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News Article | May 15, 2017
Site: www.prnewswire.com

To kick off the alliance in May during Skin Cancer Awareness Month, Topgolf guests at venues across the U.S. will receive life-saving sun safety tips from MD Anderson experts to help prevent skin cancer. During July, guests can join Topgolf in raising funds to end cancer. By making a minimum $5 donation, donors will receive a $10 off game play coupon, valid for use on a return visit to Topgolf. All funds raised through the Topgolf End Cancer Campaign will support programs and research in the Center for Energy Balance in Cancer Prevention and Survivorship at MD Anderson, which aims to better understand the connection between a healthy lifestyle and cancer. Programs funded through this effort include: Approximately half of all cancer cases in the U.S. could be prevented by lifestyle changes that include sun safety, a healthy weight, healthy diet and physical activity. In addition to prevention efforts, MD Anderson is developing tomorrow's cancer treatments today through the nation's largest clinical research program, with more than 9,400 patients enrolled in approximately 1,200 clinical trials last year. "Our new collaboration with Topgolf provides MD Anderson a valuable opportunity to extend cancer prevention and education messaging to new, younger audiences across the U.S.," said Tom Buchholz, M.D., physician-in-chief, MD Anderson. "As the next generation of cancer fighters, millennials are critical to helping MD Anderson achieve its mission to eliminate cancer. By implementing healthy habits early in life, the risk of developing cancer later is drastically reduced." About MD Anderson The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston ranks as one of the world's most respected centers focused on cancer patient care, research, education and prevention. The institution's sole mission is to end cancer for patients and their families around the world. MD Anderson is one of only 47 comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). MD Anderson is ranked No. 1 for cancer care in U.S. News & World Report's "Best Hospitals" survey. It has ranked as one of the nation's top two hospitals since the survey began in 1990, and has ranked first for nine of the past 10 years. MD Anderson receives a cancer center support grant from the NCI of the National Institutes of Health (P30 CA01672). About Topgolf Topgolf inspires the connections that bring people together for unforgettable good times. Whether it's a date night, girls' night, family outing, happy hour, work breakfast, lunch hour or any other kind of hour, Topgolf makes socializing a sport – literally. Through the premium experience of Play, Food and Music, Topgolf is inspiring people of all ages and skill levels – even non-golfers – to come together for playful competition. Topgolf also brings interactive experiences to the community that facilitate shared moments and deep relationships through Topgolf U golf lessons, weekly leagues, The Topgolf Tour competition, KidZone parties, social and corporate team-building events, and the World Golf Tour (WGT) app. Each venue features high-tech, climate-controlled hitting bays for year-round comfort, delicious food and beverage, live events, music, hundreds of HDTVs and outstanding hospitality. With 32 venues entertaining 10.5 million Guests annually and the world's largest digital golf audience, Topgolf is creating the best times of your life both in-venue and online. To learn more about Topgolf, follow @Topgolf or visit www.topgolf.com To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/topgolf-partners-with-md-anderson-to-help-end-cancer-300457518.html


