Energy

07/28/2014 - 09:59

The magnets cluttering the face of your refrigerator may one day be used as cooling agents, according to a new theory formulated by MIT researchers. The theory describes the motion of magnons — quasi-particles in magnets that are collective rotations of magnetic moments, or “spins.” In addition to the magnetic moments, magnons also conduct heat; from their equations, the MIT researchers found that when exposed to a magnetic field gradient, magnons may be driven to move from one end of a magnet to another, carrying heat with them and producing a cooling effect.    

 

07/21/2014 - 13:00

A new material structure developed at MIT generates steam by soaking up the sun. The structure — a layer of graphite flakes and an underlying carbon foam — is a porous, insulating material structure that floats on water. When sunlight hits the structure’s surface, it creates a hotspot in the graphite, drawing water up through the material’s pores, where it evaporates as steam. The brighter the light, the more steam is generated.

 

06/24/2014 - 20:40

New analysis of large-scale 'concentrating solar power' plants suggests they could meet 70-80% of electricity demand if they are linked together.

05/21/2014 - 06:31

Vast amounts of excess heat are generated by industrial processes and by electric power plants; researchers around the world have spent decades seeking ways to harness some of this wasted energy. Most such efforts have focused on thermoelectric devices, solid-state materials that can produce electricity from a temperature gradient, but the efficiency of such devices is limited by the availability of materials.

 

04/16/2014 - 08:35

When an earthquake and tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant complex in 2011, neither the quake nor the inundation caused the ensuing contamination. Rather, it was the aftereffects — specifically, the lack of cooling for the reactor cores, due to a shutdown of all power at the station — that caused most of the harm.

 

04/13/2014 - 12:00

A new study using a photosensitive molecule, azobenzene and carbon nanotubes demonstrates the feasibility of developing solar thermal fuels with significantly increased energy storage capacity.