Here's the latest news from AirUCI — our events, our people, our science.



Thursday, February 1, 2024

In a February 1st article in Environmental Health News, AirUCI faculty Jun Wu is quoted on her recent study on the association between reproductive health and the environment.  Jun's research found correlations between high levels of air pollution and increased rates of postpartum depression.  A main focus of her work is to help researchers, healthcare providers, and policymakers understand the importance of considering environmental hazards when discussing health during and after pregnancy. “Research is one thing,” Jun said. “How to use the research to really help a vulnerable population is another.”  Read the article

Friday, January 26, 2024

After a viral TikTok video raised questions about lead exposure in Stanley cups, health experts including AirUCI faculty Jun Wu were consulted about the danger.  Most vacuum-insulated reusable water bottles use lead soldering because it's the easiest and cheapest method, says Jun. "It's not just Stanley."  That said, the lead solder is completely enclosed by stainless steel and should not come in contact with your drink, she says. "The risk of lead exposure is really low unless the protective cover is missing or impaired." Read the article

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

AirUCI faculty Jack Brouwer is quoted in a January 17th New York Times article on the effects of very cold weather on electric car batteries. Electric vehicles have two batteries: a low-voltage and a high-voltage. In particularly cold weather, the lower-voltage, 12-volt battery can also lose charge, like it does in traditional vehicles. When that happens, the EV cannot charge at a fast charger until the low voltage battery has been jump-started. “It ends up being very difficult to make battery electric vehicles work in very cold conditions,” Jack said. “You cannot charge a battery as fast or discharge a battery as fast if it’s cold. There’s no physical way of getting around it.” Other colder countries, however, have taken steps to address this issue.  Read the article

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

A paper published in the November 2023 edition of Environmental Science and Technology by AirUCI faculty Annmarie Carlton has been featured as an ACS Editors' Choice.  This  initiative highlights one article each day that is chosen from the entire ACS portfolio, selected for this honor because of its potential for broad public interest.  Her study addresses the fact that agricultural animal waste is the largest contributor to ammonia emissions and a major source of nitrous oxide and methane emissions as well, yet air quality improvement lags behind the national average in agricultural areas where ammonia concentrations and animal density are highest.  Read the publication

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

In January 16th article in the journal Eos, AirUCI faculty Steve Davis is quoted on the concept of submerging seaweed as part of a strategy for mitigating climate change. When these algae photosynthesize, they turn carbon dioxide from the upper ocean into biomass, potentially locking its carbon away for hundreds or even thousands of years, drawing down levels of carbon in the atmosphere. But there are questions about ocean nutrients, ecosystems, and the ability to monitor the effects of submerged seaweed.  "Assessing the effect of sinking seaweed is hard enough, even if you know how much seaweed you’ve harvested and sunk. Having the seaweed drifting around will make it harder," said Steve.  Read the article


Friday, December 29, 2023

In a December 29th article in Wired Magazine, AirUCI faculty Steve Davis is quoted on the likely losses of food crops that we are facing due to the effects of climate change. The loss of traditional growing areas doesn’t only affect the major staple crops—specialty crops such as olives, wine grapes, hops, and oranges are also at risk.  Adaptation strategies such as plant breeding and crop relocation are underway, but adaptation by migration has limits, says Steve. You can, for instance, move a crop in search of lower temperatures but not find the water that it needs to grow.  Read the article

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

On December 20th we learned that Patricia Morris, AirUCI undegrad in the Finlayson-Pitts group, had her proposal to the Undergrad Research Opportunities Program accepted and funded!  UROP provides recognition and funding to UCI undergraduate students from all disciplines in support of research or creative activities under the guidance of UCI faculty members.  Way to go, Patricia!

Thursday, December 14, 2023

AirUCI faculty Jack Brouwer is quoted in a Nature article that discussed concerns about water usage in the generation of green hydrogen for alternative fuels.  Green hydrogen needs to be produced from low-carbon energy sources like wind and solar power, but water is needed to power and operate hydrogen-generating electrolyzers which split the water atoms into hydrogen and oxygen.  "Hydrogen’s water consumption is small compared to what’s currently used in fossil-energy conversion and inconsequential compared to agricultural water use,” says Jack, “but there are serious water availability and delivery challenges at the local and regional levels that will need to be considered.”  Read the article

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

AirUCI faculty Jack Brouwer is quoted in an article describing how California is moving to integrate hydrogen power into our energy systems as the state strives to meet its goal of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.  In October, the federal Department of Energy chose California as one of seven hydrogen hubs, regions where the agency will fund coordinated networks of hydrogen fuel producers, purveyors, and consumers.  A University of California-backed consortium called the Alliance for Renewable Clean Hydrogen Energy Systems, or ARCHES,  will steer up to $1.2 billion in federal funding toward 39 hydrogen infrastructure projects up and down the state.

ARCHES is prioritizing projects that will replace diesel and other dirty fuels used in trucking, port operations and electricity generation. And at least 40 percent of ARCHES benefits will flow to California’s disadvantaged communities alongside freeways, ports, and power plants.  “They're exposed to diesel combustion emissions and they're dying prematurely, they're getting cancer, they're getting asthma,” Jack says. “So I'm super proud that we are focusing the application of hydrogen to these very things that will make the biggest difference in people's lives.”  Read the article

Friday, November 17, 2023

AirUCI faculty Steven Davis, James Randerson, and Vojislav Stamenkovic are among the 13 UCI faculty members who have qualified for Clarivate’s 2023 list of the most influential researchers, as “demonstrated by the production of multiple highly cited papers that rank in the top 1 percent by citations for field and year.”  This Clarivate designation comprises those who have shown significant and broad influence in their field.  Congratulations to Voya, Steve, and Jim!  Read the article