Energy-Minded Shopping

Anytime that we are purchasing a new appliance for the home is an opportunity to start saving more energy. After all, with a newer appliances usually comes better technology that can get the job done better with less energy spent. But before you decide that all that you need to do is look for the Energy Star label and buy one with it, you’re missing a bit of information that will help you to save on electric bill costs.

Yes it’s true that appliances that are Energy Star certified will use less electricity than their uncertified equivalents. They typically use about 10% less electricity, though this can vary depending on the type of appliance. They also use less water in the case of washing machines. So getting Energy Star is a must, for sure. But there’s another point to take into consideration which is completely different.

And that is the size of the appliance itself. Let it be clear that in the world of energy saving, size does indeed matter. But unlike in most other areas, smaller is definitely better here. Let’s say you are getting a new washer and dryer. Sure, you could get an Energy Star one and be done with it, but getting the smallest one that will support your needs will also help to save on electric bill costs. This idea can be applied to most any type of appliance; refrigerators, stoves, microwaves, etc.

This principle will also help you to save money. Not just in the long run on electricity (which it will do), but also at the time of purchase, as the smaller appliance will most likely cost less too. So you’re getting two points of savings with the one purchase, all while doing your part to help conserve energy. Truly a win-win situation. You’ll get a big thanks from Mother Nature, and from your wallet as well.

Home Energy Saving: Part 1

We are debuting a new series of articles that will be dealing with teaching people how to conserve energy and save money in their home. This will benefit the environment as less energy will be used/wasted and also the individual doing it as their electricity bill will be lower.

For this first article, we’re going to take a look at reducing the electricity spent on general appliances throughout the home.

So let’s get started!

First off, you may not know this but many appliances and electronic devices still consume some electricity even when they are turned off. This is called “phantom charge” and can be easily stopped by unplugging appliances and devices you aren’t using. Now this can get cumbersome, so you can get a smart power strip instead and it will do the exact same thing automatically.

Next, let’s look at washing clothes. 2 tips here. The first is to was as few loads per week as you can. Doing only a couple of large loads uses less energy than many small ones. The second tip is to wash with cold water. This uses less electricity as more water will not have to be heated up after.

Moving on to the fridge, make sure that you set the temperature to a setting that isn’t overly cold (this goes for the freezer too). Your fridge needs to be 40° to keep food fresh, and freezer below 32°. Also, keeping bottles of water in the freezer can help reduce electricity as well as they help keep your freezer cold.

Finally, always remember to turn appliances off when you’re not using them. TV sets left on, radios left playing, all these “little things” add up to lots of energy wasted and higher electricity bills.

 

Hope you've learned a little about how to conserve energy.

Stay tuned next week for another article in this series.

How Bad Is Coal Burning?

One of the questions I frequently get asked is just how bad is burning coal for the environment. Surely it can’t be all bad as the coal occurred naturally. While it’s true that coal naturally occurs, burning it has increased the amount of CO2 being pumped into the environment annually.

This brings up another question of how much are we really upsetting the “natural balance”. After all, there’s tons of CO2 put into the air all the time by living beings simply breathing. Not to mention volcanic eruptions and the like. Are we really adding all that much to cause concern?

The answer is yes. While natural sources are pumping loads of CO2 into the atmosphere (about 200 million tons per year from just volcanoes), we are adding far more than that. Coal burning in just the US alone was over 1.5 BILLION tons in just one year. So as you can see, while the environment can naturally deal with some CO2, it wasn’t designed to handle the amounts that we are adding.

So what’s the point? Well, we really need to start getting behind a clean energy initiative. THis means writing letters to congressmen and representatives, demanding change in the way we produce energy. It also means that we need to be doing our part to reduce the electricity consumption in our own homes. This can be done rather easily through various habit changes (like remembering to turn things off), replacing appliances (getting Energy Star certified ones) and employing the use of energy saving products (like the electric saver devices found here: http://electricsaver1200.com/lower-electricity).

