Japan Smart City Operational Experiments in Four Regions

(Yokohama, Toyota, Keihanna [Kyoto], and Kitakyushu) Steadily Yield Results; Japan Smart City Portal Reports from the Front Lines The next-generation energy and social operational experiments that are being promoted in four regions in Japan (Yokohama, Toyota, Keihanna [Kyoto], and Kitakyushu) toward the realization of smart cities and smart communities are steadily yielding concrete results. The Japan Smart City Portal (JSCP) website transmits information on the latest trends in these operational experiments in English, Chinese, and Japanese. Recent Not-to-Be-Missed Articles (Demand Response)…

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Yissum Introduces a Novel Method to Develop Next-Generation Batteries

Novel sodium-ion battery provides environmentally friendly, economic and efficient solution for a variety of applications including electric vehicles and stationary storage for renewable energies One of the most pressing problems of modern society is how to convert and store energy. Lithium ion batteries have been the main energy storage medium for mobile applications for the past 20 years. But there are significant drawbacks for using lithium ion batteries, in particular the low availability and high cost of lithium, coupled with…

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Climate Change: Pacific trade winds stall global surface warming — for now

The strongest trade winds have driven more of the heat from global warming into the oceans; but when those winds slow, that heat will rapidly return to the atmosphere causing an abrupt rise in global average temperatures Heat stored in the western Pacific Ocean caused by an unprecedented strengthening of the equatorial trade winds appears to be largely responsible for the hiatus in surface warming observed over the past 13 years. New research published today in the journal Nature Climate…

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NREL study: Active power control of wind turbines can improve power grid reliability

The Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), along with partners from the Electric Power Research Institute and the University of Colorado have completed a comprehensive study to understand how wind power technology can assist the power grid by controlling the active power output being placed onto the system. The rest of the power system’s resources have traditionally been adjusted around wind to support a reliable and efficient system. The research that led to this report challenges that concept. The…

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New theory may lead to more efficient solar cells

UH collaboration on solar cells with Universite de Montreal published in Nature Communications A new theoretical model developed by professors at the University of Houston (UH) and Université de Montréal may hold the key to methods for developing better materials for solar cells. Eric Bittner, a John and Rebecca Moores Professor of Chemistry and Physics in UH’s College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and Carlos Silva, an associate professor at the Université de Montréal and Canada Research Chair in Organic…

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First Solar Breaks Ground on 102 MW Nyngan Solar Project

AGL Project in NSW Will Be Australia’s Largest Utility-Scale Solar Power Plant First Solar today commences construction of Australia’s largest utility-scale solar project, a 250 hectare solar plant in Nyngan, New South Wales (NSW). Less than six months after AGL Energy Limited achieved financial close for project, First Solar today breaks ground on the installation of approximately 1,350,000 advanced thin-film photovoltaic (PV) modules. Once installed, First Solar’s modules will generate clean, renewable energy with no emissions, waste or water consumption during…

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Water Management: Carbon Nanotube Sponge Shows Improved Water Cleanup

A carbon nanotube sponge capable of soaking up water contaminants, such as fertilisers, pesticides and pharmaceuticals, more than three times more efficiently than previous efforts has been presented in a new study published today. The carbon nanotube (CNT) sponges, uniquely doped with sulphur, also demonstrated a high capacity to absorb oil, potentially opening up the possibility of using the material in industrial accidents and oil spill clean-ups. The results have been published today, 17 January, in IOP Publishing’s journal Nanotechnology. CNTs…

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How feasible is a carbon tax?

Ask the experts at Portland State University’s Northwest Economic Research Center As signs of climate change become harder to ignore municipalities around the globe and across the country are evaluating ways to put a price on emissions. One of those options, a carbon tax, is growing in prevalence. As states from Washington to Massachusetts consider how a carbon tax might be deployed within their borders, they’re looking to research done by Portland State University’s Northwest Economic Research Center (NERC). NERC…

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University of Michigan Memorial Phoenix Laboratory Phase 2 Renovation Completed

Phase 2 of the renovation of the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Laboratory (MMPL) – originally built in 1955 as a living memorial to honor the men and women of the University of Michigan community who lost their lives in World War II service – is now complete. In addition to a renovation of the existing building’s second level as research laboratories, Phase 2 also included the design and construction of a new building addition that houses the University of Michigan Energy Institute…

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Kyocera Solar Modules Help Connecticut Residents Reduce Environmental Impact

