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Latest Energy News | World News

  • MIT Turns Dead Car Batteries Into Clean Solar Energy

    Published: 20 August 2014

    When a car battery calls it quits, it usually ends up at a service station that disposes of it responsibly, because it contains toxic lead. A team of MIT researchers thought there might be something worth keeping, and now say they have successfully recycled materials from spent batteries to create long-lasting, clean-running solar panels.Recent solar cell research has included the use of perovskite – its formal name is “organolead halide perovskite” – which has been tweaked to the point where its efficiency in turning solar energy into electricity is nearly competitive with conventional solar cells.“It went from initial demonstrations to…

  • Citigroup Report Spells Trouble For Oil, Further Growth For Renewables

    Published: 20 August 2014

    World energy markets will soon enter a period of “extreme flux,” according to a new report out from Citigroup.The report, titled “Global Energy 2020: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised as Disruptors Multiply,” paints a bleak picture for the future of the oil industry, while predicting massive growth in the renewable sector. The report claims oil is being undermined by cheaper natural gas and more fuel-efficient vehicles.More truck fleets are switching to natural gas and Americans are becoming generally less dependent on oil. However, natural gas prices could trend upward and oil would stay the same, resulting in a less…

  • In Solar Tech, Simple Solutions Outperform the Exotic

    Published: 19 August 2014

    Recent news about improving the efficiency of solar panels often has focused on exotic technologies and materials. All of them show promise – otherwise they wouldn’t be news – but for now, at least, they can’t be built inexpensively and come to market quickly.It seems that many researchers have somehow overlooked simplicity. Not so for one startup, Semiprius, based in Durham, N.C. It says it can simply stack inexpensive solar cells to achieve solar power efficiencies nearing and eventually exceeding 50 percent, twice that of conventional cells – and likely at a cost lower than natural gas.Some recent innovations involve…

  • As Oil Prices Drop, Canadian Oil Sands May Be Wasted Investment

    Published: 19 August 2014

    A new study says the recent increase in global oil production and the ensuing drop in price may threaten the profits of energy companies that have invested in Canadian oil sands, the world’s most expensive extraction operation.The think tank Carbon Tracker Initiative (CTI) of London reported Aug. 15 that it simply doesn’t pay for companies to drill for oil in deep-water projects such as those off the coasts of Africa and South America, unless their oil can sell at between $115 and $127 a barrel.Even riskier financially are the oil sands, or tar sands, of western Canada, which are profitable…

  • As Threats To Oil Supply Decline, So Do Prices

    Published: 18 August 2014

    Oil prices fell on Aug. 18 as concern eased about oil supplies from North Africa and the Middle East.Brent crude from the North Sea fell 78 cents per barrel to $102.75 for October delivery in Asian trading. At one point in the day, its price went as low as $102.35 a barrel. On Aug. 15, it traded $1.52 higher.In New York trading, meanwhile, the price of U.S. crude was $96.71 per barrel for September delivery, a drop of 64 cents. Oil prices did spike on Aug. 18 as tensions rose along Russia’s border with eastern Ukraine, a major conduit of…

  • First Studies Of Fukushima Accident Show Serious Effects On Wildlife

    Published: 18 August 2014

    Beginning just a few months after the meltdown of Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi power plant in March 2011, scientists began studying the biological effects of the radiation on local wildlife, and the first reports are not encouraging.The Journal of Heredity has published several articles summarizing these studies, which found broad negative impact -- including genetic damage, population declines and disruptions of the mechanisms that help organisms repair exposure to radioactive material.The victims range from birds to butterflies and even plants.“A growing body of empirical results from studies of birds, monkeys, butterflies and other insects suggests that some species have been significantly…

  • Mining Spill Near U.S. Border Leaves Thousands Of Mexicans Without Water

    Published: 18 August 2014

    An acid spill from a large copper mine in northern Mexico is keeping 88 schools closed starting Monday due to uncertainty over the safety of drinking water. The 12-day-old spill, which sent 10 million gallons (40,000 cubic meters) of toxic wastewater into portions of the Bacanuchi and Sonora rivers, may keep schools closed for over a week according to the Associated Press. The Buenavista copper mine, one of the largest copper mines in the world, is located in Cananea, Sonora, about 25 miles south of the U.S. border near Nogales, Arizona. The mine is operated by Grupo Mexico, one of…

  • Ukraine Offer To Share Pipeline Threatens Russia‚Äôs Plan For Alternative Conduit

    Published: 15 August 2014

    A decision by Ukraine’s parliament to allow European and U.S. companies to lease shares of the pipeline that carries Russian gas to the West could derail Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plan for an alternative pipeline that bypasses Ukraine.The Verkhovna Rada voted Aug. 14 to allow the country’s gas pipeline and underground storage facilities to be leased as a joint venture, offering 49 percent to U.S. and European companies, with Ukraine retaining 51 percent control.The move would give Ukraine more leverage with its much larger neighbor, which it accuses of fomenting violence by pro-Russian separatists on its territory. At the same…

  • Private Equity Just Dropped $2 Billion on These Petro-Plays

    Published: 15 August 2014

    It’s becoming a sign of the times. E&P companies selling North American acreage—and private equity picking up the ground. Last week we got two more big deals in the energy space. Showing that private equity appetite for oil and gas is running stronger than ever. The first move came from Houston’s Riverstone Holdings. Which announced it will invest $675 million (in concert with Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds) in the deep basin play of Western Alberta. The investment will be completed through a vehicle called “Canadian Non-Operated Resources”. As the name suggests, the company’s aim will be to acquire minority interests in projects…

  • Using Sweat To Charge Your Cell Phone

    Published: 14 August 2014

    Imagine using daily exercise not just to power your body, but also your cell phone. That’s what a team of scientists at the University of California-San Diego (UCSD) are working on, with the aid of a temporary tattoo that monitors a person’s progress during exercise and generates power from their sweat.The tattoo detects lactate, a substance in sweat and “a very important indicator of how you are doing during exercise,” says Wenzhao Jia, a postdoctoral researcher at UCSD involved in the study. A report of her team’s findings was prepared for presentation on Aug. 13 at the 248th National Meeting…