Blog Archive for June 2015

June 26, 2015

by Chris O'Brien, Director of Higher Education Programs, Altenex
Altenex is a corporate partner of Second Nature

The time has never been better for colleges and universities to make the switch to renewable energy, for three reasons:


First, the costs of renewable energy have plummeted, making them financially attractive on a wide-scale for the first time ever. For example, between 1977 and 2014, the price per watt of silicon photovoltaic cells has dropped from $76.67 to a mere thirty-six cents. Meanwhile, the cost of wind energy in the U.S. has dropped, on average, from 55 cents per kWh in 1980 to five cents per kWh at the end of 2012, resulting in unprecedented growth in both industries.

















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June 11, 2015
Posted in: Why We Work

by Rachael Moreland

(This post is part of a series by the Second Nature team about why we do what we do.)

In 2012, as a part of the Environmental Studies curriculum at Northeastern University, I enrolled in a course called, ‘Environment and Society’ which delved into the environmental injustices experienced by under-resourced and minority populations throughout the world. Prior to taking this class, I was struggling to find a deep connection to my major. I always found Environmental Studies to be an interesting topic, but I never felt passionate about the subject. Little did I know that my entire perspective would change after taking this course. The environmental consequences and health disparities experienced by the effected populations, for reasons that could have been prevented, made me sick to my stomach. Throughout the semester, my desire to help this cause increased enormously. I had developed a purpose and started drawing out my future plans. 

The following semester, I enrolled in the course, ‘Sustainable Development.’ This course led me to discover Dr. Daniel Nocera’s invention, the ‘Artificial Leaf,’ a unique design of the hydrogen fuel cell for cleaner and cheaper energy production, inspired by the naturally occurring process in plants—photosynthesis. Not only was the engineering behind this design intriguing, but I also found Dr. Nocera’s overall goal of mass-producing these devices in order to aid developing countries to be inspiring. However, understanding the exact mechanics behind this device proved to be challenging to a student of soft sciences. At this point of my undergraduate career, I started toying with the idea of going to grad school to study renewable energy systems in order to gain that deeper understanding that I so desired.

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