Media Watch

Toyota Invests Long-Term in Hydrogen Production

Waste360 -
Toyota has commissioned FuelCell Energy to build a system to make renewable electricity, hydrogen, and water for the car maker’s largest port facility in North America. The project is Toyota’s latest in a series of moves in reach of an ambitious corporate goal: net zero emissions from its operations by 2050. ... FuelCell Energy brought Tri-gen to fruition working with the U.S. Department of Energy, several California agencies, and the University of California at Irvine. Read More

Thessaly: "The existing infrastructure is outdated" - The similarities with Derna in Libya

To Vima -
A strong storm hit the northeastern coast of Libya last Sunday, causing two dams to burst in the port of Derna, causing a torrential flood that has killed more than 5,000 people. These floods are a terrifying example of how infrastructure can collide with climate and geography and ultimately turn a storm into a disaster. However, risk and damage can vary widely, and a whole "recipe" of factors determines the effects of a severe storm in each location, University of California, Irvine civil and environmental engineer [and Professor] Brett Sanders, founder of UCI Flood Lab. Read More
Society of Women Engineers

Tech Stewards Expand the Scope of Responsible Engineering

The Society of Women Engineers -
A University of California, Irvine associate dean guides her students in studying the latest issues involving law, privacy, and policy, including in social media, AI, and computer networks. “We look at end-user devices — smartphones, smart speakers, browsers, Internet of Things (IoT) — and explore and try to expose whether tech companies collect the data, and whether they use the data for targeting consumers,” said Athina Markopoulou, Ph.D., associate dean for graduate and professional studies at the University of California, Irvine Samueli School of Engineering. She also serves as faculty mentor for UC Irvine’s new Women in CyberSecurity chapter.  … Educating engineers in a holistic way is key to transforming the profession. Hopeful signs are emerging there, too. Magnus Egerstedt, Ph.D., [Stacey Nicholas] dean of engineering for the Henry Samueli School of Engineering [and professor of electrical engineering & computer science] at the University of California, Irvine, worked to obtain a $50 million gift from Susan Samueli, Ph.D., and Henry Samueli, Ph.D., to create three new multidisciplinary research institutes at the university. Read More
The New York TImes

Why Floods Can Turn So Deadly, So Fast

The New York Times -
A powerful storm hit Libya’s northeast coast on Sunday. Two dams burst upstream from the port city of Derna, causing a torrential flood that has killed more than 5,000 people, according to local officials. … Derna is also built on top of an alluvial fan, a type of landscape formed at the base of mountain ranges by loose sediment washing down rivers and streams. These landscapes are known to be at risk of “ultrahazardous flooding,” said Brett Sanders, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of California Irvine. When alluvial fans experience heavy rainfall, floods tend to strike suddenly, travel very quickly, and carry a lot of sediment and debris that can bulldoze whatever is in the way. [Subscription required, campus-wide access provided by UCI Libraries. Sign-up here:] Read More

Bioluminescent waves fueled by plankton super swimmers -
Now, for the first time, a study led by scientists at UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Jacobs School of Engineering has pinpointed how this plankton species — a dinoflagellate — was able to create such an exceptionally dense bloom. The answer lies in dinoflagellates’ remarkable ability to swim, which lends them a competitive advantage over other species of phytoplankton. According to the authors, this swimming ability can lead to the formation of dense blooms, including those of the bioluminescent variety. … In addition to [Drew] Lucas, [Bofu] Zheng, and [Clarissa] Anderson, the study was co-authored by Peter Franks, Tamara Schlosser, Uwe Send, and Andrew Barton of Scripps Oceanography; Kristen Davis [associate professor of civil & environmental engineering] of the University of California Irvine; and Heidi Sosik of WHOI. Read More
The Desert Sun

How one Cathedral City neighborhood was destroyed by Tropical Storm Hilary

Palm Springs Desert Sun -
“The flood zone was something that was known, what I think no one expected was the possibility of mud coming down and maybe clogging up some of the designated flow paths, causing them to back up and flow into this neighborhood,” said Brett Sanders, professor of civil and environmental engineering at UC Irvine. Sanders says the mud could have resulted from the intensity of the rainfall, which can mobilize more sands and turn into a mudflow. [Subscription required, you can request an electronic copy of the article by sending an email to] Read More  

Flights scrapped, businesses shut as super typhoon Saola nears Hong Kong, Guangdong

Reuters -
The havoc caused by typhoons depends on how long they linger over land, one expert told Reuters, citing the example of Tropical Storm Rumbia in 2018. "Despite its moderate intensity, (Rumbia) had an exceptionally long lifespan, lasting a total of 132 hours, with over three days spent over mainland China," said climatologist Shao Sun, [visiting associate researcher, civil & environmental engineering], of the University of California, Irvine. Read More

6 Ways to Boost Diversity Among STEM Faculty

Maryland Today -
Succeeding in academia isn’t always just about exhibiting creativity and hard work—sometimes a “hidden curriculum” of unwritten rules and cultural expectations creates impediments for underrepresented scholars that peers from majority groups never experience. Particularly in STEM fields, this helps lead to severe underrepresentation in both degrees granted and faculty hires in colleges nationwide. … The paper’s other co-authors hail from the University of Texas at Austin; the University of California, San Diego; the University of Tennessee; the University of Florida; the University of Washington; Purdue University; the University of California, Irvine; Brown University; the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; the University of Michigan; Texas A&M University; the University of Massachusetts Amherst; the University of California, Santa Barbara; Arizona State University and Vanderbilt University. Read More

Opinion: Our clean energy transition requires hydrogen — we must treat it fairly

The Hill -
Jack Brouwer, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and director of the Clean Energy Institute (CEI) at the University of California, Irvine writes, “Congress came together to pass the bipartisan Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which includes substantial investments in clean energy technologies. Notably, clean hydrogen received a production tax credit to empower its competition against polluting fossil fuels. … Congress recognized the urgency of nurturing the clean renewable hydrogen industry, and action is required now. Establishing infrastructure and supply chains takes time. Starting the green hydrogen industry now is essential to achieve zero emissions by mid-century, saving lives and enhancing the quality of life … Read More
CBS Los Angeles

OC Supervisors hold climate resiliency investigation hearing

UC Irvine Professor [of engineering] Brett Sanders is a beach erosion expert. The UCI Flood Lab has documented those beaches eroding the fastest, from Sunset Beach, south to San Clemente. Not only do beaches serve as a natural defense against big storms according to Sanders but Orange County sand attracts millions of tourists. “Beaches are the number one driver of Orange County’s tourist economy,” said Sanders. People come to Orange County because of Disneyland, because of beaches and they come here and they stay in our hotels and they go to our restaurants and all these things create jobs for Orange County.” Read More