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technological innovation

Developing New Light and Energy Technologies

August 21, 2014 by Energy @ MIT

New Light and Energy Tech

Silvija Gradečak has big intentions for small ingredients. The associate professor of materials science and engineering focuses on energy-conversion and light-harvesting through the use of nanomaterials. It’s at these microscopic scales that she can customize components, meld parts, and create new materials.[read more]

Running on Waste Heat

August 9, 2014 by Energy @ MIT

Waste Heat and Power

It’s estimated that more than half of U.S. energy — from vehicles and heavy equipment, for instance — is wasted as heat. Mostly, this waste heat simply escapes into the air. But that’s beginning to change, thanks to thermoelectric innovators such as MIT’s Gang Chen.[read more]

Siva Power's Thin Film Cost Target of 28 Cents per Watt Is Very Ambitious. But Not Impossible

July 13, 2014 by Stephen Lacey

Siva Power and Cost Targets

Siva Power, the CIGS thin film company that re-emerged last year with a new team and approach to the market, is out with an ambitious cost roadmap for its modules. Before getting into the details of Siva's plan, it's worth remembering one important number related to CIGS thin film: twenty.[read more]

Making a Wire-Free Future

July 11, 2014 by Energy @ MIT

Wireless Energy Future

More than a century ago, engineer and inventor Nikola Tesla proposed a global system of wireless transmission of electricity — or wireless power. But one key obstacle to realizing this ambitious vision has always been the inefficiency of transferring power over long distances.[read more]

Novel Bromine Battery: Small-Scale Demo, Large-Scale Promise

July 2, 2014 by Energy @ MIT

Battery and Storage Innovation

The availability of low-cost, high-capacity energy storage technology could profoundly change today’s energy landscape. The ability to store electricity when supplies are abundant and deliver it later when they’re not would permit widespread use of intermittent sources such as solar and wind.[read more]

Energy Storage Opportunities are Everywhere

June 26, 2014 by Michael Weinhold

“I like to think of storage in the absolute widest sense of the word. It’s not only about storing electricity for later use. It’s also about crossing over into other infrastructures like mobility. For example, we see it now in electic and hybrid cars that carry batteries."[read more]

Can Green Gas Solve Renewable Energy's Intermittency Challenge?

June 16, 2014 by Silvio Marcacci

Green Gas and Intermittency

Albert van der Molen recently faced a quandary. As Innovation Leader for Stedin, the third-largest grid operator in the Netherlands, his job includes improving electricity and natural gas delivery while expanding the utility’s use of renewable energy.[read more]

Improving a New Breed of Solar Cells

May 29, 2014 by Energy @ MIT

New Solar Cells

Solar-cell tech has advanced rapidly, as hundreds of groups around the world pursue more than two dozen approaches using different materials, technologies, and approaches to improve efficiency and reduce costs. Now a team at MIT has set a new record for the most efficient quantum-dot cells.[read more]

A New Way to Make Sheets of Graphene

May 25, 2014 by Energy @ MIT

Graphene Production Innovation

Graphene’s promise as a material has led researchers around the world to study the material in search of new applications. But one of the biggest limitations to wider use of the strong, lightweight, highly conductive material has been the hurdle of fabrication on an industrial scale.[read more]

Getting More Electricity out of Solar Cells

May 9, 2014 by Energy @ MIT

Solar Cell Efficiency

When sunlight shines on today’s solar cells, much of the incoming energy is given off as waste heat rather than electrical current. In a few materials, however, extra energy produces extra electrons — behavior that could significantly increase solar-cell efficiency.[read more]

The Electric Utility Singularity

February 11, 2014 by Christine Hertzog

A singularity is a term that is used in mathematics, physics, and advanced artificial intelligence. The definitions vary based on perspective, but in simple terms, it signifies the point where old rules break down. This is exactly where electric utilities are now.[read more]

Could Hybrid Nuclear Plants Help Stem Global Warming?

November 11, 2013 by Joshua Hill

MIT’s Charles Forsberg has come up with an idea that might work to combine nuclear energy generation with renewable energies in an effort to halt the need for fossil fuels. The idea proposes combining a nuclear power plant with another renewable energy system.[read more]

Nuclear Matinee: Can We Make a Star on Earth?

November 3, 2013 by Joseph Koblich

Nuclear Fusion Energy

The Sun is powered by the strongest source of energy in the universe – nuclear fusion – and teams of scientists and engineers around the world are working toward harnessing fusion to power the long-term future of civilization. In effect, they are working to “create a star” on earth.[read more]