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Fri12192014

Technology

Nickel and lithium used for better, low-cost water-splitting device

A device developed at Stanford University uses silicon and nickel to produce clean hydrogen fuel. Stanford University scientists created their silicon-based water splitter to utilize sunlight to split water into its two components: hydrogen and oxygen. Water-splitting is one way to harness the energy of the sun even if the sun itself is not shinning. “Solar cells only work when the sun is...

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The future of batteries: Self-healing and virus-made electrodes

The future of technology – everything from electric cars to smart devices – hinges on the development of more powerful and more durable energy storage devices. One of the most promising of the new energy storage devices are batteries based on the use of lithium as an energy storage material. One of the most common types is the lithium-ion battery in which energy is released or stored when...

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Rainforest microbe dissolves lignin, shows promise in biofuel production

It’s often speculated that many a cure for society’s ills – cancer, AIDS, the need for new fuel sources - could be found in an yet unknown living organism that is living in the world’s rich but fast disappearing rainforests. Now, scientists from the U.S.-based Joint BioEnergy Institute at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have found a microbe living in the soil of the...

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Duke University device converts microwave signals to energy

Researchers at Duke University have developed a device that can convert microwave signals to energy. The device can be configured and tuned to capture microwave signals and convert them into a direct current voltage capable of recharging a cellphone battery or other small electronic devices. The researchers believe that they could also tune their energy harvester to capture and...

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World War II fungi studied for biofuel production process

A fungi known for destroying tents in the Pacific theater during World War II is being studied by scientists at the United States Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for use in better biofuel production. An enzyme blend to transform tough, woody plant material such as corn stalks and wood chips into fuel is considered a key component in the...

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The future of thin-film solar: Graphene coated with silicon remains conductive

Solar cells of the future could use graphene as a transparent contact layer. Researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin fur Materialien und Energie have found that grapheme retains certain properties valuable to solar cells even when coated with silicon. They remain extremely conductive and completely transparent while being inexpensive and nontoxic. “We examined how graphene’s conductive properties change if it...

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Rust based materials used for better artificial photosynthesis method

Chemists at Boston College are looking at how rust could play a crucial role in developing an economical way to harness artificial photosynthesis to create clean energy. Natural photosynthesis – the means by which plants and other photosynthetic organisms convert sunlight into energy – consists of two processes: oxidation and reduction. Oxidation produces oxygen gas, while reduction produces organic molecules. In...

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Bacteria work together to create energy from sunlight

Bacteria, with their ability to grow, develop and sustain themselves in a variety of conditions, could be the miniature powerhouses that could drive us to a clean energy future. Researchers at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute are studying certain bacteria’s ability to produce electricity by coordinating their metabolic activities. They studied the light-sensitive green sulfur bacterium Chlorobium...

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Engineered strain of yeast produces ethanol, consumes acetic acid

An engineered strain of yeast can consume acetic acid, a byproduct of cellulosic biofuels production and increase ethanol yield by about 10 percent. The yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is good at fermenting the simple sugars found in plant matter to produce ethanol. However, before the yeast can ferment these sugars, they must first be extracted from the plant’s lignocellulose – the tough, fibrous material that...

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Sun and sewage powering up to create hydrogen

Using sunlight and wastewater, a new device developed at the University of California, Santa Cruz, can provide a sustainable source of hydrogen gas. The research team led by Yat Li, associate professor of Chemistry, developed a hybrid solar-microbial device that can not only produce hydrogen gas but can also improve the efficiency of wastewater treatment. Their hybrid device combines a micro...

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