New “risk triage” platform pinpoints compounding threats to US infrastructure

Over a 36-hour period in August, Hurricane Henri delivered record rainfall in New York City, where an aging storm-sewer system was not built to handle the deluge, resulting in street flooding. Meanwhile, an ongoing drought in California continued to overburden aquifers and extend statewide water restrictions. As climate change amplifies the frequency and intensity of […]

For campus “porosity hunters,” climate resilience is the goal

At MIT, it’s not uncommon to see groups navigating campus with smartphones and measuring devices in hand, using the Institute as a test bed for research. During one week this summer more than a dozen students, researchers, and faculty, plus an altimeter, could be seen doing just that as they traveled across MIT to measure […]

Making roadway spending more sustainable

The share of federal spending on infrastructure has reached an all-time low, falling from 30 percent in 1960 to just 12 percent in 2018. While the nation’s ailing infrastructure will require more funding to reach its full potential, recent MIT research finds that more sustainable and higher performing roads are still possible even with today’s […]

Research collaboration puts climate-resilient crops in sight

Any houseplant owner knows that changes in the amount of water or sunlight a plant receives can put it under immense stress. A dying plant brings certain disappointment to anyone with a green thumb.  But for farmers who make their living by successfully growing plants, and whose crops may nourish hundreds or thousands of people, […]

Concrete’s role in reducing building and pavement emissions

Encountering concrete is a common, even routine, occurrence. And that’s exactly what makes concrete exceptional. As the most consumed material after water, concrete is indispensable to the many essential systems — from roads to buildings — in which it is used. But due to its extensive use, concrete production also contributes to around 1 percent […]

MIT-designed project achieves major advance toward fusion energy

It was a moment three years in the making, based on intensive research and design work: On Sept. 5, for the first time, a large high-temperature superconducting electromagnet was ramped up to a field strength of 20 tesla, the most powerful magnetic field of its kind ever created on Earth. That successful demonstration helps resolve […]

Making catalytic surfaces more active to help decarbonize fuels and chemicals

Electrochemical reactions that are accelerated using catalysts lie at the heart of many processes for making and using fuels, chemicals, and materials — including storing electricity from renewable energy sources in chemical bonds, an important capability for decarbonizing transportation fuels. Now, research at MIT could open the door to ways of making certain catalysts more […]

Making the case for hydrogen in a zero-carbon economy

As the United States races to achieve its goal of zero-carbon electricity generation by 2035, energy providers are swiftly ramping up renewable resources such as solar and wind. But because these technologies churn out electrons only when the sun shines and the wind blows, they need backup from other energy sources, especially during seasons of […]

Countering climate change with cool pavements

Pavements are an abundant urban surface, covering around 40 percent of American cities. But in addition to carrying traffic, they can also emit heat. Due to what’s called the urban heat island effect, densely built, impermeable surfaces like pavements can absorb solar radiation and warm up their surroundings by re-emitting that radiation as heat. This […]