Media Watch

Orange County Register

Plans to change incentives for rooftop solar draw backlash

The Orange County Register -
The Public Utilities Commission is pursuing changes to California’s solar incentive system largely because of concerns over inequitable bills for non-solar customers. That premise is supported not only by the utilities but by a UC Berkeley study, by the Natural Resources Defense Council, by UC Irvine renewable energy expert Jack Brouwer, and others. … A problem with increasing the rooftop capacity is that most of the excess energy is sent back to the power grid during the middle of the day, when demand for power is lowest according to Brouwer, director of UC Irvine’s National Fuel Cell Research Center. [Subscription required, campus-wide access provided by UCI Libraries. Sign-up here:] Read More
The Conversation

Insulin was discovered 100 years ago – but it took a lot more than one scientific breakthrough to get a diabetes treatment to patients

The Conversation -
James P. Brody, UCI professor of biomedical engineering writes, “I’m a biomedical engineer, and I teach a course on the history of the treatment of diabetes. With my students, I emphasize the importance of unrelated basic research in the development of medical treatments. The story of insulin illustrates the point that medical innovations build on a foundation of basic science and then require skilled engineers to get a treatment out of the lab and to the people who need it.” Read More
Fast Company

An AI analysis of 800 companies finds that greenwashing is rampant

Fast Company -
Neil Sahota, UCI lecturer, school of engineering writes, “Greenwashing … refers to misleading communication about a company’s environmental practices and impact so as to present an environmentally responsible public image. … But how do we differentiate between greenwashing spin and the true green initiatives when it is incredibly difficult to hold companies accountable for their actions? Thankfully, we have a friend in artificial intelligence.” Read More

Extreme Drought Could Shut Down a Hydroelectric Power Plant In California

VICE - Motherboard -
The possibility that drought would alter the Golden State’s hydropower capacity is not wholly new; in 2018, researchers at the University of California Irvine published a paper predicting that long-term drought would reduce the state’s hydro system’s spinning reserve (its unused, backup energy capacity to be used during periods of high strain) by 41 percent by 2046. The researchers called on grid operators to build additional reservoir capacity to prepare for this eventuality. Read More
Dot. LA

This Student-Run VC Firm Is Funding Big Ideas from SoCal's 'Crescent' of High-Profile Schools

Dot. LA -
California Crescent Fund, a new student-run venture capital firm that exclusively funds student startups based in Southern California, wants to offer young founders the option to turn their ideas into reality while they're still in school. Based in Costa Mesa, Crescent, which refers to the arc of schools curving south from UC Santa Barbara to UC San Diego, is run primarily by six student or recent graduate co-founders — or "managing partners" — and a network of student "university partners" in engineering-heavy schools including UC Irvine, USC, UCLA, UCSD and Claremont College. Read More

No, Facebook and Google Are Not Public Utilities

Wired -
Scott Jordan, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at UC Irvine and former chief technologist at the Federal Communications Commission [said], A search engine that didn’t try to bring the best, most relevant results to the top would be basically worthless. “If you mean nondiscriminatory in a much narrower sense, like does Google’s algorithm include whether the webpage has a conservative or a liberal tint, or is based on anything else—gender, race, what have you—then, yeah, Google might say that they’re nondiscriminatory in these narrower senses. But this doesn’t easily map onto the question of common carriage.” Read More
Two Grad Students Earn IGERT Fellowships

Large-scale wetlands construction seen as effective treatment for farm runoff

National Science Foundation -
Wetlands constructed along waterways are the most cost-effective way to reduce nitrate and sediment loads in large streams and rivers, according to scientists at the University of California, Irvine; the University of Kansas; the University of Minnesota and other institutions. Rather than focusing on individual farms, the researchers suggest that conservation efforts should be implemented at the watershed scale. … "This work would not have been possible without the diverse expertise and perspective of hydrologists, ecologists, geomorphologists, biogeochemists, social scientists and environmental economists," said lead principal investigator Efi Foufoula-Georgiou, [Distinguished Professor, civil & environmental engineering], of the University of California, Irvine. Read More
Irvine Standard

UCI: A new building for new research

Irvine Standard -
UC Irvine has opened its new Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Building, introducing a novel approach to research. Colleges traditionally organize buildings by discipline, while UCI is bringing disciplines together to address grand challenges, such as those involving health, energy and the environment. Read More
Los Angeles Times

After decades of fighting and freeways, Orange County is finally getting a streetcar

Los Angeles Times -
“I think it took a long time to convince people in Orange County that there was a need for it, that there was room for it and that it’s worth the money and the investment,” Sarah Catz, [lecturer], a researcher in the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Irvine and a former OCTA board member, said of light rail. [Subscription required, you can request an electronic copy of the article by sending an email to] Read More

Constructed wetlands are best protection for agricultural runoff into waterways

Phys Org -
"This work would not have been possible without the diverse expertise and perspective of the team composed of hydrologists, ecologists, geomorphologists, biogeochemists, social scientists and environmental economists," said Efi Foufoula, [Distinguished Professor], the lead principal investigator on the project from the University of California, Irvine. "The sustained NSF support allowed us to take a fresh view of the problem and take the time needed to collect extensive field data, build new models and engage with stakeholders. We hope that our results will affect policy and management as the clock ticks to meet the water quality targets of the state." Read More