James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

Spray-On Solar Cells At A Lower Cost

Relatively inexpensive, easy-to-manufacture, nanoparticle-based solar cells can be created with materials that are abundantly common throughout the Earth’s crust, according to new work from researchers at the University of Alberta. The new nanoparticle-based solar cells — which could be mass-manufactured using simple methods, such as roll-to-roll printing or spray-coating — are possible thanks to a new type of nanoparticle designed by the researchers. The researchers think that the new design/discovery — which according to them has been several years in…

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International Indoor Soccer Arena Switches To Solar To Save Money

The International Indoor Soccer Arena (IISA) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has gone solar! While — to be honest — this is the first time that I’ve ever heard of the arena, it’s certainly still good news anytime businesses switch to renewable energy sources — good news both for the environment and also for the business’s bottom line. As anyone who has ever been involved in business knows, overhead expenses for things such as electricity often constitute a large proportion of…

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Creating Inexpensive Hydrogen Fuel From Water

A new, relatively inexpensive means of producing hydrogen fuel from water — relying on charcoal powder and lasers — has now been created by researchers. The new method owes its relative affordability to the cheaper materials involved — charcoal and carbon powder rather than expensive catalysts or high-power electric currents. As of now, though, the technique is only proven on very small scales — until the method is modified to produce larger quantities of hydrogen, applications will be limited. The…

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Wind Turbines Don’t Negatively Affect Property Values In The US (New Report)

The presence of wind turbines and wind farms near residential properties has no effect on the value of said properties, according to new research from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). The findings are the result of an analysis of the sales of more than 50,000 homes — located near 67 different wind energy facilities, spread throughout nine different US states. “This is the second of two major studies we have conducted on this topic [the first was published…

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Distributed Wind Energy Is Taking Off

Localized, distributed wind energy is becoming increasingly common in the US, according to a new report from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The report makes it clear that it’s becoming increasingly common for Americans to simply install wind turbines directly on — or very close to — their homes, farms, or businesses, for the purpose of generating their own energy. The new report — The 2012 Market Report on Wind Technologies in Distributed Applications — is essentially the first comprehensive analysis…

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Graphene-Based Supercapacitors — Next-Generation Energy Storage?

An entirely new strategy for engineering graphene-based supercapacitors has been developed by researchers at Monash University — potentially leading the way to powerful next-generation renewable energy storage systems. The new strategy also opens up the possibility of using graphene-based supercapacitors in electric vehicles and consumer electronics. Supercapacitors — which are typically composed of highly porous carbon that is impregnated with a liquid electrolyte — are known for possessing an almost indefinite lifespan and the impressive ability to recharge extremely rapidly,…

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China Gives Small-Scale Solar a Subsidy Boost

Small-scale solar is getting a big boost in China thanks to a new subsidy for distributed solar projects below 6 MW. The new solar subsidy works out to CNY0.42/kWh — or US$0.07/kWh — according to local press reports. The new subsidy is part of a larger push by the Chinese government — one aiming for increased installation rates with regard to small-scale solar PV. Other aspects of the push include exemption from grid connection costs for small-scale solar PV, waived…

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Transparent Solar Film — Efficiency Of Novel Solar Cell Doubled By Researchers At UCLA

A novel, transparent, two-layer solar film — possessing an impressive solar conversion efficiency of 7.3% — has been created by researchers at the University of California–Los Angeles. The solar film can be placed on windows, buildings, sunroofs, electronics displays, etc; harvesting energy while still at the same time allowing light to pass through and visibility/transparency to be maintained. The new solar film is essentially an improved form of the “breakthrough photovoltaic cell design” that the same researchers unveiled last year…

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Thai Government Announces FiT Rates For Further 1,000 MW Of Solar PV

The government of Thailand has announced plans to spur another 1,000 megawatts (MW) — or 1 gigawatt (GW) — of solar photovoltaic projects in the country. Feed-in Tariff (FiT) rates will be offered for 200 MW of rooftop solar and 800 MW of community-owned ground mounts. Systems will be guaranteed the new FiT payments for a 25-year period, instead of the previous 10 years. The approval for the new plans were announced by Thailand’s National Energy Policy Commission (NEPC) on…

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Thin, Flexible, Energy-Storing Glass Developed

A new type of glass — thin, flexible, and capable of storing energy at high temperatures (for use in high-power applications) — has been created by researchers at Penn State’s Materials Research Institute. The glass — which is about 1/10th the thickness of display glass — could prove very useful for a variety of applications in photovoltaics, EV power electronics, wind turbine generators, aerospace electronics, etc, according to the researchers. In particular, the researchers note that the glass may help…

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Green Hydrogen Fuel Thanks To Microorganisms In Salt Flats?

This article has been reposted from Green Building Elements sister site CleanTechnica. Bacteriorhodopsin — an intriguing protein found within the membranes of the ancient microorganisms living in the desert salt flats of California and Nevada — may allow for the cheap, efficient production of “environmentally friendly” hydrogen fuel from nothing but sunlight and saltwater, according to new research from the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory. By combining bacteriorhodopsin with semiconducting nano-particles, the researchers were able to create a…

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US polysilicon anti dumping duties China

China Imposes Anti-Dumping Duties On US Polysilicon Manufacturers

The solar energy trade war between China and the US continues to grow — China will now be imposing anti-dumping import tariffs of up to 57% on solar-grade polysilicon from the US and South Korea, according to a recent announcement from China’s Ministry of Commerce. The import tariffs — which will not affect European polysilicon producers — are scheduled to go into effect on July 24th. The new tariffs are generally being interpreted as a direct reaction to the decision…

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record breaking water absorption material

Upsalite — New Material Possessing Record-Breaking Surface Area And Water Adsorption Abilities

Upsalite — an incredible new material possessing record-breaking surface area and water adsorption abilities, was recently discovered by researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden. The material — according to the researchers — should allow for drastic reductions in the total amount of energy needed to control environmental moisture in the electronics and drug formulation industries, as well as in warehouses, storage facilities, etc. As well as having, no doubt, a number of other potential applications — such as toxic waste…

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New Record Efficiency For Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells

A new efficiency record for dye-sensitized solar cells has been achieved by researchers at EPFL in Switzerland — the new record of 15% has now been achieved thanks to a new fabrication process created by the researchers. Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) are a very promising type of solar cell — largely as a result of their relatively low cost, transparency, and relatively high power conversion efficiencies under cloudy and artificial light conditions. Until this new breakthrough, though, they had fallen…

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Siemens Launches Smart City Project In Vienna, Austria — Aspern

Vienna, Austria will soon be home to a large smart city pilot project — one which will create a multifunctional urban district that features intelligent power grids, power supply, building systems, and communication technologies, which all work together within the Aspern region of Vienna. The project officially began on July 3 with the creation of Aspern Smart City Research — the company created by Siemens and its partners for the project. The company has been given a budget of about…

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