Researchers develop new system to use solar power to produce clean fuels

Solar Power Clean Fuel - Sun Reflecting on water

New system leverages the power of the sun to produce sustainable fuels Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have developed a new system that can generate fuel using solar power. The new system represents reaching another milestone in efforts to use renewable energy to produce sustainable fuels. Researchers based their efforts on several previews endeavors, many of which involved mimicking photosynthesis in order to turn sunlight into electrical power. This electricity is then used to trigger chemical reactions. System can convert fuel precursors into ethanol and ethylene In the…

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New material could lead to a new generation of fuel cells

Fuel Cells Material - Image of Graphene Structure

Research team develops new material that could benefit fuel cells A team of researchers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have developed a new material that could lead to a new generation of hydrogen fuel cells. The material is a mix of metal nanocrystals that are enveloped in graphene. Researchers believe that the new material could allow for enhanced hydrogen storage properties. This could make fuel cells more efficient and a much more attractive option when compared to other clean energy systems. Material makes use of graphene and magnesium nanocrystals…

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Costs of wind energy to continue falling in the coming years

wiind energy - reduced costs

Study highlights the promising future ahead for wind energy Wind energy in the United States, and elsewhere in the world, will continue to experience technological breakthroughs in the coming years, according to researchers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The research team has conducted the largest study concerning renewable energy every conducted. The study concluded that as clean technology becomes more advanced, the cost of renewable energy will continue to fall dramatically. This is particularly true for wind energy, which can benefit greatly from the advances being made to turbine…

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Wind energy projects are getting bigger and less expensive

As wind farms grow, the cost of wind energy continues to fall Wind energy is expected to become less expensive in the coming years. According to a survey from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, energy experts predict that the cost of electricity generated by wind turbines will become as much as 30% less expensive by 2030. Both onshore and offshore projects are becoming less expensive and more efficient. As these energy systems improve, the cost of the electricity they produce is falling dramatically. Larger wind farms means less expensive energy…

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US solar energy industry continues to see growth due to falling costs

Reports highlight the increasing affordability of solar power The solar energy industry in the United States continues to show signs of healthy growth. According two new reports from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and the Department of Energy show that this growth is being supported by the continued decline in the prices for solar power systems. The falling price of solar power has been a longstanding trend, which has made this form of renewable energy more attractive and accessible to consumers throughout the country. Distributed solar power is growing…

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U.S. scientists may have found new technique to lower biofuel cost

Decreasing plant lignin could help make green fuel cheaper. Biofuel could become cheaper as scientists have shown for the first time that it is possible to lower lignin in plants by tweaking an enzyme; a discovery which could be highly beneficial to the bioenergy industry. The technique discovered by the scientists from the United States Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), could help reduce the cost required to convert biomass into carbon-neutral fuels used to power cars and other sustainably develop bio-products, reported Phys.org. The technique lowers…

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Wind energy sets new record in the US

Wind capacity now produces 70 GW of electrical power Wind energy has set a new electrical generation record in the United States, according to data from the American Wind Energy Association. The data shows that the country’s wind capacity can now generate enough energy to power a record setting 19 million homes. The U.S. now has some 70 gigawatts of installed wind capacity. As such, 2015 may go down as the year wherein wind power has managed to establish a significant foothold in the country. Federal tax credits will ensure…

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Solar energy may be having an impact on California’s natural habitat

Study suggests that state must be more careful when developing new solar energy projects Researchers from California’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Center for Conservation Biology have released a new study suggesting that careful steps should be taken to ensure that new solar energy projects do not disrupt the natural habitat of California. As focus on clean power and fighting climate change increases, new solar energy projects are beginning to take form in the state. This has lead to growing concerns regarding how these projects are affecting the state’s…

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US launches new program to support solar energy and efficiency

New funding program will provide $68 million to efficiency and solar power projects throughout the country The U.S. government has announced the launch of a new program that aims to support some 540 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects throughout the country. The program will support an estimated 240 solar energy projects, tapping into $68 million in federal funds. The funds are expected to help projects that are currently in development make significant progress over the coming years. The money is also likely to provide some needed support to projects…

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Research team develops new fuel cell catalyst

Researchers develop breakthrough catalyst that uses 85% less platinum Researchers from the Argonne National Laboratory and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have developed a new type of fuel cell catalyst that reportedly boasts of more than 30 times the catalytic activity than its conventional counterparts. The new catalyst is also expected to be less expensive than conventional models because it uses 85% less platinum. Developing such a catalyst has long been the goal of the fuel cell and science communities for some time. Developing low cost, highly effective catalysts could…

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Artificial leaf harnesses solar energy to produce hydrogen fuel

Researchers work to develop a new artificial leaf that is cost effective and efficient Researchers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are working to develop a new artificial leaf that may be able to convert solar power into fuel with a high energy density. Artificial leaves have become quite popular in the scientific community as they provide a way to effectively mimic the process of photosynthesis. Mimicking this natural process is often cited as a major scientific breakthrough and a stepping stone toward a future where renewable energy is more…

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Organizations team to address hydrogen fuel storage challenges

University of Bolton establishes partnership to discover new methods of hydrogen storage The United Kingdom’s University of Bolton has partnered with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the U.S. in order to develop new environmentally friendly vehicles and hydrogen storage methods. Researchers from the two organizations will be working together to develop nano-composite materials that are able to store hydrogen fuel efficiently. This fuel would then be used to power vehicles equipped with fuel cells. Researchers from the University of Bolton suggest that efficient hydrogen storage is the proverbial “Holy…

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Rooftop solar energy gains momentum in the US

Rooftop systems are becoming more popular among homeowners In many parts of the world, solar energy typically finds a home on the rooftops of homes and businesses. These are small scale photovoltaic systems that are designed to serve as a localized energy source. Large scale projects have become quite popular as well, but have experienced relatively slow growth because of their high cost. In the U.S., rooftop solar energy systems are showing much more potential than their large scale counterparts, according to a new report from the Lawrence Berkeley National…

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Turning Sunlight Into Hydrogen

Here’s a tantalizing fact: the Earth gets more energy from just one hour’s worth of sunlight than the entire world uses in one year. That’s something to ponder when you pull up to the pump, or open your latest electric bill. Unfortunately, the technology to store vast quantities of solar energy simply doesn’t exist yet. But nature itself may have shown us the way, or at least one way, to turn that sunlight into useful hydrogen energy, and the inspiration comes from that grass you’re walking on, or that tree…

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Costs of solar energy continue to fall in the US

New report sheds light on costs of solar energy Solar energy continues to show strong progress throughout the U.S. Solar energy systems are beginning to become more common on rooftops throughout the country, proving popular to businesses and consumers alike. Part of the reason solar energy is gaining a significant amount of attention has to do with the plummeting costs associated with this energy. A new report from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory aims to shed some light on this trend. Residential solar systems are becoming less expensive The report…

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Methanol fuel cells may see a future in electric vehicles

Electric Vehicles - Methanol Fuel Cell

Oorja aims to bring methanol fuel cells to clean transportation Oorja Protonics, a developer of methanol fuel cells, has announced its partnership with the U.S. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Through a Memorandum of Understanding with the laboratory, Oorja will help develop a manufacturing process that could make methanol fuel cells more popular in the field of transportation. Currently, much of the auto industry is enthralled by the prospects of hydrogen fuel cells, but methane may be an adequate alternative to hydrogen in many cases, especially where clean transportation is involved.…

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