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Archive for the ‘sustainability’ category

Jun 18, 2018

Promising new material has the right properties to capture solar energy, split water into hydrogen and oxygen

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

Solar energy is clean and abundant. But when the sun isn’t shining, you must store the energy in batteries or through a process called photocatalysis—in which solar energy is used to make fuels. In photocatalytic water splitting, sunlight separates water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen and oxygen can then be recombined in a fuel cell to release energy.

Now, a new class of —halide double perovskites—may have just the right properties to split water, according to a newly published paper in Applied Physics Letters.

“If we can come up with a material that can be useful as a water-splitting photocatalyst, then it would be an enormous breakthrough,” said Feliciano Giustino, a co-author on the paper.

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Jun 17, 2018

RIPPA The Farm Robot Exterminates Pests And Weeds

Posted by in categories: education, food, robotics/AI, space, sustainability

RIPPA, a fully autonomous robot, can cover five acres a day on a solar charge — finding and exterminating pests and weeds on every single plant over the equivalent of four football fields. Are robots like RIPPA the future of farming?

RIPPA stands for “Robot for Intelligent Perception and Precision Application”.

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Jun 17, 2018

The incredible career of NASA’s Peggy Whitson, who applied to become an astronaut 10 times before she broke the American record for space travel

Posted by in categories: food, space travel, sustainability

She retired from NASA on Friday after blazing a trail for countless female astronauts.


NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, the 58-year-old from Iowa farm country who spent a record-breaking 665 days in space, retired from the space agency on Friday.

“I have hit my radiation limit,” Whitson told Business Insider during a recent interview. “So not going into space with NASA anymore.”

Continue reading “The incredible career of NASA’s Peggy Whitson, who applied to become an astronaut 10 times before she broke the American record for space travel” »

Jun 13, 2018

Are solar panels a middle-class purchase? This survey says yes

Posted by in categories: habitats, solar power, sustainability

Too bad the middle class is shrinking!


The rate of growth in residential rooftop solar photovoltaics (PV) in Australia since 2008 has been nothing short of breathtaking.

Our new research suggests that the households most likely to join in the solar spree are those that are affluent enough to afford the upfront investment, but not so wealthy that they don’t worry about their future power bills.

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Jun 12, 2018

Solar Surpasses Wind, Natural Gas as Leading Source of New Energy

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

Americans installed 2.5 gigawatts of solar panels in the first quarter of the year—a 13 percent increase from a year earlier, according to a report by the Solar Energy Industries Association. That made solar the leading source of new energy generation at 55 percent, dominating over wind and natural gas turbines. This was in spite of the fact that President Donald Trump imposed tariffs earlier this year on imported panels and their parts, reported Bloomberg News. Total installations are on track to reach 10.8 gigawatts at the end of the year, with installations reaching more than 14 gigawatts by 2023.

Read it at Bloomberg.

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Jun 12, 2018

These are the world’s most future-proof cities

Posted by in categories: economics, sustainability

As technology changes the way people live and work, cities are undergoing an unprecedented transformation. Those that have the infrastructure and strategy to manage this rapid technological shift are set to become the most competitive.

Globally, city economies in India, Vietnam and China have the strongest short-term momentum. The pace and scale of change in these markets is extraordinary, as they build out their skylines and infrastructure platforms to meet booming demand. While these changes present opportunities, many of these cities are facing challenges to their longer-term development prospects, with strains on infrastructure, high levels of inequality, issues around affordability, and environmental degradation.

Such rapid transformation is often eye-catching. But it is cities that are investing in a sustainable future, and laying the groundwork for ongoing success, that deserve recognition. These cities are “future-proofing” to ensure positive, long-term momentum. Key elements of future-proofing include: the ability to drive and manage technological change; infrastructure that contributes to a high quality of life; a long-term city vision; and attracting and retaining talent.

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Jun 11, 2018

A new system optimises electric transmission from offshore wind farms

Posted by in categories: computing, sustainability

Scientists from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) have designed a new control system for wind turbines in offshore wind farms that allows power transmission to the coast in a more flexible and cheaper way than current solutions.

This innovation allows the use of a diode rectifier station in the offshore platform of a high voltage direct current (HVDC) link. In this way, the turbine’s alternating current (AC) can be easily converted into direct current (DC) for HVDC transmission.

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Jun 11, 2018

In desert trials, next-generation water harvester delivers fresh water from air

Posted by in categories: energy, habitats, sustainability

Last October, a University of California, Berkeley, team headed down to the Arizona desert, plopped their newest prototype water harvester into the backyard of a tract home and started sucking water out of the air without any power other than sunlight.

The successful field test of their larger, next-generation harvester proved what the team had predicted earlier in 2017: that the harvester can extract drinkable water every day/night cycle at very low humidity and at low cost, making it ideal for people living in arid, water-starved areas of the world.

“There is nothing like this,” said Omar Yaghi, who invented the technology underlying the harvester. “It operates at ambient temperature with ambient sunlight, and with no additional energy input you can collect water in the desert. This laboratory-to-desert journey allowed us to really turn water harvesting from an interesting phenomenon into a science.”

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Jun 10, 2018

India Increases Its Massive 2022 Renewable Energy Target

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

For the last several years, CleanTechnica has covered renewable energy development in India quite closely. Several years ago, India set what seemed like a lofty target of 175 gigawatts of wind and solar energy by March 2022. Few believed that was a practical target, but then India plowed forward and happily impressed the world. This week that goal was increased to 227 gigawatts!

Currently, India has added a little more than 70 gigawatts of that goal. Assessing the progress to date on a linear scale, the trend would seem to indicate the country is behind. However, renewable energy growth is not linear.

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Jun 10, 2018

Berkeley’s desert water extractor is taking us one step closer to harvesting water out of thin air

Posted by in categories: energy, sustainability

Right now, there are roughly 16 sextillion liters of water suspended in the atmosphere. The air around you is a river, you just can’t see it.

Harvesting water from air would be a game-changing solution to tackling freshwater scarcity, which is increasing as the world warms. It would be especially vital in places with very little humidity in the air, like the desert. But while it’s technically possible—you just need to get the water content in the air to condense around something—doing so efficiently has been difficult, until now.

The challenge with this technology is cooling. Water vapor will only condense into a liquid if the material it condenses on is cooler than the surrounding air. That’s why droplets of condensation will appear on a soda can the moment you take it out of the fridge. But how do you leave a piece of machinery in the desert sun all day and keep it cooler than the surrounding air? One way would be to install a cooling system. But it takes a a lot of energy to perpetually cool an object in a hot place, and isn’t feasible in places where energy is expensive. We also don’t want to increase the amount of energy demand in a world already struggling to reduce emissions.

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