This past week I switched topics from energy sources and began to rather look at sustainability efforts the US has taken or is currently taking. As expected, the effort to act sustainably and eco-friendly is much greater in Iceland compared to the US. So far, through my research I have found that the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has been working to reduce greenhouse emissions through, for example, the AIM act of 2022. This act created new regulations in the production of hydrofluorocarbons (HFC’s) which evidently led to a shift away from the use of HFCs in things like air conditioners, aerosols, refrigerators and more. Additionally, via the Clean Air Act, limits were set regarding the amount of air pollution allowed from fuels and other hazardous pollutants in the air. There are also several companies working on sustainability technologies such as CleanChoice and NextEra Energy.
I also got the opportunity to visit Columbia, sit in on a lecture about PEM cells, and tour the lab with which my on site advisor, Professor Farrauto, works at. In the lecture we covered topics such as the production of energy by acid systems, PEM acid electrolysis of water, hydrogen distribution, and alkaline water electrolysis. Additionally during the tour of the lab, I got to see first hand the efforts that are being taken to extract Co2 from the atmosphere and the various trials to increase efficiency. Since Columbia University is funded by the government to research carbon capture methods it was interesting to see the cutting edge technology and immense knowledge of the PhD students who were working there.
Thank you Professor Farrauto and PhD students!