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Excitons Observed in Action for the First Time

April 19, 2014 by Energy @ MIT

Solar Tech Advancements

A quasiparticle called an exciton — responsible for the transfer of energy within devices such as solar cells, LEDs, and semiconductor circuits — has been understood theoretically for decades. But exciton movement within materials has never been directly observed.[read more]

A Molecular Approach to Solar Energy

April 15, 2014 by Energy @ MIT

Solar Tech Innovation

 

It’s an obvious truism, but one that may soon be outdated: The problem with solar power is that sometimes the sun doesn’t shine.Now a team at MIT and Harvard University has come up with an ingenious workaround, a material that can absorb the sun’s heat and store energy in chemical form.[read more]

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Daniel Yergin: Looking Back and Forward at Big Trends in Energy

February 25, 2014 by Jesse Jenkins
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Big Trends in Energy

Pulitzer prize-winning author and energy analyst Daniel Yergin kicked off the 2014 MIT Energy Conference Friday by looking back at big changes in the energy landscape since the conference launched in 2006—and ahead at three visions for the future of energy.[read more]

10 Big Changes In Energy Since The 2013 MIT Energy Conference

February 10, 2014 by Robert Armstrong
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Around MIT, we’re used to “drinking from a fire hose,” but the pace of change can still be dizzying—particularly for those of us involved in energy. Less than 12 months ago, the MIT Energy Club hosted its premier event, the MIT Energy Conference, and in that time, a great deal has changed.[read more]

Ubiquitous Energy: A Solar Game-Changer?

March 12, 2012 by Nino Marchetti
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Can solar cells be manufactured directly onto common materials like paper or textiles? MIT's latest whiz kid thinks they can.

Anyone who knew Miles C. Barr as a kid no doubt realized he’d go far. His early childhood “inventions” included a robotic walking monkey built using a windshield-wiper motor from an abandoned school bus and a hovercraft he’d assembled with parts from a vacuum cleaner and a porch table. Likewise those who met him during his undergrad...[read more]

Michael Graetz’s “The End of Energy” Surveys 40 Years of Energy Policy-- And It Isn’t Pretty.

January 17, 2012 by Michael Giberson
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Michael J. Graetz, "The End of Energy," MIT Press, 2011. Michael Graetz’s The End of Energy is a fascinating run through 40 years of U.S. energy policy making. Engaging and at times even entertaining if you are at all interested in energy issues. In Graetz’s telling it is mostly a story of 40 years of failure, though he notes a few...[read more]

MIT Study: Rebound Effects Erode Auto Efficiency Gains

January 10, 2012 by Jesse Jenkins
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Automotive engines steadily improved in efficiency by roughly 60 percent from 1980 to 2006, according to a new study by MIT economist Christopher Knittel. That means we could already be driving cars that get an average of 37 miles per gallon (MPG), well above today's average of 27 MPG. The catch, points out Reason's Ronald Bailey: we'...[read more]

Which Side Of The Solar Trade Wars Are You On?

January 9, 2012 by Marc Gunther
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Should we worry about Chinese government subsidies to its solar industry? Or send the Chinese a thank-you note? A group of seven US-based manufacturers of solar panels is alarmed. These manufacturers, led by Solar World, a German firm with a plant in Oregon, filed a complaint with the United States International Trade Commission, which...[read more]

The Climate Reality Project – An Inconvenient Next Step?

September 23, 2011 by David Hone
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Last week I went to the London showing of Vice President Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project - it was one of 24 consecutive presentations held around the world on the 15th of September. There was a lot to look forward to in attending this, particularly to see how Mr Gore would respond to the troubling attacks on the science currently seen in some political debates and the continued challenge to carbon pricing policy in countries like Australia.[read more]

Nuclear Fission Superior to Other Energy Sources

September 9, 2011 by Rod Adams

Guest article by Charles Forsberg.The below originally appeared on April 28, 2011 in a Bulletin of Atomic Scientists roundtable discussion titled “Is nuclear energy different from other energy sources?” Charles’s contribution was titled “Mutually assured energy independence.” It was so good that I contacted Charles and obtained his...[read more]

Are MIT Students Smarter Than 5th Graders?

August 10, 2011 by Gernot Wagner
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Ask any climate scientist to explain global warming to a fifth grader, and they will pull out the bathtub analogy: The atmosphere is the tub. The level of carbon is the water standing in said tub. There’s a spigot and a sink—water in and water out. For the longest time, carbon in and carbon out of the atmosphere have been in balance....[read more]

Worried About Too Much Demand Elasticity In Electric Power Markets

August 8, 2011 by Michael Giberson
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Will electric power consumers facing smart-grid enabled real time prices have the potential to accidentally destabilize the power grid and cause a blackout?  A paper presented at a recent IEEE conference says it is a possibility. The surprising culprit? Too much price elasticity in the market demand function. It is a surprising...[read more]

Back to Basics on Climate Science

July 5, 2011 by David Hone
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Last week I had the privilege to attend an MIT forum and listen to the keynote address given by Nobel laureate Mario Molina. The subject of the address was the issue of conveying an understanding of the science of climate change to the general public. Professor Molina won the Nobel Prize and is best known for his work in identifying the role of chloro-fluorocarbons in the destruction of the ozone layer.[read more]

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Gas Helps (Not Hurts) Renewables And 7 Other Reasons Gas Can Be Green

June 16, 2011 by Matthew Van Dusen
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Last week was a good one if you happen to own a natural gas well. Two reports on the outlook for natural gas, gave a glowing assessment of the fuel’s future prospects but one predicted dire consequences for the planet if gas becomes a dominant fuel. Here are eight reasons that view is overly pessimistic, at least in the short run.[read more]

Critique of MIT Nuclear Fuel Cycle Report

June 1, 2011 by Dan Yurman
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MIT (energy initiative) recently released a controversial and well-publicized report on the future of the nuclear fuel cycle. The authors argue that there is sufficient uranium to allow ongoing deployment of water-cooled reactors for many decades. They recommend that no far-reaching decision be made yet on the ultimate disposal of the 'spent' nuclear fuel so produced and suggest that research on technical solutions can be ongoing over this period, with no particular urgency.[read more]