importance of petroleum and the increasing concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide is complex; however, until addressed, no measure of global sustainability will be obtainable.

If we accept that, any solution to such issues yield lower net carbon emissions by 50-80 percent, then despite obvious advantages, alternative fossil fuel pathways cannot be the ultimate solution for transportation.

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ASU Energy Club hosts Water-Energy Nexus Event on Desalination

April 9, 2013

WaterNexus1Pop quiz question—how much of the earth’s surface is covered in water? The answer is 70%. Although that is a big number, less than 1 percent of that water is actually suitable for human use and consumption. The majority of the water on Earth is full of salt or permanently frozen in glaciers. With large scale usage of clean water for farming, drinking, and washing, the concern of water scarcity and drought comes to mind. Researchers have turned to developing water desalination as a route to protect clean water for the future. If we are able to successfully tackle water-related challenges by desalination, then we could ultimately face the looming effects of climate change and clean water demands for the future.

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ASU Workshop Discusses Social and Ethical Considerations of Solar Energy

March 19, 2013

SolarTour3On February 22, 2013, ASU faculty and students attended an all-day workshop focusing on the larger social, economic, policy, and ethical considerations of solar energy. This event was sponsored by ASU's Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes (CSPO), the National Science Foundation, and the National Academy of Engineering. The speakers and facilitators hosting this event included Clark Miller, the Associate Director of CSPO; Joseph Herkert, an Associate Professor of Ethics and Technology in the School of Letters and Sciences; and Chad Monfreda, a graduate research associate at CSPO.

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