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Carbon Nanotubes and the Sustainability Puzzle



Credit: Katie McKissick, The Kavli Foundation
Matteo Pasquali of Rice University discusses unlocking the power of carbon as a sustainable material, replacing conventional, hard-to-decarbonize materials widely used in infrastructure today.

Newswise — An international team of researchers receives over $4M to advance understanding of carbon nanotube synthesis and its potential for producing industrial materials more sustainably. The foundation’s $1.9M Kavli Exploration Award in Nanoscience for Sustainability sparked an additional $2.2M from Carbon Hub to pursue this important research. The collaboration is led by Matteo Pasquali of Rice University.

“This project is timely and important. The fundamental nanoscience research we are supporting today could eventually help unlock a completely new solution to a vexing sustainability puzzle: the inherent emissions from making steel and other metals. The project also enables the development of new experimental and theoretical methods with wide-ranging applications in nanomaterials, energy, and more,” said Jeff Miller, nanoscience program officer at The Kavli Foundation.

Manufacturing steel, aluminum, and copper generates over 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, yet these materials are in high demand. Since net-zero goals require a tripling of the electricity grid, this will require hundreds of millions of tons of these strong and conductive materials (among their myriad other uses). Significant efforts are underway to reduce metal manufacturing emissions, but what if instead these materials could be replaced with a sustainable alternative?

When synthesized and assembled properly, carbon nanotube fibers can have strength to rival steel and conductivity comparable to copper, making them a promising and more sustainable candidate to replace conventional materials widely used in infrastructure. Raw materials to make nanotubes – natural gas and other hydrocarbons – can be accessed in vast quantities but currently are burned as fuels. As the world turns to non-carbon energy, this resource could become available to produce global quantities of nanotubes, replacing dirtier materials and generating clean hydrogen as a byproduct.

“We already know how to make these materials with the right properties; now we have to understand how to make them efficiently and sustainably, which requires a completely different level of understanding of the underlying processes,” said Pasquali. “Once we figure it out, we will unlock the power of carbon as a sustainable material, and we will make clean hydrogen as a valuable co-product.”

Before this vision can be realized, basic science questions about carbon nanotube synthesis must be addressed. At a Kavli Foundation convening in May 2023, participants from a wide variety of disciplines developed a path to start bridging the gaps in scientific knowledge that are preventing scalable use of carbon nanotubes. For example, attendees noted that carbon nanotube synthesis has typically been studied through reductionist approaches, where a single process is isolated and investigated in detail. These studies have allowed progress, but much faster progress towards opening the kinetic black box could be possible in a more expansive approach that could untangle and characterize the coupling between physical and chemical processes. These discussions led directly to funding this research project.

The approach of this project could also exemplify a path for other materials in the science of scale-up technologies.

“The Kavli Foundation was willing to fund a collaboration of academia and national labs across three continents,” said Pasquali. “This allows us to bring together in a single program all the leading groups and would have been very difficult to accomplish through traditional funding routes.”

Carbon nanotubes come in many shapes and sizes, with different properties to match. With this funding, researchers hope to gain a more nuanced understanding of the reaction dynamics that produce carbon nanotubes, and more specifically, how to most effectively yield high-quality carbon nanotubes. This includes creating new tools and analytical techniques to understand these complex reactions—including how temperature, pressure, and other conditions affect the products—and how to characterize the yielded carbon nanotubes.

The collaborative team includes Rice University scientists Pasquali, Boris Yakobson and Thomas Senftle as well as researchers from universities across the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

  • Adam Boies at University of Cambridge
  • Mauro Bracconi, Matteo Maestri, and Matteo Pelucchi at Politecnico di Milano
  • Matteo Cargnello and Arun Majumdar at Stanford University
  • Phillip Christopher and Eric McFarland at UC Santa Barbara
  • Sili Deng at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Chris Hogan and Marien Simeni at University of Minnesota
  • Christian Reece at Harvard University
  • Eric Stach at University of Pennsylvania
  • Mauricio Terrones at Pennsylvania State University
  • Jeff Blackburn of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory
  • Jeff Fagan of the National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • Seung Min Kin of the Korea Institute of Science & Technology
  • Benji Maruyama of the Air Force Research Laboratory
  • Raghu Sivaramakrishnan of Argonne National Laboratory
  • Juan Jose Vilatela of the Madrid Institute for Advanced Studies, Materials

Source: The Kavli Foundation



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The Weather Network launches its first advertising campaign using an AI-assisted Avatar



OAKVILLE, ON, June 11, 2024 /CNW/ – The Weather Network has launched a first-of-kind ad campaign using an AI-Assisted Avatar of their own Content Creator and Presenter, Rachel Schoutsen. The Weather Network partnered with Home Hardware Stores Limited to showcase storefront and local store callouts where Rachel’s AI-Assisted Avatar covers an Ontario summer forecast, plus a summer sale call to action, designed to drive traffic to Home Hardware locations across Ontario.

