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Monday 17th February 2020

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  Renewable Energy News

Smart Energy Summit Begins Monday the 17th

Next Monday marks the start of the Smart Energy Summit in Austin, Texas, running through Wednesday of that week. The event will be hosted by Parks Associates, a market research and consulting company, at the Omni Hotel in Austin. The event will open at 12 p.m. on Monday, with a five-hour workshop on Trends and Opportunities in Residential Energy Management, before closing with a networking reception. It will open again at 7:30 a.m. the next morning, and breakfast will be provided before moving on to speeches and keynotes regarding consumer engagement, along with a few networking breaks as well. Notable speakers include Steve Wheat, Senior Program Manager at Sunrun, Jamie Staples, head of Key Energy Partnerships at Google, and Paul Williams, General Manager of Product Management and Growth at GE Lighting. Wednesday's schedule will again begin with breakfast at 7:30, and the topic of discussion will shift towards the new opportunities in energy brought on by technological advancement. Speakers for Wednesday include such names as Abhay Gupta, Founder and CEO of Bidgely, Paul Schueller, the Founder and CEO of Franklin Energy, and VP of Microgrid Solution & Strategic Alliances at Schneider Electric, Don Wingate. Like the previous day, the speeches and discussions on this day will be broken up by multiple networking opportunites. The event will wrap up with closing comments at 4:45 p.m. A full schedule can be seen here, and you can register for the event here. The sponsors for the event include FLO, Rapid Response Monitoring, and Autogrid. Written by Dilawar Naqvi

By |February 12th, 2020|

New Research Finds Hydrogen on Demand One Step Closer

Toyota Hydrogen Fuel Cell Concept Car Scientists have developed a way to produce Hydrogen power on demand. Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing and Tsinghua University, found a way to create a higher conversion efficiency that starts rapidly and runs quietly with the only byproduct being water. “The researchers used an alloy -- a combination of metals -- of gallium, indium, tin and bismuth to generate hydrogen. When the alloy meets an aluminum plate immersed in water, hydrogen is produced. This hydrogen is connected to a proton exchange membrane fuel cell, a type of fuel cell where chemical energy is converted into electrical energy.” - Science Daily Hydrogen has long been seen as a feasible alternative to fossil fuel use, but has had difficulty overcoming the obstacles of transportation and its slow and energy intensive on-board generation. This research could pave the way for more broad use of Hydrogen. Key remaining obstacles include the ability to recycle bismuth and optimization of heat dissipation. Written by Justin Stanphill

By |February 4th, 2020|

Scotland is on Track to Reach 100% Renewable Energy Target by the End of 2020

Scotland is on track to reach 100% renewable energy target by the end of 2020. In 2016, the country closed down its last coal fired power plant. The plant once powered 25% of homes in the country and was once the largest coal plant in all of Europe. The majority of renewable energy is now produced by onshore wind energy. The country also creates heat with waste to energy technology. The United Nations international climate talks will take place in Scotland in November. For the most part, most countries aren’t even close to reaching the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. The United States, the 2nd largest emitter, withdrew from the accords. Russia, the 5th largest emitter, didn’t make a pledge at all. It is clear that the world isn’t even close to where it should be to combat climate change. Scotland is a light and is now clearly one of the leaders and countries others should aspire to and learn from. Written by Justin Stanphill

By |January 30th, 2020|

Perovskite May be an Important Aspect of Future Solar Panels

Photo: Wikipedia A new mineral is being used for solar panels that could greatly improve the efficiency of solar panels. Perovskite is a calcium titanium oxide mineral found in the Ural Mountains of Russia in the 1800’s. Excitement about this mineral has grown due to its efficiency, unusual properties, and its low cost. Perovskite reacts to a wider range of visible light frequencies, ultimately meaning it can convert more sunlight to energy than a typical silicon-based Photovoltaic (PV) cell. PV panels are currently seeing efficiency rates of around 19%-21% with the possible limit of around 29%. Perovskite panels could see efficiency rates as high as 35% or more. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) announced funding to support Research and Development for PV energy applications, including perovskite. It is currently cheaper to produce Perovskite but it is less durable than traditional silicon-based photovoltaics. Hybrid panels could allow for greater panel efficiency while still delivering a long life. Written by Justin Stanphill

