Vast energy sources are slumbering below big cities. Sustainable energies for heating in winter and cooling in summer may be extracted from heated groundwater aquifers. Researchers from KIT and ETH Zurich developed an analytical heat flux model and found that increasing heat in the underground is mainly caused by an increase in surface temperatures and heat release from buildings.
Billions of euros are spent treating trillions of litres of wastewater every year, consuming substantial amounts of energy. However, this wastewater could act as a renewable resource, saving significant quantities of energy and money, as it contains organic pollutants which can be used to produce electricity, hydrogen and high-value chemicals, such as caustic soda.
Converting heat directly into power could be a major source of renewable energy. A novel approach to study this so called thermoelectricity may help to design new materials that are highly efficient. In an experiment with cold atoms trapped by lasers at ETH Zurich an international group of physicists precisely simulates the behavior of thermoelectric materials.
Coal, natural gas, and oil accounted for 87 percent of global primary energy consumption in 2012, as the growth of worldwide energy use continued to slow due to the economic downturn, according to a new Vital Signs Online trend released by the Worldwatch Institute.
Until now, it has taken weeks to make biofuel from trees. This slow pace has been a bottleneck for the industry. Researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology have now shortened the process to a few hours.
The information has been collected in the European ECO2 research project. The main objectives of the project were to define principles for carbon footprint assessment, and to assess greenhouse gas impacts of wooden building products and buildings.
Researchers modeling how changes in air flow patterns affect wind turbines' output power have found that the wind can supply energy from an unexpected direction: below. According to the researchers, many wind turbine array studies overlook the fact that important airflow changes occur inside the array.
With winter around the corner some homeowners may be thinking about plugging all the leaks in their home to make them less drafty. Imagine if every homeowner in the country did that -- how much energy could be saved? Using physics-based modeling of the US housing stock, researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found in a new study that upgrading airtightness to a uniform level could achieve as much as $33 billion in annual energy savings.
Straw from agriculture could play an important role in the future energy mix for Germany. Up until now it has been underutilized as a biomass residue and waste material. These were the conclusions of a study conducted by the Thueringian Regional Institute for Agriculture, the German Biomass Research Center, and the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research.