Category Archives: News

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.

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, 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?”

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.

Quincy Smelting Works Receives Historical Landmark Award

Quincy Smelter
Quincy Smelter

Quincy smelting works was selected for a 2016 Historical Landmark Award from ASM International the world’s largest association of metals-centric materials engineers and scientists.

The citation reads “The Quincy Smelting Works is uniquely capable of interpreting the final stage of copper production for one of the few native copper ore mining regions on earth.”

The nomination letter was submitted by faculty from Michigan Tech Departments of Social Sciences and Materials Science and Engineering.

Read more at Tech Today.

Materials and Metallurgical Alumni to be Recognized at Reunion Dinner

Alumni Reunion 2016

Outstanding alumni and friends will be recognized at the Alumni Reunion Awards Dinner on August 5, 2016. Among those with degrees related to materials science and engineering or metallurgy are:

Outstanding Young Alumni Awards

Benjamin Almquist ’04 Materials Science and Engineering, London, England

Presented to alumni under the age of 35 who have distinguished themselves in their careers. The award recognizes the achievement of a position or some distinction noteworthy for one so recently graduated.

Almquist examines life at nano-scale, but thinks big. Currently a Lecturer at Imperial College in London where he leads his own research team. At Michigan Tech the award-winning researcher developed and refined an admirable life philosophy: “Leave the world a better place than when you arrived and find a way to enjoy making it happen.”

After earning a PhD from Standford, Almquist eventually moved on to MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Department of Chemical Engineering and Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies where he was awarded an NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein Postdoctoral Fellowship. “My research at MIT focused on new self-assembled biomaterials for treating non-healing diabetic foot ulcers, one of the most devastating complications of diabetes that actually carry a lower 5-year survival rate than breast and prostate cancer,” he explains.

Outstanding Service Award

Joshua ’03 and Jana Fogarty ’05 Materials Science and Engineering, Plymouth, Wisconsin

Presented to alumni and friends making significant contributions to the success of the Association and/or the University.

The Fogarty’s love story is Pure Michigan Tech. They met during Resident Assistant orientation in McNair Hall. In addition to the same college major, materials science, they found common ground in their passion for the outdoors. Josh graduated in spring 2003 and proposed to Jana at the 2004 Winter Carnival All Nighter.

In Winter 2007, they decided it would be fun to gather a few Michigan Tech alumni together for broomball, a tradition that continues. By 2013 more than 100 Michigan Tech Huskies and friends were arriving from seven states to enjoy broomball, chili and each other’s company.

Distinguished Alumni Award

William Bernard, Jr. ’69 Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, Perrysburg, Ohio

This award recognizes alumni who have made outstanding contributions both in their careers and to Michigan Tech over a number of years.

Bernard is tenacity personified. A local boy without resources to afford schooling and living expenses elsewhere, he stayed close to home and worked nearly 40 hours a week while completing his studies. He’s been with the same company for more than 40 years, ascending to sole owner and CEO of Surface Combustions, Inc in 1997.

His first job after graduation was field engineer in the Surface Combustion division of Midland and he progressed into engineering design, contract engineering, marketing, chief engineer and business unit manager roles.

When his division was threatened with closure, Bernard spearheaded a successful buyout, creating Surface Combustion, Inc. and in 1997 became the sole owner.

The 2000 Michigan Tech Academy of Material Science and Engineering Inductee and 2011 ASM International Fellow has earned numerous honors, including the 2009 Center for Heat Treating Excellence Distinguished Service Award and the 2013 ASM International Distinguished Life Membership Award.

Read more at Tech Today, by Brenda Rudiger.

Updates from Tech Today.

Trends in Solar Energy

Solar PanelPearce (MSE/ECE) authored an article “What If All U.S. Coal Workers Were Retrained to Work in Solar?” in the Harvard Business Review.

From Tech Today.

In Print

Joshua Pearce’s (MSE/ECE) work on replacing coal work with solar was reprinted in Industry Week as well as being covered widely in the media including Politico and in articles covering both the US (One Year of Coal CEO Pay Could Retrain Every US Miner to Work in the Solar Industry– Greentech Media) as well as the Australian coal industries: What to do with coal workers? Retrain them for solar, says study.

From Tech Today.

In the News

Joshua Pearce’s (MSE/ECE) research on solar employment has been covered widely including by MIT Technology Review, Epoch Times, Indiana Public Radio, Grist, Clean Technica and Vox in an article: New study: it would be cheap to retrain coal workers for solar jobs

The story has also been picked up in Europe:

From Tech Today.

Solar Energy Is Powering New Careers And It Could Be Absorbing Coal Sector Job Losses

“The coal industry is on a downward slope from which it won’t get off,” Pearce, who teaches electrical engineering, told this reporter. “There is too much competition from not just natural gas but also renewables, and especially solar.”

Read more at Forbes, by Ken Silverstein.

In the News

Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) was quoted on energy industry employment in “One Year of a Coal CEO’s Salary Could Transition U.S. Coal Miners to Work in Solar Industry” in EcoWatch and also in “US solar industry hailed as ‘light at end of tunnel’ for jobless coal miners” in Mining.

From Tech Today.

In the News

Research by Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) was covered by the U.S. Department of State’s Share America.

From Tech Today.

3D Printing Industry and Science

JIBSIn Print

André Laplume (SBE) and Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) co-authored the article “Global value chains from a 3D printing perspective,” which was published in the Journal of International Business Studies.

DOI: 10.1057/jibs.2015.47

From Tech Today.

In the News

3D Print ran a story on 3-D printing research co-authored by Michigan Tech alumni Amberlee Haselhuhn (MSE) and Bas Wijnen (MSE), undergraduate student Michael Buhr (ME), with faculty Paul Sanders (MSE) and Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE).  The story is titled “Aluminum Alloys: Researchers Explore the Microstructure-Property Relationship in Metal 3D Printing.”

From Tech Today.

MSE AIn Print

The article “Structure-Property Relationships of Common Aluminum Weld Alloys Utilized as Feedstock for GMAW-based 3-D Metal Printing” was co-authored by Michigan Tech alumni Amberlee Haselhuhn (MSE) and Bas Wijnen (MSE), undergraduate student Michael Buhr (ME), with faculty Paul Sanders (MSE) and Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE). The article was published in Materials Science and Engineering: A.


From Tech Today.