News and analysis about energy in California with an eye toward renewables.
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Turning Lead Into Gold...Er, Solar Panels

Turning Lead Into Gold...Er, Solar Panels

Science: File this under "pretty cool if it really pans out." Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology may have found a straightforward way to recycle toxic auto batteries into solar panels.
Study: It's Possible to Power All of California With Clean Energy, But...

Study: It's Possible to Power All of California With Clean Energy, But...

Science: A new study claims that California could power itself entirely with wind, water, solar, and geothermal energy by 2050, but it would require devoting more than 4,800 square miles of the state's land and waters to wind turbines and utility-scale solar power plants.
California Energy, Climate Labs Get Research Grants From Feds

California Energy, Climate Labs Get Research Grants From Feds

Science: Caltech, UC Riverside, UC Berkeley, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are all receiving the multi-million dollar grants.
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Solar Fuel: An Interesting Idea Takes a Realistic Step

Solar Fuel: An Interesting Idea Takes a Realistic Step

Science: Imagine taking sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide and turning them directly into fuel for our machines. A group of researchers at Caltech might just have gotten us closer to that goal.
Breakthrough in Energy Storage Announced by UC Riverside

Breakthrough in Energy Storage Announced by UC Riverside

Technology: Imagine a smartphone battery that reached a full charge in a minute or two. A team of researchers has come up with a novel molecular architecture that they say doubles the power storage capacity of commercially available supercapacitors.
Bad News For Big Desert Solar: Arid Lands Absorb Greenhouse Gases

Bad News For Big Desert Solar: Arid Lands Absorb Greenhouse Gases

Climate Change: The debate over whether utility-scale solar projects are right for desert public lands just got more complicated. A new study shows that undisturbed desert landscapes absorb a fair amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, potentially helping to lessen climate change.
In Talk Of Solar Desalination, There's a Salty Elephant in the Room

In Talk Of Solar Desalination, There's a Salty Elephant in the Room

Science: With the drought declaration driving attention to California's water woes, people are asking whether we can use renewable energy to de-salt seawater on purpose. And we probably can, but there's an elephant in the room that few seem to be discussing.
You Might Be Able to Fuel Your GM with GMOs

You Might Be Able to Fuel Your GM with GMOs

Biofuels: A new study published this week suggests that a bit of genetic tinkering can help a microorganism boost its ability to turn organic matter into usable fuel, which might make it a bit easier to run our vehicles on fuel that doesn't spend down our fossil fuel inheritance.
This Is Pretty Sweet: New Battery Runs On Sugar

This Is Pretty Sweet: New Battery Runs On Sugar

Biomass: You may be able before long to charge your cell phone by carbo-loading it, if a Virginia Tech team's research pans out.
Bladeless Wind Turbine Too Good To Be True?

Bladeless Wind Turbine Too Good To Be True?

Wind: There's a video making the rounds this week showing a new wind turbine design that its developers claim will be more efficient, less resource-intensive, and safer for wildlife than conventional turbines. But do the claims stand up?
Study: Dirty Water Can Create Clean Power

Study: Dirty Water Can Create Clean Power

Science: With the help of some clever engineering, Stanford engineers have harnessed tiny microorganisms that give off small amounts of electrons as they digest organic matter in sewage and other wastewater, hooking them into a circuit that charges a battery.
Imagine a 'Battery' that Charges 100 Times Faster

Imagine a 'Battery' that Charges 100 Times Faster

Science: "With this work, we are blurring the lines between what is a battery and what is a supercapacitor."
Graphene May Offer Highly Efficient Solar Cells

Graphene May Offer Highly Efficient Solar Cells

Technology: Add another item to the growing buzz about graphene, which ReWire has covered quite recently: in addition to being a promising candidate for electrical power storage, the single-atom thin sheet form of carbon may offer a way to squeeze a whole lot more power out of photovoltaic cells.
More Good News About The 'Scientific Accident That May Change The World'

More Good News About The 'Scientific Accident That May Change The World'

Science: That battery life video that had gone viral due to a recent post on UpWorthy now has an update.
Battery Viral Video: Legitimate or Too Good to Be True?

Battery Viral Video: Legitimate or Too Good to Be True?

Science: There's a video making the viral rounds describing a potential energy storage device that seems way too good to be true: a high capacity "battery" made in an almost absurdly simple process which can be safely composted at the end of its useful life.
New Organic Solar Cell Design Mimics Evolution

New Organic Solar Cell Design Mimics Evolution

Science: When researchers were trying to figure out how to maximize the amount of time light spent inside their organic solar photovoltaic cells, they turned to an age-old technique to refine their design: evolution by natural selection.
Natural Gas May Be Worse For Climate Than Feared

Natural Gas May Be Worse For Climate Than Feared

Science: Natural gas use may be far more dangerous to the planet's climate than expected -- with potentially serious ramifications for solar thermal generating plants as well.
Latest Renewable Energy Tech: Snail Teeth

Latest Renewable Energy Tech: Snail Teeth

Science: A researcher at UC Riverside thinks he may have a way to help build the kind of microscopic structures that can make photovoltaics and lithium ion batteries far more efficient than they are now -- and it involves stealing tricks from a snail.
Ratepayer Watchdogs Slam Proposed Energy Research Project

Ratepayer Watchdogs Slam Proposed Energy Research Project

Science: A prominent California ratepayer advocacy organization has slammed an agreement between the state's investor-owned utilities and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to conduct studies into new renewable grid management techniques.
Do California's Deserts Help Control Climate Change?

Do California's Deserts Help Control Climate Change?

Science: That desert landscape we're bulldozing for solar power plants? Turns out it sequesters carbon if we leave it alone.
Scientists Discuss Renewable Energy's Effect on Wildlife

Scientists Discuss Renewable Energy's Effect on Wildlife

Wildlife: Renewable development, if done carelessly, can harm wildlife populations. Scientists gathering in Oakland this week discuss how, and why we need to do better.