News, Renewable Energy

Signs that much of the world can go completely renewable

Vancouver has pledged to go 100% renewable in 5 years.

In unanimous vote, the city of Vancouver, Canada, passed its Greenest City Action Plan – to become the world’s greenest city by 2020; one of their goals is to use only renewable energy in only 5 years. In light of that and other recent developments, it’s starting to feel like much of the world might actually go renewable in the near future.

News, Renewable Energy

The two-in-one solar cell might harness energy cheaply and efficiently

Test sample of a monolithic perovskite-silicon multijunction solar cell produced by the MIT-Stanford University team. Image: Felice Frankel

A team at Stanford and MIT has devised a novel configuration that combines silicon – the leading solar cell semiconductor – and perovskite – a cheap mineral, only recently exploited for converting solar energy – to form two different layers of sunlight-absorbing material in order to harness energy across a wider spectrum. While performance at this stage is not impressive (it’s equally as good or bad as conventional single-layer silicon cells), researchers believe they have methods at their disposal that could double efficiency. If that were to happen, than these could be the cheap, but efficient solar cells we’ve all been waiting for.

News, Renewable Energy, Technology

New Tesla Battery Could Take Your Home Off The Grid

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Tesla Motors are out to change the world – and they’re doing it fast, and in style. Like many other of their projects, this one seemed to pop up out of nowhere: Tesla have designed a battery that can power your home and even larger utility buildings. In other words – it could take your house out of the grid.

News, Renewable Energy, Technology

Chinese scientists build first hydrogen-powered tram

Image: New China TV

China is the largest polluter in the world at the moment, and they’re also reaping what they sew. But you can’t accuse the Chinese for not trying to right their ways – at least some of them; in an effort to mitigate the ridiculous amounts of smog that clouds some of China’s cities, scientists have developed the first hydrogen-powered tram.

Materials, News, Renewable Energy

Scientists create better, cheaper perovskite crystals

Credit: Padture Lab / Brown University.

Researchers at Brown University have found a cheaper and easier way to create hybrid perovskites, enabling engineers to develop more affordable and efficient solar cells. Perovskite is a calcium titanium oxide mineral composed of calcium titanate (CaTiO3). The mineral has received much attention in recent years as artificial perovskite crystals have increasingly been used in solar cells. Perovskite films in solar cells are excellent light absorbers, but they until now, they were more expensive to fabric and only created small crystals.

News, Renewable Energy

Finally, a fully transparent solar energy harvester

transparent solar cell

University of Michigan researchers have devised what looks like the world’s first fully transparent solar cell. Think of all of those tall glass buildings; wouldn’t it be nice if all that incoming solar energy was harvested somehow? Likewise, why not let your smartphone charge up a bit while it’s taking a tan. Of course this isn’t a new idea, but previous attempts are rather unattractive because the compromise makes windows too shady or dark. After all, the purpose of a window is to let light in, not make energy. Ideally, you’d want them harness energy as well, complementary. The new system devised at UM is exciting because it offers exactly this: energy generation, with no compromise in visibility.

Environment, Renewable Energy

Nicaragua covers 50% of its energy demand with renewables, and expects 90% by 2020

Photovoltaic power plant in Diriamba, about 25 miles from Managua. Image: Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images

The central American republic of Nicaragua is nothing short of a renewable energy paradise: great winds, a scorching tropical sun and 19 volcanoes that can be tapped for geothermal. Not too long ago, the country had been enslaved by its over-dependence on foreign oil imports, since it practically has no performing oil rigs. Since 2005, the country has embarked on

Environment, Renewable Energy

Solar Power Today and Tomorrow

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Solar power is one of the most efficient yet clean sources of energy we have access to. There are no increased fuel costs or dependencies, no ties to pollutants, and it’s both reliable and affordable. Of course, in order to harness solar power you need access to specific technology. This tech relies on either small-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, large-scale

News, Renewable Energy

World’s first grid-connected wave power station switched on in Australia

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The world’s first grid-connected wave power station has just been activated off the coast of Australia. Taking energy directly from the waves and sending them to the grid is a remarkable achievement which will hopefully be replicated in Australia, as well as in other parts of the world.

News, Renewable Energy

All 6,000 Mosques in Jordan to Run on Solar Energy

Image via Columbia University.

As global oil prices continue to drastically fluctuate up and down over the years, the Kingdom of Jordan has announced that all of their mosques will soon run on solar energy, in an attempt to save money and promote sustainable development.