New perovskite solar cell design could outperform existing commercial technologies, Stanford and Oxford scientists report
October 21, 2016 10:51 AM - Mark Shwartz
A new design for solar cells that uses inexpensive, commonly available materials could rival and even outperform conventional cells made of silicon.
Writing in the Oct. 21 edition of Science, researchers from Stanford and Oxford describe using tin and other abundant elements to create novel forms of perovskite – a photovoltaic crystalline material that’s thinner, more flexible and easier to manufacture than silicon crystals.
Safe new storage method could be key to future of hydrogen-powered vehicles
October 20, 2016 01:38 PM - University of Cambridge
Hydrogen is often described as the fuel of the future, particularly when applied to hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles. One of the main obstacles facing this technology – a potential solution to future sustainable transport – has been the lack of a lightweight, safe on-board hydrogen storage material.
Discovery of Carbon Storage Signaling Mechanism in Algae Offers New Potential for Sustainable Biofuel Production
October 19, 2016 03:44 PM - Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
James Umen, Ph.D., associate member at Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, and colleagues have discovered a way to make algae better oil producers without sacrificing growth. The findings were published September 6, in a paper titled, “Synergism between inositol polyphosphates and TOR kinase signaling in nutrient sensing, growth control and lipid metabolism in Chlamydomonas,” in The Plant Cell. Umen and his team including lead author Inmaculada Couso, Ph.D., and collaborators Bradley Evans Ph.D., director, Proteomics & Mass Spectrometry and Doug Allen, Ph.D., USDA Research Scientist at the Danforth Center identified a mutation in the green alga Chlamydomonas which substantially removes a constraint that is widely observed in micro-algae where the highest yields of oil can only be obtained from starving cultures.
MIT to neutralize 17 percent of carbon emissions through purchase of solar energy
October 19, 2016 03:14 PM - David L. Chandler via Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MIT, Boston Medical Center, and Post Office Square Redevelopment Corporation have formed an alliance to buy electricity from a large new solar power installation, adding carbon-free energy to the grid and demonstrating a partnership model for other organizations in climate-change mitigation efforts.
The agreement will enable the construction of a roughly 650-acre, 60-megawatt solar farm on farmland in North Carolina. Called Summit Farms, the facility, the largest renewable-energy project ever built in the U.S. through an alliance of diverse buyers, is expected to be completed and to begin delivering power into the grid by the end of this year.
Unraveling the Science Behind Biomass Breakdown
October 18, 2016 04:39 PM - Rachel Harken via Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Lignocellulosic biomass—plant matter such as cornstalks, straw, and woody plants—is a sustainable source for production of bio-based fuels and chemicals. However, the deconstruction of biomass is one of the most complex processes in bioenergy technologies. Although researchers at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) had already uncovered information about how woody plants and waste biomass can be converted into biofuel more easily, they have now discovered the chemical details behind that process.
Researchers use 'robomussels' to monitor climate change
October 18, 2016 07:07 AM - Northeastern University
Tiny robots have been helping researchers study how climate change affects biodiversity. Developed by Northeastern University scientist Brian Helmuth, the “robomussels” have the shape, size, and color of actual mussels, with miniature built-in sensors that track temperatures inside the mussel beds.
Wave energy researchers dive deep to advance clean energy source
October 13, 2016 07:25 AM - Sandia National Laboratories
One of the biggest untapped clean energy sources on the planet — wave energy — could one day power millions of homes across the U.S. But more than a century after the first tests of the power of ocean waves, it is still one of the hardest energy sources to capture.
Airlines to Test Alternative Fuel
October 12, 2016 06:35 AM - Anum Yoon, Triple Pundit
As the world turns its attention to addressing global warming, the airline industry, too, is researching ways to do its part and lower greenhouse gas emissions. One option is investing more into the development and integration of alternative fuels. Biofuels made from vegetable oil, corn and even household garbage are all very real possibilities.
Turning Sunlight into Fuel
October 11, 2016 03:57 PM - Renee Cho via Columbia University Earth Institute.
In one hour, the Earth receives enough energy from the sun to meet all of mankind’s energy needs for one year. Yet the world uses little more than one percent of the sun’s energy for our electricity needs. A major obstacle to being able to tap into the full potential of solar energy is that it is intermittent—we cannot get a steady supply of solar energy because the sun doesn’t always shine.
In order for renewable energy to take hold on the scale necessary to help combat climate change, an efficient and economical way to store the sun’s energy is needed for times when the sun doesn’t shine. But even when that technology becomes available, we will still need to find a way to use renewable energy to power the transportation sector, one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions.
European union could require new homes to have electric car chargers
October 11, 2016 02:33 PM - Yale Environment 360
Starting in 2019, all new or refurbished homes and apartment buildings in Europe will be required to have electric vehicle recharging stations built on the premises, according to a draft directive from the European Union.