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In September 2011, the DOE issued a $90.6 million loan guarantee to finance Alamosa, a 29.3-MW high concentration photovoltaic solar generation project in Colorado. The project started commercial operations in April 2012 and created 75 construction jobs and hundreds of supply chain jobs across several states. U.S. Department of Energy

While the nation struggles to find ways to put money in peoples' pockets and to ramp up the economy so people can get back to work, over $43 billion in low-interest loans earmarked for clean energy projects sits undistributed by the Trump administration, according to The New York Times.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Solar panel installations and a wind turbine at the Phu Lac wind farm in southern Vietnam's Binh Thuan province on April 23, 2019. MANAN VATSYAYANA / AFP via Getty Images

Renewable energy made up almost three quarters of all new energy capacity added in 2019, data released Monday by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) shows.

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The growing demand for renewable energy led to record setting growth in wind power capacity as technology has made harnessing wind power increasingly efficient and more wind farms have been completed and have joined the electrical grid, according to The Telegraph.

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Wave power in Portugal. The oceans' energy potential is immense. Luis Ascenso, via Wikimedia Commons

By Paul Brown

The amount of energy generated by tides and waves in the last decade has increased tenfold. Now governments around the world are planning to scale up these ventures to tap into the oceans' vast store of blue energy.

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Towns like Breckenridge, Colorado, are part of a national organization, Mountain Towns 2030, that's swapping ideas about how to meet a goal of net-zero carbon emissions within a decade. 12019 / Needpix

By James Bruggers

In Maine, state officials are working to help residents install 100,000 high efficiency heat pumps in their homes, part of a strategy for electrifying the state. In California, an in-demand grant program helps the state's largest industry—agriculture, not technology—to pursue a greener, more sustainable future. Across Appalachia, solar panels are appearing on rooftops of community centers in what used to be coal towns.

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A new report shows that investments in coal plants may be a waste of money as renewables are cheaper than new coal plants, according to new research from the financial think tank Carbon Tracker Initiative.

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An Extinction Rebellion environmental activist mother group protests outside Google's UK headquarters in London, England on Oct. 16, 2019. The group urged Facebook and Google to stop allowing climate deniers to profit on their platforms. Ollie Millington / Getty Images

Tech behemoths Google and Facebook have upped their respective pledges to the environment, joining the ranks of Apple and Microsoft. Earlier this year, Microsoft pledged to go carbon negative by 2030, meaning it will account for all the carbon it has ever produced and add enough mitigation to counteract its effect.

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In Germany's Hunsrück village of Schorbach, numerous photovoltaic systems are installed on house roofs, on Sept. 19, 2019. Thomas Frey / Picture Alliance via Getty Images

Germany's target for renewable energy sources to deliver 65% of its consumed electricity by 2030 seemed on track Wednesday, with 52% of electricity coming from renewables in 2020's first quarter. Renewable energy advocates, however, warned the trend is imperiled by slowdowns in building new wind and solar plants.

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Trending

Mississippi's Kemper County coal gasification plant, under construction in 2013, was supposed to capture and sequester carbon emissions. XTUV0010 / CC BY-SA 3.0

By Steve Horn

The huge bipartisan energy bill currently stalled in the Senate would fast-track exports of fracked gas, offer over a billion dollars in subsidies to "clean coal" efforts and make available hundreds of millions in tax dollars for a geoengineering pilot project.

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Solar photovoltaic panels convert sunlight into energy and help combat the climate crisis. BlackRockSolar / Flickr / CC by 2.0

Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels convert sunlight into energy and continue to play an essential role in the fight to stop the climate crisis. As the pioneering panels of the early 2000s near the end of their 30-year electronic lives, however, they are at risk of becoming the world's next big wave of e-waste.

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Trending

Sign with logo for Tesla Motors in front of new glass building near the company's headquarters in the Silicon Valley, Fremont, California, July 28, 2018. Smith Collection / Gado / Getty Images

A California county has given the green light to what officials say will be part of the largest renewable energy storage facility in the world.

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Gov. Ralph Northam delivers the State of the Commonwealth address at the Virginia State Capitol on Jan. 8, 2020 in Richmond, Virginia. Zach Gibson / Getty Images

Virginia, which now has a Democrat as governor and Democrats in control of the statehouse, has followed the lead of several other blue states and committed itself to transition away from fossil fuels to a clean, renewable, carbon-free energy, as Vox reported. It makes Virginia the first state in the South to commit to 100 percent clean energy.

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Scientists have found a way to use bricks as batteries, meaning that buildings may one day be used to store and generate power. Public Domain Pictures

One of the challenges of renewable power is how to store clean energy from the sun, wind and geothermal sources. Now, a new study and advances in nanotechnology have found a method that may relieve the burden on supercapacitor storage. This method turns bricks into batteries, meaning that buildings themselves may one day be used to store and generate power, Science Times reported.

Bricks are a preferred building tool for their durability and resilience against heat and frost since they do not shrink, expand or warp in a way that compromises infrastructure. They are also reusable. What was unknown, until now, is that they can be altered to store electrical energy, according to a new study published in Nature Communications.

