NSF awards UCSD team $39M to improve integration of distributed energy resources into grid; EV batteries also

The National Science Foundation has awarded $39 million to a team of engineers and computer scientists at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) to build a first-of-its-kind testbed—DERConnect—to improve the understanding of how to integrate distributed energy sources such as solar panels, wind turbines, smart buildings and electric vehicle... Read more →

Audi Hungaria, in cooperation with E.ON Hungaria, officially started operation of Europe’s biggest photovoltaic roof installation. Since the start of the year, the site in Győr has used only green power. In 2012 Audi’s Hungarian plant opened a geothermal facility to supply most of its heat requirements. The remainder is... Read more →

Researchers at KAUST have discovered that a form of iron oxide—Fe2O3—makes an excellent co-catalyst for a promising photocatalytic material called gallium nitride for the production f hydrogen. An open-access paper on their work appears in Scientific Reports. Finding photocatalysts that can efficiently use sunlight to produce clean hydrogen fuel from... Read more →

Researchers at the University of Cambridge, with colleagues at the University of Tokyo, have developed a standalone device that converts sunlight, carbon dioxide and water into formic acid, a carbon-neutral fuel, without requiring any additional components or electricity. The device is a significant step toward achieving artificial photosynthesis—a process mimicking... Read more →

DOE to award $20M to advance perovskite solar photovoltaic technologies

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced $20 million in funding to advance perovskite solar photovoltaic technologies. (DE-FOA-0002357) Perovskites are a family of materials with a specific crystal structure, named after the mineral with that structure. When used to create solar cells, they have shown potential for high performance and... Read more →

Photoelectrical chemical cells (PECs) have the potential to produce hydrogen fuel through artificial photosynthesis, an emerging renewable energy technology that uses energy from sunlight to drive chemical reactions such as splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen. The key to a PEC’s success lies not only in how well its photoelectrode... Read more →

DOE announces $100M for artificial photosynthesis research to two major partnerships

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced $100 million in funding over five years for two new awards focused on advancing artificial photosynthesis for the production of fuels from sunlight. The Liquid Sunlight Alliance (LiSA), led by the California Institute of Technology in close partnership with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory,... Read more →

Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and Caltech have found that copper that was once bound with oxygen is better at converting carbon dioxide into renewable fuels than copper that was never bound to oxygen. For their study, published in the journal ACS Catalysis, the scientists performed X-ray... Read more →

Air Products, ACWA Power and NEOM sign agreement for $5B production facility for production and export of green ammonia to global markets for H2 delivery

Air Products, ACWA Power and NEOM signed an agreement for a $5-billion world-scale green-hydrogen-based ammonia production facility powered by renewable energy. The project, which will be equally owned by the three partners, will be sited in NEOM, a new model for sustainable living located in the north west corner of... Read more →

SunHydrogen, the developer of a technology to produce renewable hydrogen using sunlight and water, has extended its sponsored research agreement with the University of Iowa through 31 August 2020. The current extension will allow the company to increase focus on its more efficient GEN 2 hydrogen production technology which is... Read more →

Researchers at Linköping University, Sweden, are attempting to convert carbon dioxide to fuel using energy from sunlight. Recent results have shown that it is possible to use their technique selectively to produce methane, carbon monoxide or formic acid from carbon dioxide and water. An open-access paper on the work appears... Read more →

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) have developed a hybrid material constructed from a metal oxide nanosheet and a light-absorbing molecule for splitting water molecules (H2O) to obtain hydrogen (H2) under sunlight. The research team led by Kazuhiko Maeda at Tokyo Tech developed a new photocatalyst consisting of... Read more →

Representatives of the Lufthansa Group and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zürich), with ETH spin-offs Climeworks and Synhelion, have signed a joint Letter of Intent for a possible cooperation to accelerate the market launch of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF). The researchers and engineers at ETH Zurich have developed... Read more →

High-tech mobility innovator Lightyear and Royal DSM will jointly scale the commercialization of Lightyear’s unique solar-powered roof for the electric vehicle market. With this solution, both companies aim to accelerate the global adoption of a broad range of Electric Vehicles (EVs). Specifically, the partnership aims to integrate solar-powered roofs in... Read more →

