Wind and sun, two unpredictable resources, are becoming ever more important as sources of energy in Europe. This means that we face a growing need for energy storage facilities, because if energy cannot be used immediately when it is generated, it needs to be stored until it is needed.
To meet skyrocketing demand for electricity, African countries may have to triple their energy output by 2030. While hydropower and fossil fuel power plants are favored approaches in some quarters, a new assessment has found that wind and solar can be economically and environmentally competitive options and can contribute significantly to the rising demand.
A group researchers has developed a manufacturing method for electrocatalysts that only uses one hundredth of the amount of platinum generally used in commercial products. The activity achieved using the new material is similar to that of commercial electrocatalysts. The method is based on the special characteristics of carbon nanotubes.
Researchers have developed the next step in microbial fuel cells (MFCs) with the first micro-scale self-sustaining cell, which generated power for 13 straight days through symbiotic interactions of two types of bacteria.
Solar cells and photodetectors could soon be made from new types of materials based on semiconductor quantum dots, thanks to new insights based on ultrafast measurements capturing real-time photoconversion processes.
In just a few years, researchers have achieved remarkable power conversion efficiency with materials with perovskite crystal structure, comparable with the best photovoltaic materials available. Now, researchers have revealed the physics for how an important component of a perovskite solar cell works -- a finding that could lead to improved solar cells or even newer and better materials.
It has been known in biology for a long time that the excited oxygen molecule singlet oxygen is the main cause of aging in cells. To counter this, nature uses an enzyme called superoxide dismutase to eliminate superoxide as a free radical. Superoxide also occurs in cell respiration for energy production and is the preliminary stage and thus source of singlet oxygen. A study has now stumbled upon astonishing parallels of oxygen chemistry in battery systems.
By carefully controlling the size of the quantum dots, researchers can 'tune' the frequency, or color, of the emitted light to any desired value. The ability to produce a laser of any desired frequency from a single material would give a boost to scientists looking to study diseases at the level of tissues or individual cells by offering new tools to probe biochemical reactions. They could also enable laser display projectors that would be brighter and more energy efficient than current LCD technology.
Researchers have described a material that, when heated to about 450 degrees Celsius, transforms from an atomically thin, two-dimensional sheet into an array of one-dimensional nanowires, each just a few atoms wide. An image caught in mid-transformation looks like a tiny United States flag, and with false colors added, is arguably the world's smallest image of Old Glory, researchers said.
Thanks to the discovery of a new material, a cooking pan could generate enough electricity to charge a cellphone in just a few hours. The team found that a combination of the chemical elements calcium, cobalt and terbium can create an efficient, inexpensive and bio-friendly material that can generate electricity through a thermoelectric process involving heat and cold air.
Research offers insights into how crystal dislocations -- a common type of defect in materials -- can affect electrical and heat transport through crystals, at a microscopic, quantum mechanical level. A new mathematical approach to analyzing these dislocations uses a new quasiparticle called a dislon.
Physicists have succeeded in accelerating the determination of material properties as well as making it more efficient. They have developed a special electron source which greatly simplifies the measurement of material surfaces and shortens the time needed for a measurement from days to minutes.
Nano satellites weighing just a few kilograms orbit the Earth. Pivotal point of these miniature computers are their solar-powered batteries. Computer scientists have now developed a procedure that allows for better planning of solar battery operations.
Using solar energy, researchers have developed a new method for safely and efficiently producing hydrogen in a centralized manner, miles away from the solar farm. It could greatly reduce the cost of producing hydrogen and shipping it to customers.
A team of engineers has developed the nanotechnology and wireless electronics for a new type of retinal prosthesis that brings research a step closer to restoring the ability of neurons in the retina to respond to light. The researchers demonstrated this response to light in a rat retina interfacing with a prototype of the device in vitro.