“Artificial Leaf” Produces Energy from Dirty Water, Can Self-Heal

Artificial Leaf

The world’s first practical “artificial leaf”, capable of producing clean energy from dirty water, has gained a new feature – that of being able to heal itself of any damage that occurs during energy production. The artificial leaf mimics the ability of real leaves to produce energy from sunlight and water, but this version breaks water down into hydrogen and oxygen, which can be collected and used as fuel to generate electricity in fuel cells. The leaf is a catalyst-coated wafer of silicon that is said to be able to turn one quart of drinking water into 100 watts of… read more

Solar Panels Finally Giving Back

Solar panels on a building

Solar panels aren’t usually the type of thing you’d worry about sucking energy. After all, they’re supposed to be harnessing natural energy from the sun and putting it to good use towards whatever it’s connected to. Yet, until roughly 2010, solar panels used more electricity than they put out. This is due largely in part to the extraordinary speed in which the solar industry has grown. We’re finally seeing progress on the energy-usage front, but it’s been a slow and steady campaign. Luckily, analysts believe we’ll put back that used energy by the year 2020, so all is well. Manufacturing… read more

Keeping Cool And Green

Keeping Cool And Green

Life without air conditioning has become impossible to imagine in some parts of the world and with temperatures predicted to rise in the future this situation does not look like changing. However air conditioning is notorious for increasing energy consumption dramatically in households and businesses. There are a few checks that you can make to reduce the carbon footprint that your air conditioner makes. Mind about MERV MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. It is a scale developed for measuring filtering effectiveness, and this scale was developed by the American Society of Heating in around 1981. The scale ranges from 1… read more

World’s Largest Fat-Fuelled Power Station Planned for London

friedeggs

It costs Thames Water about £1 million per month to clear out blockages in sewers, about half of which are caused by fat being discarded down the drain. But a new initiative will take a bite out of those costs by taking these “fatbergs”, as well as used fat and oil from restaurants, and turning them into energy. According to Thames Water, fat, oil, and grease (FOG) will be collected and fed into what they’re saying will be “the world’s largest fat-fuelled power station” in East London. The fat-fuelled plant is being developed by 20C, and is said to be… read more

New Process Produces Hydrogen from Any Biomass

percivalzhang

Virginia Tech University researchers have discovered a process for producing large quantities of hydrogen from virtually any plant material, making it a very real possibility that the cheap clean fuel of the future is hydrogen. An associate professor at the university, Y.H. Percival Zhang, along with his team, has successfully used xylose, a plant sugar, to produce hydrogen in large quantities, a method possible using any source of biomass. “Our new process could help end our dependence on fossil fuels. Hydrogen is one of the most important biofuels of the future.” – Zhang While the process was possible in theory… read more

World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm Now Online

London Array

The largest offshore wind farm in the world, the London Array, is now online and sending 507 MW of electricity to the grid for homes and businesses in the UK. The London Array design calls for 175 3.6MW Siemens wind turbines to be installed in the outer Thames Estuary, producing 630 MW, and 141 of them are now up and spinning. The project has a 50 year lease on the site (and a cable route to shore), thanks to the Crown Estate, and is intended to continue to produce clean, renewable energy for a long time. Phase One of the… read more

Making Solar Cheaper

Cost of Solar

Recently a California-based company named Alta Devices announced the news that it had achieved a record for the efficiency of an individual solar cell. Alta Devices have broken their own previous record of 23.5% and the new efficiency levels of 27.6% has been verified by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Alta Devices makes solar panels using gallium arsenide. Gallium arsenide is a more efficient material than the silicon-based cells which are currently more prevalent. To keep prices down the company uses remarkably small amounts of gallium and arsenic. This is done by creating layers of gallium arsenide only a micron thick. The development… read more

Pear Energy Simplifies Switching to Clean Energy in the U.S.

Buffett Takes On Solar

For residents of the United States, switching to clean energy for household energy use doesn’t have to mean putting up a solar PV array or wind turbine. Instead, users can simply choose Pear Energy to handle their energy needs, thereby supporting clean and renewable energy in the U.S.. When switching to Pear Energy, customers don’t need to get anything installed at their location, and their local utility continues to provide the electricity to the house, but Pear buys clean solar and wind power for them with their money. Pear customers get a side-by-side comparison of energy costs on each month’s… read more

Los Angeles to Go Coal-Free by 2025

LA Beyond Coal

The mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, has announced that over the next 12 years, the giant metropolis will completely eliminate coal as an energy source on its grid. While LA has made earlier moves to source some of their energy through renewable energies, this ambitious plan takes aim at the 39% of the demand that is currently met by coal. The plan calls for a gradual transition over the next 12 years, with the city ending its contracts with coal plants and covering the resulting gap in demand with power from cleaner energy sources, such as natural gas. “Los… read more

It’s Ions To Mars

ionpropulsion

When ion thrusters were first imagined in the 1960’s, they were little more than a pipedream curiosity. Now, NASA has logged over 43,000 continuous hours with their current model of the futuristic propulsion system. This is a new world record, and a sign that NASA is headed in the right direction. Ion propulsion differs from traditional chemical thrusters in that it doesn’t burn fuel. Instead, the thruster’s energy comes from solar panels or a nuclear-powered system. In the case of the NASA Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) ion engine, xenon molecules are ionized and then accelerated electrostatically using a cathode. The molecules… read more