Watch this video to see Rachel Schoutsen’s avatar in action

Rachel Schoutsen’s avatar in action.

By leveraging advanced AI technologies, The Weather Network is now able to deliver hyper-local forecasts on a larger scale, providing communities and local economies with opportunities to prepare for and respond to weather-related events. The Weather Network’s mission is to keep its users safe and informed with accurate and localized weather information.

“This partnership puts Home Hardware front and centre when Canadians are engaging with weather content and planning for the summer ahead,” said Simon Jennings, CRO, The Weather Network. “Canadians want to know what to expect as they plan their busiest social days and holidays and can purchase the right products for the weather forecast in their area.”

“Home Hardware is a business built on serving small communities across the country and we are proud to support The Weather Network’s innovative efforts to do the same through AI technology,” said Laura Baker, Chief Marketing Officer, Home Hardware Stores Limited. “Our more than 1,000 stores and the Dealers who operate them make it their mission to provide comprehensive support for all our customers’ home improvement needs within their communities. That means helping Canadians complete and enjoy their outdoor home improvement and yard maintenance projects while also preparing for any inclement weather events.”

With a focus on helping users and businesses make informed decisions using cutting-edge technology, The Weather Network is committed to ensuring the use of avatars in its promotional materials aligns with the highest ethical standards. All promotional materials have a clear disclaimer to ensure its viewers are well informed of AI-created content. In addition, employee avatars are used with their consent and an agreement to participate.

“We are excited about this latest innovation and the opportunities it will provide to our consumers and businesses,” said Maureen Rogers, Managing Director Editorial & Public Alerting, The Weather Network. “As with any new product we launch, we value their input and will use it to continuously improve the product to meet their needs and deliver products that exceed their expectations. We are delighted to have partnered with Home Hardware on piloting this new product with us.”

The Weather Network recently launched Your Weather Assistant, a generative AI tool to transform the way people consume weather information. The introduction of its newly developed AI-Assisted Avatar demonstrates Pelmorex Corp.’s, owner of The Weather Network, commitment to innovation as it evolves into an AI-frontiered weather and climate organization.

About Pelmorex Corp.
Pelmorex Corp., founded in 1989, is an international weather information and data management company. Pelmorex owns and operates the weather brands The Weather Network, MétéoMédia, Eltiempo.es, Clima, and Otempo.pt. It also operates Canada’s National Alert Aggregation and Dissemination System, part of Alert Ready. Through constant innovation and entrepreneurship, Pelmorex has grown to reach consumers around the globe, has become one of the largest weather information providers and has broken new ground in providing data solutions and insights to businesses. Through harnessing the value of weather, Pelmorex is driven to make the world smarter and safer for consumers and businesses. 

To learn more, visit pelmorex.com and follow us on X (platform formerly known as Twitter), Instagram and LinkedIn.

About Home Hardware Stores Limited

Founded 60 years ago in St. Jacobs, Ontario, Home Hardware Stores Limited is proudly Canadian and the country’s largest Dealer-owned and operated home improvement retailer with more than 1,000 stores operating under the Home Hardware, Home Building Centre, Home Hardware Building Centre and Home Furniture banners. The Home Hardware Dealer network improves life at home by providing superior home improvement retail experiences through helpful advice and a deep understanding of the communities they serve. Home Hardware Stores Limited is designated as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies and recognized as one of Canada’s Best Employers. More information about the company is available at homehardware.ca.

SOURCE Pelmorex Corp.



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Space and Tech

NASA’s Newest Spaceplane: Dream Chaser Tenacity Arriving at Kennedy Space Center

Dream Chaser Tenacity arrives at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, a milestone in enhancing ISS resupply missions. New era of commercial spaceplanes begins.



Image Credit: Sierra Space

Sierra Space’s Dream Chaser Tenacity has made an exciting arrival at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, marking a significant milestone in NASA’s initiative to enhance commercial resupply missions to the International Space Station. This uncrewed spaceplane, part of a fleet planned by Sierra Space, is set to deliver 7,800 pounds of cargo using a ULA Vulcan rocket for its inaugural mission.

