I am a big fan of solar power. In Science Left Behind I argued we should be doing basic research to improve our capabilities in the technology so that it can be a viable end game for when fossil fuels no longer make sense.

Methane, the abundant and inexpensive natural gas, is often burnt off around the world at oil fields and refineries but it's a great energy source and base material for the chemical industry, if only there was a viable way to put it in liquid form, which is easier to transport and more reactive.

Energy is the great equalizer. With cheap energy, the cost of all basic needs go down and citizens can have better culture and education.

For too many Western elites, especially in environmental activism, the goal of reducing energy flies in the face of developing nation empowerment. Solar panels are great, except people don't want agenda-based solutions, they want lights and air conditioners and running water when they need them.

The gas boom brought about primarily by hydraulic fracturing has lowered the domestic price of natural gas so that the United States now has among the lowest prices in the world, and it has shifted the U.S. from a significant importer to a potential exporter of liquefied natural gas. This benefits consumers and led to gains in competitiveness for U.S. manufacturers, something desperately needed for the moribund U.S. economy.

But there is a conflict in the Obama administration. He signed an agreement to allow exports while simultaneously instructing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to restrict fossil fuels so that his subsidies for solar power companies don't fare even worse than they have.

Could a solar eclipse over Europe during the day affect the power generated by Germany's photovoltaic systems or solar panels, thereby challenging the reliability of the electrical supply across the country?

A new analysis based on simulations and data from the partial solar eclipse that occurred over Europe on the morning of March 20th indicates that such shadowing causes a sudden drop in the power gradient, followed by a steep rise. However, during the shadowing on March 20th, the amount of imported power rose and the amount of exported power fell accordingly.

Using solar or wind power to produce carbon-based fuels is a self-defeating approach to making a greener world, but when governments decide to engage in advocacy rather than science, and throw money at problems, bad corporate habits are learned. Instead of funding more basic research to make green energy viable, the White House opted to engage China in a price war on solar panels, and $72 billion later we have the same issues.

A new way to store methane could speed the development of cleaner-burning natural gas-powered cars that don't require the high pressures or cold temperatures of today's compressed or liquefied natural gas vehicles.

Natural gas is cleaner-burning than gasoline, and today there are more than 150,000 compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles on the road in the U.S., most of them trucks and buses. But until manufacturers can find a way to pack more methane into a tank at lower pressures and temperatures, allowing for a greater driving range and less hassle at the pump, passenger cars are unlikely to adopt natural gas as a fuel.

Though activists want to retreat into the past and have less energy available for the public (which will impact the poor) a more progressive approach is to look to science and the future - but that will only work if there are stable policies in place.

Oddly, this progressive thinking is coming from energy corporations rather than environmentalists. A group of electricity corporations are creating a picture of a future high-tech energy mix that would help nations meet climate-related CO2 reduction pledges and the expanding demand for electricity.

Burning a candle could be all it takes to make an inexpensive but powerful electric car battery, according to new research published in Electrochimica Acta. The research reveals that candle soot could be used to power the kind of lithium ion battery used in plug-in hybrid electric cars.

The authors of the study, from the Indian Institute of Technology in Hyderabad, India, say their discovery opens up the possibilities to use carbon in more powerful batteries, driving down the costs of portable power.

In Australian homes, reliable hot water supplies for taking showers or bathing the kids are taken for granted. But this has a significant cost – conventional hot water heaters can account for up to 30% of household energy use and can be significant carbon emitters.

One alternative is solar hot water, which can supply more than 90% of household hot water and reduce energy bills by 50-85%, as well as lowering carbon emissions.