Professors Present at Sustainability Workshop

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Left: Ichiro Takeuchi. Right: Gary Rubloff.

MSE professors Ichiro Takeuchi and Gary Rubloff recently presented research aimed at improving electronics and energy storage at the first A. James Clark School of Engineering Sustainability Workshop, held in honor of Earth Day. The workshop invites faculty, students and guests from industry and government to present and propose ways to maximize technology's positive impact on the long-term availability of natural resources, and to minimize its negative impact.

Takeuchi addressed the issue of the need to find replacement manufacturing materials for those that have been shown to have a negative effect on the environment or human health. He explained how combinatorial materials synthesis has allowed his research group to pursue that goal faster and more efficiently in the quest to completely remove lead from electronics. Most recently, he explained, they discovered a lead-free alternative to a widely used lead-based piezoelectric material.

Rubloff introduced the audience to his group's current research into energy storage devices. While wind and solar are attractive alternatives to fossil fuels, the technology to store the electrical energy they generate is inadequate. Rubloff and his collaborators have created collections of millions of identical nanostructures with shapes tailored to transport energy as electrons rapidly to and from the very large surface areas where they are stored. The resulting device is not only more efficient than those currently on the market, but can also be much smaller and inexpensive to produce.

Takeuchi's and Rubloff's 15 minute presentations can be viewed online at the Clark School's MediaSite; Takeuchi's begins at the 57-minute mark and is immediately followed by Rubloff's. Watch the video »

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Published May 8, 2009