OSU Arrives at the Future, in a Bright Blue Bus

A bright blue bus is making its way around the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University. The bus is more than a way for students to get around campus; it’s a research platform that could lead to a cleaner campus of the future.

Friday was the first trip around campus for a new hydrogen fuel cell bus. It’s part of the Campus Area Bus System fleet and is on loan from the Stark Area Regional Transit Authority for one year.

Hydrogen fuel cells essentially convert hydrogen into energy to power the bus. The exhaust of the bus is water – as opposed to greenhouse gases. hydrogen fuel cells can be recharged quickly and can run all day. The Center for Automotive Research has installed a hydrogen fueling station at its Kinnear Road location.

The bus serves a research purpose as well. CAR researchers are collecting data on the bus’s performance at Ohio State to share with interested scientists. That transportation research fits with the university’s role as the lead research partner on the Smart Cities initiative. Last summer, Columbus won the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge.

So more than just a strange blue bus on campus, it’s one piece of a long-term effort to help people get around in a cleaner and more efficient way.

OSU Joins Volunteer for College Credit Program

Ohio State President Michael V. Drake and John Carey, chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education, announced the university is joining the state’s GIVE back. GO forward program. The program promotes community service among Ohioans 60 years or older by offering the opportunity to earn a college tuition voucher.

Ohio seniors who are enrolled in GIVE back. GO forward complete 100 or more community service hours at one of three area non-profits. They then earn a voucher for three free undergraduate credit hours at Ohio State. Volunteers have a year to complete their service hours.

Up to 100 Franklin County residents can enroll in the program each year. They can choose to support either the Columbus Metropolitan Library, Mid-Ohio Foodbank or St. Stephen’s Community House. Seniors can use the voucher for themselves or donate it to another Ohio resident.

To learn more or to sign up, visit the GIVE back. GO forward website.

When Being A “Friend of a Friend” Keeps the Peace Between Nations

Results suggest that indirect peaceful relationships between nations have a surprisingly strong ability to prevent major conflicts, and that international military alliances may matter more than we typically expect.

Here are many examples of these indirect alliances helping keep the peace. One is the lack of conflict between Turkey and Iran from 1965 to 1979, a period during which they were indirectly connected at two degrees of separation. After losing this connection in 1980, disputes arose between the neighbors, reaching a peak in 1987 when they had a militarized dispute with fatalities.

Many studies have shown that nations with military alliances are less likely to go to war. But this new study is the first to show that neighboring countries without direct alliances are still unlikely to have serious conflicts, as long as they are indirectly connected through an ally in common.

In fact, this peace dividend extends up to three degrees of separation without getting weaker: Nations are much less likely to have wars with their allies, the allies of their allies, and the allies of their allies’ allies.

Funding for the study came from the National Science Foundation and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s Fellowship for Experienced Researchers.

From Trash to Tires: When Food Waste Hits the Road

According to the USDA, Americans consume nearly 100 billion eggs each year. Half are cracked open in commercial food factories, which pay to have the shells hauled to landfills by the ton. There, the mineral-packed shells don’t break down. The second most popular vegetable in the United States – the tomato – also provides a source of filler, the researchers found. Americans eat 13 million tons of tomatoes per year, most of them canned or otherwise processed.

Commercial tomatoes have been bred to grow thick, fibrous skins so that they can survive being packed and transported long distances. When food companies want to make a product such as tomato sauce, they peel and discard the skin, which isn’t easily digestible.

Researchers at The Ohio State University have discovered that food waste can partially replace the petroleum-based filler that has been used in manufacturing tires for more than a century.

In tests, rubber made with the new fillers exceeds industrial standards for performance, which may ultimately open up new applications for rubber. The technology has the potential to solve three problems: It makes the manufacture of rubber products more sustainable, reduces American dependence on foreign oil and keeps waste out of landfills.