Energy News

Monday, January 7, 2013 - 13:30

Why are efficient and affordable solar cells so highly coveted? Volume. The amount of solar energy lighting up Earth’s land mass every year is nearly 3,000 times the total amount of annual human energy use. But to compete with energy from fossil fuels, photovoltaic devices must convert sunlight to electricity with a certain measure of efficiency. For polymer-based organic photovoltaic cells, which are far less expensive to manufacture than silicon-based solar cells, scientists have long believed that the key to high efficiencies rests in the purity of the polymer/organic cell’s two domains –  acceptor and donor. Now, however, an alternate and possibly easier route forward has been shown.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 14:36

The scientists genetically engineered marine algae to produce five different kinds of industrially important enzymes and say the same process they used could be employed to enhance the yield of petroleum-like compounds from these salt water algae. Their achievement is detailed in a paper published online in the current issue of the scientific journal Algal Research.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 11:14

Collisions between protons and lead ions at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) have produced surprising behavior in some of the particles created by the collisions. The new observation suggests the collisions may have produced a new type of matter known as color-glass condensate.

Monday, November 26, 2012 - 13:17

A new device invented at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) can absorb 99.75% of infrared light that shines on it. When activated, it appears black to infrared cameras.

Monday, November 26, 2012 - 13:08

A team of researchers, including engineers from Los Alamos National Laboratory, has demonstrated a new concept for a reliable nuclear reactor that could be used on space flights. The research team recently demonstrated the first use of a heat pipe to cool a small nuclear reactor and power a Stirling engine.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 16:15

The next generation of sustainable energy systems, from magnetic storage to offshore wind turbines, hinges in part on high-temperature superconductors (HTS), which can carry current with zero loss and perfect efficiency. Unfortunately, that loss-free behavior comes at the cost of extreme and inefficient cooling, and the fundamental physics that governs the behavior of these remarkable materials remains mysterious.