infrastructure

To solve climate change, we must deal with heat

Almost all of the world’s energy use involves heat, from making steel to refrigerating food. Deep decarbonization without breakthroughs in thermal science and engineering seems inconceivable. Three leaders in the area highlight five important topics to explore.

COVID-19 opportunities

The researchers hypothesize outcomes of the pandemic’s unprecedented socioeconomic disruption, and outline research priorities for advancing our understanding of humans’ impact on the environment.

Wirelessly charging electric cars as they drive

Engineers have demonstrated a practical way to use magnetism to transmit electricity wirelessly to recharge electric cars, robots or even drones. The technology could be scaled up to power electric cars as they drive over highways, robots on factory floors and drones hovering over rooftops.

Rethinking tsunami defense

Careful engineering of low, plant-covered hills along shorelines can mitigate tsunami risks with less disruption of coastal life and lower costs compared to seawalls.

A more holistic way to measure economic fallout from earthquakes

Officials know how to account for deaths, injuries and property damages after the shaking stops, but a new study, based on a hypothetical 7.2 magnitude quake near San Francisco, describes the first way to estimate the far greater financial fallout that such a disaster would have, especially on the poor.

Water heaters’ methane leaks are high, but fixable

Emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from water heaters are higher than previously estimated, especially for a new type of heater growing in popularity, a new Stanford study finds. But simple fixes exist.

A better way to detect underground water leaks

Stanford researchers propose a new way to locate water leaks within the tangle of aging pipes found beneath many cities. The improvement could save time, money and billions of gallons of water.

More rain, less snow increases flooding

By analyzing more than two decades of data in the western U.S., scientists have shown that flood sizes increase exponentially as a higher fraction of precipitation falls as rain, offering insight into how flood risks may change in a warming world with less snow.