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Sat08292015

Technology

New algae growing platform developed at M.S.U.

A new algae growing platform, which simulates dynamic natural environments, has been developed by scientists at Michigan State University for the algae-biofuel sector. The M.S.U. scientists believe that their new platform, the environmental photobioreactor, or ePBR system, will help bring algae biofuels close to commercial viability. While many scientists around the world are already working with promising lab-raised...

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Paired oxide materials key to creating hydrogen using the power of the sun

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have developed a system made from cheap, oxide-based materials that can create hydrogen using the power of the sun. One of the major obstacles to producing hydrogen using sunlight is that the most efficient catalysts tend to be far too expensive to produce enough hydrogen at a cost that can compete with fossil based fuels...

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Under the snow, heat – Icelandic project produces geothermal power using magma

In 2012, a borehole drilled in Krafla, northeast Iceland became the first geothermal system to use magma – the molten rock located deep within the earth – to increase its power output. According to Wilfred Elders, a professor emeritus of geology at the University of California, Riverside, the Icelandic Deep Drilling Project or I.D.D.P. was the first successful example of a magma-enhanced...

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Tiny fungi play huge role in carbon storage in soil

Tiny fungi living in the roots of plants make a huge difference in the soil’s ability to store carbon. Soil contains more carbon than both the atmosphere and vegetation combined, this mean even a minor change in how much carbon the soil can store could have major implications for the climate. "Natural fluxes of carbon between the land and atmosphere are enormous and play a crucial role...

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Flow battery using organic molecules key for affordable renewable energy storage

A new battery model developed by a team of Harvard scientist and engineers could provide the answer to the question of how we can use renewable energy for our power needs even when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. One of the biggest problems with incorporating energy from renewable resources into the grid is the mismatch between the times of availability of this power and peak...

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Inexpensive pretreatment liquid removes lignin, leaves behind sugars for biofuels

By mixing in inexpensive liquid salts into biomass materials being processed for biofuels, researchers at North Carolina State University have developed an easy way to remove lignin from the material. Lignin, the tough substance that makes up a plant’s cell wall, is an obstacle in the biofuel production process as it needs to be broken down in order to extract cellulosic sugars from biomass which...

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Treating air pollution like a garden, sprinkling water to reduce smog and haze

A new geoengineering method inspired by basic gardening techniques is being proposed to help solve China’s urban air pollution problem. Over the past 30 years, China’s cities have suffered from air pollution brought about by their rapid pace of economic and industrial development. Motor vehicles and industrial activities are being blamed for the heavy smog and pollution in these cities. The smog...

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New geothermal plant design enables emissions-free energy production and carbon storage

A research team from Ohio State University is proposing to expand the power generation capacity of geothermal projects ten-fold while locking away unwanted carbon dioxide at the same time. Geothermal power plants tap into hot water located deep underground, using the heat to generate power. The new design proposes to partially replace this heated water with carbon dioxide or anoth...

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Ceramic, crystalline material developed for better solar cells

A solar power design using ceramic material could prove to be the key to providing cheaper solar power. The new material is capable of harnessing energy from both visible and infrared light, allowing it to absorb six times more energy than conventional photovoltaic materials and transfer a photocurrent 50 times denser. The material was developed by a team of scientists at the University of...

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Copper nanowire film improves fuel cells

Researchers at Duke University are using the common metal copper to create cheaper and studier fuel cells. Hydrogen fuel cells can capture the power of the sun and use it to trigger a water splitting reaction to separate water into its component parts, producing hydrogen for fuel and emitting water vapor. Water splitting occurs naturally in nature, with plants doing so through photosynthesis...

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