Nanowires Have the Power to Revolutionize Solar Energy

Imagine a solar panel more efficient than today’s best solar panels, but using 10 000 times less material. This is what EPFL researchers expect given recent findings on these tiny filaments called nanowires. Solar technology integrating nanowires could capture large quantities of light and produce energy with incredible efficiency at a much lower cost. This technology is possibly the future for powering microchips and the basis for a new generation of solar panels. Read more

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Peak water worries energy experts

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World Energy Supply GB Graphic Peak water worries energy expertsWhat are the key takeaways from the World Economic Forum’s latest report on energy?

One, global energy demand is showing no signs of slowing down, despite “peak driving” having arrived already in the US and Europe. Two, if we’re going to ease energy poverty for the large chunk of the world population that still goes without modern supplies, demand is likely to keep going much higher. Read more

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Is algae the answer to greener transport?

Energy – not even fossil-fuel energy – isn’t in short supply for the short-term future, globally speaking. Liquid fuel for transport, on the other hand, is a concern. And it’s hard to imagine a global economy functioning for long without transport.

Could algae ultimately provide the solution other biofuels (corn ethanol, especially) have failed to deliver? Read more

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Algae can draw energy from other plants

Flowers need water and light to grow. Even children learn that plants use sunlight to gather energy from earth and water. Members of Professor Dr. Olaf Kruse’s biological research team at Bielefeld University have made a groundbreaking discovery that one plant has another way of doing this. They have confirmed for the first time that a plant, the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, not only engages in photosynthesis, but also has an alternative source of energy: it can draw it from other plants. This finding could also have a major impact on the future of bioenergy.
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‘Energy democracy’ becomes more real

Will new technologies democratize energy much the way the Internet did information?
Industry movement seems to point in that direction with the rise of the smart grid, time-of-day pricing, distributed solar, and the electric vehicle. Together these technologies offer a vision of a less centralized energy system, one where communities and households ‘vote in’ or shape the electric grid by how they decide to consume energy, a phenomenon also called the …
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