Technology

Generating Electricity from Air, with Jun Yao

As the world explores the promising prospects of mainstream sustainable energy, many have looked towards solutions that optimize carbon footprints and conversion rates. We spoke to Jun Yao, Professor of Engineering at the University of Massachusetts who led the Air Gen project, about the scientific breakthroughs his team have made on air humidity energy conversion—using air filters to capture water particles and taking advantage of their natural charges.

Advancing Sustainable Steel Production, with Adam Rauwerdink

Throughout the past decade, many traditional industries have pushed forward their own revolutions in preparation for a sustainable future. Having fostered a new standard of climate awareness, policymakers and environmental advocates are now shifting their attention to conventional steel production and its air pollution. We spoke with Adam Rauwerdink, a leader in green steel development, to discuss exciting new technologies that use renewable energy and hydrogen to create a cleaner, more sustainable steel production, and the potential for this innovation to revitalize economies and create a healthier planet.

Tracking Emissions with Remote Sensing, with Gavin McCormick

Governments around the globe have committed to enacting policies that regulate the emission of air pollutants. Such regulation is made more difficult, however, when emissions cannot be accurately recorded and monitored. There is a need to create novel strategies to keep track of pollution from factories and facilities. We spoke to Gavin McCormick, the co-founder of the environmental tracking company Climate Trace, about the use of satellite imagery and real-time modeling as one of the major potential game-changers in the field.

Making Electric Heating Accessible and Affordable for Low-income Residents, with Sarah Moskowitz

People in many parts of the US rely on fossil gas to heat their homes during winter. Clean, all-electric heat, such as from heat pumps, is otherwise unaffordable to many low-income people, due to the higher upfront costs compared to a fossil gase furnace. We spoke to Sarah Moskowitz, the Executive Director at the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) of Illinois, a ratepayer advocacy organization, about Chicago’s pioneering effort to support lower-income residents with accessing cheap, accessible all-electric heating.

Reducing Plastic Pollution with Bioplastics, with Raegan Kelly

Petroleum-based plastics have a profound impact on human health and the environment. The production of greenhouse gasses from the creation of plastics and the sheer quantity of plastic waste yielded from human activities significantly contribute to climate change, disrupting marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Bioplastics are a promising solution, upholding the strength of petroleum-based plastics but compostable and biodegradable. We spoke with Raegan Kelly of Better for All about shifting the paradigm of human consumption of plastic by using biodegradable cups.

RERUN: Using CRISPR to Fight Climate Change with Professor Kris Niyogi


When plants photosynthesize, they temporarily remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Could we use gene editing technology CRISPR to enhance photosynthesis and increase the amount of carbon dioxide they remove? UC Berkeley biology Professor and photosynthesis expert Kris Niyogi thinks so, and he says it could fight climate change and enhance food production at the same time. In this episode, Climate Break speaks to Professor Niyogi about his lab’s early-stage research into CRISPR, photosynthesis, and applications to climate change.