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Breakthrough News for Improving Concentrated Solar Power Plants

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The efficiency of photovoltaic or concentrated solar power (CSP) plants depends on how much light can be captured and turned into electricity or heat. A team of researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) have made a breakthrough in this area by developing a nanoparticle material that could allow CSP plants to absorb and convert more than 90 percent of the captured sunlight into heat.
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Car Tires Recycled into More Efficient Anodes for Batteries

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Discarded rubber tires may soon find a new use. A team of researchers from the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have come up with a method of harvesting the carbon black from them, which can then be used to create anodes for lithium-ion batteries that provide power to plug-in electric vehicles and store energy produced by solar panels and wind turbines. According to the researchers, the new batteries will perform even better than the ones we use today.

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MIT Researchers Develop A More Efficient Battery

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The more widespread adoption of renewable sources of energy is at least in part hampered by our poor ability to store energy. But a team of MIT researchers has recently a made a breakthrough in developing a new battery system. This all-liquid battery system is more efficient at storing energy, and costs less to produce, than currently available solutions. The further development of this system and use could make solar and wind energy more attractive and therefore facilitate its wide scale adoption.
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Getting Energy and Clean Water From the Clouds

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A team of scientists is currently raising funds through a crowd funding campaign to develop Air HES (HydroElectric Station), which is basically an airship that can extract clean water and electricity from the clouds. More specifically, it does so by harvesting and condensing water vapor, and uses it to spin up an electric turbine generator to create power. The developers have already built a small prototype to test the device and have done feasibility studies, while the main aim of the funding campaign is scaling up the device to produce economically viable levels of water and power.
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Spray On Solar Cells

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A team of researchers at the University of Sheffield in the UK have found a way to make a spray-on solar cell, which has perovskite as the light-absorbing layer. This new cell’s efficiency is only 11 percent, but it can be produced very cheaply, which could be the first step forward in large scale production of affordable solar panels.
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Listening to Plants

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Photo: Video screen capture EuroNews

Plants, just like humans and animals, have a way of communicating with each other. Their language is comprised of electrical signals, through which they send messages to other plants. And now an international group of scientists is developing a way to analyze these electrical signals, and translate them into information we can understand. The project is called PLEASED (PLants Employed As SEnsing Devices) and has already received €1.07 million ($1.46 million) in EU funding.
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