BURN: Listen

BURN podcasts, radio specials, and Marketplace stories.

In Texas, a coal mine opens to power Mexico

coal_wp

The coal industry is struggling as cheaper and cleaner natural gas undercuts coal and environmental regulations push utilities to shut down their older coal-burning plants. Still, new coal mines are opening as others expand. In one Texas county on the Mexican border, local officials and residents seem nearly united in their opposition to a new coal strip mine, but the company that owns it says it will ship out the first load of coal by train in September.

August 26, 2015 more »

The little-known coal of Texas

Half an hour out of Austin, a dragline removes earth to get to lignite coal below. (Photo: Ingrid Lobet)

Oil made Texas famous. Then natural gas. Now it’s famous as well for having far and away the most wind energy of any state. But here’s a little-known fact: Texas is a major coal producer. And more than a third of the state’s electricity comes from coal.

August 6, 2015 more »

Louis Michaud’s Vortex Engine

Louis Michaud

You’ve heard of wind and solar. But what about harnessing other forces of nature for energy? Like, tornadoes. That’s Louis Michaud’s idea. He’s an engineer who dreams of powering the world with tornado machines.

April 14, 2015 more »

Fish and Lettuce

magueau and lettuce

Researchers at an indoor fish and vegetable farm say the future is bright for small aquaponics operations. Very small. Like, in the back yard.

September 10, 2014 more »

From Rice to Shrimp

mekong rice

In the Mekong Delta, rice is suffering from greater exposure to salt water as sea levels rise because of climate change. Some farmers are looking to a different crop: shrimp.

September 10, 2014 more »

Eric Rignot and the Ice of Antarctica — The Adaptors

Thwaites Glacier (NASA)

A big chunk of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is collapsing. Scientists announced in May that it’s now inevitable — though it will take decades or even centuries to happen. But the collapse will cause a big rise in sea level. Eric Rignot is the lead author of one of the studies that reached that conclusion, and he’s a glaciologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and at UC-Irvine. He talked with Alex Chadwick.

June 30, 2014 more »

Michelle Nijhuis is back on the grid — The Adaptors

Michelle Nijhuis and her daughter Sylvia on their porch in White Salmon, Wash. (Photo: Robin Wise)

Science writer Michelle Nijhuis spent 15 years living in a completely solar-powered house. Now she, her husband and their daughter are back on the grid. Nijhuis talks with BURN host Alex Chadwick about going back on the grid and how life has changed.

June 16, 2014 more »

Fukushima revisited

miles o'brien

Alex Chadwick and Miles O’Brien talk about Miles’ recent trip to Japan where he was one of the first journalists to enter the Fukushima Daiichi plant since the earthquake and meltdown in 2011. And Carl Pilliterri recalls what it was like to be inside the plant while the earthquake was happening.

March 10, 2014 more »

Shell’s foray into Alaska oil isn’t paying off

Oil rig

Shell started its hunt for oil off the coast of Alaska more than a year ago, but the effort proved disastrous. Reporter Elizabeth Arnold looked into the state of Arctic oil exploration in the U.S.

January 6, 2014 more »

Duke Energy leader Jim Rogers on smart grids & brownouts

Jim Rogers featured image

Jim Rogers leads the largest electric power company in the country, Duke Energy. They serve about about 22 million people in the Southeast and Midwest. The award-winning CEO talks with host Alex Chadwick about the challenged of powering the nation, what makes the grid great, and the future of efficiency & smart grid innovation.

June 26, 2013 more »