Despite what some will tell you, it’s not too late to change the fate of our environment. If we start now and really make a commitment, we can better the start of our atmosphere for the good of all life on this planet.

Saving Energy On The Road

When we think of conserving energy, we often think of getting a lower electric bill in the home. And yes, while this is necessary and beneficial, it’s not the only way, as we have another area where we consume loads of energy: the car.

Reducing the fuel consumed is a great way that we can assist on global energy conservation as well as reducing our own personal carbon emissions. Now, while conserving energy in the house can be easily done with a product like an electric saver, it’s not as clear cut in the car.

So to help you out, here’s some tips to saving energy in the car.

  1. Ensure you don’t have any excess junk in the car. This adds weight and will ultimately reduce your MPG causing you to waste energy. Also, if you drive in the city, you can ditch the spare tire and use a can of fix-a-flat instead to further reduce weight. Run lighter to run longer.

  2. Keep your car’s filters clean and get regular maintenance. This will also improve your MPG as well as keep your car running smoothly for longer.

  3. Plan trips to the store and other errands in advance so you can do multiple things in one trip. This is pretty basic but you can save quite a bit of gas this way.

  4. Walk on occasion. If you live near your local supermarket or drugstore and you need a couple of items, save the car and take a short walk.

  5. Carpooling is another great idea. Save money on gas and get to better know your coworkers.

  6. Finally, there’s public transportation. Getting a bus pass can be cheaper than buying gasoline also.

As with all of these tips, you’ll not only be doing your part to help reduce CO2 emissions and conserving energy, you’ll also be saving yourself money on gasoline.

Environmentally Friendly Home Activities

There’s plenty of ways that you and your family can help the environment but let’s face it, some of them aren’t any fun at all and you may find yourself wondering how can we conserve energy without having a horrible time of it? Actually, there are some really neat and creative ways that you can get the whole family involved in that will not only be entertaining, but will also promote good, clean habits.

The first is recycling. No, not the usual sorting and separating, but more on personal recycling by using various objects over again. Doing a quick search for some recycling ideas and you’ll see loads of projects that the whole family can participate in. From decor ideas to really useful projects, there’s something that everyone will enjoy.

The next is saving energy. A really fun way to do this is by planting trees and shrubs around the home. This will provide shade from the sun and actually lower your a/c costs. Let family members pick what kinds of plants they would like and then spend a day outside doing some planting. You can also save energy by having everyone engage in an outdoor activity at least once a week. Save the electricity spent on the TV, internet and others and get active and outside. Also good for your health.

Finally, there’s another way to save energy and that is through solar panels. No, not the big kind that go on your roof, but a smaller version that comes in a kit. Everyone can set one up near their bedroom window to give themselves a clean and green way for charging their phones or other devices.

Got any more ideas for fun ways to help the environment? Leave your suggestions in the comments section and let us know more ways we can all learn how we can conserve energy.

Why So Many Still Deny Climate Change

With all of the overwhelming evidence, studies, professionals and international recognition of climate change, it can be hard to believe there are those out there who will tell you that it’s all made up. They’ll tell you that the Earth’s climate is not majorly influenced by mankind. They’ll look at the statistical increase of melting ice in both the north and south poles and simply shrug it off. They may even tell you that as a species, we are incapable of making a change in Earth’s weather and so shouldn’t even try to do anything about it. Why? Well, it’s a very simple reason: vested interest.

If you look at the major players who are campaigning against climate change, you’ll find somewhere that they have ties to or personal interest in markets that benefit from fossil fuel or other non-sustainable sources of energy. It all boils down to money. If climate was completely recognised as the threat that it is, then they would lose money as other, more sustainable and eco-friendly forms of energy would become the majority, leaving fossil fuel where it belongs: in the ground.