News Article | May 25, 2017
Site: www.theguardian.com

The world’s major oil producers have voted to continue their production cuts into 2018 in an attempt to prop up the oil price. Under the deal reached by Opec and 11 non-members, including Russia, output cuts of 1.8m barrels a day will be extended for a further nine months. However, the deal failed to impress the market and the oil price started to slide even as the details of the agreement were being hammered out. The price of Brent Crude fell almost 4% to $51.90. It has mostly hovered in the $50-55 range since the original six-month cuts began in January. While the result was expected, it quashed hopes in some quarters that the Vienna meeting would yield even deeper cuts, which the cartel deemed unnecessary. Neil Wilson of ETX Capital said: “Opec members had a chance today but bottled it. A nine-month extension just isn’t enough to really lift oil prices as we’ll continue to see US shale fill the gap. Having said they’d do whatever it takes, Opec is looking a bit toothless now.” Saudi Arabia said the group could have dealt with the oil supply glut by the end of 2017, but was playing it safe. “We would do it in six months but then we’d have a seasonal build [of supply] in the first quarter [of 2018] which could undo what we’ve done – so we went for the safe bet of extending to nine months,” said Khalid al-Falih, the Saudi energy minister. Delegates at the meeting described Russia as a “lynchpin” in winning non-Opec members over. While the agreement has only stabilised the oil price in the short-term, experts hailed it as an important deal. “Opec’s decision is a big one because it shows a commitment to support oil prices into 2018 – and potentially for all of next year,” said Ann-Louise Hittle of Wood Mackenzie. The oil analysis group said that without an extension, prices would have collapsed next year to an annual average of $43 a barrel. Maintaining the cuts would likely set a floor price in the low $50s this year, said Deloitte, which believes the cartel made the right decision in extending rather than deepening curbs. “Deeper cuts would have likely weakened the incentive for high compliance across Opec while encouraging non-Opec producers to accelerate production growth,” said Andrew Slaughter of the Deloitte Center for Energy Solutions. Saudi Arabia rejected the claim that the group’s efforts to stabilise the oil price would be hampered by US oil production rising off the back of the Opec deal. “Shale is an important variable but we don’t believe it’s going to significantly derail or affect what we’re doing. The market is big enough to absorb the expected increased production in shale in 2017,” said Falih. However, observers said that Opec’s ability to shore up prices by curtailing output was constrained by the speed and volume with which US oil production could ramp up. Jason Bordoff, founding Director at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, said: “To the extent Opec cuts production and props up prices, some of those gains are lost to more rapid growth in shale oil, which is very sensitive to changes in price at the levels we are currently seeing.” Some Opec delegates said they did not believe forecasts by the US government, which expect US production up 1m barrels a day year-on-year by December – a level that would offset more than half the cuts of the “Vienna group”. But Bordoff said the forecast did not seem unreasonable. “Recent experience with shale suggests that Opec countries should underestimate shale at their peril,” he warned. The original Opec deal last year has already spurred the US oil industry to return rigs to work at a ferocious rate. Baker Hughes puts the number of rigs at 901 now, up from 404 at the same time last year – and the production from many of those rigs has yet to come through. At the Vienna meeting Opec also accepted Equatorial Guinea as its 14th member.


News Article | May 5, 2017
Site: www.scientificcomputing.com

Recognizing the critical need for scalable energy storage solutions to develop regional energy systems in China, ENN Group of China has joined the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) to advance research in this area. With a three-year membership agreement, the ENN Group will participate in MITEI's Center for Energy Storage Research. The storage center is one of eight Low-Carbon Energy Centers established as part of the Institute's Plan for Action on Climate Change, which calls for engagement with industry to solve pressing challenges of decarbonizing the energy sector with advanced technologies, including energy storage, solar, and bioscience, to name a few. The new centers build on MITEI's existing work with industry members, government, and foundations. These collaborations over the past 10 years have led to groundbreaking discoveries and innovations, such as a first-of-its-kind liquid metal battery for large-scale energy storage. Operating in more than 150 cities in China and globally, ENN is committed to developing a "regional intelligent energy system" in China: combining electricity, natural gas, and heating and cooling needs of industrial and residential customers to achieve greater system-wide efficiency and meet energy demand. To that end, ENN Energy Research Institute now runs several research centers focused on renewable energy technologies, integrated "ubiquitous" energy and information networks, coal-based energy technologies such as gasification and carbon recycling, and environmental protection technologies. ENN sees energy storage as an integral part of a regional intelligent energy solution. "Membership within MITEI and its Center for Energy Storage Research offers an ideal platform for enhanced academic collaboration and open communication with like-minded institutions," said Zhenqi Zhu, president of ENN Energy Research Institute. "Active participation in the MITEI community will expand our technological resource horizons; we look forward to working with other ecologically focused global energy companies to develop 21st century energy innovations." "We are delighted to welcome ENN Group as a new MITEI member," said Robert C. Armstrong, director of MITEI. "ENN's depth of experience in the Chinese energy market and dedication to advancing technologies will be a great asset to our energy storage center as MIT researchers work to develop and bring new energy storage technologies to the market and as companies collaborate on solutions." The energy storage center will draw on cross-disciplinary MIT research in engineering, science, and policy as well as real-world input from stakeholders in industry, government, and nongovernmental organizations -- including ENN -- to hasten the development of new energy storage technologies with the technical performance and cost characteristics needed to provide power sustainably at any place, at any scale, and at any time. The center is led by co-directors Jeffrey Grossman, the Morton and Claire Goulder and Family Professor in Environmental Systems and a professor of materials science and engineering at MIT, and Yang Shao-Horn, the W.M. Keck Professor of Energy and a professor of mechanical engineering and of materials science and engineering at MIT. The research portfolio at the center will mirror the wide variety of energy storage needs that must be addressed to enable greater deployment of renewables in the power sector and more extensive electrification of mobility. Examples include developing new lithium-ion and sodium-ion battery materials with increased storage capacity and fuels that can store solar energy as usable, distributable, on-demand chemical energy. In addition, researchers are investigating ways to control, synthesize, and characterize materials at the atomic and nanometer scales -- work that will facilitate the discovery and design of new materials for storage applications. "ENN's membership brings additional expertise and diversity to the global consortia of MITEI's Low-Carbon Energy Centers," said Wendy Duan, manager of the Asia Pacific Energy Partnership Program at MITEI. "Their enthusiasm about the collaborative research opportunities offered by the centers is indicative of the high level of interest we've been seeing as we talk with other companies in China and throughout Asia. We look forward to ENN's participation and thank them for their support of this vital research."


