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Desalination Gets a Graphene Boost

November 13, 2015 by Energy @ MIT

Graphene Technology and Safe Water

With the intensifying drought in California, the state has accelerated the construction of desalination plants. Yet due to high construction and operating costs we’re not likely to see reclaimed seawater represent more than a small fraction of America’s clean water reserves for some time to come.[read more]

Harvesting More Energy from Photons

November 11, 2015 by Energy @ MIT

Getting more Energy from the Sun

Researchers at MIT and elsewhere have found a way to significantly boost the energy that can be harnessed from sunlight, a finding that could lead to better solar cells or light detectors. The new approach is based on the discovery that unexpected quantum effects increase the number of charge carriers.[read more]

Aditi Verma: A Multidisciplinary Take on Nuclear Policy

November 5, 2015 by Energy @ MIT

Nuclear Policy Innovation

Aditi Verma’s first encounter with nuclear policy was nearly her last. She represented Germany at a high school version of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and was frustrated by the debate on her group’s topic, nuclear waste. “Without a science and engineering background, we couldn’t negotiate.”[read more]

MIT Announces Five-Year Plan for Action on Climate Change

November 3, 2015 by Energy @ MIT

MIT and Climate Change Plans

Citing “overwhelming” scientific evidence, MIT's “A Plan for Action on Climate Change” underscores the “risk of catastrophic outcomes” due to climate change and emphasizes that “the world needs an aggressive but pragmatic transition plan to achieve a zero-carbon global energy system.”[read more]

Report: Expected Paris Commitments Insufficient to Stabilize Climate by Century's End

October 30, 2015 by Energy @ MIT

Paris Agreement Climate Commitments

This December’s international climate negotiations in Paris are expected to yield reductions in manmade greenhouse gas emissions, but unless deeper cuts follow, the global temperature is likely to rise 3.1-5.2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2100.[read more]

Using Microbes to Clean Up Oil Spills

October 22, 2015 by Energy @ MIT

Microbes and the Environment

Catherine Drennan, a professor of chemistry and biology, likes to wax poetic about the complex chemistry of microbes. "I think they’re elegant and beautiful," she says. Of course, she also sees that they have plenty of useful practical applications.[read more]

Moderating Extremes in Building Design

October 6, 2015 by Energy @ MIT

Building Design and Moderation

Leon Glicksman designs buildings with an eye toward improved energy efficiency, and, like many of his MIT colleagues, he brings with him a high-tech portfolio. He develops aerogel panels to improve insulation and software packages to guide architects.[read more]

India at the Deep End

September 2, 2015 by Energy @ MIT

India Energy Development

It has been said of India that the more you get to know it, the less you understand. The country’s vast size, diversity, and complexity gives it a knack for defying logic and confounding accepted wisdom. This is especially true when it comes to the developing energy industry.[read more]

A Small, Modular, Efficient Fusion Plant

August 10, 2015 by Energy @ MIT

A New Fusion Plant

It’s a joke that fusion scientists have grown tired of hearing: Practical nuclear fusion power plants are just 30 years away — and always will be. But now, finally, the joke may no longer be true: Advances in magnet tech have enabled researchers to propose a new design for a compact tokamak fusion reactor.[read more]

MITEI Releases Report on the Future of Solar Energy

May 7, 2015 by Energy @ MIT

Report on Solar Energy

Solar energy holds the best potential for meeting humanity’s future long-term energy needs while cutting greenhouse gas emissions — but to realize this potential will require increased emphasis on developing lower-cost technologies and more effective deployment policy.[read more]

Patents Forecast Technological Change

April 24, 2015 by Energy @ MIT

Predicting Technological Innovation

How fast is online learning evolving? Are wind turbines a promising investment? And how long before a cheap hoverboard makes it to market? Attempting to answer such questions requires knowing something about the rate at which a technology is improving.[read more]

Fostering U.S.-Russia Energy Innovation

April 18, 2015 by Energy @ MIT

Energy Innovation and Cooperation

"All the technology that wows us, all the portability that we have quickly gotten used to, is based on lithium ion batteries. There is an intense interest in still higher capacity batteries," says Carl V. Thompson, co-director of the Skoltech Center for Electrochemical Energy Storage.[read more]

Energy Research: Tunneling Across a Tiny Gap

April 11, 2015 by Energy @ MIT

Tunneling and Heat

Researchers at MIT, the University of Oklahoma, and Rutgers University have developed a model that explains how heat flows between objects separated by gaps of less than a nanometer. The team has developed a unified framework that calculates heat transport at finite gaps.[read more]

Analysis Sees Many Promising Pathways for Solar Photovoltaic Power

April 1, 2015 by Energy @ MIT

Solar PV Pathways

In a broad new assessment of the status and prospects of solar photovoltaic technology, MIT researchers say that it is “one of the few renewable, low-carbon resources with both the scalability and the technological maturity to meet ever-growing global demand for electricity.”[read more]

New Kind of "Tandem" Solar Cell Developed

March 28, 2015 by Energy @ MIT

Solar Cell Invention

Researchers have developed a new kind of solar cell that combines two different layers of sunlight-absorbing material in order to harvest a broader range of the sun’s energy. The development could lead to photovoltaic cells that are more efficient than those currently used in solar-power installations.[read more]