Pre-Launch Testing and Preparation
Before its arrival at Kennedy Space Center, Dream Chaser Tenacity underwent rigorous testing and preparation. From vibration testing to exposure to extreme temperatures and pressures, the spaceplane and its cargo module, Shooting Star, were meticulously prepared for their journey to the ISS.

Final Preparations at Kennedy
Now at Kennedy Space Center, Dream Chaser Tenacity is undergoing final testing and prelaunch processing inside the Space Systems Processing Facility. The spaceplane is set to launch atop a ULA Vulcan rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, marking the beginning of its mission to deliver cargo to the orbiting laboratory.

Design and Capabilities
With its lifting body design and unique winged structure, Dream Chaser is capable of transporting cargo to and from low Earth orbit and landing on a runway similar to NASA’s space shuttle. The spaceplane, along with the Shooting Star cargo module, offers a versatile and efficient means of resupplying the ISS.

Certification and In-Orbit Operations
Once in orbit, Dream Chaser Tenacity will undergo a series of demonstrations to showcase its maneuverability and docking capabilities. After delivering cargo to the ISS and completing its mission, the spaceplane will return to Kennedy’s Launch and Landing Facility for inspection and preparation for future missions.

The arrival of Dream Chaser Tenacity at Kennedy Space Center heralds a new era in commercial resupply missions to the ISS, showcasing the capabilities of Sierra Space’s innovative spaceplane technology. As NASA continues to expand its partnerships with commercial providers, the Dream Chaser fleet stands ready to support the agency’s goals in low Earth orbit exploration.




  • Rod Washington

    Rod: A creative force, blending words, images, and flavors. Blogger, writer, filmmaker, and photographer. Cooking enthusiast with a sci-fi vision. Passionate about his upcoming series and dedicated to TNC Network. Partnered with Rebecca Washington for a shared journey of love and art.

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Space and Tech

United Launch Alliance Successfully Launches First Crewed Starliner

“The first human spaceflight launch signifies the start of a new era for ULA.”



CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, Fla. /PRNewswire/ — For the first time in history, a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V carrying NASA astronauts aboard Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner lifted off on June 5 at 10:52 a.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex-41 (SLC-41) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida. The launch of NASA astronauts Barry “Butch” Wilmore and Sunita “Suni” Williams marks the return of human spaceflight to Cape Canaveral and extends the Atlas legacy, echoing the launch of U.S. astronaut John Glenn aboard a heritage Atlas LV-3B rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in 1962.

The inaugural human spaceflight launch marks the beginning of a new era for ULA
A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying NASA astronauts Barry “Butch” Wilmore and Sunita “Suni” Williams aboard the Boeing Starliner spacecraft lifts off from Space Launch Complex-41 at 10:52 a.m. EDT on June 5, 2024. Photos by United Launch Alliance

“Safety is a critical part of the ULA decision-making process, and we are deeply honored to have been entrusted with the responsibility of starting the astronauts on their journey to the International Space Station, one that we will watching throughout their mission,” said Gary Wentz, ULA vice president of Government and Commercial Programs. “ULA has performed a tremendous amount of work in conjunction with our partners at Boeing and NASA to ensure our designs provide the highest level of safety to the crew and we will continue to prioritize our dedication to safety as we look forward to future launches in support of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.”

While the mission is continuing, the Atlas V rocket’s job is complete and safely delivered the Starliner and crew to a 98-nautical mile (nmi) sub-orbital trajectory. Following separation from the Atlas V, the Starliner engines ignited to place the crew on their orbital path to the space station.

“My congratulations and sincerest gratitude to our unrivaled team and exceptional partners on the launch of a new era in human spaceflight aboard one of the most reliable rockets in the world,” said Tory Bruno, ULA’s president and CEO. “It’s a profound honor to assist in enabling assured reliability and redundancy of crewed launches.”

All rockets are not created equal. ULA is the nation’s most experienced, reliable and accurate launch service provider delivering unmatched value, a tireless drive to improve, and commitment to the extraordinary. Vulcan’s inaugural launch marked the beginning of a new era of space capabilities and provides higher performance and greater affordability while offering the world’s only high energy architecture rocket to deliver any payload, at any time, to any orbit.

For more information on ULA, visit the ULA website at www.ulalaunch.com and join the conversation on social media @ulalaunch.
Mission webpage
Mission Photo Album Link.

SOURCE United Launch Alliance (ULA)


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