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The Lead

Studies See Significant Drop in Rooftop, Utility-scale Solar Prices

September 18, 2014 2:00 pm | by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

The price of solar energy in the U.S. continues to fall substantially, according to the latest editions of two annual reports. A third report shows that local permitting and other regulatory procedures can significantly impact residential photovoltaic prices.

Chevron Meets Voluntary Shale Drilling Rules

September 18, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press, Kevin Begos | News | Comments

Chevron has become the first energy company to meet a new set of voluntary shale gas drilling...

Researchers Take Step Toward Lithium-sulfur Batteries

September 18, 2014 7:00 am | by ACS | News | Comments

A fevered search for the next great high-energy, rechargeable battery technology is on....

Study: Bad Wells, Not Fracking, Contaminate Groundwater

September 15, 2014 2:00 pm | by The Ohio State Univ. | News | Comments

A study has pinpointed the likely source of most natural gas contamination in drinking-water...

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Study Finds Why Batteries Go Bad

September 15, 2014 7:00 am | by SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory | News | Comments

A comprehensive look at how tiny particles in a lithium ion battery electrode behave shows that rapid-charging the battery and using it to do high-power, rapidly draining work may not be as damaging as researchers had thought– and that the benefits of slow draining and charging may have been overestimated.

Breakthrough May Herald Cheap Green Energy

September 12, 2014 2:00 pm | by Univ. of Glasgow | News | Comments

Chemists have reported a new form of hydrogen production that is 30 times faster than the current state-of-the-art method. This is a major step forward in the production of hydrogen from water, which could lead to a new era of cheap, clean and renewable energy.

Nuclear Plant Stays Open Despite Safety Recommendations

September 12, 2014 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Michael Blood | News | Comments

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has rejected a senior federal expert's recommendation to shut down California's last operating nuclear power plant until the agency can determine whether its twin reactors can withstand powerful shaking from nearby earthquake faults. In a decision, the agency concluded there is no immediate or significant safety concern at the Diablo Canyon plant.

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More Health Problems Reported Near Fracking Wells

September 11, 2014 7:00 am | by Yale Univ. | News | Comments

Little is known about the environmental and public health impact of certain natural gas extraction techniques— including hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking— that occur near residential areas. Now, a study has found a greater prevalence of health symptoms reported among residents living close to natural gas wells, including those drilled by fracking.

Sun Could Make Clean Water for Villages in India

September 9, 2014 7:00 am | by MIT, David Chandler | News | Comments

Around the world, there is more salty groundwater than fresh, drinkable groundwater. For example, 60 percent of India is underlain by salty water. Now, an analysis shows that a different desalination technology called electrodialysis, powered by solar panels, could provide enough clean, palatable drinking water to supply the needs of a typical village.

Tests Confirm Jet Biofuel Burns Cleaner

September 5, 2014 7:00 am | by NASA | News | Comments

Flying high above the California desert, researchers recently took to the skies for the second year in a row with a DC-8 and other aircraft to study the effects on emissions and contrail formation of burning alternative fuels in jet engines. This follow-up set of flight tests repeated a similar series of trials flown during 2013, while also adding a few new wrinkles to the investigations to capture more and better data.

Plant Gets Tesla Closer to Electric Car for Masses

September 4, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press, Justin Pritchard, Scott Sonner | News | Comments

To bring electric cars to the masses, Tesla Motors will use an expanse of desert where wild mustangs still roam for a factory that the company projects will crank out enough batteries to power 500,000 vehicles annually by decade's end.

New Fossil Fuel Alternative Made from Bacteria

September 3, 2014 7:00 am | by Imperial College London | News | Comments

Researchers have engineered the harmless gut bacteria E. coli to generate renewable propane. The development is a step toward commercial production of a source of fuel that could one day provide an alternative to fossil fuels.

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Expert: Shut Down Cali’s Last Nuclear Plant

August 29, 2014 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Michael Blood | News | Comments

A senior federal nuclear expert is urging regulators to shut down California's last operating nuclear plant until they can determine whether the facility's twin reactors can withstand powerful shaking from any one of several nearby earthquake faults.

Old Tires Get a Second Chance in Batteries

August 28, 2014 2:00 pm | by Oak Ridge National Laboratory | News | Comments

Recycled tires could see new life in lithium-ion batteries that provide power to plug-in electric vehicles and store energy produced by wind and solar. By modifying the microstructural characteristics of carbon black, a substance recovered from discarded tires, a team is developing a better anode for lithium-ion batteries.

Existing Plants Will Spew More than 300 B Tons of CO2

August 26, 2014 2:00 pm | by UC Irvine | News | Comments

Existing power plants around the world will pump out more than 300 billion tons of carbon dioxide over their expected lifetimes, significantly adding to atmospheric levels of the climate-warming gas.