News Article | May 5, 2017
Site: www.scientificcomputing.com

Recognizing the critical need for scalable energy storage solutions to develop regional energy systems in China, ENN Group of China has joined the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) to advance research in this area. With a three-year membership agreement, the ENN Group will participate in MITEI's Center for Energy Storage Research. The storage center is one of eight Low-Carbon Energy Centers established as part of the Institute's Plan for Action on Climate Change, which calls for engagement with industry to solve pressing challenges of decarbonizing the energy sector with advanced technologies, including energy storage, solar, and bioscience, to name a few. The new centers build on MITEI's existing work with industry members, government, and foundations. These collaborations over the past 10 years have led to groundbreaking discoveries and innovations, such as a first-of-its-kind liquid metal battery for large-scale energy storage. Operating in more than 150 cities in China and globally, ENN is committed to developing a "regional intelligent energy system" in China: combining electricity, natural gas, and heating and cooling needs of industrial and residential customers to achieve greater system-wide efficiency and meet energy demand. To that end, ENN Energy Research Institute now runs several research centers focused on renewable energy technologies, integrated "ubiquitous" energy and information networks, coal-based energy technologies such as gasification and carbon recycling, and environmental protection technologies. ENN sees energy storage as an integral part of a regional intelligent energy solution. "Membership within MITEI and its Center for Energy Storage Research offers an ideal platform for enhanced academic collaboration and open communication with like-minded institutions," said Zhenqi Zhu, president of ENN Energy Research Institute. "Active participation in the MITEI community will expand our technological resource horizons; we look forward to working with other ecologically focused global energy companies to develop 21st century energy innovations." "We are delighted to welcome ENN Group as a new MITEI member," said Robert C. Armstrong, director of MITEI. "ENN's depth of experience in the Chinese energy market and dedication to advancing technologies will be a great asset to our energy storage center as MIT researchers work to develop and bring new energy storage technologies to the market and as companies collaborate on solutions." The energy storage center will draw on cross-disciplinary MIT research in engineering, science, and policy as well as real-world input from stakeholders in industry, government, and nongovernmental organizations -- including ENN -- to hasten the development of new energy storage technologies with the technical performance and cost characteristics needed to provide power sustainably at any place, at any scale, and at any time. The center is led by co-directors Jeffrey Grossman, the Morton and Claire Goulder and Family Professor in Environmental Systems and a professor of materials science and engineering at MIT, and Yang Shao-Horn, the W.M. Keck Professor of Energy and a professor of mechanical engineering and of materials science and engineering at MIT. The research portfolio at the center will mirror the wide variety of energy storage needs that must be addressed to enable greater deployment of renewables in the power sector and more extensive electrification of mobility. Examples include developing new lithium-ion and sodium-ion battery materials with increased storage capacity and fuels that can store solar energy as usable, distributable, on-demand chemical energy. In addition, researchers are investigating ways to control, synthesize, and characterize materials at the atomic and nanometer scales -- work that will facilitate the discovery and design of new materials for storage applications. "ENN's membership brings additional expertise and diversity to the global consortia of MITEI's Low-Carbon Energy Centers," said Wendy Duan, manager of the Asia Pacific Energy Partnership Program at MITEI. "Their enthusiasm about the collaborative research opportunities offered by the centers is indicative of the high level of interest we've been seeing as we talk with other companies in China and throughout Asia. We look forward to ENN's participation and thank them for their support of this vital research."


