Archive for the ‘sustainability’ category

Jul 15, 2024

Tesla’s Megapack Technology Selected for Australia’s Largest Four-Hour Battery Storage System

Posted by in categories: energy, finance, sustainability

Tesla Energy secured a $375 million Megapack contract in Australia. The new Tesla Megapack contract will help build a 415 MW/1660 MWh battery Down Under, one of the largest four-hour batteries in the world.

Tesla Energy will supply Megapacks to Akaysha Energy’s Orana Battery Energy Storage System (BESS). The Orana project is located in New South Wales within Central West Orana’s Renewable Energy Zone (REZ).

We are very pleased to announce the successful closing of the debt financing of the Orana project as we move into construction on Akaysha’s first four-hour BESS to date. As the largest standalone BESS financing globally, this achievement not only secures the capital for Orana’s construction but also highlights the strong support we have received from both local and international banks, as well as from BlackRock. Their commitment to advancing the energy transition in Australia and internationally has been pivotal to reaching this milestone.

Jul 15, 2024

Chips could harvest their own energy using a newly-created alloy

Posted by in categories: computing, mobile phones, sustainability

Why it matters: Electronic devices, which encompass anything from mobile phones to data centers, are notorious energy hogs. One solution could be to harness their heat directly to create a technique for on-chip energy harvesting. The problem has been that none of the few materials able to do this is compatible with current technology in semiconductor fabrication plants. Now, researchers from across Europe have created a germanium-tin alloy that can convert computer processors’ waste heat back into electricity.

A research collaboration in Europe has created a new alloy of silicon, germanium, and tin that can convert waste heat from computer processors back into electricity. It is a significant breakthrough in the development of materials for on-chip energy harvesting, which could lead to more energy-efficient and sustainable electronic devices. Essentially, by adding tin to germanium, the material’s thermal conductivity has been significantly reduced while still maintaining its electrical properties, making it ideal for thermoelectric applications.

The researchers are from Forschungszentrum Jülich and IHP – Leibniz Institute for High Performance Microelectronics in Germany, the University of Pisa, the University of Bologna in Italy, and the University of Leeds in the UK. Their findings made it onto the cover of the scientific journal ACS Applied Energy Materials.

Jul 15, 2024

Atomically controlled MXenes enable cost-effective green hydrogen production

Posted by in categories: climatology, sustainability

137 countries around the world have signed a “net-zero” climate change agreement to end fossil fuel use and achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050. Hydrogen is being touted as the next green energy source because it emits only water and oxygen when utilized as an energy source. Hydrogen production methods are divided into gray hydrogen, blue hydrogen, and green hydrogen depending on the energy source and carbon emissions. Among them, green hydrogen production method is the most eco-friendly method that produces hydrogen without carbon emissions by electrolyzing water using green energy.

A research team led by Dr. Albert Sung Soo Lee of the Convergence Research Center for Solutions to Electromagnetic Interference in Future-Mobility and Materials Architecturing Research Center at Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) with collaboration with Professor Chong Min Koo’s group at Sungkyunkwan University has developed an oxidatively stable molybdenum-based MXene as electrocatalyst support in anion exchange membrane water electrolyzers. As it is stable against oxidative high voltage conditions, if it is applied as a carrier for electrolysis catalysts, it can be used as an oxygen evolution reaction electrode material for green hydrogen production to reduce the cost of green hydrogen production.

The research has been published in Applied Catalysis B: Environment and Energy (“Unveiling the role of catalytically active MXene supports in enhancing the performance and durability of cobalt oxygen evolution reaction catalysts for anion exchange membrane water electrolyzers”).

Jul 15, 2024

Scientists 3D Print LEGO Bricks Made From Meteorite Dust To Test Building on the Moon

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, space, sustainability

Scientists at the European Space Agency have designed and 3D printed bricks that are similar to LEGO pieces and are made out of 4.5-billion-year-old meteorite dust. The pieces, called ESA Space Bricks, are part of an initiative to develop clean and sustainable buildings on the Moon that lunar settlers could live and work in. In theory, astronauts could use materials readily available on the lunar surface to build structures, launch pads, and other vital pieces of infrastructure without having to solely rely on Earth-made supplies.

But why did the scientists end up going with the LEGO-inspired design for their ESA Space Bricks? While the bricks are not currently intended to be used to construct anything on the Moon, their existence does prove to researchers that it is possible to 3D print durable interlocking building bricks out of lunar materials.