So what can you do to help? Signing various petitions in support of stopping climate change can be of great help (http://www.globalwarmingpetitions.com/). There is also the matter of continuing to find out how to conserve energy and apply ways to reduce your own personal energy consumption as this will help to lower overall demand. There’s plenty of ways that this can be done and some of them are even free to implement. Finally, one can always call or write their senator and congressman to make their voice heard on the subject of climate change. If enough people do, they will be forced to address the matter for fear of losing voter support. You can make a difference, you only have to just do something.

Reducing Personal Carbon Emissions

OK, it’s well established that CO2 emissions are harming the atmosphere.And with over 6 billion tons being added to the atmosphere each year (yes, by mankind), you can see that this is something which needs immediate attention. And while it’s going to take some time before big companies really do something to handle the problem, that’s not stopping individuals from doing their part to help by reducing their own personal emissions.

There’s 2 general areas where this can be bettered: in the car and in the home. The car is an obvious one as you can literally see the CO2 being thrown out of the muffler. In the home, it’s all about reducing your electrical usage by finding ways to conserve electricity.

But what does the amount of electricity you use have to do with CO2 emissions? Well, if less electricity is used, less demand for it’s generation results. This means that less coal and other fossil fuels will be burned to generate electricity thus lowering the quantity of CO2 being released. There’s lots of ways to reduce your electrical usage. One can upgrade their appliances to energy efficient models. Power saving devices can be installed. Better usage habits can be adopted. There’s plenty of ways to conserve electricity in the home.

As far as in the car goes, you also have many options. You can carpool (which also saves money), use public transportation, get a hybrid or electric car, or maybe if the distance isn’t too great, just walk (haven’t we all been meaning on doing a bit more exercise?).

If everyone does their part, no matter how small it may seem, big changes can result. Don’t sit idly by and just watch as our planet suffers. it will only come back to haunt us. Start doing your part today and help to create a brighter and cleaner future for all.

Saving Energy In Your Business As A Means Of Reducing Expense

Running a successful business could be boiled down to the most basic idea of keeping expenses less than income. Sure, there are a lot of other elements to it, but this fundamental principle must be achieved if the business is to survive. So a priority of any business owner can and should be finding ways to keep costs down without sacrificing the quality of the product.

With factors like inflation not to mention the general state of the economy, this can be a tricky task. After all, there are some things that any business just couldn’t function without. But there are places where money can be saved without having to “cut corners”, and one of them is by lowering your electric bills.

Most businesses (and homes too for that matter) are paying much more for electricity than they should be. This isn’t due to being overcharged by the power company, but rather than many appliances draw more electricity than they in fact need to run, and this additional, or “excess” electricity simply converts into heat and is lost (but still paid for as it traveled through your power meter). The goal then would be to eliminate this waste through an improvement of efficiency.

The best and easiest way to do this would be through the use of an electric saver device. This machine will literally collect the otherwise wasted electricity and then send it back out to power your appliances. This way, a higher percentage of the electricity consumed is put to use, thus less electricity overall will be drawn from the power company. Thus, your electric bills are lower.

Depending on the type of business you run, this could mean thousands of dollars per year. For example, someone who needs to run a lot of air conditioning units or refrigerators would benefit greatly from this type of device as A/C units and refrigerators waste a lot of energy.

Hydrogen from sunlight and water

Posted By : Kamlesh Jolapara

hydro solar
We heard about hydrogen as a fuel could be easily generated from the solar energy. Sounds amazing! However, there was no convenient or easy solar hydrogen system available in the world from which we can harvest hydrogen from the solar energy directly. The Ideal solar hydrogen system should be such that it creates hydrogen easily from the abundant available material with minimum cost and sufficiently reliable to power cars and homes in future.
 
New invention
I think our search for such kind of system is over; the journal ‘Science’ has published a new way to produce hydrogen fuel from sunlight and water, the method was discovered in Michael Gratzel’s laboratory at Ecole Polytechique Federale Lausanne in Switzerland. Researchers have created a way to use abundantly materials to build a device that uses solar energy and water to make hydrogen.  By combining a pair of solar cells made with a mineral called perovskite and low cost electrodes, scientists have obtained 12.3 per cent conversion efficiency from solar energy to hydrogen, a record using earth-abundant materials as opposed to rare materials. The race is on to optimize solar energy’s performance. More efficient silicon photo-voltaic panels, dye-sensitized solar cells, concentrated cells and thermodynamic solar panel all pursue the same goal: to produce a maximum amount of electrons from sunlight.
 