General Motors expects its Spring Hill Manufacturing plant will be powered by 100% solar energy beginning in late 2022. A green tariff agreement with the Tennessee Valley Authority is expected to supply up to 100 megawatts of solar energy per year, or the amount of electricity consumed by 18,000 United... Read more →

The Department of the Interior (Department) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have approved a proposal to construct and operate the largest solar project in United States history. US Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt signed the Record of Decision (ROD) for Solar Partners XI, LLC to construct... Read more →

A research group led by Associate Professor Takashi Tachikawa of Kobe University’s Molecular Photoscience Research Center has developed a strategy that greatly increases the amount of hydrogen produced from sunlight and water using hematite (α‐Fe2O3) photocatalysts. They were able to raise the conversion rate up to 42% of its theoretical... Read more →

Rice University researchers have created an efficient, low-cost device that splits water to produce hydrogen fuel. The platform developed by the Brown School of Engineering lab of Rice materials scientist Jun Lou integrates catalytic electrodes and perovskite solar cells that, when triggered by sunlight, produce electricity. The current flows to... Read more →

HyperSolar, Inc., the developer of a technology to produce renewable hydrogen using sunlight and water (earlier post), is working with Suzhou GH New Energy Co. Ltd., a division of GCL Poly, in China to make the final modifications to the solar cells required to manufacture the Gen 1 hydrogen production... Read more →

Researchers at the University of Southampton have transformed optical fibers into photocatalytic microreactors that convert water into hydrogen fuel using solar energy. The technology combines, for the first time, microstructured optical fiber technology with photocatalysis, creating a photocatalytic microreactor coated with TiO2, decorated with palladium nanoparticles. The microstructured optical fiber... Read more →

Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corporation (Toshiba ESS), Tohoku Electric Power Co., Inc., and Iwatani Corporation announced that Fukushima Hydrogen Energy Research Field (FH2R), which had been under construction in Namie town, Fukushima Prefecture since 2018, has been constructed with a... Read more →

Electrify America is investing $2 million in solar-powered electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in rural California that are not tied to the electrical grid. The investment will expand access to sustainable EV charging to drivers in rural areas, including the Central, Coachella, and Imperial Valleys. Electrify America is sourcing the... Read more →

Researchers led by Prof. WANG Feng at the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (DICP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have reported that photocatalytic decarboxylation is an efficient alternate pathway for converting biomass-derived fatty acids into alkanes under mild conditions of ambient temperature and pressure. This finding was published in... Read more →

Researchers develop organic semiconductor photocatalyst with enhanced hydrogen evolution

Currently, most hydrogen evolution photocatalysts (HEPs) are made from single-component inorganic semiconductors. These can only absorb light at ultraviolet wavelengths—constituting less than 5% of the solar spectrum—which limits their efficiency. However, photocatalysts formed from a single organic semiconductor typically suffer from inefficient intrinsic charge generation, which leads to low photocatalytic... Read more →

The US Department of Energy (DOE) plans to provide up to $100 million over five years for research on artificial photosynthesis for the production of fuels from sunlight. (DE-FOA-0002254) The funding will support the establishment of one large or possibly two smaller DOE Energy Innovation Hubs: integrated multidisciplinary, multi-institutional research... Read more →

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) have demonstrated the first visible-light photoelectrochemical system for water splitting using TiO2 enhanced with cobalt. The proposed approach is simple and represents a stepping stone in the quest to achieve affordable water splitting to produce hydrogen. A study on their work is... Read more →

Rio Tinto approved a $98-million investment in a new solar plant at the new Koodaideri mine in the Pilbara, Australia, as well as a lithium-ion battery energy storage system to help power its entire Pilbara power network. The $2.6-billion Koodaideri mine was approved in November last year with construction commencing... Read more →

Researchers in Israel have designed a separate-cell photoelectrochemical (PEC) water-splitting system with decoupled hydrogen and oxygen cells for centralized hydrogen production. A paper describing their system is publishedin the journal Joule. Photovoltaic-powered water splitting (PV-electrolysis) systems that couple commercially-available photovoltaic and water electrolysis technologies have already been demonstrated in several... Read more →