“Nobody has built a structure on the Moon, so it was great to have the flexibility to try out all kinds of designs and building techniques with our space bricks,” says ESA Science Officer Aidan Cowley. “It was both fun and useful in scientifically understanding the boundaries of these techniques.”

Jul 15, 2024

AI demand puts more pressure on data centers’ energy use. Here’s how to make it sustainable

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, sustainability

There are several ways the industry is addressing this energy crisis. First, computing hardware has gotten substantially more energy efficient over the years in terms of the operations executed per watt consumed. Data centers’ power use efficiency, a metric that shows the ratio of power consumed for computing versus for cooling and other infrastructure, has been reduced to 1.5 on average, and even to an impressive 1.2 in advanced facilities. New data centers have more efficient cooling by using water cooling and external cool air when it’s available.

Unfortunately, efficiency alone is not going to solve the sustainability problem. In fact, Jevons paradox points to how efficiency may result in an increase of energy consumption in the longer run. In addition, hardware efficiency gains have slowed down substantially, as the industry has hit the limits of chip technology scaling.

Jul 14, 2024

Google and Microsoft consume more power than some countries

Posted by in categories: energy, sustainability

In 2023, Google and Microsoft each consumed 24 TWh of electricity, surpassing the consumption of over 100 nations, including places like Iceland, Ghana, and Tunisia, according to an analysis by Michael Thomas. While massive energy usage means a substantial environmental impact for these tech giants, it should be noted that Google and Microsoft also generate more money than many countries. Furthermore, companies like Intel, Google, and Microsoft lead renewable energy adoption within the industry.

Detailed analysis reveals that Google’s and Microsoft’s electricity consumption — 24 TWh in 2023 — equals the power consumption of Azerbaijan (a nation of 10.14 million) and is higher than that of several other countries. For instance, Iceland, Ghana, the Dominican Republic, and Tunisia each consumed 19 TWh, while Jordan consumed 20 TWh. Of course, some countries consume more power than Google and Microsoft. For example, Slovakia, a country with 5.4 million inhabitants, consumes 26 TWh.

Jul 14, 2024

Highly efficient and stable solar cells can now be mass produced like printing newspapers

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

Scientists at the City University of Hong Kong (CityUHK) have developed highly efficient, printable and stable perovskite solar cells to achieve carbon neutrality and promote sustainable development.

The new type of solar cells can be mass-produced at a speed comparable to newspaper printing, with a daily output of up to 1,000 . Owing to their flexible, semi-transparent characteristics, they can also be made into light-absorbing glass windows, realizing the concept of “urban solar farms” in cities with many high-rise buildings.

The research is led by the Lee Shau Kee Chair Professor of Materials Science at CityUHK, Professor Alex Jen Kwan-yue, and the results were published in Nature Energy.

Jul 14, 2024

Green Gold: Turning E-Waste Into a Treasure Trove of Rare Earth Metals

Posted by in category: sustainability

Scientists are developing a process inspired by nature that efficiently recovers europium from old fluorescent lamps. The approach could lead to the long-awaited recycling of rare earth metals.

Jul 14, 2024

Investigating the Origins of the Crab Nebula

Posted by in categories: cosmology, sustainability

A team of scientists used NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to parse the composition of the Crab Nebula, a supernova remnant located 6,500 light-years away in the constellation Taurus. With the telescope’s MIRI (Mid-Infrared Instrument) and NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera), the team gathered data that is helping to clarify the Crab Nebula’s history.

The Crab Nebula is the result of a core-collapse supernova from the death of a massive star. The supernova explosion itself was seen on Earth in 1,054 CE and was bright enough to view during the daytime. The much fainter remnant observed today is an expanding shell of gas and dust, and outflowing wind powered by a pulsar, a rapidly spinning and highly magnetized neutron star.

The Crab Nebula is also highly unusual. Its atypical composition and very low explosion energy previously have been explained by an electron-capture supernova — a rare type of explosion that arises from a star with a less-evolved core made of oxygen, neon, and magnesium, rather than a more typical iron core.

Jul 12, 2024

Neural networks made of light can make machine learning more sustainable

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, sustainability

Scientists propose a new way of implementing a neural network with an optical system which could make machine learning more sustainable in the future. The researchers at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light have published their new method in Nature Physics, demonstrating a method that is much simpler than previous approaches.

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