October 6/13, 2008

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"Nearly 35 percent of the world’s population does not have access to electricity. Providing clean forms of electricity to underdeveloped countries needs to be a priority of the industrialized nations. Providing electricity will provide clean water supplies and improve agriculture, thus reducing famine and increasing the overall quality of life."
- from Q&A with Robert Birkmire



Process prints flexible silicon solar cells

Make silicon solar cells small enough -- about 10 times narrower than the period at the end this sentence -- and you can literally print them onto surfaces, including curved and flexible surfaces. [more]


Tuned power doubles solar hydrogen generation

Carefully match the electrical output from solar cells to the input of an electrolyzer and you can double the efficiency of the process that extracts hydrogen from water. [more]


Sugar powers bio battery

Stick sugar-busting enzymes on a fuel-cell electrode in a way that keeps the enzymes working and you have a simple battery-like biofuel power source. [more]


Polar bear fur inspires solar fibers

In the quest to make fabrics that turn sunlight into electricity, one research team has turned to an unlikely source of inspiration: polar bears. [more]


Tiny power source modeled on eel cells

Make artificial versions of electric eel cells and you have a power source for medical implants and other small electronic devices. [more]

Q & A

University of Delaware's Robert Birkmire

The state of thin-film solar cells, getting 20 percent of our electricity from photovoltaics, over 2 billion people without electricity, and the lack of political leadership on energy. [more]


Scientists call for sustainable biofuels policies

Biofuels are coming. The question is will we produce them in a way that wisely balances environmental, economic and social factors. [more]


Renewable energy research center launched

A National Science Foundation award to 14 materials science and engineering research centers includes $2,325,000 to create a renewable energy research center at the Colorado School of Mines. [more]


NSF funds vehicle-to-grid project

The National Science Foundation has awarded $2 million to University of Michigan researchers to design a system to tie electric vehicles into the electric power grid. [more]


US-India energy research collaboration unveiled

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California at Berkeley are collaborating with Indian universities, companies and government agencies to develop renewable energy technologies and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. [more]



Special Report
Energy in transition: researchers talk about Obama and our future

The return of science, the enormous task, the Apollo-like effort required, and ideas for remaking the nation's energy infrastructure.

Eric on Energy


Living energy

Biology figures prominently in this issue of ERN; three research items involve biomimicry and a policy item addresses the ecological impacts of biofuels production. [more]



Special Report
Energy in transition: researchers talk about Obama and our future


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