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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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Geothermal

Lessons from Pohang: Solving geothermal energy's earthquake problem

A geothermal energy project triggered a damaging earthquake in 2017 in South Korea. A new analysis suggests flaws in some of the most common ways of trying to minimize the risk of such quakes when harnessing the Earth’s heat for energy.

Energy

When 100% renewable energy doesn't mean zero carbon

As power grids move away from fossil fuels, companies seeking to cut out carbon emissions will have to go beyond commitments to renewables. The type and timing of renewable energy used can have a big effect on environmental benefits. 

Engine

Can we reduce jet engine pollution while improving fuel efficiency?

A new type of combustion chamber could create a win-win for alternative fuel technologies.

Solar school

What happens when schools go solar?

Rooftop solar projects at schools could reduce harmful air pollution, help the environment and enhance student learning while cutting electricity costs, a new study finds.

Offshore wind

What will it take for California to meet its climate goals?

A panel of energy experts including former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz discuss investments and innovations that could help California get on track to meet its 2030 and 2050 climate goals.

Solar panels

Do solar panels and home batteries save energy?

Thinking about investing in rooftop solar? Probably a good idea environmentally almost anywhere, Stanford researchers find. Eyeing a home battery, too? Think again.

Greenery with globe graphic

Green New Deal: The science behind the politics

The sweeping plan to overhaul transportation, energy and other sectors failed a recent U.S. Senate vote, but remains a political lightning rod. Stanford experts discuss the science behind the politics.

Laptop

AI accurately predicts the useful life of batteries

Scientists have found how to accurately predict the useful lifespan of lithium-ion batteries before their capacities start to wane. The advance could accelerate battery development and reduce manufacturing costs.

Wind energy

Costa Rica: A 'decarbonization lab' for the world?

In a speech at Stanford, Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado Quesada described a vision for the Central American country to phase out all carbon emissions by the year 2050. 

Solar

Q&A: The dollars and sense of big batteries on the grid

Storing energy produced by wind or solar for later use has a challenge competing with existing natural gas-fired generation units. But batteries designed for the job could ease the way.

Van Arsdale

As relicensing looms, aging dams face a reckoning

Green power source or fish killer? As older dams around the West come up for relicensing, their owners know that they’ll have to spend heavily to fix problems, while new energy sources are getting cheaper.

Road lights

Why batteries with extra lithium ions fail

Why does stuffing more lithium into battery cathodes lead to their failure? New research illuminating this phenomenon could pave the way to electric cars that can drive longer distances between charges.

Solar panels

Envisioning an energy future with less fear, more cooperation

SunRun CEO Lynn Jurich argued at Stanford Energy Week that cooperation between utilities and solar providers will be key to building a cleaner, more nimble and cost-effective energy system.

Soap bubbles

A new algorithm acts like facial recognition software for materials

The search for the perfect material can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Researchers are leveraging machine learning to change this, potentially aiding the search for better materials for fuel cells, thermoelectric devices and electric car batteries.

Folsom Dam

Droughts boost emissions as hydropower dries up

Recent droughts caused increases in emissions from power generation in several western states as fossil fuels came online to replace hampered hydroelectric power. A new study quantifies the impact.

West Valley Demonstration Project

Q&A: What should we do with nuclear waste?

Nuclear security expert Rod Ewing discusses new recommendations for solving the U.S. nuclear waste problem, why conventional risk assessments don’t go far enough and what makes this challenge more difficult than putting a man on the moon.

Energy

Global carbon dioxide emissions rise even as coal wanes and renewables boom

Renewable energy capacity has hit record levels and global coal use may have already peaked. But the world's carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels increased in 2018, and the trend places global warming targets in jeopardy.  

Capitol Building

What do the midterm results mean for environmental policy?

The recent midterm elections could have far-reaching implications for the direction of federal- and state-level environment and energy policy. Stanford experts discuss ways forward, lessons learned and more.

Oil pump

Researchers map susceptibility to man-made earthquakes

Stanford geophysicists forecast a decline in potentially damaging earthquakes from wastewater injection in Oklahoma and Kansas through 2020.

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