Archive | Alternative Energy Sources

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Nano-rod solar cell generates hydrogen

A new type of solar collector that uses gold nano-rods could convert sunlight into energy without many of the problems associated with traditional photovoltaic solar cells. The developers of the new technique, from the University of California – Santa Barbara, say it is “the first radically new and potentially workable alternative to semiconductor-based photovoltaic devices […]

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“Green” biofuels anything but




A detailed new study on greenhouse gas emissions from oil palm plantations has calculated a more than 50 percent increase in levels of carbon dioxide emissions than previously thought – and warns that the Western world’s demand for “green” biofuels could be costing the Earth. The findings, by researchers at the University of Leicester (UK), […]




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Solar power’s dirty secret: skyrocketing lead pollution




Solar power has a dark side. In developing countries with less robust electrical grids, solar power is heavily reliant on traditional lead batteries for local electrical storage and a new paper suggests widespread lead pollution may be a side-effect. The paper’s author, University of Tennessee environmental engineer Chris Cherry, says there is the potential to […]




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Much simpler catalyst could fast-track hydrogen economy




The black mineral stain commonly found on rocks turns out to be a very simple and effective catalyst for replicating what photosynthesis does – splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen. The discovery, reported in Nature Chemistry, was made by scientists from Monash University, Australia, with the assistance of researchers at the University of California – […]




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Virus improves solar cell efficiency




Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have found a way to make significant improvements to the power-conversion efficiency of solar cells by utilizing viruses to perform assembly work on the solar cell at the microscopic level. The new construction technique, reported in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, is based on previous research that showed […]




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Novel solar cells utilize light’s magnetic properties




Light has electric and magnetic components but scientists had always believed the effects of the magnetic field to be insignificant. Now, however, University of Michigan researchers have found that under the right circumstances, light can generate magnetic effects that are 100 million times stronger than previously expected, making magnetic solar cells a possibility. “You could […]




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Win-win for sugarcane biofuel crops




Agricultural cropping typically has a significant warming effect on local climates, but a report in Nature Climate Change indicates that Brazilian sugarcane biofuel crops cool the local climate at around the same levels as natural vegetation. Scientists from the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology said the double ecological benefit came about from sugarcane’s ability […]




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Salinity differential turns river mouths into power plants




Alternately using seawater and freshwater as the electrolyte, Stanford researchers have developed a battery that takes advantage of the difference in salinity to produce electricity. According to lead research Yi Cui, the development could see river mouths or estuaries used as electricity generating power plants. Cui’s study appears in the journal Nano Letters. As an […]




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