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Latest Energy News | World News

  • Britons Face Power Shortages As Two Nuclear Plants Cut Production

    Published: 20 October 2014

    Two nuclear power plants in central England that have been shut down since the summer for safety reasons will resume operations shortly, but at reduced output to limit the risk of cracks in its boilers.After a routine inspection in August found cracks in one boiler tower at Haysham 1 on England’s west coast, officials ordered the twin reactors there and at Hartlepool on the country’s east coast to shut down. When they’re restarted, they’ll run only at 75 to 80 percent capacity to prevent further cracks, according to the British utility that operates them, EDF Energy.The two plants have met…

  • New Catalyst Could Mean Cheaper Biofuels Production

    Published: 20 October 2014

    Biofuels are renewable and clean alternatives to fossil fuels, but they can be difficult to produce because their source, biomass, contains a fair amount of oxygen. That makes them less stable, too viscous and less efficient than the fuels they’re meant to replace.Using iron as a catalyst to remove the oxygen is inexpensive, but the water in organic biomass can rust the iron, canceling its effectiveness. Another metal, palladium, is rust resistant, but it’s not as efficient as iron in removing the oxygen, and it’s far more expensive than plentiful iron.So researchers at Washington State University (WSU) and the U.S.…

  • Fusion Power Race Heats Up

    Published: 20 October 2014

    "Right now, this design has the greatest potential of producing economical fusion power of any current concept," says Thomas Jarboe. (Credit: University of Washington) Fusion energy almost sounds too good to be true—zero greenhouse gas emissions, no long-lived radioactive waste, a nearly unlimited fuel supply.Perhaps the biggest roadblock to adopting fusion energy is that the economics haven’t penciled out. Fusion power designs aren’t cheap enough to outperform systems that use fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas.University of Washington engineers hope to change that. They have designed a concept for a fusion reactor that, when scaled up to the…

  • Oak Ridge Labs Develops New Device For Lighter, Faster Cars

    Published: 17 October 2014

    U.S. government scientists have developed a lighter, stronger and more efficient power inverter – “the heart of an electric vehicle” – that could make electric cars a lot like the inverters themselves: lighter, more powerful and more efficient.The U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratories reports that its scientists used unusual semiconductors and 3-D printing to create their inverter, which transforms direct electric current from the car’s battery into the alternating current needed by the motor.The unusual semiconductors include silicon carbide, which is known as a “wide-bandgap” material that can function properly at high temperatures and more efficiently than…

  • CEO Of EDF Replaced By President Hollande Amid Nuclear Rethink

    Published: 17 October 2014

    Center-right executive Henri Proglio will not be reappointed CEO of France’s state-owned utility Electricité de France (EDF) when his term runs out next month, and will be replaced by Jean-Bernard Lévy, who now runs defense electronics giant Thales Group.Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron announced the move, which would end a fairly acrimonious relationship between Proglio, known for his strong temper, and Socialist President François Hollande, who wants to reduce the proportion of nuclear power used to generate the country’s electricity. During his current five-year term as EDF’s CEO, Proglio also had to accept a significant pay cut, yet still wanted to…

  • Renewable Energy Finally Getting Cheaper In Germany

    Published: 16 October 2014

    Historic German farm house with solar panels.CREDIT: ShutterstockFor the first time ever, German consumers are about to see a drop in the surcharge they pay for renewable energy.Germany’s green energy policies include long-term contracts that require feeding renewables like wind and solar into the grid while guaranteeing them above-market rates. The goal is to build out the country’s renewable generation capacity, but the costs of the scheme are passed on to consumers through a surcharge on their electricity bills. It was introduced in 2000, and has risen every year since — including a fivefold jump since 2009 — and currently…

  • 3-D Printed Car From Start To Finish In Less Than Two Days

    Published: 16 October 2014

    If Jay Rogers had his way, car buyers would be able to order a vehicle at a dealership, choose the design and accessories, and have it manufactured to their personal specifications pretty much on the spot.Rogers is the CEO of Local Motors of Phoenix, Ariz., which aims to manufacture cars based on open-source designs. To him, it’s a win-win situation: The customer gets a tailor-made car and the dealership doesn’t have the headache of inventory that it might never sell. All thanks to 3-D printing.Rogers has already produced the world’s first 3-D printed car, the Strati, a small two-seater that…

  • India May Become World’s Largest Coal Importer

    Published: 16 October 2014

    It was to be expected. India’s coal imports in September zoomed up by 19% to 16 million tons as compared to a year ago, no thanks to low output from the state-run Coal India Ltd (CIL), according to data by online trader mjunction.India’s imports of all types of coal rose 18.47% to 110.15 million tons (mt) in April-September, as against 92.98 mt imported during the same period in 2013-14. A report on moneycontrol.com  said:• Imports of steam coal surged 20.69% to 87.09 mt during the first six months of 2014-15 from 72.16 MT recorded in the same period in 2013-14.•…

  • New Generator Powered Solely By Heat, Not Fuel

    Published: 15 October 2014

    Conventional power plants generate waste as well as electricity, and they need to buy fuel in order to operate. Even today’s emission-free plants, such as nuclear reactors, leave operators with the task of disposing of hazardous spent fuel.Add to all that the waste of the energy in heat, which is generated by between 40 and 80 percent of the fuel they use.Now a start-up has developed what it calls the E1, a generator that could harness some of that waste and simultaneously reduce fuel consumption and toxic emissions by up to 3 percent. While that may not seem like a…

  • New Tesla Model S May Have Us Rethink Electric Cars

    Published: 15 October 2014

    CREDIT: AP Photo (Rinfo H. W. Chiu)Tesla unveiled an all-wheel drive version of its Model-S on Thursday. The new car is an improvement over the two-wheel-drive version in almost every way, with increased efficiency, range, acceleration, top speed, and a slew of futuristic auto-pilot features.Until now, all-wheel-drive (AWD) vehicles were less efficient and slower than rear-wheel drives due to the added mass of a second motor. This is not the case for the new Model S’s dual motor system, which makes for a more efficient and powerful car than its two-wheel-drive predecessor. While many Tesla owners currently reside in warm…