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Saturday, January 31, 2015

ScienceDaily: Energy and Resources News

ScienceDaily: Energy and Resources News

Renewable energy policies drive production of Southern wood pellets for bioenergy

Posted: 30 Jan 2015 10:28 AM PST

Policies in the European Union and elsewhere requiring the use of renewable and low greenhouse gas-emitting energy are driving demand for wood pellets used to generate bioenergy. This demand could provide new markets for US timber exports, increase wood prices, and lead to increases in forestland area.

Water purification: Running fuel cells on bacteria

Posted: 30 Jan 2015 05:15 AM PST

Researchers in Norway have succeeded in getting bacteria to power a fuel cell. The "fuel" used is wastewater, and the products of the process are purified water droplets and electricity. This is an environmentally-friendly process for the purification of water derived from industrial processes and suchlike. It also generates small amounts of electricity – in practice enough to drive a small fan, a sensor or a light-emitting diode. In the future, the researchers hope to scale up this energy generation to enable the same energy to be used to power the water purification process, which commonly consists of many stages, often involving mechanical and energy-demanding decontamination steps at its outset.

Crystal light: New family of light-converting materials points to cheaper, more efficient solar power and LEDs

Posted: 29 Jan 2015 02:03 PM PST

Engineers have shone new light on an emerging family of solar-absorbing materials that could clear the way for cheaper and more efficient solar panels and LEDs. The materials, called perovskites, are particularly good at absorbing visible light, but had never been thoroughly studied in their purest form: as perfect single crystals. Using a new technique, researchers grew large, pure perovskite crystals and studied how electrons move through the material as light is converted to electricity.

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