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Monthly Archives: June 2010

Concerns about Shale Gas

Written by , on June 26, 2010

Shale-gas drilling involving hydraulic fracturing has been increasingly used in the United States and Canada. A new documentary called Gasland focuses on the impact that the natural gas extraction process has on communities and the environment.  Read more »

Solar PowerFlower

Written by , on June 25, 2010

The Solar PowerFlower is a portable concentrated photovoltaic power generator intended for agricultural use. It was designed by Jason Halpern, co-founder of PowerFlower Solar, who began developing the technology while still a student at the University of Pennsylvania.  Read more »

Smart Grid Using TV “white space”

Written by , on June 25, 2010

The Plumas and Sierra Counties in California are testing a smart grid using the television broadcasting system’s "white space". "White space" is the part of the broadcast spectrum left vacant when television broadcasting is switched from analogue to digital. It can transmit data significantly faster than the current standard Internet Wi-Fi, and can be broadcast […]  Read more »

Lithium Batteries Dramatically Improved with Carbon Nanotubes

Written by , on June 24, 2010

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, led by Associate Professor Yang Shao-Horn, in collaboration with Professor Paula Hammond, have found that using carbon nanotubes for one of the battery’s electrodes produced up to a tenfold increase in the amount of power that a lithiun-ion battery could deliver from a given weight of material. In […]  Read more »

Spain Becomes World’s Leading Solar Producer

Written by , on June 22, 2010

Spain has overtaken the US as the biggest solar electricity generator in the world. The opening of the new La Florida solar plant at Alvarado, Badajoz, in the west of the country, takes Spain’s solar output to 432 megawatts, compared with the US output of 422 megawatts. The La Florida plant produces 50 megawatts of […]  Read more »

How Much Electricity Does the Internet Really Use?

Written by , on June 22, 2010

The media is fond of quoting claims that the internet will soon be using more power than the airline industry, that it will consume half of all the electricity produced or that two Google searches release as much CO2 as boiling a kettle of water. The Google search myth arose from a Times article in […]  Read more »

Painting the Andes to Save the Planet

Written by , on June 22, 2010

Four men from the remote village of Licapa in Peru have decided to combat global warming by painting the Andes white. In the last 35 years, rising temperatures have reduced the size of glaciers in the Peruvian Andes by 22%. The hope is that the whitewash will reflect heat away and stop the glaciers melting. […]  Read more »

Fuel Cell Efficiency Breakthrough

Written by , on June 19, 2010

Researchers at Purdue University have developed a new highly efficient technique for making hydrogen fuel cells suitable for vehicles. The technology has the potential to be twice as effective as current fuel cells at around half the temperature and much lower pressure. The process uses ammonia borane, a high hydrogen-content powdered chemical and combines two […]  Read more »

New Energy-Saving Air Conditioning

Written by , on June 18, 2010

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory has developed a new air conditioning process with the potential of using 50 to 90 percent less energy than the best current units. The process uses a unique combination of membranes, evaporative cooling and liquid desiccants. It uses the desiccant (highly concentrated aqueous salt solutions of […]  Read more »

Coral Isands May Be Shifting – Not Sinking

Written by , on June 17, 2010

For years, we have been warned that low-lying coral island states will be drowned by rising sea levels. Now the first analysis of the data broadly suggests the opposite – most have remained stable, while some have even grown, despite rising sea levels, over the last 60 years. Paul Kench at the University of Auckland […]  Read more »