Category Archives: Alt Energy

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 »