Category Archives: Research


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.

 




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.

doi:10.1016/j.msea.2016.07.099

From Tech Today.


Pearce on Feeding Billions

Cover Feeding EveryoneJoshua Pearce’s (MSE/ECE) work on alternative foods during global catastrophes was covered in Science.

From Tech Today.

Here’s how the world could end—and what we can do about it

In the end, no amount of research can do much to prevent or mitigate supervolcanoes, or other freak events such as nearby supernova explosions and cosmic blasts of gamma rays. Our only hope of surviving them is a fallback plan. And the bottom line in that plan is food.

At least two scientists have already sketched out a blueprint. In their 2015 book Feeding Everyone No Matter What, David Denkenberger and Joshua Pearce propose several ways to feed billions of people without the help of the sun.

Read more at Science, by Julia Rosen.

In Print

Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) co-authored an article in “Solutions” with Seth Baum and David Denkenberger of the Global Catastrophic Risk Institute titled “Alternative Foods as a Solution to Global Food Supply Catastrophes.”

From Tech Today.


Pearce Publishes on Scoring University VPs for Research

Joshua Pearce
Joshua Pearce

The Times of London’s Higher Education Section ran an article about a paper by Joshua Pearce (MSE) published in the journal Tertiary Education and Management, scoring university vice presidents for research and other senior university executives on their own research productivity.

From Tech Today.

Research scores of US top brass fail to shine

Many university leaders would struggle to get even a junior academic job in their own institution if they were judged on their research record alone, a study has claimed.

The paper, titled “Are you overpaying your academic executive team? A method for detecting unmerited academic executive compensation”, was written by Joshua Pearce, associate professor in material science and engineering at Michigan Technological University, who compared the h-index scores of vice-presidents for research at America’s 10 largest universities against their remuneration.

Read more at Times Higher Education, by Jack Grove.


Office of Naval Research Funding for Paul Sanders

Paul G. Sanders
Paul Sanders

Paul Sanders (MSE/IMP) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $170,042 research and development grant from the U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Naval Research.

Erik Herbert (MSE) and Stephen Hackney (MSE) are Co-PIs on the project “High Temperature Plasticity of Microalloyed Aluminum: Influence of Rapid Solidification and Wrought Processing on Precipitation Strengthening and Deformation Mechanisms.”

This is the first year of a potential three-year project totaling $502,467.

From Tech Today.