How hydrogen is made
At the Laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces at EPFL, led by Michael Gratzel, where scientists recently invented dye solar cells that mimic photosynthesis in plants, they have also developed methods for generating fuels through solar water splitting. To do this, they either use photo electrochemical cells that directly split water into hydrogen and oxygen when exposed to sunlight, or they combine electricity-generating cells with and electrolyser that separates the water molecules. By using the latter technique, Gratzel’s student Jingshan Luo and his colleagues were able to convert water into hydrogen using energy diffused by the sun on perovskite absorbers – a compound that can be obtained in the laboratory from common materials, such as those used in conventional car batteries, eliminating the need for rare-earth metals in the production of usable hydrogen fuel.
 
Store hydrogen in a bottle
This high efficiency provides stiff competition for other tech used to convert solar energy and has several advantages over other methods. “Both the perovskite used in the cells and the nickel and iron catalysts making up the electrodes require resources that are abundant on Earth and that are also cheap,” explained Jingshan Luo. “However, our electrodes work just as well as the expensive platinum based models customarily used.” On the other hand, the conversion of solar energy into hydrogen makes its storage possible, which addresses one of the biggest disadvantages faced by renewable electricity – the requirement to use it at the time it is produced. Once you have hydrogen, you store it in a bottle and you can do with it whatever you want to, whenever you want it. Such a gas can be burned – in a boiler or engine – releasing only water vapour. It can also pass into a fuel cell to generate electricity on demand.
 
Powerful cells for future
These high efficiency values are based on a characteristic of perovskite cells: their ability to generate an open circuit voltage greater than 1V (silicon cells stop at 0.7V). A voltage of 1.7V or more is required for water electrolysis to occur and to obtain exploitable gases. To get these numbers, three or more silicon cells are needed, whereas just two perovskite cells are enough. As a result, there is more efficiency with respect to the surface of the light absorbers required. This new invention requires more focus on further development to get it more suitable for commercial applications.

Hydrogen from sunlight and water

 
We heard about hydrogen as a fuel could be easily generated from the solar energy. Sounds amazing! However, there was no convenient or easy solar hydrogen system available in the world from which we can harvest hydrogen from the solar energy directly. The Ideal solar hydrogen system should be such that it creates hydrogen easily from the abundant available material with minimum cost and sufficiently reliable to power cars and homes in future.
New invention
I think our search for such kind of system is over; the journal ‘Science’ has published a new way to produce hydrogen fuel from sunlight and water, the method was discovered in Michael Gratzel’s laboratory at Ecole Polytechique Federale Lausanne in Switzerland. Researchers have created a way to use abundantly materials to build a device that uses solar energy and water to make hydrogen.  By combining a pair of solar cells made with a mineral called perovskite and low cost electrodes, scientists have obtained 12.3 per cent conversion efficiency from solar energy to hydrogen, a record using earth-abundant materials as opposed to rare materials. The race is on to optimize solar energy’s performance. More efficient silicon photo-voltaic panels, dye-sensitized solar cells, concentrated cells and thermodynamic solar panel all pursue the same goal: to produce a maximum amount of electrons from sunlight.
How hydrogen is made
At the Laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces at EPFL, led by Michael Gratzel, where scientists recently invented dye solar cells that mimic photosynthesis in plants, they have also developed methods for generating fuels through solar water splitting. To do this, they either use photo electrochemical cells that directly split water into hydrogen and oxygen when exposed to sunlight, or they combine electricity-generating cells with and electrolyser that separates the water molecules. By using the latter technique, Gratzel’s student Jingshan Luo and his colleagues were able to convert water into hydrogen using energy diffused by the sun on perovskite absorbers – a compound that can be obtained in the laboratory from common materials, such as those used in conventional car batteries, eliminating the need for rare-earth metals in the production of usable hydrogen fuel.
Hydrogen from solar
Store hydrogen in a bottle
This high efficiency provides stiff competition for other tech used to convert solar energy and has several advantages over other methods. “Both the perovskite used in the cells and the nickel and iron catalysts making up the electrodes require resources that are abundant on Earth and that are also cheap,” explained Jingshan Luo. “However, our electrodes work just as well as the expensive platinum based models customarily used.” On the other hand, the conversion of solar energy into hydrogen makes its storage possible, which addresses one of the biggest disadvantages faced by renewable electricity – the requirement to use it at the time it is produced. Once you have hydrogen, you store it in a bottle and you can do with it whatever you want to, whenever you want it. Such a gas can be burned – in a boiler or engine – releasing only water vapour. It can also pass into a fuel cell to generate electricity on demand.
Powerful cells for future
These high efficiency values are based on a characteristic of perovskite cells: their ability to generate an open circuit voltage greater than 1V (silicon cells stop at 0.7V). A voltage of 1.7V or more is required for water electrolysis to occur and to obtain exploitable gases. To get these numbers, three or more silicon cells are needed, whereas just two perovskite cells are enough. As a result, there is more efficiency with respect to the surface of the light absorbers required. This new invention requires more focus on further development to get it more suitable for commercial applications.
- See more at: http://futureentech.blogspot.in/2014/10/hydrogen-from-sunlight-and-water.html#sthash.5vaJ2sZO.dpuf

