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Stanford Earth Matters

Science and insights for people who care about Earth, its resources and its environment

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water

New technique brings clean hydrogen fuel one step closer

A new method could pave the way to producing hydrogen fuel in large quantities at dramatically lower costs compared to current processes that rely on platinum.

Solar panels and wind turbines.

A new, cheaper way to store energy from wind and solar

A new type of flow battery that involves a liquid metal more than doubled the maximum voltage of conventional flow batteries and could lead to affordable storage of renewable power.

Nuclear cooling tower

The steep costs of nuclear waste in the U.S.

Expert Rodney C. Ewing discusses how failure to implement a permanent solution for nuclear waste storage and disposal is costing Americans billions of dollars per year. 

Wind energy

Q&A: Getting to Net-Zero Emissions

Stanford researchers discuss what it will take to achieve net-zero carbon emissions, including technology development and political barriers to overcome.

Gas torch

U.S. oil and gas methane emissions are 60 percent higher than EPA reports

A new study shows leakage equals $2 billion dollars in wasted natural gas — enough to supply 10 million households — and provides a roadmap for future emissions research.

East Rift Zone

Geothermal at the foot of Kilauea

Geothermal engineer Roland Horne discusses geothermal energy in the face of natural hazards and a way to tap the earth’s heat far from volcanoes in the future.

Motion

What does the future of energy look like?

Eight Stanford scientists share ideas for how the world can reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and make energy more sustainable, secure and affordable for all.

fresh water stream

Wastewater project harnesses anaerobic bacteria to save energy

A wastewater treatment plant under construction in Redwood Shores will be the largest to test a technology that significantly reduces the cost of cleaning water. The key: bacteria that eschew oxygen while producing burnable methane.

Biorefinery at sunset

A way for carbon capture at biorefineries to pay off

A new paper maps out how tax credits and possible incentives from state fuel standards could allow ethanol producers to profit from removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

exhaust from car

EPA's proposed rollbacks of mileage standards are a terrible idea

Rob Jackson argues in Scientific American that proposed EPA mileage rollbacks are shortsighted and a matter of human health as well as economics.

Traffic

Potential impacts of emissions rule rollback

An economist and climate policy expert discuss the possible consequences to fuel efficiency regulation changes.

fire and pellets

Negative-emissions systems to protect climate

New study examines the potential for biomass growing sites, CO2 storage sites, and co-location. In the near term, the technology could remove up to 110 million tons of CO2, or 1.5% of total U.S. emissions annually. 

surfers with oil rig in background

Stanford law and water quality experts discuss possible offshore oil expansion

If federal plans move ahead, most U.S. coastal waters would be open to offshore oil drilling. Stanford professors look at the issues from California's perspective.

oil wells against a sunset

New map profiles induced earthquake risk for West Texas, New Mexico

A seismic stress map created by Stanford geophysicists can help predict which parts of West Texas and New Mexico may be at risk of fracking-induced earthquakes. The map could guide oil discovery efforts in the region.

neodymium on the periodic table

Critical minerals scarcity could threaten renewable energy future

The supply chains for critical and rare minerals are vulnerable to political and economic disruptions that could hamper the global shift to a renewable energy future.

drill rig in Fayetteville Shale gas play in Arkansas

Small earthquakes at fracking sites may be early indicators of bigger tremors to come

Tiny tremors caused by hydraulic fracturing of natural gas near the surface could be early signs of stressful conditions deep underground that could destabilize faults and trigger larger earthquakes.

Moon rises behind wind turbines.

Stanford researchers test public receptiveness to different wind energy turbines

New research suggests vertical axis turbines, which may have fewer impacts on birds and the environment, could increase public support for new wind energy installations.

Three wind turbines

Winds of change for vertical axis turbines?

New research suggests vertical axis turbines, which may have fewer impacts on birds and the environment, could increase public support for new wind energy installations.

Tony Kovscek and Tae Wook Kim working in a lab

New techniques for removing carbon from the atmosphere

As the world continues to burn 100 million barrels of oil a day – a rate that is expected to continue for the next 50 years – Stanford Earth researchers are developing greener ways of extracting the oil and mitigating the resulting greenhouse gases.

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