The U.S. solar industry's new growth region: Trump country

Nichola Groom for Reuters: The 10 fastest-growing U.S. solar markets between the second quarters of 2016 and 2017 were Western, Midwestern or Southern states that voted for Trump.

New Biofuel Could Work in Regular Diesel Engines

Edd Gent for Scientific American: The need for specially designed engines to run biodiesel is holding back the technology

First generation biofuels don't have to mean food shortages, according to UN official

Biofuels International: Dubois argued that biofuels should be seen as a tool for responsible investment in agriculture and rural development.

A better way of converting coffee waste to biofuel?

Ben Coxworth for New Atlas: Scientists have developed a simpler new process for converting coffee grounds to biofuel.

Block Island to start getting power from wind turbines

Mark Harrington for Newsday: Block Island on Monday will formally throw the switch on a first-time connection to the New England energy grid through a new cable to the mainland, and begin receiving power from the country's first five offshore wind turbines.

An Italian company is turning hot sand into clean energy

Giuliano Balestrieri, Business Insider Italia: The same heat that burns your feet when you walk on sand could be the key to making clean energy and endless electricity. An Italian firm, Magaldi Group, is doing so by using sand as a storage system to eventually concentrate solar energy.

SAAB Gripen flies on 100 percent biofuel

The flights marked the first time a single-engined fighter flew with 100 percent biofuel. A twin seat Gripen D was used for the flights that took off from Saab's facilities in Linköping, Sweden.

Scientists harness solar power to produce hydrogen from biomass

University of Cambridge via Biomass Magazine: Dr Moritz Kuehnel, from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge, joint lead author on a new research paper published in Nature Energy, says: "Lignocellulose is nature's equivalent to armoured concrete. It consists of strong, highly crystalline cellulose fibres, that are interwoven with lignin and hemicellulose which act as a glue. This rigid structure has evolved to give plants and trees mechanical stability and protect them from degradation, and makes chemical utilisation of lignocellulose so challenging." The new technology relies on a simple photocatalytic conversion process. Catalytic nanoparticles are added to alkaline water in which the biomass is suspended. This is then placed in front of a light in the lab which mimics solar light. The solution is ideal for absorbing this light and converting the biomass into gaseous hydrogen which can then be collected from the headspace. The hydrogen is free of fuel-cell inhibitors, such as carbon monoxide, which allows it to be used for power. Full Article:

Why more and more countries are taking an interest in geothermal energy

Bianca Nogrady for VOX: At 2:46 pm local time on Friday, March 11, 2011, Japan was rocked by the largest earthquake ever to strike its shores. The 9.1-magnitude quake triggered a devastating tsunami that killed more than 15,000 people. It also took out the backup emergency generators that cooled the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant complex, causing a series of catastrophic meltdowns. But amid the chaos, the Yanaizu-Nishiyama geothermal power plant in Fukushima prefecture didn't miss a beat. Along with two more of the nine geothermal power plants in the region, the 65-megawatt facility continued to generate power, even as many other power plants around them failed because of damaged equipment and transmission lines."This is big news for many geothermal people around the world," says Kasumi Yasukawa, principal research manager at the Institute for Geo-Resources and Environment in Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology. In a country as seismically active as Japan, it was a clear signal that geothermal energy was worth investing in. Cont'd...

How Flushing your Toilet could help create Biofuel

Laura A. Shepard for Popular Science: Picture a giant toilet bowl looming larger than life outside the UN headquarters in New York. It sounds like an absurd scene, but the stunt from three years ago was not a childish prank. It was a serious statement to mark the first World Toilet Day and raise awareness of the fact that one third of the world's population lacks access to toilets. Addressing the global sanitation crisis is a top priority among the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, and it now has an exciting solution. In fact, science may soon make your toilet bowl a viable alternative energy source. Your flushes can produce two or three gallons of biofuel per year when the wastewater is treated using a process, developed scientists and engineers at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, called hydro-thermal liquefaction (HTL). HTL emulates the way crude oil forms naturally, when biomass decays under high pressure and heat for millions of years - but it only takes 45 minutes. Cont'd...

