• Efficient organic solar cells with very low driving force

    It was believed that efficient operation of organic solar cells requires a large driving force, which limits the efficiency of organic solar cells. Now, a large group of researchers led by Feng Gao, lecturer at IFM at LiU, He Yan at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and Kenan Gundogdu at the North Carolina State University have developed efficient organic solar cells with very low driving force.

    This implies that the intrinsic limitations of organic solar cells are no greater than those of other photovoltaic technologies, bringing them a step closer to commercialisation.

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  • Non-toxic solvent removes barrier to commercialisation of perovskite solar cells

    Scientists at Oxford University have developed a solvent system with reduced toxicity that can be used in the manufacture of perovskite solar cells, clearing one of the barriers to the commercialisation of a technology that promises to revolutionise the solar industry.

    Perovskites – a family of materials with the crystal structure of calcium titanate – have been described as a 'wonder material' and shown to be almost as efficient as silicon in harnessing solar energy, as well as being significantly cheaper to produce.

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  • UC Researcher Develops Clean Water-Treatment Option to Target Sporadic Outbreaks

    A University of Cincinnati scientist has engineered an environmentally friendly technology to zap outbreak-causing viruses and bacteria from public drinking water.

    Environmental and biomedical engineer David Wendell, an associate professor in UC’s College of Engineering and Applied Science, developed a protein-based photocatalyst that uses light to generate hydrogen peroxide to eliminate E. coli, Listeria, and potentially protozoa like giardia and cryptosporidium.

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  • New Technology Helps Pinpoint Sources of Water Contamination

    Berkeley Lab develops better method of environmental monitoring using the PhyloChip, finds surprising results in Russian River watershed

    When the local water management agency closes your favorite beach due to unhealthy water quality, how reliable are the tests they base their decisions on? As it turns out, those tests, as well as the standards behind them, have not been updated in decades. Now scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a highly accurate, DNA-based method to detect and distinguish sources of microbial contamination in water.

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  • It May Not Cost You More To Drive Home In A Climate-Friendly Car

    It has been a common belief that low-emissions vehicles, like hybrids and electric cars, are more expensive than other choices. But a new study finds that when operating and maintenance costs are included in a vehicle's price, cleaner cars may actually be a better bet.

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  • Could California's gridlock generate electricity for the grid?

    California is testing whether its heavy traffic can produce not just emissions and air pollution, but electricity. The state’s Energy Commission says it will spend $2 million to examine the potential of using piezoelectric crystals embedded under asphalt as a way to send the energy created by moving cars to the grid.

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  • Stronger turbine blades with molybdenum silicides

    Researchers at Kyoto University have found that molybdenum silicides can improve the efficiency of turbine blades in ultrahigh-temperature combustion systems.

    Gas turbines are the engines that generate electricity in power plants. The operating temperatures of their combustion systems can exceed 1600 °C. The nickel-based turbine blades used in these systems melt at temperatures 200 °C lower and thus require air-cooling to function. Turbine blades made out of materials with higher melting temperatures would require less fuel consumption and lead to lower CO2 emissions.

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  • Inexpensive semiconducting organic polymers can harvest sunlight to split carbon dioxide into alcohol fuels

    Chemists at The University of Texas at Arlington have been the first to demonstrate that an organic semiconductor polymer called polyaniline is a promising photocathode material for the conversion of carbon dioxide into alcohol fuels without the need for a co-catalyst.

    "This opens up a new field of research into new applications for inexpensive, readily available organic semiconducting polymers within solar fuel cells," said principal researcher Krishnan Rajeshwar, UTA distinguished professor of chemistry and biochemistry and co-Director of UTA's Center for Renewable Energy, Science & Technology.

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  • Spiders spin unique phononic material

    New discoveries about spider silk could inspire novel materials to manipulate sound and heat in the same way semiconducting circuits manipulate electrons, according to scientists at Rice University, in Europe and in Singapore.

    A paper in Nature Materials today looks at the microscopic structure of spider silk and reveals unique characteristics in the way it transmits phonons, quasiparticles of sound.

    The research shows for the first time that spider silk has a phonon band gap. That means it can block phonon waves in certain frequencies in the same way an electronic band gap - the basic property of semiconducting materials - allows some electrons to pass and stops others.

    The researchers wrote that their observation is the first discovery of a "hypersonic phononic band gap in a biological material."

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  • Why the Increase in Solar-Powered Schools?

    Out of the 125,000 K-12 schools in the United States, over 3,700 are running on solar power. Three-thousands of these schools installed their solar power systems within the past six years, as solar technology continues to become less expensive and more sophisticated.

    This trend in powering our schools reflects the growing recognition by district and state officials that photovoltaic electrical systems offer significant financial and environmental benefits. Here are four key reasons why more schools are making this transition.

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