China's Energy Plan Holds Climate Risks

August 22, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press, Jack Chang | News | Comments

China wants to build 60 coal-to-gas plants as part of a controversial energy plan. The country hopes the plants will churn out desperately needed natural gas and electricity while cleaning up the toxic skies above. However, the plants will also release vast amounts of heat-trapping CO2, even as the world struggles to curb greenhouse gas emissions and stave off global warming.

Water Splitter Runs on AAA Battery

August 22, 2014 7:00 am | by Stanford Univ. | Videos | Comments

Scientists have developed a low-cost, emissions-free device that uses an ordinary AAA battery to produce hydrogen by water electrolysis. The battery sends an electric current through two electrodes that split liquid water into hydrogen and oxygen gas.

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Meeting of Rivers, Seas May Be Source of Power

August 20, 2014 2:00 pm | by MIT, Jennifer Chu | News | Comments

Where the river meets the sea, there is the potential to harness a significant amount of renewable energy, according to a team of mechanical engineers. The researchers evaluated an emerging method of power generation, called pressure retarded osmosis, in which two waters of different salinity are mixed to produce energy.

Device Captures Solar Energy, Doesn’t Block View

August 20, 2014 7:00 am | by Michigan State Univ. | News | Comments

A team of researchers has developed a new type of solar concentrator that, when placed over a window, creates solar energy while allowing people to actually see through the window.

U.S. Coal in Asia Could Slash Emissions

August 19, 2014 2:00 pm | by Duke Univ. | News | Comments

Under the right scenario, exporting U.S. coal to power plants in South Korea could lead to a 21 percent drop in greenhouse gas emissions compared to burning the fossil fuel at plants in the U.S. Despite the large amount of emissions produced by shipping the coal, total emissions would drop because of the superior energy efficiency of South Korea’s newer coal-fired power plants.

Old Batteries Could Be Recycled into Solar Cells

August 19, 2014 7:00 am | by MIT, David Chandler | Videos | Comments

A system proposed by researchers recycles materials from discarded car batteries— a potential source of lead pollution— into new, long-lasting solar panels that provide emissions-free power.

Bionic Liquid Key to Closed Loop Biofuel Refineries

August 19, 2014 7:00 am | by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

While the powerful solvents known as ionic liquids show great promise for liberating fermentable sugars from lignocellulose and improving the economics of advanced biofuels, an even more promising candidate is on the horizon— bionic liquids.

Solar Plant Scorches Birds Midair

August 18, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press, Ellen Knickmeyer, John Locher | News | Comments

Workers at a state-of-the-art solar plant in the Mojave Desert have a name for birds that fly through the plant's concentrated sun rays— "streamers," for the smoke plume that comes from birds that ignite in midair. Federal wildlife investigators who visited the BrightSource Energy plant last year watched as birds burned and fell, reporting an average of one "streamer" every two minutes.

Shale Oil 'Dividend' Could Pay for Smaller Footprint

August 18, 2014 2:00 pm | by Purdue Univ. | News | Comments

Unanticipated economic benefits from the shale oil and gas boom could help offset the costs of substantially reducing the U.S.'s carbon footprint, agricultural economists say. They estimate that shale technologies annually provide an extra $302 billion to the U.S. economy relative to 2007, a yearly "dividend" that could continue for at least the next two decades.

Salt Bolsters Lithium Battery Life

August 15, 2014 7:00 am | by Cornell Univ. | News | Comments

Chemical engineers have achieved a breakthrough in the race for safer, longer-lasting batteries to power the world’s automobiles, cell phones, computers and autonomous robots. Adding certain halide salts to liquid electrolytes spontaneously creates nanostructured surface coatings on a lithium battery anode. The coating hinders the development of detrimental dendritic structures that grow within the battery cell.

Tattoo Batteries are Powered by Sweat

August 13, 2014 7:00 am | by ACS | Videos | Comments

In the future, working up a sweat by exercising may not only be good for your health, but it could also power your small electronic devices. Researchers are reporting today that they have designed a sensor in the form of a temporary tattoo that can both monitor a person’s progress during exercise and produce power from their perspiration.

Rank Landfill Gas Could Be Clean Energy

August 12, 2014 7:00 am | by ACS | News | Comments

A new technique that transforms stinky, air-polluting landfill gas could produce the sweet smell of success as it leads to development of a fuel cell generating clean electricity for homes, offices and hospitals, researchers say. The advance would convert methane gas into hydrogen.

Used Cigarettes are Energy Storage Solution

August 6, 2014 7:00 am | by Institute of Physics | News | Comments

A group of scientists from South Korea have converted used cigarette butts into a high-performing material that could be integrated into computers, handheld devices, electrical vehicles and wind turbines to store energy.

Glass Makes Better, More Efficient Solar Cells

July 31, 2014 12:00 pm | by Todd Shilton, Editor, The Conversation | News | Comments

Self-cooling, longer lasting and more efficient solar cells are within reach simply by adding a thin layer of glass. A new paper outlines a possible solution for better access to solar energy.                       

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