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Center for Energy: News of the Day
  1. Ultrathin black phosphorus for solar-driven hydrogen economy
    Researchers combined two different types of 2-D materials -- black phosphorus and bismuth vanadate -- to form a biologically inspired water-splitting catalyst. Normal sunlight could drive the reactions and careful design of the catalyst enabled the expected ratio of hydrogen and oxygen production.

  2. Nuclear power plants must be able to withstand fires caused by aircraft impacts
    Researches examined the transport, evaporation and combustion of liquids in large-scale fire incidents.

  3. Shale gas is one of the least sustainable ways to produce electricity, research finds
    Shale gas is one of least sustainable options for producing electricity, according to new research.

  4. Slow 'hot electrons' could improve solar cell efficiency
    Photons with energy higher than the 'band gap' of the semiconductor absorbing them give rise to what are known as hot electrons. The extra energy is lost very fast, as it is converted into heat so it does not contribute to the voltage. Researchers have now found a material in which these hot electrons retain their high energy levels for much longer.

  5. Solar fuels: better efficiency using microwires
    Researchers have made significant efficiency improvements to the technology used to generate solar fuels. This involves the direct conversion of energy from sunlight into a usable fuel (in this case, hydrogen). Using only earth-abundant materials, they developed the most efficient conversion method to date. The trick was to decouple the site where sunlight is captured from the site where the conversion reaction takes place.
    Nature has more than one way to make methane
    Biochemists report a bacterial, iron-only nitrogenase pathway for methane formation.

  6. Harnessing the power of algae: New, greener fuel cells move step closer to reality
    A new design of algae-powered fuel cells that is five times more efficient than existing plant and algal models, as well as being potentially more cost-effective to produce and practical to use, has been developed.

  7. Sun, wind, and power trading
    The use of renewables like the sun and wind can cause fluctuations in power grids. But what impact do these fluctuations have on security of supply? To answer this question, scientists analyzed different types of fluctuations in several power grids in Europe, Japan, and the USA -- and came to surprising conclusions.

  8. Making solar energy more efficient
    Researchers have demonstrated methods of optimizing the capture of sunlight.

  9. Tweaking quantum dots powers-up double-pane solar windows
    Researchers are creating double-pane solar windows that generate electricity with greater efficiency and also create shading and insulation. It's all made possible by a new window architecture which utilizes two different layers of low-cost quantum dots tuned to absorb different parts of the solar spectrum. The approach complements existing photovoltaic technology by adding high-efficiency sunlight collectors to existing solar panels or integrating them as semitransparent windows into a buildin...

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