Energy

‘Nano-shish-kebabs’ are a recipe for better lithium-ion batteries

Publication: NBC News   Date: February 20, 2013   View Article

Powerful energy storage devices of the future may trace their roots back to a research lab that cooked up “nano-shish-kebabs” out of germanium sulfide, a semiconductor material.

Unlike the skewered meats and assorted veggies grilled on backyard barbeques, these kebabs are single, three-dimensional structures that consist of sheets of the semiconductor material grown along a nanowire. Each wire is about 100 nanometers long.

Wind-powered car crosses Australia on $15

Publication: NBC News   Date: February 8, 2013   View Article

A lightweight carbon-fiber car packing high-tech lithium-ion batteries and a portable wind turbine cruised 3,000 miles across Australia using just $15 worth of electricity from the grid. For an added boost, the drivers used a giant kite to pull the car down the road when the wind blew in the right direction.

“They were able to supplement their lithium-ion battery power with kite power about 10 to 15 percent of the time,” Bill Bunting, a senior scientist with Evonik Industries in New Jersey, told NBC News.

New tech said to clean up fracking water

Publication: NBC News   Date: February 5, 2013   View Article

A new water desalination technology may prove a savior for the oil and natural gas industries confronting growing concerns about the wastewater that flows to the surface in the months and years after a well is fracked.

In fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, operations 3 million to 5 million gallons of water are injected deep underground, along with sand and a chemical cocktail, to fracture shale rock and extract the embedded natural gas.

Mystery ‘oil sheen’ grows near site of BP Gulf disaster, says researcher

Publication: NBC News   Date: January 31, 2013   View Article

A persistent, mysterious “oil sheen” in the Gulf of Mexico near the site of BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster grew to more than seven-miles long and one-mile wide during a recent stretch of calm seas, based on aerial observations made by a former NASA physicist turned environmental activist.

“We had maybe three or four days (of calm weather) and that’s all it took for the stuff to build up considerably,” Bonny Schumaker, the physicist who now runs the non-profit On Winds of Care, which makes regular flights over regions of the Gulf affected by the 2010 oil spill.

Energy use plummets on Super Bowl Sunday, study finds

Publication: NBC News   Date: January 28, 2013   View Article

As millions of Americans huddle around TVs with friends and family this Sunday to watch the Super Bowl, they’ll neglect their laundry, skip vacuuming the carpet and abandon just about anything else that requires electricity, according to a new study. As a result, energy usage will plummet.

During the 2012 Super Bowl, which ranked as the most watched television broadcast in U.S. history with 111.3 million viewers, energy usage dropped 5 percent in the Western U.S. and 3.8 percent in the East, energy software company Opower reported.

‘Bingo!’ Wasted energy from cities explains a global warming mystery

Publication: NBC News   Date: January 27, 2013   View Article

Heat that escapes into the atmosphere from the energy used to warm homes, drive cars and run factories is altering the jet stream and causing wintertime temperatures to rise in remote, sparsely populated stretches of the Northern Hemisphere, according to a new study.

The finding helps explain a mismatch of up to 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) between the observed temperature in some regions and what is produced by models that simulate the global climate. Scientists had attributed the mismatch to natural variability or errors in the models.

Wind passes record in 2012, but stinker feared in 2013

Publication: NBC News   Date: January 23, 2013   View Article

Government incentives pushed newly-installed wind-generating capacity to a new high in 2012, but the outlook for 2013 is grim, according to an industry analyst.

“The year-end numbers are the ones that make the headlines, so last year was a record year,” Amy Grace, a wind analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, told NBC News

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach