Geoengineering firm brings new know-how (and rain) to Austin this summer season

David Mohrig, geology affiliate dean for analysis, mentioned excessive water use in Austin causes water ranges in Lake Travis to lower considerably. 

Rainwater Tech, a geoengineering firm, plans on reworking the humidity across the Colorado River — particularly the Lake Travis reservoir — into water droplets by electrically charging the water. The cost permits the water particles to condense from water vapor. Rainwater Tech first tried this course of in Oman, the place, in accordance with its web site, it elevated rainfall by 18%. 

“To get (pure) rainfall we have to have moisture and convection,” Mohrig mentioned. “However, we are able to have (rain) with a number of warmth, and never a number of convection, so we’re not getting the large thunderstorms, we simply have the warmth there. (Rainwater Tech) is making an attempt to get round that.”

In Might, the entire Colorado River dams had been under-filled as they didn’t attain the river’s upper-range. This mission helps guarantee Austin’s water demand is not going to surpass its provide, Mohrig mentioned. “I’ve not discovered a great way to persuade folks (to restrict water utilization) aside from after they see the lake ranges so low, they usually begin to fear,” Mohrig mentioned. “As quickly because it rains then folks kind of neglect that is the kind of factor.”

Tim Cady, Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration meteorologist, mentioned greenhouse emissions and warming enhance the quantity and depth of the floods. Due to this, folks don’t understand low water ranges as an enormous downside, Mohrig mentioned.

“Say you’re shuffling up a deck of playing cards and your severe warmth wave (represents) drawing an ace,” Cady mentioned. “What adjustments to the local weather does, is taking out different playing cards and including extra aces to the deck.” 

Different corporations are additionally exploring geoengineering alternatives, equivalent to Make Sunsets. The corporate launches reflective balloons into the air to replicate the daylight again out to area, lowering solar warming. Based on their web site, this mimics a volcanic eruption, they usually describe it as a solution to reverse international warming. 

“You’ll be able to’t benefit from all these applied sciences which can be (negatively) altering our ambiance, and never be prepared to discover applied sciences that could be a part of an answer,” Mohrig mentioned.

UT expertise serving to prescribed drugs develop flu vaccine

TFF Prescribed drugs obtained a $2.97 million grant from the Nationwide Institute of Allergy and Infectious Illnesses (NIAID) to develop a common influenza vaccine utilizing a “skinny movie freezing” expertise developed by UT researchers. 

Principal investigator Invoice Williams mentioned the expertise freeze-dries liquid medicines right into a powder for increased effectivity, simpler storage and extra sturdiness.

Jennifer Gordon, NIAID Program Officer for Influenza and Coronavirus Vaccines, mentioned TFF Prescribed drugs’ work beneath the NIAID grant goals to create a single vaccine that fights a number of strains of influenza.

“(The flu) is difficult to foretell, and the vaccine course of could be prolonged, leaving folks with a vaccine that now not matches the strains predominantly circulating locally,” Gordon mentioned in an electronic mail. “There’s a excessive precedence must develop vaccines that may present larger safety than the at present used seasonal vaccines.”

Williams mentioned vaccine storage poses an issue worldwide, as many international locations lack the expertise to maintain vaccines cool. He mentioned with skinny movie freezing, the powder doesn’t have to be stored chilly and forgoes using syringes or different supplies sometimes related to vaccines, facilitating simpler distribution.

“It solves issues that there was no expertise on the market to resolve,” Williams mentioned.

The grant will enable researchers to check the vaccine’s efficacy on people. 

“We’ve carried out animal research and gotten good outcomes,” Williams mentioned. “Now it’s going to the following step to get it prepared for the FDA.” 

Based on the TFF Prescribed drugs web site, a vaccine’s effectiveness immediately pertains to its means to achieve the goal organ. As a result of this vaccine could be inhaled immediately into the lungs, the powder is extra simply absorbed. Williams mentioned the inhalation course of additionally reduces the chance of rejection from the lungs. 

“Attaining the aim of a broadly protecting influenza vaccine goes to take artistic approaches and folks from a number of disciplines combining forces,” Gordon wrote. “There may be numerous promise that we will considerably transfer the needle in bettering safety towards influenza.”