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Can Technology Save the Planet?

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The Thinking Ahead Seminar Series: Emerging Technologies and the Environment, hosted by the Humphrey School of Public Affairs with funding from an Institute on the Environment Mini Grant, explores the newest technologies from multiple disciplines inside and outside the University and their potential to help solve the most daunting environmental challenges. 

On Feb. 25, Larry Wackett, IonE resident fellow and Distinguished McKnight University professor in the College of Science and Engineering, discussed the role of hydraulic fracturing in the new energy landscape and how fracking water is being recycled, conserving the finite resource. "Hydraulic Fracturing, Energy and the Environment" can be viewed online

On March 25, R. Lee Penn, IonE resident fellow and associate professor of chemistry, will discuss the role of nanotechnology in the production of safe, clean and sustainable energy in "Nanoparticles in the Environment: Challenges for Science and Policy." Join the talk from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. in Humphrey School room 180.

The monthly talks are part of the Initiative on Governance of Emerging Technological Systems in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and funded by an IonE Mini Grant. IonE Mini Grants help spur new collaborations by providing small amounts of funding (from $500 to $3,000), administrative support and space to interdisciplinary groups of faculty, staff and students from across the University of Minnesota system. 

For more information and a list of future speakers, contact Leili Fatehi at fateh002@umn.edu.

Image: Matthias Weinberger (Flickr Creative Commons)

Kaler's Spotlight Shines on IonE Projects

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In University of Minnesota president Eric Kaler's year-at-a-glance video on U of M achievements, several IonE-affiliated projects get the spotlight.

A MODEL OF COLLABORATION - The Resilient Communities Project is an initiative of the U's Sustainable Faculty Networkwith funding and administrative support provided by IonE and the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs. In its second year RCP is partnering with the city of North St. Paul to address community-identified sustainability projects. 

HIGH NOTES -  Daniel Crawford, College of Liberal Arts undergraduate; Scott St. George, IonE resident fellow and professor of geography, College of Liberal Arts; and Todd Reubold, IonE director of communications, put their heads together to develop "A Song of Our Warming Planet," which sets climate change data to music.

ALL THE MORE POWER - The University of Minnesota Morris - West Central Research and Outreach Center project that uses wind energy to produce anhydrous ammonia that can be used as fertilizer was funded through an IonE Initiative for Renewable Energy & the Environment grant. The project is part of a larger goal to reduce fossil fuel consumption in agriculture. 

Connections not featured in the video but ones of which we are equally proud are UMD's Large Lakes Observatory, which is supported by IonE, and Sarah Hobbie, who is an IonE resident fellow. Both are listed on the president's "2013 A Year to Remember" Web page.

John Gulliver: Runoff Wrangler

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This is the first in a series of profiles of IonE resident fellows highlighting the value of their collaborations across the U of M, Minnesota and the world.


Stormwater falling on paved and other impermeable surfaces is the main source of urban runoff. That water is laden with nutrients and minerals that are detrimental to the water quality of rivers and lakes.

IonE resident fellow John Gulliver, a professor in the College of Science and Engineering, has spent more than a decade working on ways to protect water from the ravages of runoff.

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author(s) and not necessarily of the Institute on the Environment/University of Minnesota.

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