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Recognizing the critical need for scalable energy storage solutions to develop regional energy systems in China, ENN Group of China has joined the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) to advance research in this area. With a three-year membership agreement, the ENN Group will participate in MITEI's Center for Energy Storage Research. The storage center is one of eight Low-Carbon Energy Centers established as part of the Institute's Plan for Action on Climate Change, which calls for engagement with industry to solve pressing challenges of decarbonizing the energy sector with advanced technologies, including energy storage, solar, and bioscience, to name a few. The new centers build on MITEI's existing work with industry members, government, and foundations. These collaborations over the past 10 years have led to groundbreaking discoveries and innovations, such as a first-of-its-kind liquid metal battery for large-scale energy storage. Operating in more than 150 cities in China and globally, ENN is committed to developing a "regional intelligent energy system" in China: combining electricity, natural gas, and heating and cooling needs of industrial and residential customers to achieve greater system-wide efficiency and meet energy demand. To that end, ENN Energy Research Institute now runs several research centers focused on renewable energy technologies, integrated "ubiquitous" energy and information networks, coal-based energy technologies such as gasification and carbon recycling, and environmental protection technologies. ENN sees energy storage as an integral part of a regional intelligent energy solution. "Membership within MITEI and its Center for Energy Storage Research offers an ideal platform for enhanced academic collaboration and open communication with like-minded institutions," said Zhenqi Zhu, president of ENN Energy Research Institute. "Active participation in the MITEI community will expand our technological resource horizons; we look forward to working with other ecologically focused global energy companies to develop 21st century energy innovations." "We are delighted to welcome ENN Group as a new MITEI member," said Robert C. Armstrong, director of MITEI. "ENN's depth of experience in the Chinese energy market and dedication to advancing technologies will be a great asset to our energy storage center as MIT researchers work to develop and bring new energy storage technologies to the market and as companies collaborate on solutions." The energy storage center will draw on cross-disciplinary MIT research in engineering, science, and policy as well as real-world input from stakeholders in industry, government, and nongovernmental organizations -- including ENN -- to hasten the development of new energy storage technologies with the technical performance and cost characteristics needed to provide power sustainably at any place, at any scale, and at any time. The center is led by co-directors Jeffrey Grossman, the Morton and Claire Goulder and Family Professor in Environmental Systems and a professor of materials science and engineering at MIT, and Yang Shao-Horn, the W.M. Keck Professor of Energy and a professor of mechanical engineering and of materials science and engineering at MIT. The research portfolio at the center will mirror the wide variety of energy storage needs that must be addressed to enable greater deployment of renewables in the power sector and more extensive electrification of mobility. Examples include developing new lithium-ion and sodium-ion battery materials with increased storage capacity and fuels that can store solar energy as usable, distributable, on-demand chemical energy. In addition, researchers are investigating ways to control, synthesize, and characterize materials at the atomic and nanometer scales -- work that will facilitate the discovery and design of new materials for storage applications. "ENN's membership brings additional expertise and diversity to the global consortia of MITEI's Low-Carbon Energy Centers," said Wendy Duan, manager of the Asia Pacific Energy Partnership Program at MITEI. "Their enthusiasm about the collaborative research opportunities offered by the centers is indicative of the high level of interest we've been seeing as we talk with other companies in China and throughout Asia. We look forward to ENN's participation and thank them for their support of this vital research."


