Scientists have discovered a surprising material that is the best in the world at converting waste heat to useful electricity. This outstanding property could be exploited in solid-state thermoelectric devices in a variety of industries, with potentially enormous energy savings.
On the scale of earth-friendly materials, you'd be hard pressed to find two that are farther apart than polyester (not at all) and cork (very). In an unexpected twist, however, scientists are figuring out how to extract a natural, waterproof, antibacterial version of the first material from the latter.
Environmentally compatible production methods for organic solar cells from novel materials are in the focus of MatHero. The new project aims at making organic photovoltaics competitive to their inorganic counterparts by enhancing the efficiency of organic solar cells, reducing their production costs and increasing their life-time.
Researchers have conducted a study into genetically modified tobacco plants from which it is possible to produce between 20 and 40 per cent more ethanol; this would increase their viability as a raw material for producing biofuels.
Researchers have found that carbon dioxide, in its ionic form bicarbonate, has a regulating function in the splitting of water in photosynthesis. This means that carbon dioxide has an additional role to being reduced to sugar.
Energy efficiency programs aimed at reducing energy waste cost utilities only about three cents per kilowatt hour, while generating the same amount of electricity from sources such as fossil fuels can cost two to three times more.
Panasonic Corporation today announced that it has achieved a conversion efficiency of 25.6% in its HIT solar cells, a major increase over the previous world record for crystalline silicon-based solar cells.
To fly once around the world, across continents and oceans - powered by the Sun; this is the unprecedented goal of the SolarImpulse project. The flying venture is expected to take place in 2015, using an extremely lightweight aircraft covered with solar cells and powered by four electrically driven propellers.
Future generations will have to pay more for today's carbon emissions than what governments across the world currently understand. The climate models used by policymakers around the world to estimate the economic and social costs of CO2 emissions have to be improved.