Re:think

Rapid, affordable energy transformation possible, study says

The United States could slash greenhouse gas emissions from power production by up to 78 percent below 1990 levels within 15 years while meeting increased demand, according to a new study by NOAA and University of Colorado Boulder researchers.

A high-resolution map based on NOAA weather data showing one measure of wind energy potential across the United States in 2012. Credit: Chris Clack/CIRES

Harvesting more energy from photons, leading to better solar cells

Researchers at MIT and elsewhere have found a way to significantly boost the energy that can be harnessed from sunlight, a finding that could lead to better solar cells or light detectors. The surprising finding is reported this week in the journal Physical Review Letters by authors including MIT’s Nicholas Fang, an associate professor of mechanical engineering, and postdoc Dafei Jin.

Safer battery could spark investment in renewables

Researchers from Harvard University report that they have tested a “flow battery” that uses cheap and abundant chemical elements, can be operated with plastic components, will not catch fire, and can operate at 99% efficiency.

The storage problem has consistently been held against investment in solar and wind energy, but a safe, cheap and capacious technology could change the economics of renewable power generation.

Delhi makes installation of solar panels on rooftops of new buildings mandatory

The draft Delhi Solar Policy mandates solar rooftop installations for government buildings and for commercial and residential buildings that are constructed after September 1 this year.

“The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy should endorse a similar solar rooftop policy and make it mandatory for the central government buildings to encourage installation,” said Bhushan.