News Article | April 25, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Hub will include signature projects in Madagascar and South Asia focused on miner education and health and safety outreach IMAGE: The Tiffany & Co. Foundation is supporting creation of a knowledge-hub on colored gemstones at UD. view more Credit: Photos by Evan Krape and Kathy F. Atkinson/ University of Delaware A new grant from The Tiffany & Co. Foundation will enable University of Delaware's Saleem Ali to create a knowledge-hub on colored gemstones, including signature projects in Madagascar and South Asia focused on miner education and health and safety outreach. According to Ali, Blue and Gold Distinguished Professor of Energy and Environment, there are significant social and environmental concerns around the supply chain of colored gemstones from mines to markets, but also many opportunities for creating sustainable economies from sale and resale of gemstone products. A large majority of the world's colored gemstones are currently mined by hand. While the market price for these gems continues to increase, many individuals who mine colored gemstones remain in poverty. At the same time, most gemstones are mined at a small, artisanal scale, which is poorly regulated, creating occupational health risks too. With $350,000 in support from The Tiffany & Co. Foundation, Ali will create an open-access repository for existing global knowledge around colored gemstones and target critical research necessary to surmount challenges facing individuals involved in colored gemstone mining and manufacturing. "The Tiffany & Co. Foundation has long supported standard setting for the artisanal mining of precious metals and diamonds. The creation of a knowledge-hub for colored gemstones is a key step in addressing issues faced by the miners, cutters and polishers of colored gemstones," said Anisa Kamadoli Costa, chairman and president of The Tiffany & Co. Foundation. "By bringing together expertise from leading universities, the hub will be a valuable tool for the industry to better understand the sector's complexities, increase transparency, advance sustainability and improve conditions on the ground." "By creating a hub at UD, we hope to provide science-based information to enhance sustainability efforts and cross-cutting education and training that can serve as a resource to the colored gemstone supply chain," said Ali, who holds joint appointments in the Department of Geography in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment and UD's Center for Energy and Environmental Policy. Collaborators on the project include colleagues at University of Queensland, Australia, and University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Research will center on four main themes: Two signature projects will focus on empowering miners in Madagascar -- particularly women -- with skills, training and mentoring to increase their revenues from colored gemstone mining, and investigating health and safety aspects surrounding colored gemstone mining and processing in South Asia. "The number of women involved in artisanal mining across the globe is increasing, yet little is known about these women because they typically operate outside the formal economy, are easily exploited and only sell the smallest of stones," explained Ali. Knowledge transfer from best practice among women gemstone miners globally will be encouraged on the knowledge hub and through training and mentoring. In South Asia, the research team will consider concerns about silica, especially fine particles of quartz. Silicosis is a respiratory distress syndrome often found in miners who go into narrow, confined spaces. Silicosis is considered to be a major occupational health risk associated with the mining, cutting and polishing of gemstones. "This is a huge problem. We plan to test and deploy equipment in partnership with industry that miners and gem cutters who are exposed to mineral dust can wear to monitor particulate matter around them," Ali said. On campus, UD's Mineralogical Museum, which is housed in Penny Hall, home to the Department of Geological Sciences, will provide a platform for education. Founded with a gifted collection of minerals from Irénée du Pont Sr., today the museum is part of the University Museums at UD and boasts a collection of approximately 3,000 specimens of minerals, meteorites, gems and carvings. UD's Department of Geological Sciences has expertise in mineral origin and analysis, and performs advanced research on mineral composition and structure in collaboration with the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C., the Smithsonian Institution, and other universities and research institutions. The new UD knowledge-hub will partner with the Smithsonian and other natural history museums having major gemstone collections.


