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Alternative Energy

Environment

Spectrolab claims record efficiency for new solar cell

Spectrolab, a Boeing subsidiary known for the manufacture of solar cells for satellites and spacecraft, has in recent years turned its attention to terrestrial solar cells to tap into the expanding alternative energy market. Now the California-based company has claimed a new solar cell efficiency record of 37.8 percent for a ground-based multi-junction cell without solar concentration. Read More

Science

Silicon nanoparticles could lead to on-demand hydrogen generation

Researchers at the University of Buffalo have created spherical silicon nanoparticles they claim could lead to hydrogen generation on demand becoming a “just add water” affair. When the particles are combined with water, they rapidly form hydrogen and silicic acid, a nontoxic byproduct, in a reaction that requires no light, heat or electricity. In experiments, the hydrogen produced was shown to be relatively pure by successfully being used to power a small fan via a small fuel cell.Read More

Science

Inexpensive catalyst for producing hydrogen under real-world conditions found

Hydrogen has been hailed as the fuel of the future, but producing it cleanly using platinum as a catalyst is simply too costly to service the world's energy needs. On the flipside, producing hydrogen with fossil fuels not only releases CO2 as a byproduct, but is unsustainable, negating hydrogen's green potential. However, hydrogen may yet make good on its promise thanks to a group of scientists at the University of Cambridge.Read More

Environment

Pavegen kinetic energy tiles seek crowd-funding for school installations

"Create electricity, just by walking" is an evocative statement, and one which surely warrants some attention in these eco-efficient times when the need to seek alternative energy sources is well understood. Pavegen – a system for harvesting kinetic energy from foot traffic, and which the catchy soundbite belongs to – is now being put forward for crowd-funding through Kickstarter with the aim of raising enough money to fund two school projects, one in the U.S. and one in the U.K.Read More

Environment

Resurrected process converts sugar directly into diesel

Researchers at the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) are generating bio fuels from renewable sources, such as sugar and starch, using a process that could be commercialized in as little as five to ten years. Although the fuels are currently more expensive to produce than those made from petroleum, they contain more energy per gallon than ethanol and the researchers say that, if adopted, could help to cut greenhouse gas emissions from transportation.Read More

Architecture

Suburban house to demonstrate net-zero energy usage

The opening of a suburban house doesn’t usually warrant a ribbon-cutting ceremony, but a new house constructed in Gaithersburg, Maryland, is special. Built for the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the typical-looking suburban home is designed to provide researchers with a place to test various high-efficiency and alternative energy systems, materials and designs. As a result, the Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility (NZERTF), as it is known, is expected, over the course of a year, to generate as much energy as a family of four living in it would consume in that period.Read More

New app provides green fuel map for the U.S.

Switching to a vehicle running on alternative fuel presents a clear challenge - where do you fill it up? Designed by Leonardo Academy, Cleaner and Greener Fuels is a free app that gives users interactive maps to help them find the nearest alternative fuel stations all over the U.S.Read More

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