The Michigan Engineer News Center

Fresh funding ideas to fix Michigan’s failing infrastructure

Fintech and digital financing could move infrastructure financing into the 21st century.| Short Read
EnlargePortrait of Peter Adriaens
IMAGE:  Portrait of Peter Adriaens Photo: Joseph Xu, Michigan Engineering Communications & Marketing

Students in Detroit still can’t get a drink from a water fountain. It’s been two weeks since the superintendent turned the taps off due to copper and lead contamination.

Another day, another failure of basic infrastructure. And another socio-economically disadvantaged and vulnerable population failed by government, argues Peter Adriaens, a professor of civil and environmental engineering in an op-ed in Bridge Magazine.

While the blame game has just started on whether the water utility or the supply lines to the schools are at fault, the core problem is that the way we are financing public infrastructure is stuck in the 20th century,

It’s time to start thinking outside the box of traditional bonds and consider the much broader suite of options available under 21st century private financing mechanisms. We’re exploring this at the Center for Smart Infrastructure Finance at the University of Michigan, and it would behoove government entities like Detroit Public Schools to do the same.

The smart infrastructure finance models being explored at U-M take advantage of today’s internet of things, like ubiquitous sensors that help us understand how we’re using our infrastructure and how we might finance it.

Read the full opinion piece in Bridge Magazine.

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Nicole Casal Moore
Media Relations & Research News Director

Michigan Engineering
Communications & Marketing

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Researchers
The electrons absorb laser light and set up “momentum combs” (the hills) spanning the energy valleys within the material (the red line). When the electrons have an energy allowed by the quantum mechanical structure of the material—and also touch the edge of the valley—they emit light. This is why some teeth of the combs are bright and some are dark. By measuring the emitted light and precisely locating its source, the research mapped out the energy valleys in a 2D crystal of tungsten diselenide. Credit: Markus Borsch, Quantum Science Theory Lab, University of Michigan.

Mapping quantum structures with light to unlock their capabilities

Rather than installing new “2D” semiconductors in devices to see what they can do, this new method puts them through their paces with lasers and light detectors. | Medium Read