Technology content trusted in North America and globally since 1999
8,494 Reviews & Articles | 65,514 News Posts

Energy Posts - Page 1

New breakthrough in solar cell material is thanks to a 'sandwich'

By: Jak Connor | Energy | Posted: 5 days, 11 hours ago

A brand new type of material has been made for next-generation solar cells, and this material removes the major roadblock that was stopping the advancement of the technology.


At the moment, current solar cells only capture 15% to 18% of the solar energy on average, but in 2009 solar cells started incorporating the mineral perovskite. Since then, researchers have been concentrating on this mineral as it was much more efficient, increasing the capture rate to 28%. Unfortunately, just like every good thing out there, it comes with some form of downside. Solar cells that are made with perovskite are not stable as they contain water-soluble lead, which is a general health hazard.

Thankfully humans have a natural proclivity to overcome problems presented to them, and that's just what a team of researchers at Purdue University have done. Scientists and engineers led by Letian Dou, assistant professor of chemical engineering at Purdue University, have developed a sandwich-like material that uses organic and inorganic materials to form a new hybrid structure, removing the necessity of using lead and improving overall stability.

Continue reading 'New breakthrough in solar cell material is thanks to a 'sandwich'' (full post)

New superconductor discovery could change energy efficiency forever

By: Jak Connor | Energy | Posted: Oct 3, 2019 @ 4:10 CDT

Researchers and scientists around the world have stumbled upon a brand new discovery that could change how energy efficient energy transportation is.


The new paper which was puplished in the journal of Science Advances indicated that graphene, which is a material composed of a single layer of carbon atoms, is more of a superconductor of electricity than once speculated. The researchers from The Ohio State University have said they have found a "magic angle" that changes graphene from being a normal conductor of energy into a superconductor.

Before continuing, any metal is a normal 'conductor' of energy, but a 'superconductor' is metal that can conduct electricity without there being any resistance, meaning no loss of energy. Graphene was originally thought to be just a normal conductor, but the researchers added second layer of carbon atoms to the already present single layer. They also twisted these atoms to what they are calling the "magic angle", which is measure at 1 degree and 1.2 degrees.

Continue reading 'New superconductor discovery could change energy efficiency forever' (full post)

UAE turns on world's largest individual solar power project

By: Anthony Garreffa | Energy | Posted: Jul 1, 2019 @ 21:35 CDT

The largest individual solar power project in the world has just been turned on, with the United Arab Emirates as its home with the Emirate Water and Electricity Company starting up Noor Abu Dhabi.

Noor Abu Dhabi is capable of 1.18 gigawatts of peak capacity, and when compared to Solar Star in the US that cranks out 569MW, the new UAE-based solar farm is truly a beast. Abu Dubai is talking up the environmental side of its new facility, with its 3.2 million solar panels providing enough power for 90,000 people. It will also lower CO2 emissions by 1 million metric tons, which is the same as removing 200,000 cars from the roads, according to the Emirate.

Continue reading 'UAE turns on world's largest individual solar power project' (full post)

Tesla running whole island on solar power

By: Sean Ridgeley | Energy | Posted: Nov 22, 2016 @ 12:26 CST

Just three months after acquiring SolarCity, Tesla is putting its recently added assets to work by running the entire island of Ta'u -- a volcanic island located in American Samoa -- on solar power. Its 5,328 panel microgrid boasts 1.4 megawatts and takes care of "nearly 100 percent" of all electricity for the region. The grid features 60 Tesla Powerpacks that store 6 megawatt-hours of energy, enabling it to power the island for three days with no sun. Given the typically very bright weather, that's more than sufficient.

Solar over diesel means saving 300 gallons of fuel pollution per day in addition to the costs associated with it as well as the cost of buying and shipping diesel. Lastly, it means more reliable energy (previously, power had to be rationed at times).

Continue reading 'Tesla running whole island on solar power' (full post)

Microsoft wants to top 60 percent wind, solar, hydropower soon

By: Sean Ridgeley | Energy | Posted: May 19, 2016 @ 15:27 CDT

Microsoft's goal is to top 60 percent wind, solar, and hydropower energy usage in its datacenters early in the next decade, company president and chief legal officer Brad Smith reveals.


The company currently sits at 44 percent; it will attempt to achieve 50 percent by the end of 2018, 60 percent in the early 2020s, and go from there.

The news is especially significant because by 2025 datacenters are expected to be some of the biggest users of electrical power worldwide.

