Farmland is vanishing in part because the salinity in the soil is rising as a result of climate change and other man-made phenomena. Researchers propose a new concept for breeding salt- tolerant plants as a way to contribute to global efforts for sustainable food production.
Developing nations represent a large and rapidly growing share of the world's clean energy investment, according to Climatescope 2014, a landmark study released today. The results suggest renewable technologies can be just as cost-competitive in emerging parts of the world as they are in richer nations.
Multiple pathways exist to a low greenhouse gas future, all involving increased efficiency and a dramatic shift in energy supply away from fossil fuels. A new tool 'SWITCH' enables policymakers and planners to assess the economic and environmental implications of different energy scenarios.
Researchers have pioneered a new approach to manufacturing solar cells that requires less silicon and can accommodate silicon with more impurities than is currently the standard. Those changes mean that solar cells can be made much more cheaply than at present.
Scientists combined hydrogen with its heavier sibling deuterium and created a novel, disordered, 'Phase IV'-material. The molecules interact differently than have been observed before, which could be valuable for controlling superconducting and thermoelectric properties of new materials.
Sscientists have developed geochemical tracers to identify hydraulic fracturing flowback fluids that have been spilled or released into the environment. The tracers have been field-tested at two sites and can distinguish fracking fluids from wastewater versus conventional wells or other sources. They give scientists new forensic tools to detect if fracking fluids are escaping into water supplies and what risks, if any, they might pose.
Researchers have developed innovative new materials and contactless techniques for applying ultrafine, homogeneous contact fingers to solar cells. This 'dispensing' technology can be easily integrated into conventional silicon solar cell production lines where it replaces screen printing as the method of applying front side metallization.
A Norwegian researcher has been able to achieve bio-oil yields of 79% from a common kelp. Other researchers working with the same species have yields closer to 20%. The secret is to heat the kelp very quickly and bring it to the right temperature within seconds.
The recent natural gas boom due to the use of technologies such as fracking will not lead to a reduction of overall greenhouse gas emissions. Burning natural gas produces only half the CO2 emissions as coal per unit of energy. However, as natural gas becomes abundant and therefore cheap, it adds to the total energy supply and only partially replaces coal.