By |January 21st, 2020|

60-Second Science is a Great Way to Consume Science Information on the Go

Scientific American 60-Second Science podcast is a great resource for obtaining a conversational knowledge of various scientific studies and happenings. A recent episode highlights science and technology news from around the globe from Spain’s uncovered Dolmen of Guadalperal due to the summers powerful drought to the discovery of a new species of electric eel in Brazil. Scientific American is the longest continuously published magazine in the United States having been around for 170 years. 60-Second Science is a great way for people on the move to learn about important scientific news occurring around the world, in a way that is easy and palatable to the average non-scientist and professional researcher alike. Add this podcast to your repertoire of science information.   Written by Justin Stanphill

By |January 15th, 2020|
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  Climate Change News

Researchers Have Found a Way to Make Graphene Out of Trash

Scientists at Rice University in Houston TX have found a way to create Graphene by using waste. The process, named flash graphene, works by heating carbon-containing materials to 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat this intense creates graphene in 10 milliseconds. This graphene can then be used in a wide range of products. Graphene is one of the world’s strongest materials. It is generally used to enhance the strength of other materials including metals and plastics. Graphene is also conductive to both electricity and heat making it a versatile substance used in an enormous amount of technology applications. Graphene is currently complex to create and uses slower chemical processes. This process is quicker and uses waste that would otherwise breakdown, emitting carbon into the atmosphere.  When graphene created by Flash Graphene is used in applications like concrete, it allows those industries emit less carbon by needing less concrete as a result of adding graphene to the mixture. Creating graphene with food waste has the potential to be another option as a waste management solution. Currently between 30%-40% of food is wasted in the United States, according to the USDA. Solutions like Flash Graphene and Waste to Energy have the ability to use this waste in a way that is environmentally friendly while also creating new industries.     Written by Justin Stanphill

By |February 11th, 2020|

BEST PRACTICES: Microsoft Corp States Ambitious Goal – Carbon Negative by 2030

      Technology behemoth Microsoft, based in the United States (U.S.), made its position on corporate sustainability clear with a bold pledge late January - to be carbon negative by 2030, and further, a 2050 goal to eliminate all of the carbon the company has introduced since its inception in 1975. Many companies have started with pledges of carbon neutrality, but Washington-based Microsoft has set a far more challenging goal. Or, as Microsoft president Brad Smith calls it in his January 16 company blog post: “[the] world’s next moonshot.” Smith urges agreement with lead climate scientists that the world population must take immediate action to curb the 2 trillion metric tons of greenhouse gas that humans introduced into the atmosphere since the First Industrial Revolution of the 18th century . Writes Smith, climate experts agree that humanity must eventually reach a net zero emissions goal - meaning that the global population must remove the same amount of carbon that it releases each year. “‘This will take aggressive approaches, new technology that doesn’t exist today, and innovative public policy,’” he writes. “‘It is an ambitious - even audacious - goal, but science tells us that it’s a goal of fundamental importance to every person alive today and for every generation to follow.’” How will the company achieve their goals? Senior associate and carbon capture expert James Mulligan of the World Resources Institute’s (WRI) Food, Forests, and Water Program recently told that Microsoft’s target is challenging but completely necessary on a global scale to preserve the planet. Further, Mulligan added, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) indicates that humans must oust billions of tons of carbon dioxide from the earth’s atmosphere by 2050 to prevent the rise in global temperature. “We need not only Microsoft to be doing this, but other companies and governments at the national, state, and local levels,” he told Currently the technology to do so exists but is insufficient for the goal at hand; there must be more technologies, and they must also be less expensive. To read more about Microsoft’s pledge: Written by Nicole Foulke

By |February 10th, 2020|

Europe Plans to Invest $130 Billion Into New Oil and Gas Infrastructure

The United States has been pulling out of the Paris Climate Accords since 2019. It turns out that other countries haven’t necessarily been so great either. According to the World Resources Institute, 15 countries have plans or policy to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. While a majority may reach their goals, new research shows Germany and the United Kingdom, the largest emitters in the region, will most likely not. According to Global Energy Monitor, a non-profit that tracks and documents polluting companies and governments investing in the fossil fuel industry, European countries are planning to invest almost $130 billion. These investments are in gas-fired power plants, liquefied natural gas import terminals and gas pipelines. The United Kingdom and Germany have policy to greatly reduce emissions at the same time as allowing new investments in the fossil fuel industry that will make it nearly impossible to reach their own goals.   Written by Justin Stanphill

By |February 5th, 2020|
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