Ikea solar panels will be in all stores by the end of the year

By: Sean Ridgeley | Energy | Posted: Apr 27, 2016 @ 13:35 CDT

Yesterday it was reported Ikea had begun selling solar panels in its UK stores and online, with plans to offer them in all UK stores by the end of summer. With that, we had to wonder: would they later be available in all Ikea stores, and if so, when?


Well, we now have confirmation Ikea does indeed plan to expand the offering to all of its stores, and it won't take too long for it to do so.

"IKEA 'Solar Shops' will launch in three major stores across the UK, with a plan to sell solar panels in all stores by the end of [the year], following an initial UK pilot," a company spokesperson said to us. "The "Solar Shops" will launch on April 25 2016 in Glasgow, Birmingham, and Lakeside (Thurrock) and online followed by the Manchester and Southampton stores in May, then all other stores by the end of the 2016. This excludes order and collection points."

Continue reading 'Ikea solar panels will be in all stores by the end of the year' (full post)

Ikea now selling solar panels in UK

By: Sean Ridgeley | Energy | Posted: Apr 26, 2016 @ 12:04 CDT

Ikea has begun selling solar panels at some of its UK stores -- in Glasgow, Birmingham, and Lakeside -- as well as online.


The Swedish company's backing makes for some much-needed help after the government cut solar incentives by 65 percent. It says the reasoning is simple: over a third of Ikea customers are very interested in solar. It's a natural fit, too, as its operations are already powered by the environmentally-friendly technology.

By the end of summer, it plans to have a 'Solar Store' in every UK shop, each of which will have staff to help you decide if solar is worth it for you. If you decide yes, solar installation company Solar Century takes over from there.

Continue reading 'Ikea now selling solar panels in UK' (full post)

Solar plane resumes flight around the world after 9-month delay

By: Sean Ridgeley | Energy | Posted: Apr 22, 2016 @ 12:08 CDT

Experimental plane Solar Impulse 2 is again back in the skies following a nine-month delay for repairs. Its last trip was dampened by overheating batteries, but it still managed to set a record for longest duration of a nonstop solo flight when going from Japan to Hawaii.

The vehicle is of course powered by solar. As planes are a major contributor to pollution, the mission here is to encourage clean energy. And there's no better way to do that than fly Solar Impulse 2 around the entire world, which is what's happening as you read this. You can watch the launch here and the journey live via the stream above.

Continue reading 'Solar plane resumes flight around the world after 9-month delay' (full post)

These high-tech shoes charge your phone as you walk

By: Derek Strickland | Energy | Posted: Feb 18, 2016 @ 12:32 CST

What if you didn't need to rely on Li-ion batteries to power your devices? What if you could just plug your phone or laptop into your shoes and power them as you walk? The University of Wisconsin-Madison has developed a new high-tech pair of shoes that does just that.

Mechanical engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have created a device that converts the energy from walking into practical electrical current. The energy harvester is called a "bubbler", and uses a new kind of reverse electrowetting on dielectric (REWOD) phenomenon. REWOD is much more efficient than electromagnetic, piezoelectric, or electrostatic conversion because it has the potential to "produce very high power densities", and the device can be easily scaled in size.

In order to function, the bubbler energy converter is embedded into footwear between two chambers of pressurized gas. As wearer's take a step, the gas is compressed and then displaced through the REWOD chips, triggering thousands of oscillations which generate the electrical energy. So every natural step converts mechanical energy into electrical energy, with hundreds of heel-to-toe strikes accumulating into actual usable power current. So in theory, a one mile walk could not only reinvigorate your body, but your mobile devices as well.

Continue reading 'These high-tech shoes charge your phone as you walk' (full post)

LG invests $435m in solar cells, set to power 1 million homes by 2020

By: Chris Smith | Energy | Posted: Jan 13, 2016 @ 2:03 CST

As announced in a recent press release, LG Electronics has invested a massive $435 million into solar cell production, set to increase facilities in the Korean city of Gumi.


With this investment placed in order to increase capacity from 1GW to 1.8GW by 2018, LG is looking to further increase this to a massive 3GW by 2020, enough to power one million homes in total. This investment is part of a wider plan, with LG executive Lee Sang-bong stating that "LG has been actively involved in the solar energy business for two decades, and we believe that mainstream consumers are more than ready to give solar more serious consideration."

This massive commitment has come off the back of its NeON 2 solar energy technology advancement, with LG proudly stating that it has now been practicing in the solar field since 1995, seemingly with no plans to slow down anytime soon.