background preloader

Energy Sources & Generation

Facebook Twitter

Scientists Debut Low-Cost System for Splitting Carbon Dioxide Into Usable Fuel - Motherboard. The world’s first commercial CO2 capture plant just went live. A Swiss company on Wednesday is set to become the world’s first to commercially remove carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere and turn it into a useful product.

The world’s first commercial CO2 capture plant just went live

Climeworks, which will begin operations at a facility near Zurich, Switzerland, plans to compress the CO2 it captures and use it as fertilizer to grow crops in greenhouses. The company wants to dramatically scale its technology over the next decade, and its long-term goal is to capture 1 percent of global annual carbon dioxide emissions by 2025.

Along with cutting fossil fuel use to zero, removing carbon dioxide from the air is increasingly seen as one way to stop the long-term buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Carbon removal and storage coupled with drawing down fossil fuel use is called “negative emissions.” Time is running out to perfect the various methods of capturing carbon dioxide and permanently storing it. This article was originally published at Climate Central. Artificial Photosynthesis Advance Hailed As Major Breakthrough. In what's being called a win-win for the environment and the production of renewable energy, researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley, have achieved a major breakthrough in artificial photosynthesis.

Artificial Photosynthesis Advance Hailed As Major Breakthrough

The scientists have created a system that can capture carbon dioxide emissions before they're released into the atmosphere and convert it into fuels, pharmaceuticals, plastics, and other valuable products. Too much gas. Carbon dioxide is the principal greenhouse gas produced by the burning of fossil fuels and has been identified as a major contributor to rising global temperatures. "Our system has the potential to fundamentally change the chemical and oil industry in that we can produce chemicals and fuels in a totally renewable way, rather than extracting them from deep below the ground," Dr. (Story continues below photo.) "The real issue comes from the balance of energy efficiency, cost, and stability, Dr. Japan space scientists make wireless energy breakthrough. Japanese scientists have succeeded in transmitting energy wirelessly, in a key step that could one day make solar power generation in space a possibility, an official said Thursday.

Japan space scientists make wireless energy breakthrough

Researchers used microwaves to deliver 1.8 kilowatts of power—enough to run an electric kettle—through the air with pinpoint accuracy to a receiver 55 metres (170 feet) away. While the distance was not huge, the technology could pave the way for mankind to eventually tap the vast amount of solar energy available in space and use it here on Earth, a spokesman for The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said. With So Much Oil Flowing, U.S. May Be Reaching Storage Limits. Cushing, Okla., is a major oil storage site.

With So Much Oil Flowing, U.S. May Be Reaching Storage Limits

Amid record oil production, some analysts worry the U.S. will run out of places to put it all. Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption itoggle caption Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images Cushing, Okla., is a major oil storage site. Amid record oil production, some analysts worry the U.S. will run out of places to put it all. This Group Gives Refugees Toilets, Then Turns The Waste Into Charcoal For Cooking.

Updated on March, 26 2015 at 9:05 a.m.

This Group Gives Refugees Toilets, Then Turns The Waste Into Charcoal For Cooking

EST This inventive solution is no load of crap. Across the globe, 1.8 billion people use a drinking water source that is contaminated with fecal matter, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). To make sure the waste produced by refugees and low-income households in Kenya doesn’t infiltrate their water systems, a group founded by U.S. university grads is turning poop into charcoal for cooking. Established in 2011 based off of research conducted at Emory and Georgia Tech, Sanivation provides toilets to people in need, collects the waste and then treats it with solar energy. Sanivation co-founder Emily Woods said in a video interview that the briquettes are particularly “fantastic” because it burns longer than standard coal and emits less carbon monoxide and particulate emissions.

Less pollution means significantly fewer deaths. Tesla to unveil new battery to power homes, says Elon Musk. Environmentalists Have an Irrational Hatred of Nuclear Power. The first American nuclear reactor of the 21st century, Watts-Barr will soon begin operating west of Knoxville in Tennessee.

Environmentalists Have an Irrational Hatred of Nuclear Power

This reactor will almost continuously generate 1,150 megawatts of electricity for the next 60 years at $0.06/kWhr, with near-zero carbon emissions (over the same period a coal plant would release 500 million tons of CO2, for reference the US releases 6,526 million metric tons CO2 annually). With this happy marriage of steadily satisfying consumer demand yet generating very little CO2, one would imagine that greenies everywhere like the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, the Nature Conservancy, the World Wildlife Fund and thousands of other environmental groups would be out in the streets rejoicing and calling for more nuclear plants!

However, it seems that environmental groups roundly and universally decry the vast potential of nuclear technology. But why? Quite to the contrary. New technique offers spray-on solar power. Pretty soon, powering your tablet could be as simple as wrapping it in cling wrap.