Hydrogen from sunlight and water

 
We heard about hydrogen as a fuel could be easily generated from the solar energy. Sounds amazing! However, there was no convenient or easy solar hydrogen system available in the world from which we can harvest hydrogen from the solar energy directly. The Ideal solar hydrogen system should be such that it creates hydrogen easily from the abundant available material with minimum cost and sufficiently reliable to power cars and homes in future.
New invention
I think our search for such kind of system is over; the journal ‘Science’ has published a new way to produce hydrogen fuel from sunlight and water, the method was discovered in Michael Gratzel’s laboratory at Ecole Polytechique Federale Lausanne in Switzerland. Researchers have created a way to use abundantly materials to build a device that uses solar energy and water to make hydrogen.  By combining a pair of solar cells made with a mineral called perovskite and low cost electrodes, scientists have obtained 12.3 per cent conversion efficiency from solar energy to hydrogen, a record using earth-abundant materials as opposed to rare materials. The race is on to optimize solar energy’s performance. More efficient silicon photo-voltaic panels, dye-sensitized solar cells, concentrated cells and thermodynamic solar panel all pursue the same goal: to produce a maximum amount of electrons from sunlight.
How hydrogen is made
At the Laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces at EPFL, led by Michael Gratzel, where scientists recently invented dye solar cells that mimic photosynthesis in plants, they have also developed methods for generating fuels through solar water splitting. To do this, they either use photo electrochemical cells that directly split water into hydrogen and oxygen when exposed to sunlight, or they combine electricity-generating cells with and electrolyser that separates the water molecules. By using the latter technique, Gratzel’s student Jingshan Luo and his colleagues were able to convert water into hydrogen using energy diffused by the sun on perovskite absorbers – a compound that can be obtained in the laboratory from common materials, such as those used in conventional car batteries, eliminating the need for rare-earth metals in the production of usable hydrogen fuel.
Hydrogen from solar
Store hydrogen in a bottle
This high efficiency provides stiff competition for other tech used to convert solar energy and has several advantages over other methods. “Both the perovskite used in the cells and the nickel and iron catalysts making up the electrodes require resources that are abundant on Earth and that are also cheap,” explained Jingshan Luo. “However, our electrodes work just as well as the expensive platinum based models customarily used.” On the other hand, the conversion of solar energy into hydrogen makes its storage possible, which addresses one of the biggest disadvantages faced by renewable electricity – the requirement to use it at the time it is produced. Once you have hydrogen, you store it in a bottle and you can do with it whatever you want to, whenever you want it. Such a gas can be burned – in a boiler or engine – releasing only water vapour. It can also pass into a fuel cell to generate electricity on demand.
Powerful cells for future
These high efficiency values are based on a characteristic of perovskite cells: their ability to generate an open circuit voltage greater than 1V (silicon cells stop at 0.7V). A voltage of 1.7V or more is required for water electrolysis to occur and to obtain exploitable gases. To get these numbers, three or more silicon cells are needed, whereas just two perovskite cells are enough. As a result, there is more efficiency with respect to the surface of the light absorbers required. This new invention requires more focus on further development to get it more suitable for commercial applications.
- See more at: http://futureentech.blogspot.in/2014/10/hydrogen-from-sunlight-and-water.html#sthash.5vaJ2sZO.dpuf

