OSU 50 Year Energy Reduction Program Looking Good Two Years In

In year two of a fifty year commitment Ohio State University has improved its energy management and its sustainability rating through real programs like lighting upgrades and using smart technology in its metering. Near future improvements like a combined heating and power plant are looking at bigger impacts.

In 2017, OSU turned over operations of HVAC and electricity to ENGIE Buckeye Operations. This included a billion dollar payment to the university and one hundred and fifty million to support academic programs.

So far the partners have made such progress as the following: converting over one hundred thousand indoor and seventeen hundred outdoor light fixtures to LED; 375 smart meters to help measure utility systems throughout the campus infrastructure; improving systems near the Oval, within the Arts District and for the Health Sciences facilities; they have started upgrade fourteen other buildings to decrease their energy use.

Posted in OSU

Flu Vaccine Development Starts At County Fairs

Researchers from the College of Veterinary Medicine helps with the national task to identify and create vaccines for new flu vaccines. However, there work begins in an seemingly unlikely place; the pig exhibits at state and county fairs.

The CDC reported that the 2009 flu pandemic (originating from pigs) caused sixty million cases of the flu just in the US and about twelve thousand deaths.

After this devastating flu season researchers from OSU and across the nation began their search for knowledge at fairgrounds. The OSU research team now travels to over one hundred fairs each year to swab the noses of pigs.

Researchers stated going to fairs allows them to quickly and easily collect data in a way that wouldn’t be possible going from farm to farm. They are able to test pigs raised and cared for under all kinds of conditions and that variety of data is very useful. If they detect influenza, they grow the virus under laboratory conditions to search for vaccines that will cure a broad spectrum of flu bugs.

Researchers also want to make it clear that while it would be possible to catch a flu bug from a pig at a fair that everyday precautions such as frequent hand washing and consuming food away from barn areas will keep the average person safe.

While current technology always has researchers playing catch up, this new method of data collection has helped to improve things.

Posted in OSU

Researchers Study Dating App Use, Anxiety and Loneliness

Researchers at OSU have found a connection between those who fit into loneliness and social anxiety profiles and those who overuse dating apps to the point of negative outcomes.

Researchers were quick to point out that it isn’t just that these people are using their phone a lot, but that they were skipping school  or not going to work, getting in trouble during class or at work because they specifically were using dating apps on their phones.

The researchers measured compulsive use in participants via survey asking them if they agreed with such statements as “I cannot decrease the amount of time I spend on dating apps.” Participants, through similar questioning, reported that they had skipped school or called off from work or otherwise gotten into trouble over use of these apps.

Many subjects, perhaps unsurprisingly, demonstrated that socially anxious participants were more comfortable meeting and talking to potential partners online. Many of these subjects also reported feeling lonely.

It was this cocktail of anxiety, loneliness, and dating app over-usage being reported by individual subjects that correlated with negative outcomes in their lives. Just one or two of the three wasn’t necessarily enough to produce negative outcomes in subject’s life.
The “Journal of Social and Personal Relationships” will publish the study in a future edition.

Mapping the “warp” In the Milky Way

A team of international astronomers, including some from OSU, have worked up the most detailed Milk Way galaxy model to date, especially the so-called Milky Way warp.
Researchers stated that one of the problems has been they are trying model something that we are inside of—it isn’t as if we can step outside of the Milk Way to look in and around it.

Until recently astronomers thought the galaxy was a perfectly flat, disk like spiral with long arms. It was this research team’s new model that revealed the “warp” and is some of the first evidence to indicate the galaxy may not be a flat plane.

New information reveals the warp is even more pronounced than initially thought. When they started their mapping, the team saw from the star imaging that there was significant warp at the edges of the Milky Way galaxy.

The astronomers’ findings are helping them understand the structure of the galaxy and they help researchers understand how the galaxy formed.

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.