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Alternative Energy / Renewable Energy

  • Photonics Breakthrough Taking Solar Power to a whole New Level

    Researchers at the University at Buffalo are developing a technology of slowing and absorbing certain wavelengths of light offering new possibilities in solar power, thermal energy recycling and stealth technology more efficient photovoltaic cells and improved radar and stealth technology.That’s a big bite, but also add a new way to recycle waste heat generated by machines into energy.  All from a breakthrough in photonics research. The image shows a “multilayered waveguide taper array.” The different wavelengths, or colors, are absorbed by the waveguide tapers (thimble-shaped structures) that together form an array.The work was published March 28 in the journal Scientific Reports. …

  • Amazon, Twitter Fail Greenpeace Report Card

    Amazon and Twitter have received “Fs” on their renewable energy report cards issued by Greenpeace, for inadequate commitment to renewable energy as a large percentage of Internet traffic remains powered by dirty energy.According to a Greenpeace report released on Wednesday, only 15% of Amazon’s massive Internet traffic is powered by green energy, while Twitter, which doesn’t use energy hungry data centers, has a long way to go in making its micro-blogging service more efficient and energy transparent.Apple Inc., Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. caught the flip side of the report, with Greenpeace noting that these companies had made significant progress…

  • By Embracing Renewable Energy Indonesia Avoids Offshore Disputes

    Indonesia, formerly a net oil exporter in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, is shifting its energy production from serving primarily export markets to meet the needs of its growing domestic market. Indonesia is the most populous country in Southeast Asia and the fourth most populous country in the world, behind China, India, and the United States. Indonesia is now the world's third most populous democracy with over 250 million inhabitants, the world's largest archipelagic state (17,508 islands, 6,000 inhabited) and the world's largest Muslim-majority nation. Indonesia’s economy grew more than 6% annually in 2010-12, but the government faces ongoing challenges…

  • Japan Looks at Recycling Vehicle Batteries for Renewable Power

    The March 2011 nuclear catastrophe at the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power complex has left Japan scrambling for power alternatives, as in the wake of the debacle, the Japanese government shuttered all 57 of the country’s nuclear power plants. Not surprisingly, renewable energy has experienced a surge of interest in Japan, but most forms of renewable power suffer from a lack of being able to provide reliable power 24/7 – the wind doesn’t always blow, the sun doesn’t always shine. Accordingly, storage systems of batteries are a high priority worldwide before renewable energy can advance. The world’s first large-scale solar power storage system…

  • Bill Gates Backs Renewable Battery Startup

    Bill Gates did not become the world’s richest man by making foolish investments. Now Gates and venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, Tao Invest, Kleiner Perkins and Foundation Capital among others, are betting that the Aquion battery, invented by Jay Whitacre of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, has a high-tech future. The Aquion battery costs the same as a lead-acid battery, but lasts twice as long.Aquion Energy was founded in 2007. Kleiner Perkins, the first firm to invest in Aquion Energy, partner emeritus Ray Lane said, “We are expecting Aquion Energy’s commercial launch in 2014 to be disruptive to the world of…

  • The Ten Reasons Why Intermittency is a Problem for Renewable Energy

    Intermittent renewables–wind and solar photovoltaic panels–have been hailed as an answer to all our energy problems. Certainly, politicians need something to provide hope, especially in countries that are obviously losing their supply of oil, such as the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, the more I look into the situation, the less intermittent renewables have to offer.1. It is doubtful that intermittent renewables actually reduce carbon dioxide emissions.It is devilishly difficult to figure out whether or not any particular energy source has a favorable impact on carbon dioxide emissions. The obvious first way of looking at emissions is to look at the fuel…

  • Energy Experts Call for Executive Action on Clean Energy

    A group of energy experts released a thick report that details a laundry list of ways that the President can take executive action to push clean energy forward without the need for congressional action. Led by former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, the report published by the Center for the New Energy Economy (CNEE) was inspired by a meeting Ritter had with President Obama and other clean energy leaders last year, in which the President solicited advice on how he could lawfully accelerate the deployment of clean energy. Ritter’s document, “Powering Forward,” lays out over 200 recommendations. The recommendations fall into…

  • Harvard Research Team has Breakthrough on Battery Storage

    As the world slowly transitions away from energy based on burning hydrocarbons, from coal and oil to natural gas, the main problem after start-up costs that have hobbled a further acceptance of renewable energy sources has been their erratic power output – the sun doesn’t always shine, the wind doesn’t always blow. This shortcoming in turn has driven major research worldwide into battery technology to store electrical output when renewable power sources are functioning, to be released back into the grid when needed. Now a research team of scientists at Harvard seem to have surmounted this bottleneck by developing a flow storage…

  • Clean Energy Presents “Perfect Storm” for Utilities

    A new report from UBS finds that renewable energy and energy storage are together presenting a “perfect storm” for big utilities. The declining cost of solar, energy efficiency, and electric vehicle technologies threaten to upend centralized electricity generation, putting the utility business model in jeopardy. Grid parity has already been achieved in certain parts of the world where conventional electricity rates are high and renewable resources are plentiful.Renewable energy is beginning to cut into the bottom line for U.S. utilities. The average price for solar PV modules declined by 80% between 2008 and 2012. Net metering policies and innovative financing…

  • What China's Energy Trajectory Says about Climate Change

    The Chinese government said it was facing the difficult task of keeping its economy thriving while respecting the environment at the same time. With the International Energy Agency warning of an unstable future, the world's climate outlook may hinge on the development of major Asian economies. "Climate change is already a serious threat to food, water, ecological and energy security, and to people's lives and property," a report from the Chinese government said. "The mission to deal with climate change is very arduous, but knowledge in society and ability to do this are weak across the board." China in September surpassed the…