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Fri12192014

Technology

Nanomaterial developed to help Australia reduce CO2 emissions

Researchers from the University of Adelaide have developed a new nanomaterial that can reduce carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power stations. The nanomaterial, called a “metal-organic framework,” can separate the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from nitrogen in the waste gas released by coal power generation that is a major contributor to climate change. “It’s like a sponge but at a nanoscale. The material has...

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Colored solar cells developed for better building design

German researchers have developed a way to make colored solar cells from paper-thin silicon wafers. While color doesn’t really matter when we’re talking about solar panels efficiency, it does matter a little when designers or property owners are thinking about how a solar panel might contribute to the over-all aesthetics of a building or facility. “Not enough work has been done so far on combining...

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Electrocatalyst for better batteries, fuel cells developed in Korea

A new electrocatalyst for oxygen reduction has been developed at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea. Led by Prof. Jaephil Cho, dean of the Interdisciplinary School of Green Energy at U.N.I.S.T., the research team developed a new strategy to design inexpensive and durable electrochemical oxygen reduction catalysts for both metal-air batteries and fuel cells. Electrocatal...

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Antifreeze used in manufacture of cheaper thin-film solar cells

A little antifreeze is a key component to a relatively cheap semiconductor material that researchers at Ohio State University are studying for use in future solar technologies. “The global use of solar energy may be held back if the materials we use to produce solar cells are too expensive or require the use of toxic chemicals in production,” said Greg Herman, an associate professor of Chemical, Biological and...

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Atom thick sheets of material for thinner and lighter solar cells

Using materials that are only one-molecule thick, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are looking to produce the thinnest and most lightweight solar panels possible. By stacking two layers of what are called two-dimensional materials such as graphene and molybdenum disulfide, Jeffrey Grossman and his team have created a solar cell that is only 1 nanometer thick. Mr. Grossman, who is the Carl...

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Manmade wetlands storing huge amounts of carbon

Manmade wetlands hold great potential as long-term carbon sinks. According to researchers at the Florida Gulf Coast University, manmade wetlands do not only help halt the spread of agricultural pollutants, they also pull and hold carbon dioxide from the air. The director of the Everglades Wetlands Research Park at the university, Bill Mitsch, along with co-author of the report Blanca Bernel, found that two manmade...

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Faster and more accurate method of inspecting P.V. systems developed

Scientists at the University of Stuttgart, Institute of Photovoltaic in Germany, have developed a method of inspecting photovoltaic systems that have novel advantages over current inspection methods. The P.V. module-assessment innovation, which was developed by Stuttgart Solar Centre, a working group from the Institute of Photovoltaic at the University of Stuttgart and the Steinbeis Centre for Photovoltaic, is called...

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Flexible ribbons of graphite make for better, stronger battery anode

Ribbons of graphene and tin oxide have been used by researchers at Rice University to boost the efficiency of a lithium ion battery. The researchers built proof-of-concept anodes using these two substances that show an initial capacity to store lithium ions that is greater than the theoretical capacity of tin oxide alone. The material is also long lasting, going through 50 charge-discharge cycles while...

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Sulfur used for cheaper, more energy dense batteries

A lithium-sulfur battery developed at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory could outlast the best of the commercially available lithium-ion batteries. The lab researchers have designed and tested their battery, which uses the abundant and low-cost element sulfur, and found that it has approximately four times the energy density of a lithium-ion battery. The concept of lithium-sulfur batteries...

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Getting the right ratio improves performance of quantum dots

Small particles of semiconductor material known as quantum dots are considered as promising component for the next generation of solar photovoltaic devices. Photovoltaics based on quantum dots can be made from abundant and inexpensive materials and can allow for the absorption of light over a wider range of wavelengths (see related story). However, most solar cells developed using quantum dots still have...

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