Regulating Electron 'Spin' May Be Key to Making Organic Solar Cells Competitive

Organic solar cells that use carbon-based molecules to convert light to electricity have not been able to match the efficiency silicon-based cells. Now, researchers have discovered a synthetic, high-performance polymer that could make inexpensive, highly efficient organic solar panels a reality.

Self-Healing Solar Cells 'Channel' Natural Processes

To understand how solar cells heal themselves, look no further than the nearest tree leaf or the back of your hand. NC State University researchers have developed a regenerative solar cell that uses branching channels to best mimic natural processes.

Localized Wind Power Blowing More Near Homes, Farms & Factories

A new report details how more Americans are installing wind turbines near their homes, businesses and farms to generate their own energy as part of a growing field of wind power called distributed wind.

Interface Superconductivity Withstands Variations in Atomic Configuration

Brookhaven Lab scientists discover that critical temperature remains constant across interface superconductors regardless of changes in electron doping levels, challenging leading theories.

August Story Tips

ENERGY - Green battery. PROSTHETICS - Better fit, function. MATERIALS - Best of both worlds.

Key Factors for Wireless Power Transfer

What happens to a resonant wireless power transfer system in complex electromagnetic environments? Researchers explored the influences at play in this type of situation and describe in AIP Advances how efficient wireless power transfer can be achieved in the presence of metal plates.

Rensselaer Researchers Identify Cause of LED "Efficiency Droop"

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute researchers have identified the mechanism behind a plague of LED light bulbs: a flaw called "efficiency droop" that causes LEDs to lose up to 20 percent of their efficiency as they are subjected to greater electrical currents.

Thin, Flexible Glass for Energy Storage

A new use for glass is being developed by researchers in Penn State's Materials Research Institute that could make future hybrid-electric and plug-in electric vehicles more affordable and reliable.

Wind Power Does Not Strongly Affect Greater Prairie Chickens, Seven-Year Study Finds

Wind power development does not ruffle the feathers of greater prairie chicken populations, according to a seven-year study from a Kansas State University ecologist and his team. They found that grassland birds are more affected by rangeland management practices and by the availability of native prairie and vegetation cover at nest sites.

A Nano-Tool for Designing the Next Big Battery

It's a jungle down there at batteries' atomic level, with ions whacking into electrodes and eventually causing failure. Now, a Michigan Technological University scientist has developed a device that lets researchers spy on the actions of lithium ions inside a nanobattery--and use that data to develop better, longer-lasting batteries to power everything from electric cars to cell phones.

New Catalyst Could Cut Cost of Making Hydrogen Fuel

A discovery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison may represent a significant advance in the quest to create a "hydrogen economy" that would use this abundant element to store and transfer energy.

Exotic Alloys for Potential Energy Applications

"Thermoelectric materials," used in wine refrigerators and spacecraft, promise to help deliver greener energy in the future.

Power for Seaports May Be the Next Job for Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Thanks to research at Sandia National Laboratories in California, providing auxiliary hydrogen power to docked or anchored ships may soon be added to the list of ways in which hydrogen fuel cells can provide efficient, emissions-free energy.

New Solar Car From U-Michigan Has Sleek, Asymmetrical Design

The lopsided solar car named Generation, unveiled today, might be the oddest-looking vehicle the top-ranked University of Michigan team has ever built. But the bold shape is a calculated effort to design the most efficient car possible, given major changes in World Solar Challenge race rules.

Stop Hyperventilating, Say Energy Efficiency Researchers

A single advanced building control now in development could slash 18 percent - tens of thousands of dollars - off the overall annual energy bill of the average large office building, with no loss of comfort.

Researchers Unearth Bioenergy Potential in Leaf-Cutter Ant Communities

As spring warms up Wisconsin, humans aren't the only ones tending their gardens. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Bacteriology, colonies of leaf-cutter ants cultivate thriving communities of fungi and bacteria using freshly cut plant material.

"Popcorn" Particle Pathways Promise Better Lithium-Ion Batteries

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have confirmed the particle-by-particle mechanism by which lithium ions move in and out of electrodes made of lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4, or LFP), findings that could lead to better performance in lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles, medical equipment and aircraft. The research is reported in the journal Nano Letters, 2013, 13 (3), pp 866-872.

New All-Solid Sulfur-Based Battery Outperforms Lithium-Ion Technology

Scientists at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have designed and tested an all-solid lithium-sulfur battery with approximately four times the energy density of conventional lithium-ion technologies that power today's electronics.

Bigger Cities Don't Always Equate to Energy Savings

It is a long-held assumption that large cities benefit from economies of scale. New research by Boise State University visiting professor of economics Michail Fragkias questioning this assumption could help shape how major cities are built and managed in the coming decades.

Transportation Fuels From Woody Biomass Promising Way to Reduce Emissions

Two processes that turn woody biomass into transportation fuels have the potential to exceed current Environmental Protection Agency requirements for renewable fuels, according to research published in the Forest Products Journal.

Not Just Blowing in the Wind: Compressing Air for Renewable Energy Storage

A comprehensive study into the potential for compressed air energy storage in the Pacific Northwest has identified two locations in Washington state that could store enough Northwest wind energy combined to power about 85,000 homes each month.

Never-Before-Seen Energy Pattern Observed at National High Magnetic Field Laboratory

Two research teams at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (MagLab) broke through a nearly 40-year barrier recently when they observed a never-before-seen energy pattern.

Physicists Light "Magnetic Fire" to Reveal Energy's Path

NYU physicists have uncovered how energy is released and dispersed in magnetic materials in a process akin to the spread of forest fires, a finding that has the potential to deepen our understanding of self-sustained chemical reactions.

Geologists Study Mystery of 'Eternal Flames'

"Eternal flames" fueled by hydrocarbon gas could shine a light on the presence of natural gas in underground rock layers and conditions that let it seep to the surface, according to research by Indiana University geologists.

Microwave Oven Cooks Up Solar Cell Material

University of Utah metallurgists used an old microwave oven to produce a nanocrystal semiconductor rapidly using cheap, abundant and less toxic metals than other semiconductors. They hope it will be used for more efficient photovoltaic solar cells and LED lights, biological sensors and systems to convert waste heat to electricity.