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Fri05222015

Technology

G.E., Sandia Labs working on quieter, more productive wind turbines

G.E. has announced that they are partnering with the Sandia National Laboratories to reengineer the design of wind blades to make them quieter without impacting their ability to capture and generate power from wind. G.E. Global Research, the technology development arm of G.E., and Sandia have...

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One-pot process to simplify production of biofuel from biomass

A “one-pot” method of processing biomass into biofuels has been developed by researchers with the United States Department of Energy’s Joint Bioenergy Institute. “By combining ionic liquid pretreatment and saccharification into a single vessel we eliminate the excessive use of water and waste disposal currently associated with washing biomass that that is pretreated with ionic liquids,” said chemical engineer Blake...

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Queen's University addresses sustainability in the Far North

A professor at the Queen's University in Canada has designed a program that will provide young researchers with the tools to address sustainability challenges in the Far North. Dr. Mark Green, university professor, designed the six-year program called Sustainability Engineering in Remote Areas with the goal of promoting sustainability in remote communities, specifically, those in the Far North. Under the program, students...

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Secret to improved plastic solar cells discovered

A group of researchers from Stanford University have now discovered the secret behind improving the performance of plastic solar cells – and the secret lies in disorder. A class of organic materials, known as conjugated or semiconducting polymers – whose chains of carbon atoms have properties of plastic – has the ability to absorb sunlight and conduct electricity. For nearly 40 years now, it has been the subject of study...

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Sustainable solar cells that use abundant compound, developed

Chemists at the University of Basel have developed a more sustainable solar cell that uses an abundant compound instead of the usual rare element. Dye-sensitized solar cells, or DSCs, which transform light to electricity, consist of a semiconductor on which a dye is anchored. This colored complex absorbs light and through an electron transfer process – which uses electrolytes as transport... Usually, iodine and iodide serve as the electrolyte.

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Water splitting technique uses sunlight to produce hydrogen

Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder have developed a solar-thermal system which uses sunlight to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, allowing the hydrogen to be used for clean fuel. The solar-thermal system developed utilizes vast arrays of mirrors onto a single point atop a central tower which stands several hundred feet tall. The heat generated by the mirrors, which can reach – 1,350 degrees...

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Radio waves can determine the severity of climate change

Radio waves reflecting back to Earth from the ionosphere can determine the severity of climate change, according to a study done by researchers at Tel Aviv University. Prof. Colin Price of the university’s Department of Geophysical, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, along with PhD candidate Israel Silber, discovered that the strength of the radio signals on the ground is a reliable indicator of...

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Plasmonic black metals could lead to more efficient PVs

Using plasmonic black metals could lead to more efficient photovoltaics with improved solar energy harvesting capabilities, according to researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Researchers at the L.L.N.L. Materials Engineering Division pointed out that black metals can be thought of as an extension of the black silicon concept used in solar panels. When silicon is roughened at the nanoscale level, its...

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Studying thermophillic microbes for better biofuel production

A recently concluded study on thermophiles – microbes that thrive at extremely high temperatures and alkaline conditions – could help determine the best microbial enzyme to break down biomass to extract fermentable sugars for advanced biofuels. Scientist from the United States Department of Energy’s Joint BioEnergy Institute and Joint Genome Insitute, the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory and the Pacific...

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Bioengineered bacteria creates diesel like substance for advanced biofuels

A bioengineered microbe that can produce biofuel from carbon dioxide has been developed by scientists from the United States Department of Energy’s Joint Bioenegy Institute. “We’ve shown that the bacterium Ralstonia eutropha growing with carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas is able to generate significant quantities of diesel-range methyl ketones,” says Harry Beller, a JBEI microbiologist who led this research, which was...

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