Power Grid Storage Increases Efficiency and Lowers C02 Emissions

Electricity grids that incorporate storage for power sourced from renewable resources could cut carbon dioxide emissions substantially more than systems that simply increase renewably sourced power, a new study has found.

Electrical grids that implement storage for electricity that comes from renewable resources could decrease C02 emissions more than systems which don’t store energy. The study is a first in looking at the role storage has to play in making renewable energy resources more reliable.

Power grids in California and Texas were examined in the study. Then researchers modeled which kinds of storage might make the best use of each type of renewable energy source. Then extrapolated from there how this might all affect C02 emission levels of the modeled grids.

In California it was found that a whole third of energy might not even be collected at all or simply lost from renewable sources without storage. And adding storage to this system reduced C02 emissions by 90 percent.

The study appears in Nature Communications.

What Kinds of Questions We Ask Children Matter

The kinds of questions teachers ask children when they read books affect how much children learn, according to a new study. The study observed teachers during classroom story time and discovered the questions they ask are often too simple.

Only 24% of what teachers said when not reading the text were even questions. And those questions were answered correctly 85% of the time. While this study observed teachers, the same applies to parents and their children during story time.

Classrooms were monitored while teachers read a 25-page story called Kingdom of Friends in which two friends argue but learn to resolve their differences. All discussion was transcribed by researchers, both the teacher and children. Some five thousand questions by teachers and just under thirty five hundred child responses were recorded.

Over half, 52%, of questions were yes or no type questions. As we would expect most these questions were answered one-word style by children. The rest of the questions asked why and how.

The latter type, researchers say, are the type we need more of because they tend to produce more complex answers from the children.

The study was published by the journal called Early Childhood Research Quarterly.


Posted in OSU

OSU is Using WHAT to Grow Corn?!

Some may have noticed an unusual sight on campus at OSU this July and it, indeed, was knee-high by the forth of July. If you aren’t familiar with this colloquialism it is about corn.
A small crop of corn is growing on campus aided by soil with Com-Til; this is a compost material that uses residual biosolids from Columbus’ wastewater plants.

While it sounds a little gross, the Com-Til project is part of a long history of human’s using their own waste as an agricultural resource and is exploring what that might look like in the future. Com-Til is used all over the city to grow a variety of plants.

This is just one example of how biosolids (a nice, clean term for stuff most of us would rather not ponder) can become a resource for crop production, which in an era of rapidly increasing population and rapidly decreasing resources is a concern.

The project aims to understand what the problems and benefits of using biosolids for crop production. The project is collecting all kinds of data including the perspective of professionals and farmers in using biosolids. This will aid in one of the main goals, changing public perception of the use of such waster materials.

New Autonomous Vehicle Test Center Connected to OSU

A research park dedicated to developing new generations of automated vehicles just opened—and OSU is part of it. The Transportation Research Center added on a 45 million dollar test facility called the Smart Mobility Advance Research Test Center (or SMARTCenter). This high tech facility is about 66% the size of Central Park in NYC.

The SMARTCenter is a collaboration between OSU, the state and JobsOhio. The connection to the test center lets the university maintain its mantel as a leader in self-driving research. Having the worlds best and newest test track in the backyard of the university will be a benefit to students and the community from an educational and job creation standpoint.

The SMARTCenter features the widest and longest data-connected test intersection in the industry. The test operation center is 10k square feet that includes research space and garages. The finished track will be an expansive test center with changeable intersections, roundabouts and road configurations.

The new test center will be fantastic opportunity for students to prepare for the jobs of the future.

Campus Bicycle Clean-Up Program Underway

It is that time of year again—the annual bicycle abatement is happening at the Ohio State University. This program, undertaken by the Dept. of Transportation and Traffic Management. The bikes are then donated to a local program.

The department estimates it collects, on average, 400-500 bikes a year. During the sweep bicycles on campus are tagged with a yellow warning notice. Bike owners have two weeks to move the bikes after tagging. Unmoved bicycles are impounded up to 90 days.

The department stated that even with hundreds of bike racks all over the campus, during the semester bike parking is always at a premium.

Even after the bikes are impounded owners have a chance to reclaim them, given they are able to prove the bike is theirs with a bike lock key, photo identification, sales receipt or some other kind of reasonable evidence of ownership.

The unclaimed bikes go to Third Hand Bike Co-op. The Columbus based nonprofit offers the repaired and safety tested bicycles at low cost to the community along with inexpensive repairs and workshops to increase ridership.