Atomic Movies May Help Explain Why Perovskite Solar Cells Are More Efficient

In recent years, perovskites have taken the solar cell industry by storm. They are cheap, easy to produce and very flexible in their applications. Their efficiency at converting light into electricity has grown faster than that of any other material – from under four percent in 2009 to over 20 percent in 2017 – and some experts believe that perovskites could eventually outperform the most common solar cell material, silicon. But despite their popularity, researchers don’t know why perovskites are so efficient.

Now experiments with a powerful “electron camera” at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have discovered that light whirls atoms around in perovskites, potentially explaining the high efficiency of these next-generation solar cell materials and providing clues for making better ones.

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Photocatalyst makes hydrogen production 10 times more efficient

Hydrogen is an alternative source of energy that can be produced from renewable sources of sunlight and water. A group of Japanese researchers has developed a photocatalyst that increases hydrogen production tenfold.

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Efficient organic solar cells with very low driving force

It was believed that efficient operation of organic solar cells requires a large driving force, which limits the efficiency of organic solar cells. Now, a large group of researchers led by Feng Gao, lecturer at IFM at LiU, He Yan at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and Kenan Gundogdu at the North Carolina State University have developed efficient organic solar cells with very low driving force.

This implies that the intrinsic limitations of organic solar cells are no greater than those of other photovoltaic technologies, bringing them a step closer to commercialisation.

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As gas prices fall, consumers going back to less fuel efficient vehicles

There were high-fives this week from Detroit to Washington, D.C., as carmakers celebrated record auto sales.

Americans bought 17.5 million cars and trucks in 2015. That's a huge turnaround from 2009, and the Obama administration cheered the rebound as vindication of the president's decision to rescue General Motors and Chrysler from bankruptcy.

“Because of the policy decisions that were made by this administration to place a bet on those workers, America has won, and our economy has been better for it,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Wednesday.

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Potential Of Disk-shaped Small Structures, Coccoliths, To Promote Efficient Bioenergy Production

Coccolithophore phytoplankton Emiliania huxleyi and cells covering crystals of calcium carbonate—coccoliths. (Credit: Hiroshima University)

(Click to enlarge) Coccolithophore phytoplankton Emiliania huxleyi and cells covering crystals of calcium carbonate—coccoliths. (Credit: Hiroshima University)

Researchers at Hiroshima University and the University of Tsukuba showed that coccolith disks made of calcium carbonate in Emiliania huxleyi, one of the promising biomass resources, potentially perform roles in reducing and enhancing the light that enters the cell by light scattering. Elucidation of the physiological significance of coccolith formation in E. huxleyi can help promote efficient bioenergy production using microalgae.

(From ScienceDaily) — The energy issue is one of the most important problems on earth. Recently, many types of renewable energy resources such as solar light, wind, water, and biomass have attracted attention for their use as alternatives for fossil fuels.

Coccoliths are disk-shaped plates of calcium carbonate formed by coccolithophores, which are single-celled algae such as E. huxleyi. The most important question concerning coccolith function is with regard to how they modulate solar light in the ocean, where huge blooms of E. huxleyi have frequently been observed as satellite images by SeaWiFS Color Senor from space. Recently, studies that focus on the optical function of coccoliths have been reported. In these studies, the light scattering of randomly oriented coccoliths was measured.

Professor Masakazu Iwasaka at Hiroshima University and Professor Yoshihiro Shiraiwa at the University of Tsukuba prepared an aqueous suspension of isolated coccoliths of Emiliania cells and examined their light-scattering properties. They found that the coccoliths showed magnetic orientation when floating in water, and the light scattering was changed by the magnetically oriented coccoliths.

Professor Iwasaka said, “Surprisingly, the percentage of coccoliths oriented in the same direction increased during exposure to the 400 mT to 500 mT magnetic field.”

“In addition, an individual coccolith has a specific direction of light-scattering,” Professor Iwasaka explained.

Read the full article here:

Consortium for Ocean Leadership

Efficient use of land to meet sustainable energy needs

An analysis shows that generation of solar power within the existing built environment could easily meet California’s current energy demand.

Nature Climate Change doi: 10.1038/nclimate2556

Nature Climate Change – AOP – science feeds

US EPA finds the most energy efficient buildings in top 10 cities

Yesterday the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its sixth annual list of the 25 U.S. metropolitan areas with the most ENERGY STAR certified buildings in 2013. The list demonstrates economic and environmental benefits achieved by facility owners and managers in America’s leading cities when they apply a proven approach to energy efficiency to their buildings.
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