Category Archives: Alt Energy

Solar Freakin’ Roadways

Not a good idea from an engineering point of view, but fun! For practical reasons we would be much better off building huge solar arrays across the Sahara desert, not to mention harnessing the tides. Tides are more predictable than wind energy and solar power. Among sources of renewable energy, tidal power has traditionally suffered… Read More »

13-year-old builds working nuclear fusion reactor

Not many 13-year-olds would describe themselves as an “amateur nuclear scientist.” That’s precisely what Jamie Edwards calls himself. When most kids his age are off playing video games, Edwards stays late after school to work on a control panel for a nuclear fusion reactor. He just reached his goal of becoming the youngest “fusioneer” in… Read More »

Drilling surprise opens door to magma-powered electricity

… Can enormous heat deep in the Earth be harnessed to provide energy for us on the surface? A promising report from a geothermal borehole project that accidentally struck magma—the same fiery, molten rock that spews from volcanoes—suggests it could. The Icelandic Deep Drilling Project, IDDP, has been drilling shafts up to 5km deep in… Read More »

Every Streetlight in NYC to go LED

When many people think of New York City, beyond the crowds their image of the city is the lights. Soon, the lit-up skyline will be much whiter because all 250,000 street lights are being switched to LEDs in the biggest retrofit project in the nation. The switch-over is part of PlaNYC, the city’s climate change… Read More »

“Continuous” nuclear fusion comes one step closer

Researchers at a California lab have got one step closer in achieving self-sustaining nuclear fusion. If successfully harnessed, fusion – the process which powers the sun – could become an unlimited, and crucially, cheap source of energy. In order to become a viable, sustainable form of energy, power plants driven with fusion would need to… Read More »

New pathway can increase biofuel yields by 50 percent

A new synthetic metabolic pathway developed by chemical engineering researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, can break down sugars quickly and efficiently. The researchers believe that the rate in which this new pathway allows for the breakdown of glucose could lead to a 50 percent increase in the production of biofuels. The new… Read More »

British IKEA selling solar panels for free energy after 7 years

Swedish flatpack pioneers IKEA are providing eco-friendly British shoppers with their own solar panels. As well as their Billy bookcases, tea light candles and meatballs with lingonberry,IKEA customers can now get add the energy-boosting panels to their shopping trolley. The Skandinavian superstore rolled out the solar panels in their Southampton store yesterday and will sell… Read More »

Solar power may get cheaper with new breakthrough

A research team in Europe has achieved a world record-setting solar conversion efficiency of 44.7 percent, and assuming that higher efficiency translates into lower costs, it’s yet another indicator that we’re only at the beginning of a long, steep decline in the cost of solar power. Solar (and wind, for that matter) is already competitive… Read More »

Studies Suggest Combining Renewables Can Fully Cover Energy Needs by 2030

The permanent closure of San Onofre also marked the 2,000-megawatt milestone for utility-scale solar power in California, doubled from 1,000-megawatts last September. Solar power has expanded rapidly in California as a result of high insolation and community support. As a result of programs such as Governor Schwarzenegger’s Million Solar Roofs initiative and the California Public… Read More »

Germany Breaks Its Own Record For Solar Power Generation

Germany just broke its monthly solar power generation record once again. In July, the grey-skied country logged 5.1 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity from solar power, slightly better than the 5 TWh of electricity generated by wind turbines it produced in January. As Inhabitat points out, “The accomplishment proves once again that a lack of… Read More »

Solar power users considering legal action against WA government after it announces cut to feed-in tariffs

Solar power users considering legal action against WA government after it announces cut to feed-in tariffsBy Pamela Medlen Posted August 09, 2013 17:03:42 Thousands of solar power users in Western Australia are reeling from the State Government’s announcement that it will slash feed-in tariffs. Some say they won’t be able to pay back the loans… Read More »

Artificial photosynthesis to make plants green with envy

Natural photosynthesis – the remarkable ability of plants to transform sunlight into useful energy – powers virtually all life on Earth. But that’s not enough for some people. Caltech chemistry professor Nate Lewis and his colleagues aim to show Mother Nature how it really should be done. Their goal is to produce fuel as energy-dense… Read More »

See-Through Solar Film Gets Big Efficiency Boost

A novel, transparent, two-layer solar film — possessing an impressive efficiency conversion of 7.3% — has been created by researchers at the University of California–Los Angeles. This is about double the transparent solar cell efficiency the researchers had previously achieved. The solar film can be placed on windows, buildings, sunroofs, electronics displays, etc; harvesting energy… Read More »

New material holds big energy hope

A new material that can store large amounts of energy with very little energy loss has been developed by researchers at the Australian National University. The material has practical applications in renewable energy storage, electric cars and defence and space technologies. “Dielectric materials are used to make fundamental electrical components called capacitors, which store energy,”… Read More »

U.S. Solar Installations Climb 33% Led by California

Solar installations in the first quarter increased 33 percent to account for almost half of all new electric capacity installed in the U.S., according to a trade-group report. Installations grew to 723 megawatts from a year earlier with utility-scale projects accounting for 317.7 megawatts of additions, the Washington-based Solar Energy Industries Association said today in… Read More »

Testing artificial photosynthesis

  With the daily mean concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide having reached 400 parts-per-million for the first time in human history, the need for carbon-neutral alternatives to fossil fuel energy has never been more compelling. With enough energy in one hour’s worth of global sunlight to meet all human needs for a year, solar technologies… Read More »