The scientists behind the study figured out a way to modify bricks in order to use their iconic red hue, which comes from hematite, an iron oxide, to store enough electricity to power devices, Gizmodo reported. To do that, the researchers filled bricks' pores with a nanofiber made from a conducting plastic that can store an electrical charge.

The first bricks they modified stored enough of a charge to power a small light. They can be charged in just 13 minutes and hold 10,000 charges, but the challenge is getting them to hold a much larger charge, making the technology a distant proposition.

If the capacity can be increased, researchers believe bricks can be used as a cheap alternative to lithium ion batteries — the same batteries used in laptops, phones and tablets.

The first power bricks are only one percent of a lithium-ion battery, but storage capacity can be increased tenfold by adding materials like metal oxides, Julio D'Arcy, a researcher at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, who contributed to the paper and was part of the research team, told The Guardian. But only when the storage capacity is scaled up would bricks become commercially viable.

"A solar cell on the roof of your house has to store electricity somewhere and typically we use batteries," D'Arcy told The Guardian. "What we have done is provide a new 'food-for-thought' option, but we're not there yet.

"If [that can happen], this technology is way cheaper than lithium ion batteries," D'Arcy added. "It would be a different world and you would not hear the words 'lithium ion battery' again."

Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

In September 2011, the DOE issued a $90.6 million loan guarantee to finance Alamosa, a 29.3-MW high concentration photovoltaic solar generation project in Colorado. The project started commercial operations in April 2012 and created 75 construction jobs and hundreds of supply chain jobs across several states. U.S. Department of Energy

While the nation struggles to find ways to put money in peoples' pockets and to ramp up the economy so people can get back to work, over $43 billion in low-interest loans earmarked for clean energy projects sits undistributed by the Trump administration, according to The New York Times.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Solar panel installations and a wind turbine at the Phu Lac wind farm in southern Vietnam's Binh Thuan province on April 23, 2019. MANAN VATSYAYANA / AFP via Getty Images

Renewable energy made up almost three quarters of all new energy capacity added in 2019, data released Monday by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) shows.

Read More Show Less

The growing demand for renewable energy led to record setting growth in wind power capacity as technology has made harnessing wind power increasingly efficient and more wind farms have been completed and have joined the electrical grid, according to The Telegraph.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch

Wave power in Portugal. The oceans' energy potential is immense. Luis Ascenso, via Wikimedia Commons

By Paul Brown

The amount of energy generated by tides and waves in the last decade has increased tenfold. Now governments around the world are planning to scale up these ventures to tap into the oceans' vast store of blue energy.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Towns like Breckenridge, Colorado, are part of a national organization, Mountain Towns 2030, that's swapping ideas about how to meet a goal of net-zero carbon emissions within a decade. 12019 / Needpix

By James Bruggers

In Maine, state officials are working to help residents install 100,000 high efficiency heat pumps in their homes, part of a strategy for electrifying the state. In California, an in-demand grant program helps the state's largest industry—agriculture, not technology—to pursue a greener, more sustainable future. Across Appalachia, solar panels are appearing on rooftops of community centers in what used to be coal towns.

Read More Show Less

A new report shows that investments in coal plants may be a waste of money as renewables are cheaper than new coal plants, according to new research from the financial think tank Carbon Tracker Initiative.

Read More Show Less
An Extinction Rebellion environmental activist mother group protests outside Google's UK headquarters in London, England on Oct. 16, 2019. The group urged Facebook and Google to stop allowing climate deniers to profit on their platforms. Ollie Millington / Getty Images

Tech behemoths Google and Facebook have upped their respective pledges to the environment, joining the ranks of Apple and Microsoft. Earlier this year, Microsoft pledged to go carbon negative by 2030, meaning it will account for all the carbon it has ever produced and add enough mitigation to counteract its effect.

Read More Show Less
In Germany's Hunsrück village of Schorbach, numerous photovoltaic systems are installed on house roofs, on Sept. 19, 2019. Thomas Frey / Picture Alliance via Getty Images

Germany's target for renewable energy sources to deliver 65% of its consumed electricity by 2030 seemed on track Wednesday, with 52% of electricity coming from renewables in 2020's first quarter. Renewable energy advocates, however, warned the trend is imperiled by slowdowns in building new wind and solar plants.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Mississippi's Kemper County coal gasification plant, under construction in 2013, was supposed to capture and sequester carbon emissions. XTUV0010 / CC BY-SA 3.0

By Steve Horn

The huge bipartisan energy bill currently stalled in the Senate would fast-track exports of fracked gas, offer over a billion dollars in subsidies to "clean coal" efforts and make available hundreds of millions in tax dollars for a geoengineering pilot project.

Read More Show Less
Solar photovoltaic panels convert sunlight into energy and help combat the climate crisis. BlackRockSolar / Flickr / CC by 2.0

Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels convert sunlight into energy and continue to play an essential role in the fight to stop the climate crisis. As the pioneering panels of the early 2000s near the end of their 30-year electronic lives, however, they are at risk of becoming the world's next big wave of e-waste.