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Nanotubes boost potential of salinity power as a renewable energy source

Nanotubes boost potential of salinity power as a renewable energy source
In November 2009, Norwegian state owned electricity company Statkraft opened the world’s first osmotic power plant prototype, which generates electricity from the difference in the salt concentration between river water and sea water. While osmotic power is a clean, renewable energy source, its commercial use has been limited due to the low generating capacities offered by current technology – the Statkraft plant, for example, has a capacity of about 4 kW. Now researchers have discovered a new way to harness osmotic power that they claim would enable a 1 m2 (10.7 sq. ft.) membrane to have the same 4 kW capacity as the entire Statkraft plant. The global osmotic, or salinity gradient, power capacity, which is concentrated at the mouths of rivers, is estimated by Statkraft to be in the region of 1,600 to 1,700 TWh annually. The Statkraft prototype plant (and a planned 2 MW pilot facility) relies on the first method, using a polymide membrane that is able to produce 1 W/m2 of membrane. Related:  Clean EnergyEnergy Sources & Generation

Princeton’s nanomesh nearly triples solar cell efficiency There is huge potential in solar power. The sun is a giant ball of burning hydrogen in the sky, and it’s going to be sticking around for at least a few more billion years. For all intents and purposes, it’s a free source of energy. Sadly, humanity hasn’t been very good at harnessing its power directly. Our current methods of capturing the sun’s energy are very inefficient. Led by Stephen Chou, the team has made two dramatic improvements: reducing reflectivity, and more effectively capturing the light that isn’t reflected. PlaCSH is also capable of capturing a large amount of sunlight even when the sunlight is dispersed on cloudy days, which results in an amazing 81% increase in efficiency under indirect lighting conditions when compared to conventional organic solar cell technology. The gold mesh that sits on top is incredibly small. The research team believes that the cells can be made cost effectively using a nanofabrication method that Chou himself invented over a decade ago.

Hydrogen - Nature's Fuel Will Alternative Energy Growth Tank During New Fossil-Fuel Glut? [Slide Show] NATIONAL HARBOR, Md.—The artificial leaf promised to revolutionize the world by bringing reliable modern energy to those mired in poverty. But the company founded to commercialize the research—Sun Catalytix—has found that it needs to concentrate its efforts on something likely to make money in the nearer term, namely the kind of flow batteries that might provide large amounts of energy storage on the U.S. electric grid. The alternative energy landscape is in tumult, judging by the recent fourth annual summit of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy, or ARPA–E. Funding for alternative energy—whether from the federal stimulus bill or venture capitalists—has dried up. More than 250 exhibitors came to show their wares alongside ARPA–E efforts ranging from Smart Wire Grid's power-flow controllers for electricity transmission lines to OPX Biotechnologies's modified microbe that builds liquid fuels from hydrogen and carbon dioxide. View a slide show of future energy efforts.

Solar Energy: Stanford scientists build the first all-carbon solar cell The Bao group's all-carbon solar cell consists of a photoactive layer, which absorbs sunlight, sandwiched between two electrodes. (Photo: Mark Shwartz / Stanford University) inShare6 October 31, 2012 By Mark Shwartz Stanford University scientists have built the first solar cell made entirely of carbon, a promising alternative to the expensive materials used in photovoltaic devices today. "Carbon has the potential to deliver high performance at a low cost," said study senior author Zhenan Bao, a professor of chemical engineering at Stanford. Unlike rigid silicon solar panels that adorn many rooftops, Stanford's thin film prototype is made of carbon materials that can be coated from solution. The coating technique also has the potential to reduce manufacturing costs, said Stanford graduate student Michael Vosgueritchian, co-lead author of the study with postdoctoral researcher Marc Ramuz. "Processing silicon-based solar cells requires a lot of steps," Vosgueritchian explained.

OMEGA Project <center><div class="site_errors"><div class="floatType_site_error_top"></div><div class="floatType_site_error"><table summary="layout table"><tr><td bgcolor="#000000"><font color="#ffffff"><h2><img src="/templateimages/redesign/modules/overlay/site_error.gif" title="Site Error" alt="Site Error"/>There's a problem with your browser or settings. </h2></font><font color="#ffffff"><p>Your browser or your browser's settings are not supported. To get the best experience possible, please download a compatible browser. If you know your browser is up to date, you should check to ensure that javascript is enabled. Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration Ames v Charles F. Lori B. Ames Research Center Ames Home About Ames News & Events Multimedia Missions Research Education History Doing Business With Us Related Links › NASA Greenspace→ › What on Earth? Media Contact More Stories about OMEGA Offshore Membrane Enclosure for Growing Algae Overview Photo Gallery

Distributed generation: Fuel cells for on-site power plants Courtesy ofNick Fontaine The Inland Empire Utilities Agency’s Regional Water Recycling Plant No. 1 sits next to a golf course 40 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. It’s been treating wastewater from the small city of Ontario and other nearby exurbs since 1948. The plant scoops up large objects and screens out sand and gravel for disposal in a landfill, then adds and removes chemicals and nutrients before the de-poopified water is used for irrigation or discharged into nearby Cucamonga Creek. It’s an unremarkable facility, like thousands of similar ones across the United States, doing the grunt work of modern life that most people would rather not think about. It was unremarkable, that is, until last October. Fuel cells solved a number of problems for the agency, all of which point to why these “distributed generation” facilities should become a growing source of electricity. The fuel cells convert that liability into an asset by making electricity from the methane.

Free Energy and Free Thinking Student Creates Electromagnetic Harvester That Gathers Free Electricity From Thin Air A German student has built an electromagnetic harvester that recharges an AA battery by soaking up ambient, environmental radiation. These harvesters can gather free electricity from just about anything, including overhead power lines, coffee machines, refrigerators, or even the emissions from your WiFi router or smartphone. This might sound a bit like hocus-pocus pseudoscience, but the underlying science is actually surprisingly sound. We are, after all, just talking about wireless power transfer — just like the smartphones that are starting to ship with wireless charging tech, and the accompanying charging pads. Dennis Siegel, of the University of Arts Bremen, does away with the charging pad, but the underlying tech is fundamentally the same. In essence, every electrical device gives off electromagnetic radiation — and if that radiation passes across a coil of wire, an electrical current is produced. As a concept, though, Siegel’s electromagnetic harvester is very interesting. Related: