There's so little good news about energy, this technology breakthrough is heartening.

Self-Cleaning Anodes Could Facilitate Cost-Effective Coal-Powered F...


Maybe in 50 years or so "clean coal" could become a reality, since the CO2 waste stream would facilitate carbon capture.

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A Harvard team has developed a flow battery from inexpensive organics. They anticipate having a commercial prototype in three years. This will be a game changer for solar and wind energy.

Organic Mega Flow Battery Promises Breakthrough for Renewable Energy

... until now, flow batteries have relied on chemicals that are expensive or difficult to maintain, driving up the energy storage costs.

Vanadium is used in the most commercially advanced flow battery technology now in development, but its cost sets a rather high floor on the cost per kilowatt-hour at any scale.

The new flow battery developed by the Harvard team already performs as well as vanadium flow batteries, with chemicals that are significantly less expensive...

By the end of the three-year development period, Connecticut-based Sustainable Innovations, LLC, a collaborator on the project, expects to deploy demonstration versions of the organic flow battery contained in a unit the size of a horse trailer. The portable, scaled-up storage system could be hooked up to solar panels on the roof of a commercial building, and electricity from the solar panels could either directly supply the needs of the building or go into storage and come out of storage when there's a need.

Horray! Scientists finally found a negative climate change feedback.

Nature can, selectively, buffer human-caused global warming, say sc...

... warming of the tropical Indian Ocean and tropical Western Pacific Ocean -- with resulting increased precipitation and water vapor there -- causes the opposite effect of cooling in the TTL region above the warming sea surface. Once the TTL cools, less water vapor is present in the TTL and also above in the stratosphere.

Since water vapor is a very strong greenhouse gas, this effect leads to a negative feedback on climate change. That is, the increase in water vapor due to enhanced evaporation from the warming oceans is confined to the near- surface area, while the stratosphere becomes drier. Hence, this effect may actually slightly weaken the more dire forecasted aspects of an increasing warming of our climate, the scientists say.

"Solar has won. 
 Even if coal were free to burn, power stations couldn't compete"

"As early as 2018, solar could be economically viable to power big cities. By 2040 over half of all electricity may be generated in the same place it's used. Centralised, coal-fired power is over"

This Guardian article about electricity generation in Australia is sparking hundreds of spirited comments... (and I do wonder how much of that is corporate astroturfing!) If only we could generate substantial electricity from internet vitriol! :-)

Designer carbon can improve battery and supercapacitor performance.

New 'designer carbon' boosts battery performance

Electrical conductivity improved threefold compared to supercapacitor electrodes made of conventional activated carbon. "We also found that our designer carbon improved the rate of power delivery and the stability of the electrodes,"...

... Bao and her colleagues developed a new way to synthesize high-quality carbon using inexpensive -- and uncontaminated -- chemicals and polymers.

The result: designer carbon that can be fine-tuned for a variety of applications.

"We call it designer carbon because we can control its chemical composition, pore size and surface area simply by changing the type of polymers and organic linkers we use, or by adjusting the amount of heat we apply during the fabrication process," To said.

"Our designer carbon is simple to make, relatively cheap and meets all of the critical requirements for high-performance electrodes."

Wind farm
12 June 2015

Thanks to expertise garnered building space telescopes powerful enough to see exoplanets, large wind turbines are now generating clean power without making a racket. 

Last year, a European wind turbine maker found itself with an emergency: their new clean-energy turbines were efficient, effective and state-of-the-art – but they were too noisy.

It turned out that ESA’s advanced Darwin planet-hunter study provided a smart answer: using the same approach that keeps multiple telescope mirrors precisely aligned to cancel out turbine vibration before it becomes noise.


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