Hot on the heels of the election, geoscientists are recommending what should be an obvious change of direction for our energy policy; instead of wasting another $72 billion on subsidies for corporations building legacy ineffective green energy technology, the Obama administration should be funding basic research with that money instead.
Berkeley, CA — The installed price of solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems in the United States fell substantially in 2011 and through the first half of 2012, according to the latest edition of Tracking the Sun, an annual PV cost-tracking report produced by the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).
The median installed price of residential and commercial PV systems completed in 2011 fell by roughly 11 to 14 percent from the year before, depending on system size, and, in California, prices fell by an additional 3 to 7 percent within the first six months of 2012. These recent installed price reductions are attributable, in large part, to dramatic reductions in PV module prices, which have been falling precipitously since 2008.
The findings of a U.C. San Diego study conclude that marine (saltwater) algae can be just as efficient as freshwater algae in producing biofuels.
The availability of significant saltwater environments for algae production is obvious. According to a Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's (PNNL) report, algal fuels grown in saline water from existing aquifers and recycling nutrients would be able to provide up to twice the goal for advanced biofuels set under the Energy Independence and Security Act - roughly 40 billion gallons or 20 percent of annual transportation fuel demand.
Clostridium acetobutylicum became popular when the chemist Chaim Weizmann first used the bacterium to ferment the solvent acetone and the alcohols butanol and ethanol, collectively known as “ABE” products, from starch - he wanted to create synthetic rubber and during World War I the process was used by the British to ferment acetone for the production of cordite, the explosive propellant that replaced gunpowder in bullets and artillery shells.
Earlier this year, the US government opened a new front in its war with China over solar panel manufacturing - tariffs designed to close the gap between U.S. and Chinese labor costs.
Tariffs don't work, we have known that since the Depression of the 1930s was prolonged due to economic tinkering and boosting tariffs. Creating higher costs for a non-essential product, especially a non-essential product for a market that is only in existence due to government subsidies, drives down demand.
The day after the American presidential election, the U.S. International Trade Commission voted to saddle Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. with a tariff of 35.97% on their silicon module imports from China, which are made by the parent company.
I was impressed by the extensive damage done to an Indiana home and surrounding structures a few days ago
. It really did look like a bomb blast.
The obvious explanation is that a gas leak was the cause, but could it have been an explosive device?
One way to sort this out is to compare the energy content of natural gas with other types of explosions. Intuitively, one might expect that a 100 kg (220 pound) bomb would do this kind of damage. The energy content of 100 kg of TNT is 400 million joules, so how much gas would contain a similar amount of energy?
One big knock on solar energy is that it is inconsistent; it doesn't work at night or on cloudy days and storing it in batteries takes away the cost effectiveness. But a new technology is in development that can transform that light energy into a storable clean fuel that still has a neutral carbon footprint - hydrogen.
What does it take? Water and iron oxide, better known as rust. Kevin Sivula and colleagues at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne intentionally stuck to inexpensive materials and easily scalable production processes in order work toward an economically viable method for solar hydrogen production.
Energy companies in New Jersey and Pennsylvania are required to buy some solar power each year.
They are required to overpay for that solar power.
In return for overpaying, they get Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) which let them pass the extra cost onto local families and taxpayers.
Climate change was ignored for all but the last week of the American presidential election. Then, a hurricane hit and it mobilized voters who were otherwise disappointed that neither party cared about science or the climate.
Yet it's hard to have a real talk about climate change when activist groups are so anti-science about energy and energy produces a lot of emissions. While Hurricane Sandy may have been the 'October surprise' that re-elected a president (1) but it may also have done something that even an earthquake in Japan could not do; force a real, adult conversation about nuclear power.
Researchers say their refinements in silicon-based lithium-ion technology could lead to a high-capacity, long-lived and low-cost anode material for next-generation rechargeable lithium batteries.