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Energy Research: Tunneling Across a Tiny Gap

April 11, 2015 by Energy @ MIT

Tunneling and Heat

Researchers at MIT, the University of Oklahoma, and Rutgers University have developed a model that explains how heat flows between objects separated by gaps of less than a nanometer. The team has developed a unified framework that calculates heat transport at finite gaps.[read more]

Analysis Sees Many Promising Pathways for Solar Photovoltaic Power

April 1, 2015 by Energy @ MIT

Solar PV Pathways

In a broad new assessment of the status and prospects of solar photovoltaic technology, MIT researchers say that it is “one of the few renewable, low-carbon resources with both the scalability and the technological maturity to meet ever-growing global demand for electricity.”[read more]

New Kind of "Tandem" Solar Cell Developed

March 28, 2015 by Energy @ MIT

Solar Cell Invention

Researchers have developed a new kind of solar cell that combines two different layers of sunlight-absorbing material in order to harvest a broader range of the sun’s energy. The development could lead to photovoltaic cells that are more efficient than those currently used in solar-power installations.[read more]

New Detector Sniffs Out Origins of Methane

March 11, 2015 by Energy @ MIT

Methane Detection

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, second only to carbon dioxide in its capacity to trap heat in Earth’s atmosphere for a long time. Understanding the sources of methane, and how the gas is formed, could give scientists a better understanding of its role in warming the planet.[read more]

Cheap and Flexible Solar

March 4, 2015 by Energy @ MIT

Flexible Solar

Solar cells made out of lead sulfide quantum dots could eventually offer a cheaper, more flexible alternative to ones made using silicon, but they are currently much less efficient. However, altering the chemical composition of quantum-dot solar cells offers a way of tuning them to reach higher efficiencies.[read more]

Sequestration on Shaky Ground

January 22, 2015 by Energy @ MIT

Carbon Storage and Feasibility

Carbon sequestration promises to address greenhouse-gas emissions by capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and injecting it deep below the Earth’s surface, where it would permanently solidify into rock. While useful, the actual practice may be more complicated than previously thought.[read more]

Tonio Buonassisi Seeks to Make Solar Cells Competitive

January 15, 2015 by Energy @ MIT

Solar Cells and Market Competitiveness

One day, as he was riding home from high school in São Paulo, Tonio Buonassisi looked out the bus window at the city’s long lines of traffic, and its smoggy haze. It was then he realized that there had to be better ways for people to produce and use energy, and that he wanted to try to do something about it.[read more]

Catalyzing Greener Products

December 3, 2014 by Energy @ MIT

Catalyzing Green

Yuriy Román leads a research group in MIT’s Department of Chemical Engineering. The core of his research is the catalytic conversion of the inedible parts of plant matter, such as cellulose and lignin, into chemicals useful for making fuels and substances like plastics, lubricants, and pharmaceuticals.[read more]

Q&A: Christopher Knittel on the EPA's Greenhouse Gas Plan

November 18, 2014 by Energy @ MIT

EPA Regulation of Greenhouse Gas

The EPA’s initial emissions proposal is now under public review, before the agency issues a final rule in 2015. Christopher Knittel, the William Barton Rogers Professor of Energy Economics at the MIT, is one of 13 economists who co-authored an article about the policy in the journal Science.[read more]

Two Views on Mitigation Economics

November 18, 2014 by David Hone

The annual Forum held by the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change is always an interesting event, and the recent Forum held in Boston was no exception thanks to a discussion on two very different approaches to triggering the necessary mitigation of carbon dioxide emissions.[read more]

Shedding Light on the Future of Photovoltaics

November 13, 2014 by Energy @ MIT

Future of PV

Several government agencies, academic researchers, and firms have proposed scenarios for the future in which photovoltaic (PV) technologies grow rapidly. To support such growth, PV technologies would need to be developed with resource constraints in mind.[read more]

Wind Energy Reaches Greater Heights

November 7, 2014 by Energy @ MIT

Turbine Construction and Efficiency

Wind turbines across the globe are being made taller to capture more energy from the stronger winds that blow at greater heights. But it’s not easy, or sometimes even economically feasible, to build taller towers, with shipping constraints on tower diameters and the expense involved in construction.[read more]

A World of Wireless Energy

October 30, 2014 by Energy @ MIT

Wireless Energy Innovation

If you buy a 2016 Toyota Prius, you won’t need to worry about keeping your hybrid car charged — just get the option for wireless power transfer that lets you drive into your garage and have your battery automatically topped up from a pad on the floor.[read more]

Getting the Salt Out

October 23, 2014 by Energy @ MIT

Solving Salt Problems

The boom in oil and gas produced through hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is seen as a boon for meeting U.S. energy needs. But one byproduct of the process is millions of gallons of water that’s much saltier than seawater, after leaching salts from rocks deep below the surface.[read more]

Former Indian Minister for Rural Development Discusses India's 'Growth Imperative' and Energy Future

October 17, 2014 by Energy @ MIT

India Growth and Planning

Former Indian Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh gave a talk at MIT entitled “The Growth Imperative: Plotting a Sustainable Energy Future for India.” Ramesh drew on his years of experience as a leader in the Indian government to discuss India's energy policies and plans.[read more]