New technique offers spray-on solar power

That's Illan Kramer's (ECE) hope. Kramer and colleagues have just invented a new way to spray solar cells onto flexible surfaces using miniscule light-sensitive materials known as colloidal quantum dots (CQDs) -- a major step toward making spray-on solar cells easy and cheap to manufacture. "My dream is that one day you'll have two technicians with Ghostbusters backpacks come to your house and spray your roof," said Kramer, a post-doctoral fellow with The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto and IBM Canada's Research and Development Centre. Topaz Turns On 9 Million Solar Panels. Silence generally reigns across California’s Carrizo Plain, about 160 kilometers northwest of Los Angeles.

Topaz Turns On 9 Million Solar Panels

But for much of the past three years, this expanse of grassland and farms was anything but silent, as up to 880 people trucked out each day to the plain’s sparsely inhabited northern end to build a hefty power plant. On a bright October afternoon, only a handful of construction workers remain, and the nearly completed plant is generating at close to full tilt. Why Elon Musk's Batteries Scare the Hell Out of the Electric Company. Climate: Now or Never Here’s why something as basic as a battery both thrills and terrifies the U.S. utility industry.

Why Elon Musk's Batteries Scare the Hell Out of the Electric Company

At a sagebrush-strewn industrial park outside of Reno, Nevada, bulldozers are clearing dirt for Tesla Motors Inc. Mirror coating to cool buildings by pumping interior heat into space. Keeping buildings cool isn't easy.

Mirror coating to cool buildings by pumping interior heat into space

In fact, conventional air conditioning methods are very energy intensive and account for up to 15 percent of the energy used in buildings in the United States alone. However, engineers at Stanford University have come up with a new ultrathin, multilayered, nanophotonic material that not only reflects heat away from buildings, but also directs heat from inside out into space, cooling both the building and the planet as well.

Heat moves by one of three methods. It can be conducted, which is what happens when you touch a hot stove; it can be convected, which is why you get a blast of hot air in the face when you open an oven and forget to stand back; and it can radiate in the form of infrared rays, which is how you know an oven is hot before you touch it. Dubbed photonic radiative cooling by the researchers, the process relies on a coating made of a combination of silicon dioxide (SiO2) and hafnium oxide (HfO2) set on a thin layer of silver. WaveNET – the floating, flexible wave energy generator. Scotland's Albatern is putting a new, modular spin on renewable energy generation.

WaveNET is a scalable array of floating "Squid" generator units that harvest wave energy as their buoyant arms rise and fall with the motion of the waves. Each Squid can link up to as many as three others, effectively creating a large, floating grid that's flexible in every direction. The bigger this grid gets, the more efficient it becomes at harvesting energy, and the more different wave movements it can extract energy from. New tech could allow electric cars' body panels to store energy.

Imagine opening up an electric car and finding no batteries. An absent-minded factory worker or magic? Perhaps neither. Nanoparticle-based material turns up the heat on concentrated solar power. The key factor when it comes to solar power plant efficiency – be they of the photovoltaic or concentrated solar power (CSP) variety – is the amount of light that can be captured by the light-absorbing material and converted into electricity or heat. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) have developed a new nanoparticle-based material that promises to improve the efficiency of CSP plants with its ability to absorb and convert over 90 percent of the sunlight it captures into heat.

Unlike photovoltaic (PV)-based solar power plants, which convert light directly into electricity, CSP plants generally use sunlight, concentrated onto a small area, to generate heat and drive a steam turbine to generate electricity. Because this is similar to the process used by fossil fuel power plants, CSP technology has the potential to be retrofitted to existing power plants to make them more environmentally friendly. Source: UCSD. Germany's Revolution in Small Batch, Artisanal Energy. JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia — Ahmed al-Ghamdi's long, bushy beard and red-checked headscarf are emblems of his conservative approach to Islam, which is no surprise for a man who once supervised the Saudi religious police in the holy city of Mecca.

But it was something surprising about Ghamdi that brought me to his apartment in a scruffy, low-income section of Jeddah in the sweltering summer of 2011. I wanted to know why he had announced that, after extensive research, he could find no Islamic basis for Saudi society's most distinctive feature: its strict gender segregation. As his wife, sister, and mother listened in with obvious pride, Ghamdi explained that he could no longer take "at face value" religious rulings that gender mixing is haram -- that is, religiously prohibited.

Batteries included: A solar cell that stores its own power. Is it a solar cell? Or a rechargeable battery? Actually, the patent-pending device invented at The Ohio State University is both: the world's first solar battery. In the October 3, 2014 issue of the journal Nature Communications, the researchers report that they've succeeded in combining a battery and a solar cell into one hybrid device. Key to the innovation is a mesh solar panel, which allows air to enter the battery, and a special process for transferring electrons between the solar panel and the battery electrode. Boeing opens cooking-oil-to-biofuel plant in China. Turning seaweed to biofuel. Solar panels made three times cheaper and four times more efficient. Scientists create water splitter that runs on a single AAA battery. Boeing begins program to produce aviation biofuel from hybrid tobacco plants.