Solar & Wind Cheaper To Replace Coal In UK Than Biomass

Joshua S Hill for CleanTechnica: A new study has concluded that transitioning to wind and solar power would be a cheaper option for the United Kingdom to replace its coal fleet than using biomass electricity generation. According to a new study published this week by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and conducted by London-based Vivid Economics, which examined the full system costs of renewable energy technologies like wind and solar in comparison to biomass as a replacement for the UK's coal fleet, wind and solar came out as the cheaper option. The UK already uses a lot of biomass for electricity generation, with the report concluding that "biomass supplies the lion's share" of the country's renewable electricity generation. However, as the authors of the report note: "…recent science shows that many forms of biomass produce more carbon emissions than fossil fuels like coal and natural gas-especially biomass from forests-increasing carbon pollution precisely when the United Kingdom aims to rapidly decarbonise its electricity sector." Cont'd...

World's Largest Carbon-Capture Plant to Open Soon

Umair Irfan for ClimateWire: On schedule, on budget. It's a tall order for any new technology, but for a commercial carbon capture and storage (CCS) system, it might be the start of a revolution. The Petra Nova carbon capture system under construction at the W.A. Parish Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant southwest of Houston, is slated to go online before the end of the year. The billion-dollar facility will become the largest post-combustion carbon capture system installed on an existing power plant in the world. Systems like Petra Nova that keep carbon dioxide from reaching the atmosphere may become a necessary means to mitigate climate change, and for some utilities, they could offer a lifeline to beleaguered fossil fuel plants. Cont'd...

Scripps Vessel Proves Viability of Renewable Fuel on 14,400-Mile Voyage

Chris Jennewein for Times of San Diego:  A Scripps Institution of Oceanography research vessel has demonstrated the viability of renewable fuel by traveling 14,400 nautical miles over a 16-month period on renewable diesel. The R/V Robert Gordon Sproul used a hydrogenation-derived renewable fuel called NEXBTL Renewable Diesel developed by Neste Oil in Finland. The experiment began in September 2014 and ran through December 2015, during which time the vessel used a total of 52,500 gallons. “Part of the Scripps mission is to protect the environment, and one of the most significant changes that we could make in our ship operations involved moving toward the use of cleaner, renewable fuels,” said Scripps Associate Director Bruce Appelgate. “As scientists, we know we need to develop sustainable means of powering our ships to address pollution concerns as well as to mitigate future increases in fossil fuel costs.” Renewable biofuel is nearly carbon-neutral and produces cleaner emissions, thus decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality relative to fuels derived from petroleum.   Cont'd...

Can we Save the Algae Biofuel Industry?

Christian Ridley for Newsweek:  Algal biofuels are in trouble. This alternative fuel source could help reduce overall carbon emissions without taking land from food production, like many crop-based biofuels do. But several major companies including Shell and ExxonMobil are seemingly abandoning their investments in this environmentally friendly fuel. So why has this promising technology failed to deliver, and what could be done to save it? Algae are photosynthetic organisms related to plants that grow in water and produce energy fromcarbon dioxide and sunlight. Single-celled microalgae can be used to produce large amounts of fat, which can be converted into biodiesel, the most common form of biofuel. There are many possible ingredients for making biofuels, from corn to used cooking oil. But algae are particularly interesting because they can be grown rapidly and produce large amounts of fuel relative to the resources used to grow them (high productivity).   Cont'd...  

Danish researchers may have found 'the energy source of the future'

CPH Post:  Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have discovered a natural process they are calling ‘reverse photosynthesis’. They have observed how the energy in solar rays breaks down rather than builds up plant material, as happens in photosynthesis. Sunlight is collected by chlorophyll, and when combined with a specific enzyme the energy breaks down plant biomass. The resulting product can then be used as a biofuel. By increasing production speed while reducing pollution, the discovery has the potential to revolutionise industrial production. “This is a game-changer, one that could transform the industrial production of fuels and chemicals, thus serving to reduce pollution significantly,” said Claus Felby, the University of Copenhagen professor who headed up the research. “It has always been right under our noses,” he said. “Photosynthesis by way of the sun doesn’t just allow things to grow – the same principles can be applied to break plant matter down, so that the immense energy in solar light can be used so that processes can take place without additional energy inputs.”   Cont'd...

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