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Winner: Restoring Coal’s Sheen

Swedish energy company takes a novel approach to carbon capture

10 min read
Winner: Restoring Coal’s Sheen
Photo: Plamen Petkov

The industrial age, wrote historian Barbara Freese, “emerged literally in a haze of coal smoke, and in that smoke we can read much of the history of the modern world." In boom economies like India's and China's, where coal meets about three-quarters of the electrical demand, that haze still hangs heavily. Globally, according to a recent influential study done at MIT and data from the International Energy Agency, in Paris, coal accounts for a quarter of energy consumed and more than two-fifths of ­the electricity generated. That makes it the second leading fuel after oil and the world's main source of ­greenhouse-gas emissions.

You can add up all the electricity produced in the world from renewable sources plus nuclear reactors, and it doesn't amount to what coal generates just in the United States and China. It's impossible to imagine our getting along without coal anytime soon. And yet, with concerns rising sharply about climate change, the general expectation is that governments will increasingly be penalizing carbon emissions by taxing them, regulating them, or forcing companies to trade in them. So burning coal could become radically more expensive unless efficient means are found to capture and permanently store carbon dioxide, which right now is pumped into the atmosphere in astonishing quantities.

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The Aftershocks of the EV Transition Could Be Ugly

To avoid unintended consequences, bring realism to the table

10 min read
CEO of Dodge Brand standing on a podium next to a Dodge Charger Daytone SRT concept all-electric muscle car. Behind him a giant screen displaying the sentence: The Rules Have Changed.

Tim Kuniskis, CEO of Dodge Brand, Stellantis, introduces the Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept all-electric muscle car on August 17, 2022 in Pontiac, Michigan.

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

The introduction of any new system causes perturbations within the current operating environment, which in turn, create behavioral responses, some predictable, many not. As University of Michigan professor emeritus and student of system-human interactions John Leslie King observes “People find ways to use systems for their own benefit not anticipated by designers and developers. Their behavior might even be contradictory to hoped-for outcomes.”

“Change rides on the rails of what doesn’t change,” King notes, “including people being self-serving.”

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Forecasting the Ice Loss of Greenland’s Glaciers With Viscoelastic Modeling

Researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany are developing new models to simulate how glaciers behave

8 min read
Aerial view of Nioghalvfjerdsbræ showing the extensive patterns of the crevasses

This sponsored article is brought to you by COMSOL.

To someone standing near a glacier, it may seem as stable and permanent as anything on Earth can be. However, Earth’s great ice sheets are always moving and evolving. In recent decades, this ceaseless motion has accelerated. In fact, ice in polar regions is proving to be not just mobile, but alarmingly mortal.

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