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: news.mit.edu

Chemical reactions that release oxygen in the presence of a catalyst, known as oxygen-evolution reactions, are a crucial part of chemical energy storage processes, including water splitting, electrochemical carbon dioxide reduction, and ammonia production. The kinetics of this type of reaction are generally slow, but compounds called metal oxides can have catalytic activities that vary over several orders of magnitude, with some exhibiting the highest such rates reported to date. The physical origins of these observed catalytic activities is not well-understood. Now, a team at MIT has shown that in some of these catalysts oxygen doesn’t come only from the water molecules surrounding the catalyst material; some of it comes from within the crystal lattice of the catalyst material itself. The new findings are being reported this week in the journal Nature Chemistry, in a paper by recent MIT graduate Binghong Han PhD ’16, postdoc Alexis Grimaud, Yang Shao-Horn, the W.M. Keck Professor of Energy, and six others. The research was aimed at studying how water molecules are split to generate oxygen molecules and what factors limit the reaction rate, Grimaud says. Increasing those reaction rates could lead to more efficient energy storage and retrieval, for example, so determining just where the bottlenecks may be in the reaction is an important step toward such improvements. The catalysts used to foster the reactions are typically metal oxides, and the team wanted “to be able to explain the activity of the sites [on the surface of the catalyst] that split the water,” Grimaud says. The question of whether some oxygen gets stored within the crystal structure of the catalyst and then contributes to the overall oxygen output has been debated before, but previous work had never been able to resolve the issue. Most researchers had assumed that only the active sites on the surface of the material were taking any part in the reaction. But this team found a way of directly quantifying the contribution that might be coming from within the bulk of the catalyst material, and showed clearly that this was an important part of the reaction. They used a special “labeled” form of oxygen, the isotope oxygen-18, which makes up only a tiny fraction of the oxygen in ordinary water. By collaborating with Oscar Diaz-Morales and Marc T. Koper at Leiden University in the Netherlands, they first exposed the catalyst to water made almost entirely of oxygen-18, and then placed the catalyst in normal water (which contains the more common oxygen-16). Upon testing the oxygen output from the reaction, using a mass spectrometer that can directly measure the different isotopes based on their atomic weight, they showed that a substantial amount of oxygen-18, which cannot be accounted for by a surface-only mechanism, was indeed being released. The measurements were tricky to carry out, so the work has taken some time to complete. Diaz-Morales “did many experiments using the mass spectrometer to detect the kind of oxygen that was evolved from the water,” says Shao-Horn, who has joint appointments in the departments of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering, and is a co-director of the MIT Energy Initiative’s Center for Energy Storage. With that knowledge and with detailed theoretical calculations showing how the reaction takes place, the researchers say they can now explore ways of tuning the electronic structure of these metal-oxide materials to increase the reaction rate. The amount of oxygen contributed by the catalyst material varies considerably depending on the exact chemistry or electronic structure of the catalyst, the team found. Oxides of different metal ions on the perovskite structure showed greater or lesser effects, or even none at all. In terms of the amount of oxygen output that is coming from within the bulk of the catalyst, “you observe a well-defined signal of the labeled oxygen,” Shao-Horn says. One unexpected finding was that varying the acidity or alkalinity of the water made a big difference to the reaction kinetics. Increasing the water’s pH enhances the rate of oxygen evolution in the catalytic process, Han says. These two previously unidentified effects, the participation of the bulk material in the reaction, and the influence of the pH level on the reaction rate, which were found only for oxides with record high catalytic activity, “cannot be explained by the traditional mechanism” used to explain oxygen evolution reaction kinetics, Diaz-Morales says. “We have proposed different mechanisms to account for these effects, which requires further experimental and computational studies.” “I find it very interesting that the lattice oxygen can take part in the oxygen evolution reactions,” says Ib Chorkendorff, a professor of physics at the Technical University of Denmark, who was not involved in this work. “We used to think that all these basic electrochemical reactions, related to proton membrane fuel cells and electrolyzers, are all taking place at the surface,” but this work shows that “the oxygen sitting inside the catalyst is also taking part in the reaction.” These findings, he says, “challenge the common way of thinking and may lead us down new alleys, finding new and more efficient catalysts.” The team also included Wesley Hong PhD ’16, former postdoc Yueh-Lin Lee, research scientist Livia Giordano in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Kelsey Stoerzinger PhD ’16, and Marc Koper of the Leiden Institute of Chemistry, in the Netherlands. The work was supported by the Skoltech Center for Electrochemical Energy, the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology, the Department of Energy, and the National Energy Technology Laboratory.


Graphene - Here's What You Should Know There is good news from Spain about an upcoming opportunity for printing human skin to support burn victims and others who will be requiring skin replacement at reasonable costs. This follows the feat of Spanish biologists in making a 3D bioprinter prototype for creating a functional human skin. The research was conducted at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañón and the Center for Energy, Environmental and Technological Research. The study has been published in the scientific journal Biofabrication. "3D bioprinting has emerged as a flexible tool in regenerative medicine," the authors wrote. They said the results have established that 3D bioprinting is a good technology in making bioengineered skin for therapeutical and industrial applications in an automatized manner. "It can be transplanted into patients or used in business settings to test chemical products, cosmetics or pharmaceutical products in quantities and with timetables and prices that are compatible with these uses," said José Luis Jorcano, one of the researchers behind the project. "This method of bioprinting allows skin to be generated in a standardized, automated way, and the process is less expensive than manual production," Alfredo Brisac, CEO of BioDan Group explained. Structure wise, the artificial skin is replicating the real human skin with an epidermis-like external layer for protection, where a thicker layer serves as the dermis and another layer of fibroblast cells for collagen production, which provides the protein required for the elasticity and mechanical strength of the skin. However, there is still a long way to go. Before selling the 3D printed skin to medical centers, there has to be approval from the European regulatory agencies in making sure that the 3D bio printed skin is fit for transplants on burn patients and others. But researchers are hopeful that the new skin printing technology will deliver a functionally safe product and bring relief to millions of patients. Bioprinting deploys printing devices that deposit biological materials to construct 3D artificial tissues using computer devices. They artificially construct living tissue by generating living cells layer-upon-layer. Developed by Gabor Forgacs from the University of Missouri in the U.S., bio-printers can print complex 3D structures by combining "bio ink" and "bio paper." Still at the nascent stage but in the long run can create organs for replacement and develop human tissues from raw biological materials.The leading player in bio-printing industry is Organovo. An insight into how bio-printing works can be useful. For bioprinting, an organ is cut horizontally to see the array of cells on the surface for making the bioInk, which changes into spheroids. When the BioInk is placed inside, the bio-printer spheroids are dropped into the hydrogel, which is the placeholder. By repeated action, layers of spheroids form a 3D tissue. Experimental bioprinters had a starting point from the efforts of Makoto Nakamura, who in 2002 postulated that the droplets of ink in a standard inkjet printer are similar to the size of human cells. The synergy made him adapt the technology and made a bioprinter that can print out biotubing akin to a blood vessel. The benefits include replacing human tissue with full body transplant, cutting the wait list of organ transplants. Printed cells can also offer higher survival rate. At the flip side, the uncertainty whether the replacement cells within the reconstructed organ can be really functional. Large-scale construction also increases the complexity associated with transplantation. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


