Archives—September 2016

Solar Future

Solar Panels
Photo by Portland General Electric.

For Coal Workers, The Solar Future Is Bright

Workers in the coal industry can get jobs in solar, and there are many ways to pay for their retraining. Those are the key findings of a study, “Retraining Investment for U.S. Transition from Coal to Solar Photovoltaic Employment,” recently published in the journal Energy Economics.

The study noted that while coal plants across the nation are shutting down, solar installations are increasing; eventually, many of the workers from coal will be able to transition to solar.

The study also looked at different ways to pay for the retraining of these workers.

“What we set out to do was figure out if it was feasible and how expensive would it be,” said Joshua M. Pearce, Ph.D., associate professor at Michigan Technical University and co-author of the study. “It is remarkably feasible, and on the expense side, it turned out to be trivial.”

Read more at Solar Industry, by Nora Caley.

In Print

Recent alum Chenlong Zhang (MSE/ECE) coauthored a paper with Durdu Guney (ECE) and Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE), “Plasmonic enhancement of amorphous silicon solar photovoltaic cells with hexagonal silver arrays made with nano sphere lithography,” that was featured in Materials Express.

In the News

Joshua Pearce is also quoted by the World Watch Institute in an article: CAN COAL MINERS BECOME SOLAR TECHNICIANS? 

Pearce (MSE/ECE) is quoted in a story “For Former Coal Workers, Renewable Energy Means Renewed Job Market” published by the U.S Embassy and Consulates in South Africa.


3D Printing and Open Sustainability

3D Hubs
3D Hubs

How Green Is 3D Printing?

As a comparatively new technology that has not yet been fully integrated into the larger manufacturing supply chain, 3D printing represents an opportunity to do things differently.

Associate professor Joshua Pearce’s Open Sustainability Technology group at Michigan Technological University proposed a more extensive categorization system that allows 3D printer users to embed their own recycling codes onto 3D-printed parts. Parts made from ABS, for instance, might have an ABS recycling logo on them so that they can be recycled and reused to manufacture other ABS products.

I see us moving more towards a form of truly distributed manufacturing, where individuals fabricate custom products for themselves from free and open-source digital plans. —Joshua Pearce

Read more at Engineering.com, by Michael Molitch-Hou.

In the News

Research by André Laplume (SBE) and Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE)) was covered by Strategy+Business in an article “What Does the Rise of 3D Printing Mean for Global Companies?”

Construction Dive quoted Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) in an article on “How will 3-D printing technology disrupt conventional construction practices?

Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) is quoted by El Heraldo in La arquitectura se preparea para una ‘revolución industrial’ en 3D. El Heraldo is a leading newspaper in Colombia.

In Print

Recent PhD graduate Bas Wijnen (MSE) and undergraduates Emily Petersen (MSE) and Emily Hunt (MSE) co-authored with Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) a paper titled “Free and open-source automated 3-D microscope.” It was featured in The Journal of Microscopy.

 


Hackney Interviewed on Exploding Batteries

Steve Hackney
Steve Hackney

The Washington Post published an article on why Samsung Note 7 batteries are exploding, quoting Michigan Tech Professor Stephen Hackney (MSE). The story also appeared in the Chicago Tribune.

From Tech Today.

Why those Samsung batteries exploded

Lithium ion batteries show up in all sorts of tech these days, from your phone and laptop to airplanes and electric vehicles. But a voluntary recall of about 2.5 million Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones after reports of battery explosions is raising new concerns about their safety.

The reason you can shove so much power into lithium ion batteries is that lithium basically “wants to react to almost anything” — which can lead to explosive results, Hackney said.

Read more at The Washington Post, by Andrea Peterson.