BURN: Marketplace Stories

Burn: An Energy Journal has partnered with public radio’s Marketplace to bring you Energy news and stories as told through the business and economics prism that has made Marketplace one of public radio’s most listened to programs. BURN and Marketplace are both distributed by American Public Media.

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 »

Army’s micro-grid for combat zones


The US Army is preparing to deploy smart micro-grids for combat outposts – basic military camps for about 100 soldiers. The new COPs cut fuel demand by at least half, which means fewer caravans, and fewer casualties.

June 25, 2013 more »

Today’s Army – the march toward better batteries

REF homepage pic

A little-known Army agency is making big changes in how soldiers fight. Among its latest innovations: new, lighter energy sources for outposts around the world.

April 23, 2013 more »

Tokyo Restaurant Serves Fukushima-Sourced Food to Make a Point

Fukushima Restaurant_homepage

2 years after Japan’s nuclear meltdowns, many people still won’t eat anything from Fukushima. So one Tokyo restaurant is deliberately offering food from the region, to help disaster victims and to dispel fears about food safety. Catherine Winter reports.

March 12, 2013 more »

LISTEN || Japanese Worry About Food, 2 Years After Fukushima

Octopus/Japanese Worry for Homepage

2 years after an earthquake, tsunami, & a nuclear disaster hit Japan, concerns about radiation contaminated food persist. Catherine Winter reports.

March 11, 2013 more »

LISTEN || Japan’s lesson for U.S. reactors: Disaster is possible

A new turbine is installed at the Dresden nuclear plant in Morris, IL. Photo Courtesy Exelon Corp.

BURN Host Alex Chadwick reports on concerns over how well dozens of US nuclear reactors – built like those that melted down in the Fukushima crisis – would withstand natural disasters.

February 21, 2013 more »

Innovators: Building an electric car for speed

Pethel For Homepage Cropped (1)

Mike Pethel has pieced together what may be the fastest electric car anywhere, using enough batteries to power 750 homes. The inventor and race car buff is on a never-ending quest to make his pristine 70s BMW super powerful and totally green. LISTEN.

January 30, 2013 more »

Amy Prieto & The Elusive Mighty Battery


Batteries are essential energy storage devices for anything touted as clean tech but right now they’re limited to a few hours of performance. Chemist Amy Prieto has designed a battery that seemingly has the right stuff, but she still has to solve some big challenges. Alex visits Amy Prieto and her team to learn just what the Prieto Battery is about and why creating a better battery is so difficult.

December 23, 2012 more »

For a town in need of jobs, going nuclear was easy call

The oil town of Eunice, N.M., welcomed a uranium enrichment plant for its steady jobs. A canister of raw uranium awaits processing at the plant, operated by the European company Urenco.

To understand how a nuclear facility came to rest at this far edge of the high plains, you first have to understand what else is here. Hear that sound? That’s the rhythmic squeak of a horse head oil pump. There’s a pump jack every few blocks in Eunice, and thousands more stretching east, all the way past Odessa, Texas.

September 5, 2012 more »

What happened to the oil from the BP spill?

The "oil mats" are slightly darker than the sand, almost chocolate, and many of them pock the surface of the beach.

In 2010 the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico — 11 people were killed, the rig was destroyed, and by the time the wellhead was capped 87 days later, nearly 5 million barrels of crude had poured into the Gulf. One of the big questions people are trying to answer is where all the oil went.

August 19, 2012 more »