News Article | February 23, 2017
Site: www.materialstoday.com

Chemical reactions that release oxygen in the presence of a catalyst, known as oxygen-evolution reactions, are a crucial part of many chemical energy storage processes, including water splitting, electrochemical carbon dioxide reduction and ammonia production. The kinetics of this type of reaction are generally slow, but compounds called metal oxides can have catalytic activities that vary over several orders of magnitude, with some exhibiting the highest activities reported to date for this reaction. The physical origins of these observed catalytic activities are, however, not well-understood. Now, a team at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has shown that, in some of these catalysts, oxygen doesn't come only from the water molecules surrounding the catalyst material, but also comes from within the crystal lattice of the catalyst material itself. This finding is reported in a paper in Nature Chemistry by recent MIT graduate Binghong Han, postdoc Alexis Grimaud, professor of energy Yang Shao-Horn, and six others. Their research was aimed at studying how water molecules are split to generate oxygen molecules and what factors limit the reaction rate, Grimaud says. Increasing those reaction rates could lead to more efficient energy storage and retrieval, so determining just where the bottlenecks may be in the reaction is an important step toward making such improvements. The catalysts employed to promote water-splitting reactions are typically metal oxides, and the team wanted "to be able to explain the activity of the sites [on the surface of the catalyst] that split the water," Grimaud says. The question of whether some oxygen gets stored within the crystal structure of the catalyst and then contributes to the overall oxygen output has been debated before, but previous work had never been able to resolve the issue. Most researchers had assumed that only the active sites on the surface of the material were taking any part in the reaction. But the MIT-led team found a way of directly quantifying the contribution that might be coming from within the bulk of the catalyst material, and showed clearly that this was an important part of the reaction. They used a special ‘labeled’ form of oxygen, the isotope oxygen-18, which makes up only a tiny fraction of the oxygen in ordinary water. By collaborating with Oscar Diaz-Morales and Marc Koper at Leiden University in the Netherlands, they first exposed the catalyst to water made almost entirely of oxygen-18, and then placed the catalyst in normal water (which contains the more common oxygen-16). Upon testing the oxygen output from the reaction with a mass spectrometer that can directly measure different isotopes based on their atomic weight, they showed that a substantial amount of oxygen-18, which could not be accounted for by a surface-only mechanism, was indeed being released. The measurements were tricky to carry out, so the work has taken some time to complete. "[Diaz-Morales] did many experiments using the mass spectrometer to detect the kind of oxygen that was evolved from the water," says Shao-Horn, who has joint appointments in the departments of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering, and is also a co-director of the MIT Energy Initiative's Center for Energy Storage. With that knowledge and with detailed theoretical calculations showing how the reaction takes place, the researchers say they can now explore ways of tuning the electronic structure of these metal oxide materials to increase the reaction rate. The amount of oxygen contributed by the catalyst material varies considerably depending on the exact chemistry or electronic structure of the catalyst, the team found. Oxides containing different metal ions showed greater or lesser effects, or even none at all. In terms of the amount of oxygen output that comes from within the bulk of the catalyst, "you observe a well-defined signal of the labeled oxygen," Shao-Horn says. One unexpected finding was that varying the acidity or alkalinity of the water made a big difference to the reaction kinetics. Increasing the water's pH enhances the rate of oxygen evolution in the catalytic process, Han says. These two previously unidentified effects – the participation of the bulk material in the reaction, and the influence of the pH level on the reaction rate – were found only for oxides with record high catalytic activity. "[They] cannot be explained by the traditional mechanism" used to explain oxygen evolution reaction kinetics, says Diaz-Morales. "We have proposed different mechanisms to account for these effects, which requires further experimental and computational studies." This story is adapted from material from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier. Link to original source.