Hydrogen from sunlight and water

 
We heard about hydrogen as a fuel could be easily generated from the solar energy. Sounds amazing! However, there was no convenient or easy solar hydrogen system available in the world from which we can harvest hydrogen from the solar energy directly. The Ideal solar hydrogen system should be such that it creates hydrogen easily from the abundant available material with minimum cost and sufficiently reliable to power cars and homes in future.
New invention
I think our search for such kind of system is over; the journal ‘Science’ has published a new way to produce hydrogen fuel from sunlight and water, the method was discovered in Michael Gratzel’s laboratory at Ecole Polytechique Federale Lausanne in Switzerland. Researchers have created a way to use abundantly materials to build a device that uses solar energy and water to make hydrogen.  By combining a pair of solar cells made with a mineral called perovskite and low cost electrodes, scientists have obtained 12.3 per cent conversion efficiency from solar energy to hydrogen, a record using earth-abundant materials as opposed to rare materials. The race is on to optimize solar energy’s performance. More efficient silicon photo-voltaic panels, dye-sensitized solar cells, concentrated cells and thermodynamic solar panel all pursue the same goal: to produce a maximum amount of electrons from sunlight.
How hydrogen is made
At the Laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces at EPFL, led by Michael Gratzel, where scientists recently invented dye solar cells that mimic photosynthesis in plants, they have also developed methods for generating fuels through solar water splitting. To do this, they either use photo electrochemical cells that directly split water into hydrogen and oxygen when exposed to sunlight, or they combine electricity-generating cells with and electrolyser that separates the water molecules. By using the latter technique, Gratzel’s student Jingshan Luo and his colleagues were able to convert water into hydrogen using energy diffused by the sun on perovskite absorbers – a compound that can be obtained in the laboratory from common materials, such as those used in conventional car batteries, eliminating the need for rare-earth metals in the production of usable hydrogen fuel.
Hydrogen from solar
Store hydrogen in a bottle
This high efficiency provides stiff competition for other tech used to convert solar energy and has several advantages over other methods. “Both the perovskite used in the cells and the nickel and iron catalysts making up the electrodes require resources that are abundant on Earth and that are also cheap,” explained Jingshan Luo. “However, our electrodes work just as well as the expensive platinum based models customarily used.” On the other hand, the conversion of solar energy into hydrogen makes its storage possible, which addresses one of the biggest disadvantages faced by renewable electricity – the requirement to use it at the time it is produced. Once you have hydrogen, you store it in a bottle and you can do with it whatever you want to, whenever you want it. Such a gas can be burned – in a boiler or engine – releasing only water vapour. It can also pass into a fuel cell to generate electricity on demand.
Powerful cells for future
These high efficiency values are based on a characteristic of perovskite cells: their ability to generate an open circuit voltage greater than 1V (silicon cells stop at 0.7V). A voltage of 1.7V or more is required for water electrolysis to occur and to obtain exploitable gases. To get these numbers, three or more silicon cells are needed, whereas just two perovskite cells are enough. As a result, there is more efficiency with respect to the surface of the light absorbers required. This new invention requires more focus on further development to get it more suitable for commercial applications.
- See more at: http://futureentech.blogspot.in/2014/10/hydrogen-from-sunlight-and-water.html#sthash.5vaJ2sZO.dpuf

