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Why the Chevy Volt Doesn't Add Up

A Q&A with design and policy expert Jeremy Michalek

5 min read

John Voelcker’s article ”How Green Is My Plug-In?” focuses on the carbon impact of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Their overall effect will depend, of course, on how many are built in the coming years and just what their electric ranges are. IEEE Spectrum ’s David Schneider discussed this issue with Jeremy Michalek, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering and of engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University. Michalek has an upcoming article on the sizing of batteries for such cars in the journal Energy Policy . According to his calculations, plug-in hybrids with big batteries, like the Chevy Volt, may never save consumers any money.

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Ultrasound Stickers Look Inside the Body

New stamp-sized devices can continuously produce clear images of internal organs for days

3 min read
Close-up of a square rectangular clear device affixed to an arm.

Researchers at MIT have developed a bioadhesive ultrasound device, which when adhered to the skin, can possibly replace (or augment) ultrasound imaging wands.


A wearable ultrasound sticker roughly the size of a postage stamp could help enable continuous medical imaging of internal organs for patients on the move, a new study finds.

Ultrasound imaging is one of the most common medical tools for scanning inside the body in a safe, noninvasive manner. Currently, to image with ultrasound, first a liquid gel is applied to a patient's skin that helps transmit ultrasound waves. Then an ultrasound probe, or transducer, is pressed against the gel.

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Solar-to-Jet-Fuel System Readies for Take-Off

Water vapor, carbon dioxide, and concentrated sunlight can now yield kerosene

4 min read
A large outdoor tower reflects sunlight on large mirrors

The pilot-scale solar tower fuel plant is in operation in Spain.

IMDEA Energy

As climate change edges from crisis to emergency, the aviation sector looks set to miss its 2050 goal of net-zero emissions. In the five years preceding the pandemic, the top four US airlines—American, Delta, Southwest, and United—saw a 15 percent increase in the use of jet fuel. Despite continual improvements in engine efficiencies, that number is projected to keep rising.

A glimmer of hope, however, comes from solar fuels. For the first time, scientists and engineers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich have reported a successful demonstration of an integrated fuel production plant for solar kerosene. Using concentrated solar energy, they were able to produce kerosene from water vapor and carbon dioxide directly from air. Fuel thus produced is a drop-in alternative to fossil-derived fuels, and can be used with existing storage and distribution infrastructures, and engines.

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Electromagnetic Simulations in Automotive Industry

Learn how an electromagnetic simulator can be applied to various scenarios in the automotive industry

1 min read

This whitepaper shows several examples of how WIPL-D electromagnetic simulator can be applied to various scenarios in the automotive industry: a radar antenna mounted on a car bumper operating at 24 GHz, 40 GHz, and 77 GHz, an EM obstacle detection at 77 GHz, and vehicle-to-vehicle communication at 5.9 GHz. Download this free whitepaper now!