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 Interesting news on the energy front.

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Heretic

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PostSubject: Interesting news on the energy front.   4/1/2011, 2:29 pm

Quote :
Spinning the Sun's Rays Into Fuel

Nearly all the energy we use on this planet starts out as sunlight that plants use to knit chemical bonds. Now, for the first time, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge have created a potentially cheap, practical artificial leaf that does much the same thing—providing a potentially limitless source of energy that’s easy to tap.

The new device is a silicon wafer about the shape and size of a playing card coated on either side with two different catalysts. The silicon absorbs sunlight and passes that energy to the catalysts to split water into molecules of hydrogen and oxygen. Hydrogen is a fuel that can be either burned or used in a fuel cell to create electricity, reforming water in either case. This means that in theory, anyone with access to water can use it to create a cheap, clean, and available source of fuel.

Neat stuff. Something to keep an eye on.
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Scorpion

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PostSubject: Re: Interesting news on the energy front.   4/1/2011, 4:45 pm

This may be promising as well...

Algae: Fuel of the future?

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In a forest of tubes eight metres high in eastern Spain, scientists hope they have found the fuel of tomorrow: bio-oil produced with algae mixed with carbon dioxide from a factory.

Almost 400 of the green tubes, filled with millions of microscopic algae, cover a plain near the city of Alicante, next to a cement works from which the C02 is captured and transported via a pipeline to the "blue petroleum" factory.

The project, which is still experimental, has been developed over the past five years by Spanish and French researchers at the small Bio Fuel Systems (BFS) company.

At a time when companies are redoubling their efforts to find alternative energy sources, the idea is to reproduce and speed up a process which has taken millions of years and which has led to the production of fossil fuels.

"We are trying to simulate the conditions which existed millions of years ago, when the phytoplankton was transformed into oil," said engineer Eloy Chapuli. "In this way, we obtain oil that is the same as oil today."

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The other great advantage of the system is that it is a depollutant -- it absorbs the C02 which would otherwise be released into the atmosphere.

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BigWhiteGuy

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PostSubject: Re: Interesting news on the energy front.   4/1/2011, 7:05 pm

Heretic wrote:
Quote :
Spinning the Sun's Rays Into Fuel

Nearly all the energy we use on this planet starts out as sunlight that plants use to knit chemical bonds. Now, for the first time, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge have created a potentially cheap, practical artificial leaf that does much the same thing—providing a potentially limitless source of energy that’s easy to tap.

The new device is a silicon wafer about the shape and size of a playing card coated on either side with two different catalysts. The silicon absorbs sunlight and passes that energy to the catalysts to split water into molecules of hydrogen and oxygen. Hydrogen is a fuel that can be either burned or used in a fuel cell to create electricity, reforming water in either case. This means that in theory, anyone with access to water can use it to create a cheap, clean, and available source of fuel.

Neat stuff. Something to keep an eye on.
I've been touting the merits or hydrogen for years, remember? On and off this board.
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Heretic

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PostSubject: Re: Interesting news on the energy front.   4/2/2011, 9:04 am

It really wasn't viable until this.
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chuckmo48

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PostSubject: Re: Interesting news on the energy front.   4/2/2011, 9:12 am

Heretic wrote:
Quote :
Spinning the Sun's Rays Into Fuel

Nearly all the energy we use on this planet starts out as sunlight that plants use to knit chemical bonds. Now, for the first time, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge have created a potentially cheap, practical artificial leaf that does much the same thing—providing a potentially limitless source of energy that’s easy to tap.

The new device is a silicon wafer about the shape and size of a playing card coated on either side with two different catalysts. The silicon absorbs sunlight and passes that energy to the catalysts to split water into molecules of hydrogen and oxygen. Hydrogen is a fuel that can be either burned or used in a fuel cell to create electricity, reforming water in either case. This means that in theory, anyone with access to water can use it to create a cheap, clean, and available source of fuel.

Neat stuff. Something to keep an eye on.
That sounds promising...a constant supply of energy...with a clean bi-product.
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BigWhiteGuy

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PostSubject: Re: Interesting news on the energy front.   4/2/2011, 10:04 am

Heretic wrote:
It really wasn't viable until this.
But, the theory was and is.
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Heretic

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PostSubject: Re: Interesting news on the energy front.   4/2/2011, 10:26 am

Yes, no one was ever questioning the basic physics that hydrogen could be burned for fuel. The question was whether or not it was economically viable. It was too expensive and used too much energy up 'til this point, and creating it via solar cells was remarkably inefficient. Storage was also an issue. The "hydrogen economy" was about as DOA as ethanol. This new "leaf", which is 10 times more efficient than a natural leaf, is cheap to make and uses only ambient sunlight. Definitely good news.
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Interesting news on the energy front.
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