Hydrogen from sunlight and water

 
We heard about hydrogen as a fuel could be easily generated from the solar energy. Sounds amazing! However, there was no convenient or easy solar hydrogen system available in the world from which we can harvest hydrogen from the solar energy directly. The Ideal solar hydrogen system should be such that it creates hydrogen easily from the abundant available material with minimum cost and sufficiently reliable to power cars and homes in future.
New invention
I think our search for such kind of system is over; the journal ‘Science’ has published a new way to produce hydrogen fuel from sunlight and water, the method was discovered in Michael Gratzel’s laboratory at Ecole Polytechique Federale Lausanne in Switzerland. Researchers have created a way to use abundantly materials to build a device that uses solar energy and water to make hydrogen.  By combining a pair of solar cells made with a mineral called perovskite and low cost electrodes, scientists have obtained 12.3 per cent conversion efficiency from solar energy to hydrogen, a record using earth-abundant materials as opposed to rare materials. The race is on to optimize solar energy’s performance. More efficient silicon photo-voltaic panels, dye-sensitized solar cells, concentrated cells and thermodynamic solar panel all pursue the same goal: to produce a maximum amount of electrons from sunlight.
How hydrogen is made
At the Laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces at EPFL, led by Michael Gratzel, where scientists recently invented dye solar cells that mimic photosynthesis in plants, they have also developed methods for generating fuels through solar water splitting. To do this, they either use photo electrochemical cells that directly split water into hydrogen and oxygen when exposed to sunlight, or they combine electricity-generating cells with and electrolyser that separates the water molecules. By using the latter technique, Gratzel’s student Jingshan Luo and his colleagues were able to convert water into hydrogen using energy diffused by the sun on perovskite absorbers – a compound that can be obtained in the laboratory from common materials, such as those used in conventional car batteries, eliminating the need for rare-earth metals in the production of usable hydrogen fuel.
Hydrogen from solar
Store hydrogen in a bottle
This high efficiency provides stiff competition for other tech used to convert solar energy and has several advantages over other methods. “Both the perovskite used in the cells and the nickel and iron catalysts making up the electrodes require resources that are abundant on Earth and that are also cheap,” explained Jingshan Luo. “However, our electrodes work just as well as the expensive platinum based models customarily used.” On the other hand, the conversion of solar energy into hydrogen makes its storage possible, which addresses one of the biggest disadvantages faced by renewable electricity – the requirement to use it at the time it is produced. Once you have hydrogen, you store it in a bottle and you can do with it whatever you want to, whenever you want it. Such a gas can be burned – in a boiler or engine – releasing only water vapour. It can also pass into a fuel cell to generate electricity on demand.
Powerful cells for future
These high efficiency values are based on a characteristic of perovskite cells: their ability to generate an open circuit voltage greater than 1V (silicon cells stop at 0.7V). A voltage of 1.7V or more is required for water electrolysis to occur and to obtain exploitable gases. To get these numbers, three or more silicon cells are needed, whereas just two perovskite cells are enough. As a result, there is more efficiency with respect to the surface of the light absorbers required. This new invention requires more focus on further development to get it more suitable for commercial applications.
- See more at: http://futureentech.blogspot.in/2014/10/hydrogen-from-sunlight-and-water.html#sthash.5vaJ2sZO.dpuf

U.S. Used More Energy in 2013 Than the Year Before, But Efficiency Is Up Too

Posted by Pete Danko

more energy usedEnergy use increased in the United States in 2013 as a fourth consecutive year of economic growth exerted its influence, but the longer-term trend shows the country operating with greater efficiency while also revealing the small but growing role of renewable sources like solar and wind.

