Recycling Lithium-ion Batteries

figure from Xu et al. 2020, Joule, vol. 4, p. 2609
Figure from Xu et al. 2020, Joule, vol. 4, p. 2609

Our lives have been changed by lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries which are everywhere: in our cell phones, cars, toys, power tools and grid energy storage. Indeed, the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to the three scientists who invented and developed them.  As the world manufactures more and more Li-ion batteries, what are the challenges and opportunities for recycling them?  How can we prevent the batteries from ending up in landfills where the toxic metals inside can leak out?   In this episode, we talk with Dr. Zheng Chen, a professor of nanoengineering at the University of California, San Diego, and co-author on the paper “Efficient Direct Recycling of Lithium-Ion Battery Cathodes by Targeted Healing” published a few weeks ago in the journal Joule

Hosts: Jill Sjong, Joel Parker
Feature: Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett
Show Producer: Joel Parker
Engineer: Sam Fuqua

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Octopus Wild

Craig Foster with his octopus teacher
Craig Foster with his octopus teacher

This week we review the hit movie “My Octopus Teacher,” the story about a man who goes diving in a kelp forest off the Western Cape of South Africa, and becomes acquainted with an octopus.   We review the movie with Roger Hanlon, a diving biologist, cephalopod expert and senior scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA.   We discuss the octopus’ elaborate camouflage and complex behavior.  We’ll get some answers to our octopus questions:   Do they dream?   Do they play?   Use tools?   Are octopuses a second form of intelligent life on earth?

You can learn more about the South African sea forest at the Sea Change Project.  You can learn more about octopuses at Roger Hanlon’s research.

Host & Producer:   Jill Sjong
Executive Producer:  Beth Bennett
Engineer:   Sam Fuqua

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The Shale Revolution: Weld County’s Golden Goose- Part One

Left: Image courtesy of EcoNation, NZ. Right: Map of active oil and natural gas wells in Colorado.
Left: Image courtesy of EcoNation, NZ. Right: Map of active oil and natural gas wells in Colorado.

This week on How on Earth, we look at the shale industry, which has transformed this country in ways we could not have imagined a decade ago.    How did this happen?   Where do experts think the fracking industry might be going?     In this two-part series, we consider why Wall Street and environmentalists are becoming strange new allies.

We interview Paula Noonan from Colorado Watch, the platform for tracking Colorado Legislature.   We also listen to excerpts from Bethany McLean, author of Saudi America:   the Truth about Fracking and how it’s Changing the World.

Host/Producer:     Jill Sjong
Engineer:   Maeve Conran
Executive Producer:   Susan Moran

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