By-product hydrogen used to power fuel cell pilot plant. Stanford researchers develop self-cooling solar cells. Photovoltaic cells are one of the more promising alternative energy sources. Using Solar Energy to Convert CO2 to Fuel. Research to curb global warming caused by rising levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, usually involves three areas: Developing alternative energy sources, capturing and storing greenhouse gases, and repurposing excess greenhouse gases. A 2,250-Foot Tall Tower in Arizona Will Usher in the Future of Wind Energy. Quantum dot breakthrough could lead to cheap spray-on solar cells. Researchers at the University of Toronto have manufactured and tested a new type of colloidal quantum dots (CQD), that, unlike previous attempts, doesn't lose performance as they keep in contact with oxygen.

New technology turns manure into clean water. College Turns Cow Poop Into Clean Water, And It Could Be Great For The Environment. Four-junction, four-terminal stacked solar cell hits 43.9 percent efficiency. News - Engineering at Illinois. Methane hydrate: Dirty fuel or energy saviour? Technological breakthrough? U.S. Navy says it can now convert seawater into fuel. One step closer to low cost solar cells. Could humidity power join the list of renewable energy sources? Desert plants to be put to the test for aviation biofuel production.

Sugar batteries could be greener, cheaper and store more energy than lithium-ions. Rawlemon's beautiful, spherical solar energy generators. Plastic can convert heat into electricity. Scientists cut million-year natural process to convert algae into crude oil to about an hour. Frackers, Iran's Oil Men Threaten Energy Cartel. Japan's Plan To Supply All The World's Energy With A Power Plant On The Moon. New Wave Energy wants to put power plants in the sky. Natural Gas From Cows? Argentine Scientists Tap Methane In Bovine Burps. High Density Vertical BioReactor Could Create Custom Biofuel From Algae. Landfill gas helps Palo Alto go carbon neutral. Can London run on its own fat? Stephen Colbert: Fracking Companies Silence Their Victims. National Grid report challenges wind energy critics. MIT maps solar potential of Cambridge, Massachusetts with record accuracy.

Inside a network operator: How solar changed the game. Top-class biofuel from the depths of the forest. Strawscraper concept calls for a wind energy-harvesting toupee. World's largest fat-burning power station to burn blubber from London sewers. Europe joins race to store energy at the bottom of the ocean. SKWID harnesses the power of both the wind and the tide. Artificial Photosynthesis System as efficient as plants and can reduce CO2 levels. What if we never run out of oil? Could New York run on renewable energy alone? Solar panels could destroy U.S. utilities, according to U.S. utilities. New gas plants about to be priced out of electricity market. EWICON bladeless wind turbine generates electricity using charged water droplets. Trees used to create recyclable, efficient solar cell.

New discovery could mean making fuel from carbon in atmosphere. Distributed generation: Fuel cells for on-site power plants. Will Alternative Energy Growth Tank During New Fossil-Fuel Glut? [Slide Show] Nanotubes boost potential of salinity power as a renewable energy source. The missing link: Why Australia needs energy storage. This graph of the day shows baseload generation may be redundant soon. A silicon sprinkle for electric cars. Energy company to test floating solar islands.

US military's SPIDERS microgrid uses 90% renewables in first test. Renewables now cheaper than coal and gas in Australia. BioBot 20 countertop diesel processor converts waste cooking oil into biodiesel. Computer model indicates promising new catalyst for generating hydrogen from water. Biofuel created by explosive technology. Peak oil theories 'increasingly groundless', says BP chief. Panasonic reduces size and price of “Ene-Farm” home fuel cell. Inexpensive catalyst for producing hydrogen under real-world conditions found. Atmospheric Vortex Engine creates tornadoes to generate electricity. Wind and solar power paired with storage could power grid 99.9 percent of the time. Ibasei's Cappa provides hydroelectricity on a small scale. Plant root used to create eco-friendly lithium-ion battery. Working under extreme conditions. Award-winning device harvests energy from railway track vibrations.

Tapping the Motion of the Ocean: Could the Tides Power Our World? Super-efficient solar-energy technology: ‘Solar steam’ so effective it can make steam from icy cold water. Electricity from the marshes. A 'Green' Gold Rush? Calif. Firm Turns Trash To Gas. Hybrid nanomaterial converts light and heat into electricity. Alternative Fuels’ Long-Delayed Promise Might Be Near Fruition.

Saphonian bladeless turbine boasts impressive efficiency, low cost. Kite power getting off the ground in Germany. Volcano power plan gets U.S. go-ahead. Algal Biofuel Sustainability Review Highlights Concerns about Water Supply. Black silicon could boost efficiency of traditional solar cells. World’s most efficient thermoelectric material developed. The Sky Is the Limit for Wind Power. Methane hydrates. Low cost, high efficiency solar technology developed.