Environment

Ceramists shed new light on amorphous calcium carbonate changes, effects of CO2 storage

By / September 9, 2010

Schematic of proposed CO2 underground storage by Spectra Energy in western Canada. With several proposals related to the conversion of sequestered CO2 to carbonates being considered by the science community, a team of University of California at Davis researchers say their new discoveries about the transformational and crystallization of amorphous calcium carbonate will help fill…

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DOE awards millions for carbon capture, storage and for solar grid integration

By / September 7, 2010

The Department of Energy made two major funding announcements today. One regards $575 million going to 22 advanced carbon-capture R&D projects. The other announcement is of $8.5 million for projects related to integrating solar energy with the nation’s electrical grids. The carbon-capture projects are being funded from Recovery Act monies, and are targeted at four…

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Lux predicts winners, losers among CIGS and concentrated solar photovoltaics, and peak-energy demand solutions

By / September 7, 2010

SMA solar energy inverter Lux Research has a couple of interesting reports out regarding who the winners and losers are likely to be in several key energy-related categories. Lux, it should be pointed out, is in the business of providing governments, businesses and investors with proprietary information on emerging technologies. The company uses a combination…

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Materials stories that also may be of interest

By / September 3, 2010

At the end of each week, I end up with a list of a bunch of stories I started to write about, or started to investigate or didn’t even get that far even though the topic looked intriguing, but, I had a meeting to go to … Anyway, it’s Friday, and rather than have these…

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Missouri S&T researchers question need for silver additive to ceramic water filter

By / September 2, 2010

Pot-shaped filters, like those above, are used to remove bacteria from water in Guatemala. The filters are typically made out of native sawdust and clay, and imported colloidal silver. (Credit: Missouri S&T.) Ceramic pot filters are crucial for accessing clean water in third-world countries and underdeveloped regions of emerging nations. For a variety of reasons,…

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DOE establishes two of three U.S.–China clean energy research centers

By / September 2, 2010

U.S. and Chinese energy officials announced plans for cooperative clean energy research centers in July 2009. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced the formation of two new joint United States—China Clean Energy Research Centers to focus on clean coal and clean vehicle technology. Each CERC is expected to be backed by $50 million over the…

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Dry water – a.k.a. hydrophobic fumed silica/water – touted as CO2 absorbent, emulsion transporter

By / August 25, 2010

“Dry water.” Credit: ACS. The American Chemical Society today distributed a story that came out of one of its meetings regarding the use of “dry water” powder as a medium for absorbing CO2, enhancing certain chemical reactions and storing emulsions. Although the story is interesting, it’s not exactly clear to me if the CO2 angle,…

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Rare earths: Growing demand and tight supplies

By / August 24, 2010

It’s far from a disinterested source, but Avalon Rare Metals tells me today that prices for individual rare earth elements have soared 22-705% since January: “[T]he most significant rises have occurred since the June announcement on export quota reductions. The largest percentage price increases have been for cerium and lanthanum, which most analysts believe is…

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Nanowires boost the efficiency of ultra low-cost, stable solar cells

By Kitty Cha / August 24, 2010

One of the ways of ensuring a sustainable solar cell industry is to make cheap and stable cells, using abundant and environmentally friendly materials. However, until now, many such solar cells, particularly those made from copper and zinc oxides, have had their performance limited by the poor collection of photo-generated charges from these materials. A…

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Flexible cellulose aerogel to overcome brittleness

By / August 24, 2010

PopSci recently reported that a team of researchers have created a new cellulose aerogel. The researched was published in Nature Nanotechnology. The team, composed of scientists from the Department of Fibre and Polymer Technology, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden, soaked cellulose in a metal compound solution and freeze-dried it, removing all the moisture and…

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