Connecticut residents who made a New Year’s resolution to reduce their environmental impact may be getting a boost without even realizing it. On December 23, 2013, a 5-megawatt AC (7.4MW DC) installation of high-reliability Kyocera solar modules began commercial operations at Somers, Conn., providing enough annual generating capacity to offset the power needs of approximately 5,000 homes. The Somers project is the latest that Kyocera has developed and financed in the United States. “Kyocera solar modules have earned a reputation…

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Integrys Energy Services Partners with Clean Power Finance for First Residential Solar Investments

Leading Energy Supply and Services Company Uses the CPF Market to Further Invest in Distributed Solar Clean Power Finance (CPF) and Integrys Energy Services, Inc., a subsidiary of Integrys Energy Group, Inc. (NYSE: TEG), a leading Midwestern utility holding company, today announced the creation of a residential solar finance fund through the CPF Market®, an online platform that empowers electric power companies to invest in residential solar. The fund enables Integrys Energy Services’ investment in the residential distributed generation (DG) solar sector. “CPF’s…

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Seattle Buildings on Track for Major Energy Savings

New Report Reveals Findings from City Energy Benchmarking Law SEATTLE, WA – A new report and infographic released today by the Seattle Office of Sustainability and Environment on building energy use reveals that Seattle building owners are poised to save tens of millions of dollars on energy annually by improving their building’s energy efficiency. Seattle also recently released its Resource Conservation Management Plan, which sets guidelines for reducing energy use in City-owned buildings 20% by 2020. “Seattle has the right…

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79 years of monitoring demonstrates dramatic forest change

Long-term changes to forests affect biodiversity and how future fires burn. A team of scientists led by Research Ecologist Dr. Eric Knapp, from the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station, found dramatic differences in forests today compared to historic conditions prior to logging and fire suppression. The team conducted their research in the Forest Service’s Stanislaus-Tuolumne Experimental Forest on the Stanislaus National Forest in the central Sierra Nevada, remeasuring three large historical plots originally established in 1929 to evaluate…

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Methane hydrates and global warming

Dissolution of hydrates off Svalbard caused by natural processes Methane hydrates are fragile. At the sea floor the ice-like solid fuel composed of water and methane is only stable at high pressure and low temperature. In some areas, for instance in the North Atlantic off the coast of Svalbard, scientists have detected gas flares regularly. The reasons for their occurrence were still unclear but one hypothesis was that global warming might cause the dissolution of gas hydrates. Over the past…

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Algae to crude oil: Million-year natural process takes minutes in the lab

Engineers have created a continuous chemical process that produces useful crude oil minutes after they pour in harvested algae — a verdant green paste with the consistency of pea soup. The research by engineers at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory was reported recently in the journalAlgal Research. A biofuels company, Utah-based Genifuel Corp., has licensed the technology and is working with an industrial partner to build a pilot plant using the technology. In the PNNL process, a…

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Environmental fiscal reform would improve the environment and reduce the informal economy

Researchers at the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country and the BC3 (Basque Centre for Climate Change) are proposing measures to improve the environment and the efficiency of the tax system: CO2 emissions should be taxed and taxes on labor should be The effect that the introduction of environmental fiscal reform would have on an economic system has been the focus of study since the 1990s. However, studies of this type have until now failed to take the informal economy into…

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Enormous aquifer discovered under Greenland ice sheet

Buried underneath compacted snow and ice in Greenland lies a large liquid water reservoir that has now been mapped by researchers using data from NASA’s Operation IceBridge airborne campaign. A team of glaciologists serendipitously found the aquifer while drilling in southeast Greenland in 2011 to study snow accumulation. Two of their ice cores were dripping water when the scientists lifted them to the surface, despite air temperatures of minus 4 F (minus 20 C). The researchers later used NASA’s Operation…

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PHG Energy and General Electric Provide Renewable Power to West Tennessee City

The first commercial collaboration between PHG Energy (PHGE) of Nashville and GE Power & Waterbusiness of the General Electric Company is officially online and creating electricity from waste materials at a new Covington, Tenn., facility. “Three proven technologies: GE’s Clean Cycle heat-to-power generator, PHG Energy’s downdraft gasifier and a standard heat exchanger made all the difference for maximum efficiencies at Covington” GE’s Clean Cycle generator, based on the Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) technology, produces power by utilizing heat delivered through PHGE’s downdraft…

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