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Materials Innovation: Designing Better Surfaces for Energy

August 29, 2014 by Energy @ MIT

Better Surfaces for Energy

Solid core material is almost a given for technology. But just because the guts are right doesn’t guarantee success. The surface layer, in fact, can hold the key in some applications. Yet its importance is still easy to overlook. This area is where Bilge Yildiz keeps her focus.[read more]

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]

Recycling Old Batteries into Solar Cells

August 19, 2014 by Energy @ MIT

Batteries Recycled Into Solar

This could be a classic win-win solution: A system proposed by researchers at MIT recycles materials from discarded car batteries — a potential source of lead pollution — into new, long-lasting solar panels that provide emissions-free power.[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]

Regulations Only a First Step in Cutting Emissions

July 30, 2014 by Energy @ MIT

Steps to Cutting Emissions

Intensifying calls for action on climate change have led to a variety of proposed regulations to cut greenhouse gas emissions from specific sources of the economy, including, most recently, the environmental protection agency's rule on coal power plants.[read more]

Steam from the Sun

July 22, 2014 by Energy @ MIT

Steam and New Materials

A new and innovative material structure developed at MIT generates steam by soaking up the sun. The structure, which consists of a layer of graphite flakes and an underlying carbon foam, is a porous, insulating material structure that floats on water.[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]

Diagnosing 'Broken' Buildings to Make them Greener

June 24, 2014 by Energy @ MIT

Diagnosing Buildings

The co-founders of MIT spinout KGS Buildings have an important saying: “All buildings are broken.” The energy that is wasted through faulty or inefficient equipment, they say, can lead to hundreds of thousands of dollars in avoidable annual costs.[read more]

Seeing How a Lithium-Ion Battery Works

June 14, 2014 by Energy @ MIT

Batteries and Innovation

New observations by researchers at MIT have revealed the inner workings of a type of electrode widely used in lithium-ion batteries. The new findings explain the unexpectedly high power and long cycle life of such batteries, the researchers say.[read more]

Surprising Nanotubes: Some Slippery, Some Sticky

June 5, 2014 by Energy @ MIT

Nanotube Types

Nanotubes — microscopic cylinders the shape of drinking straws, but just one-thousandth the diameter of a human hair — have been the subject of intensive research, with potential uses ranging from solar cells to chemical sensors to reinforced composite materials.[read more]

Microbes Chow Down on Latest Fuel-Cell Tech

May 31, 2014 by Energy @ MIT

Microbes and Fuel-Cell Innovation

You can very quickly run out of fingers and toes in counting the myriad ways we waste energy. Take the inefficiency of our sewage systems, for example: The energetic content of wastewater is about 10 times the amount of energy it takes to process it.[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]

A New Way to Harness Waste Heat

May 22, 2014 by Energy @ MIT

Saving Waste Heat

Vast amounts of excess heat are generated by industrial processes and by electric power plants; researchers around the world have spent decades seeking ways to harness some of this wasted energy. Most such efforts have focused on thermoelectric devices.[read more]