In the race for higher power yields, the Zentrum für Sonnenenergie- und Wasserstoff-Forschung Baden-Württemberg (Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research, ZSW) has set a new world record. The Stuttgart researchers have improved the efficiency of CIGS thin-film solar cells to 20.8%. This figure is a record for converting sunlight into electrical energy and, for the first time, it exceeds the efficiency of market-dominating multicrystalline silicon solar cells.
A multi-million Euro project has advanced global progress on capturing tidal and wave energy thus bringing the EU closer to its target of generating 20% of its energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020.
The aim of this initiative is to share knowledge, projects and developments in terms of scientific advancements, based on the creation of synergies and possible frameworks for cooperation between the various research groups, organisations and institutions that address this matter.
Stanford University's Precourt Institute for Energy, the Precourt Energy Efficiency Center and the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy have awarded 11 seed grants totaling $2.2 million for promising new research in clean technology and energy efficiency.
With energy bills again rising and the winter approaching, researchers from Keele University in the UK have found a positive way of helping householders to keep their energy costs down and houses warm.
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.