News Article | November 9, 2016
Site: www.theenergycollective.com

As the European Union contemplates new policies aimed at meeting its emissions-reduction commitments under last year’s Paris Agreement on climate change, a new study by researchers at MIT and elsewhere could provide some valuable guidance on the most effective strategy. Rather than adopt a standard for automotive gas-mileage ratings, as the United States has done with its CAFE (corporate average fuel economy) standards for many years, the EU could achieve the same results for CO emission reduction, at far lower cost to the economy, by simply extending their existing emissions-trading system to encompass transportation rather than just electricity generation and energy intensive industry, the researchers found. Switching from the automotive standards to the trading scheme could save as much as 63 billion Euros, says the study’s lead author Sergey Paltsev, deputy director at MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change and senior research scientist at the MIT Energy Initiative. The results have just been published in the journal Transportation, in a paper co-authored by Joint Program researchers Valerie Karplus, Henry Chen, Paul Kishimoto, and John Reilly, and three others. “There are many ways to do policies” to try to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Paltsev says, “and sometimes political reality doesn’t allow you to do things the best way.” But as the EU seeks ways to implement the 40 percent emissions reduction by 2030 that it agreed to at last year’s Conference of the Parties meeting in Paris, policymakers may be well-positioned to use this agreement as an impetus to adopt such an expansion of their emissions trading system. The existing emissions trading system in Europe has not worked well, Paltsev says, partly because its price on carbon is quite low, and partly because it does not encompass enough different emissions-producing sectors of the economy. However, “the system can be fixed, and this is a great opportunity to fix it,” he says. The new analysis, Paltsev says, clearly shows that instead of imposing mileage efficiency standards, “there is a much better way to achieve the relevant targets” for cutting emissions from the transportation sector. He points out that because of high fuel taxes and the resulting high cost of gasoline in Europe, the existing fleet of passenger cars there is already more efficient than the U.S. fleet, so implementing stringent fuel efficiency standards would be more costly for Europe. From an economic point of view, “emissions trading or a carbon tax is going to achieve their emissions goals at the lowest possible cost to society,” says Paltsev, who is an economist and an engineer by training. And the emissions trading system is already established in the EU, he says, even though in its present form the system is flawed because of over-allocation of emission permits and interaction with renewable energy requirements. In addition, it only addresses the most energy-intensive sectors, primarily power generation. However, the trading system could easily be expanded to encompass private vehicles as well, according to Paltsev. Since the goal is to achieve a given amount of reduction in the EU’s overall greenhouse gas emissions, expanding the program to include transportation could achieve the same amount of reduction, according to the new study, “and save money for taxpayers and the European economy — and those savings can be quite substantial,” Paltsev says. The team used a computer model developed at the Joint Program that encompasses the scenarios’ interactive effects on all aspects of the economy, rather than just the transportation sector as most analyses do. For example, the interactive model includes secondary effects such as how manufacturing or service industries may respond to policy changes that affect transportation costs, which can in turn influence the cost of goods. Using this model, the study found that using the emissions trading system instead of a mileage standard could save between 24 and 63 billion Euros in 2025, he says, and “achieve exactly the same goal.” He adds, “I’m an economist, and if I see 63 billion lying on the floor, I say pick it up!” The modeling team also benefited from having access to detailed data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about the costs of meeting fuel standards in this country, whereas analysts in Europe who studied these tradeoffs “didn’t have that luxury,” he says. As a result, their studies were much simpler and “didn’t provide the richness of data the EPA has been able to achieve.” He says the team presented their findings to EU officials in Brussels, and the initial response there was “very receptive, and that’s a good sign.” The approach used by this team is one that they hope will be replicated in analyzing other proposed policy measures and other regions of the world. “It shows you need to have this kind of overarching view, to look at all sectors at the same time,” in order to derive useful policy recommendations. Andreas Schafer, Professor of Energy and Transport at University College London, who was not involved in the analysis, noted that “this study, for the first time, quantifies the vast economic costs of that policy using a general equilibrium framework. Although the figures should be considered with caution (as also suggested by the authors), the extra costs of separate emission standards between 2015 and 2020 compare to roughly half the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 [spending] of around 80 billion Euros over nearly the same period.” The research team also included Andreas Löschel of the University of Münster, in Germany; Kathrine von Graevenitz of the Center for European Economic Research, in Germany; and Simon Koesler of the Center for Energy Policy at the University of Strathclyde, in Glasgow, U.K. The research was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and other sponsors from government, industry, and foundations, through the Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change.

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