Energy

Researchers Use Sun to Produce Solar-Energy Materials

In a recent advance in solar energy, researchers have discovered a way to tap the sun not only as a source of power, but also to directly produce solar energy materials.This breakthrough by chemical engineers at Oregon State University could soon reduce the cost of solar energy, speed production processes, use environmentally benign materials, and make the sun a “one-stop shop” that produces both the materials for solar devices and the energy to power them.The work is based on the use of a “continuous flow” microreactor to produce nanoparticle inks that make solar cells by printing. In this process, simulated sunlight is focused on the solar microreactor to rapidly heat it, while allowing precise control of temperature to aid the quality of the finished product. The light in these experiments was produced artificially, but the process could be done with direct sunlight, and at a fraction of the cost of current approaches.SourceAlso: Read other Materials tech briefs.

Posted in: News, Energy, Renewable Energy, Solar Power, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Materials, Nanotechnology

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Using Lightning to Measure Health of Power Grids

When power switches or lightning create high voltage currents, power companies view it as a problem. These so-called natural transients have the power to destroy components and cause disturbances along the transmission line.

Posted in: News, Energy, Energy Storage

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NASA-Funded Research Converts Waste Heat to Electricity

Scientists have long attempted to convert the enormous amounts of waste heat generated by power plants, data centers, and cars into electricity via thermoelectric power generators (TEPGs). Scientists know how to convert waste heat into electricity. The problem is how to do so in an efficient manner using a material that justifies the cost of the conversion process.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Renewable Energy

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2013 Create the Future Design: Sustainable Technologies Category Winner

The Paradigm Shift in Wind Turbine Technology Glen Lux Lux Wind Power Ltd., Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, CanadaImagine a renewable energy source that can produce energy at a cost comparable to natural gas or hydroelectric generators using fewer resources, while being environmentally friendly. Lux Wind Turbines are expected to cost less than half that of conventional turbines, and can be spaced closer together to extract more power with less land.

Posted in: Articles, Energy, Solar Power, Wind Power

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Funding Opportunity: Develop Advanced Biomass Supply Chain Technologies

The Department of Energy has announced about $6 million in funding for projects that will develop and demonstrate supply chain technologies to deliver commercial-scale lignocellulosic biomass feedstocks to biorefineries across the country.

Posted in: News, News, Biomass, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Energy Harvesting, Renewable Energy, Alternative Fuels

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Can Cobalt-Graphene Beat Out Platinum As Catalyst in Hydrogen Fuel Cells?

Platinum works well as a catalyst in hydrogen fuel cells, but it is expensive and degrades over time. Brown University chemist Shouheng Sun and his students have developed a new material — a graphene sheet covered by cobalt and cobalt-oxide nanoparticles — that can catalyze the oxygen reduction reaction nearly as well as platinum does and is substantially more durable.

Posted in: News, News, Energy, Alternative Fuels, Materials

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'Nanoflowers' for Energy Storage and Solar Cells

North Carolina State University researchers have created flower-like structures out of germanium sulfide (GeS) – a semiconductor material – that have extremely thin petals with an enormous surface area. The GeS flowers hold promise for next-generation energy storage devices and solar cells.

Posted in: News, News, Batteries, Energy Storage, Renewable Energy, Solar Power, Materials, Nanotechnology

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