The font for these insights is the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and its “energy flow chart,” an annual tally of U.S. energy consumption that colorfully connects energy sources with their end uses in the residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation sectors. There’s a hefty “rejected energy” component, as well, for energy that is consumed but not put to use, like waste heat. The recently released 2013 chart showed energy use at 97.4 quadrillion British thermal units, an increase of 2.3 quads over 2012.

But don’t worry – this isn’t evidence that all those energy efficient light bulbs and LEED-certified buildings are for naught. Energy use was still down significantly from the all-time U.S. record of 101.5 quads established in 2007, just before the economy crashed – even though the economy is now about 6 percent larger than it was in 2007, as measured by real gross domestic product.

“We’re seeing two trends fighting each other,” said A.J. Simon, group leader for energy at the California lab. “Energy use is notching its way back up as the economy grows, but generally people are doing more to be efficient in how they use energy.”

The transportation sector is a good example of this: Compared to 2007, people are using public transportation more and driving less, and when they do drive, they’re doing so in cars and trucks that, on average, deliver improved fuel efficiency.

As a result, although petroleum use inched up a bit last year, its use in the transportation sector was down from 27.71 quads in 2007 to 24.7 in 2013 (biofuels have picked up some of the slack, doubling their contribution in the same period, to 1.24 quads for transportation).

Simon noted that a complex set of factors determine how much and what mix of energy is used in a year, with weather being an especially important wild card. For instance, in 2013, winter cold snaps in February and March, and then again in December, drove up the use of natural gas for home heating. That additional demand for natural gas pushed prices higher, which led to more coal being used for electricity generation in 2013 – and that, in turn, largely explained the uptick in carbon dioxide emissions that the lab noted in a companion carbon flow chart.

Still, it was just a small bump up for coal, from 17.6 to 18 quads. Peering back a decade, coal was the source of 22.9 quads of energy use in 2003. Natural gas has surged since then, of course, although strictly on a percentage basis wind power has it beat. The thickness of the lines on the energy flow chart are not precisely scaled to the amount of energy drawn from a particular source, but attempt to give a reasonable picture. Simon remembers a time not long ago when the wind line was drawn as narrowly as possible, so minuscule was its contribution.

“It used to be one pixel,” he said, “but it’s not one pixel anymore,” with wind’s contribution rising from 0.11 quads in 2003 to 1.6 in 2013, a 1,355 percent increase.

Solar’s yellow line on the energy flow chart is still barely visible, but at the rate installations are growing, it too might take on new dimensions before long. In 2003, solar was at 0.06 quads; in 2013, it had grown to more than five times that, at 0.32, boosted by a 36 percent surge from 2012 to 2013.

Another Reason to Promote Clean Energy in Developing Countries

by Antonio Pasolini

clean energyBillions of people live without access to modern electricity services and clean energy could lift them out of the economic exclusion zone, improve their education and make their lives generally better. It can also save some lives, literally.

Of all the reasons to advocate clean energy, this may be the most surprising one. The Legal Human Rights Centre (LHRC) recently reported that over 3,000 people were lynched in Tanzania by neighbors who thought they were witches.

And what does that have to do with clean energy, you may be asking yourself? Well, it so happens that many of these victims are old women who develop red eyes, considered to be a sign of witchcraft, for burning cow dung for fuel as a substitute for firewood.

It is hard to believe that this sort of thing happens at this day and age. Apparently the women often are killed shortly after the death of a relative, which they are blamed for.

 

Albinos are often murdered as people believe that making potions from their body parts can attract wealth. This group is also a victim of rape as some people believe that intercourse with them can cure them of AIDS. They believe albinos are cursed and simply disappear instead of dying.

This story highlights how education and access to modern, clean technology ramifies into areas that we would never imagine at first. Portable solar-powered solutions could help people like those women in Tanzania to replace dirty fuel with clean energy. Luckily some innovators have been working to develop portable solar solutions for people in African countries, such as Eight19 and its pay-as-you-go solution . Let’s hope that the more people in Africa get access to solar, the fewer casualties there will be due to a case of red eyes.