Solar plane sets distance record on US tour

The first manned aircraft that can fly day and night powered only by solar energy set a new distance record Thursday when it landed after the second leg of a cross-country US tour. The Solar Impulse project, founded and led by two Swiss pilots, aims to showcase what can be accomplished without fossil fuels, and… Read More »

Compressing air for renewable energy storage

  Enough Northwest wind energy to power about 85,000 homes each month could be stored in porous rocks deep underground for later use, according to a new, comprehensive study. Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Bonneville Power Administration identified two unique methods for this energy storage approach and two eastern… Read More »

‘Artificial leaf’ gains the ability to self-heal damage and produce energy from dirty water

Another innovative feature has been added to the world’s first practical “artificial leaf,” making the device even more suitable for providing people in developing countries and remote areas with electricity, scientists reported here today. It gives the leaf the ability to self-heal damage that occurs during production of energy. Daniel G. Nocera, Ph.D., described the… Read More »

New solar-cell coating could boost efficiency

Throughout decades of research on solar cells, one formula has been considered an absolute limit to the efficiency of such devices in converting sunlight into electricity: Called the Shockley-Queisser efficiency limit, it posits that the ultimate conversion efficiency can never exceed 34 percent for a single optimized semiconductor junction. Now, researchers at MIT have shown… Read More »

Power Your Car With Pee

… A scientist at Ohio University has developed a catalyst capable of extracting hydrogen from urine. That’s right. Urine. Now you can fill one tank while draining another. Gerardine Botte claims the device uses significantly less energy than is needed to extract hydrogen from water and says it could power hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in… Read More »

Microalgae produce more oil faster for energy, food or products

Scientists have described technology that accelerates microalgae’s ability to produce many different types of renewable oils for fuels, chemicals, foods and personal-care products within days using standard industrial fermentation. The presentation was part of the 245th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) on April 7. Walter Rakitsky, Ph.D, explained that microalgae… Read More »

1 Killed, 3 Hurt Accident at Ark. Nuclear Plant

One worker died and three others were injured Sunday morning when a heavy piece of equipment fell on them at an Arkansas nuclear plant, officials said. The workers were moving the equipment from the turbine building at an Entergy Arkansas plant in Russellville, about 70 miles northwest of Little Rock. The three injured workers were… Read More »

Millions to switch off for ‘Earth Hour’

Earth Hour has played a part in drawing attention to energy use around the world [EPA] Hundreds of millions of people across the globe will turn off their lights for 60 minutes on Saturday night starting at 8:30pm local time in a symbolic show of support for “Earth Hour” campaign against climate change. Many of… Read More »

NASA: A Nuclear Reactor To Replace Your Water Heater

NASA scientist Joseph Zawodny with a device used to test low-energy nuclear reactors (NASA) This reactor does not use fission, the process of splitting atoms into smaller elements employed by every commercial power reactor currently operating on earth. And it does not use hot fusion, the union of hydrogen atoms into larger elements that powers… Read More »

Urine-powered generator unveiled at international exhibition

Four African girls have created a generator that produces electricity for six hours using a single liter of urine as fuel. The generator was unveiled at last week’s Maker Faire in Lagos, Nigeria, by the four teens Duro-Aina Adebola, Akindele Abiola, and Faleke Oluwatoyin, all age 14, and Bello Eniola, 15. So how exactly does… Read More »

Solar cell consisting of a single molecule

Photosynthesis allows plants to convert light into chemical energy. Utilizing this process to produce electrical energy is a research goal worldwide. Now a team of scientists at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen and the Tel Aviv University has succeeded in directly deriving and measuring the photoelectric current generated by single molecules of the photosystem I. As… Read More »

Nano-material sets record turning heat to electricity

A scrambled-up material has broken the record for converting heat into electricity. Findings published today in Nature suggest that disorder may be the key to creating a new generation of energy-harvesting technologies1. Laptop owners and car mechanics alike know that heat is a major by-product of any kind of work. In power stations, for example,… Read More »

Uranium from seawater idea boosted with shrimp shells

Billions of tonnes of the uranium required for fuel pellets is found in the world’s oceans A happy coincidence in the seafood industry has raised the prospects of harvesting uranium – the fuel source for nuclear power – from seawater. Oceans hold billions of tonnes of uranium at tiny concentrations, but extracting it remains uneconomical.… Read More »

Claim: Car that runs on water invented

A Pakistani engineer has built a car that runs on water, a feat that left onlookers astounded. Engineer Waqar Ahmad drove his car using water as fuel Thursday during a demonstration for parliamentarians, scientists and students, Dawn reported from this Pakistan capital. He said cars could be driven by a system fuelled by water instead… Read More »

T-shirts developed that could charge mobile phones

Scientists at the University of South Carolina have found a way to use a cheap T-shirt to store electrical power. It could pave the way for clothes that are able to charge phones and other devices. Experts predict that new technologies including roll-up smartphones and laptops will be on the market soon. These developments would… Read More »

Solar cyclones hold fusion reactor clues

Ten thousand gigantic tornadoes are scouring the surface of the sun. Each of these spinning magnetic storms is the size of Europe, and together they may be pumping enough energy into the solar atmosphere to heat it to millions of degrees – a power that leads one scientist to suggest we could mimic these solar… Read More »