Archive for March 26th, 2013

At the University of Florida last week, sports merged with science when IndyCar driver Simona De Silvestro visited the campus with her #78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy car to discuss STEM opportunities in the energy industry. The event was part of a joint effort between UF’s College of Engineering and the Nuclear Clean Air Energy educational initiative to promote STEM awareness. Read more

Credit: Stuart Miles.

Credit: Stuart Miles.

Today President Barack Obama announced the next step in his effort “to guarantee that the next revolution in manufacturing is made right here in America.” The U.S. Dept. of Energy will make a new $23.5 million investment in five additional innovative manufacturing R&D projects. This new funding for advanced manufacturing — as well as the $54 million invested in 13 projects during the first round of selections in June of 2012 — will serve as a ground floor investment in Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) new Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative (CEMI).

Both CEMI and the new funds were announced at the ribbon cutting of the Department’s Carbon Fiber Technology Facility in Oak Ridge, Tenn., a new advanced manufacturing facility to reduce the cost of carbon fiber — a crucial material for efficient lightweight vehicles, next-generation wind turbines, and a wide array of other consumer and industrial products. Read more

Credit: Jmcdaid

Debate over the Keystone XL pipeline is reaching a turning point, with environmentalists and industry groups, as well as Democrats and Republicans, clashing over whether to allow the conduit to supply crude oil to the U.S. While the negative environmental effects of the pipeline may be exaggerated, so are the economic benefits it will provide. Read more

Credit: Peretz Partensky

The U.S. nuclear energy industry has lost momentum in recent years, as the natural gas boom has made nuclear power seem less economical and the Fukushima reactor crisis in Japan has undermined public and government support for nuclear projects. Can the industry recover from these setbacks? Read more

Supply Chain

As manufacturers race to cut costs, some companies are turning to the demand-driven supply chain to improve their efficiency. Is this business model right for your shop? Read more


In The Power of Habit, author Charles Duhigg looks at the scientific explanations for why habits form and how they can be changed to transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives. Read more

Credit: Michelle Meiklejohn.

Credit: Michelle Meiklejohn.

There’s good news for the nation when it comes to automotive fuel economy. According to a new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report, the U.S. saw a significant 1.4 mpg increase in fuel efficiency in 2012 cars and trucks alongside a continued decrease in carbon pollution.

The EPA report was released in mid-March. The research underscores the major increases the vehicles on U.S. roads have made to both reduce oil consumption and cut emissions, said the agency.

The EPA’s preliminary figures (which are based on estimates provided by automakers) show a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions to 374 grams per mile and an increase in average fuel economy to 23.8 mpg. These numbers represent some of the largest annual improvements since the EPA began tracking fuel economy in the early 1970s. The 2012 figures would also more than make up for a 0.2 mpg dip in fuel efficiency that occurred in 2011 (this slight decrease was attributed to the 2011 earthquake and tsunami-related disruptions to Japanese automakers). Read more

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