Graphene Flagship team develops powerful graphene-titania photocatalyst to reduce NOx

Graphene Flagship partners the University of Bologna, Politecnico di Milano, CNR, NEST, Italcementi HeidelbergCement Group, the Israel Institute of Technology, Eindhoven University of Technology, and the University of Cambridge have developed a graphene-titania photocatalyst that degrades up to 70% more atmospheric nitrogen oxides (NOx) than standard titania nanoparticles in tests... Read more →

Researchers from Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China and George Washington University in the US report in a new paper in the ACS journal Accounts of Chemical Research that a range of important carbon nanomaterials can be produced at high yield by molten carbonate electrolysis. In the Solar... Read more →

Heliogen, a company that is transforming sunlight to create and replace fuels, recently announced its launch and also said that it has—for the first time commercially—concentrated solar energy to exceed temperatures greater than 1,000 degrees Celsius. At that temperature, Heliogen can replace the use of fossil fuels in critical industrial... Read more →

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have demonstrated an “artificial leaf” that uses only sunlight, carbon dioxide and water to produce syngas. As a a result, unlike the current industrial processes for producing syngas, the leaf does not release any additional carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The results are reported... Read more →

Engineers at Lehigh University are the first to utilize a single enzyme biomineralization process to create a quantum confined CdS/reduced graphene oxide (CdS/rGO) catalyst that uses the energy of captured sunlight to split water molecules to produce hydrogen. The synthesis process—catalyzed by the single enzyme cystathionine γ-lyase (CSE)—is performed at... Read more →

Wärtsilä, Japanese ship builder Oshima Shipbuilding, and the classification society DNV GL have delivered the first results of their joint industry development project. At the recent Nor-Shipping exhibition held in Norway, the project partners announced a next-generation 62,000 dwt Ultramax Bulk Carrier design that is optimized according to actual operating... Read more →

Japan’s NEDO, Sharp Corporation, and Toyota Motor Corporation plan to begin public road trials of electrified vehicles equipped with high-efficiency solar batteries from late July 2019. The trials aim to assess the effectiveness of improvements in cruising range and fuel efficiency of electrified vehicles equipped with high-efficiency solar batteries. To... Read more →

DOE announces $130M for early-stage solar research

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $130 million for new research to advance early-stage solar technologies (DE-FOA-0002064). This funding program targets five research areas: photovoltaics (PV); concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP); soft costs reduction; innovations in manufacturing; and solar systems integration. These projects are intended to make solar... Read more →

Bioscience engineers at KU Leuven have created a solar panel that produces hydrogen gas from moisture in the air. After ten years of development, the panel can now produce 250 liters per day—a world record, according to the researchers. Twenty of these solar panels could provide electricity and heat for... Read more →

Together with E.ON, Audi is building a solar energy park on the roofs of the two logistics centers of its plant in Győr covering about 160,000 square meters. This will create Europe’s largest photovoltaic system installed on a building at the Audi Hungaria plant in Győr. The system will have... Read more →

Toyota and DIFFER partner on direct solar production of hydrogen from humid air, rather than water

The Dutch Institute for Fundamental Energy Research (DIFFER) is partnering with Toyota Motor Europe (TME) to develop a device that absorbs water vapor, and splits it into hydrogen and oxygen directly using solar energy. The LIFT (Launchpad for Innovative Future Technology) research proposal has now been rewarded a grant from... Read more →

A team at Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) has successfully integrated solar heat into a solid oxide electrolyzer. The experimental setup of the prototype system consisted of a solar simulator, a solar steam generator, a steam accumulator and a solid oxide electrolyzer. Experimental setup of the solar heated... Read more →

Researchers from Japan’s NIMS (National Institute for Materials Science), the University of Tokyo and Hiroshima University have jointly conducted a techno-economic analysis for hydrogen production from photovoltaic power generation (PV) utilizing a battery-assisted electrolyzer. The results from this study suggested a cost of hydrogen as low as ¥17 to ¥27/Nm3... Read more →

Amprius, Inc., a manufacturer and developer of high energy and high capacity lithium-ion batteries, announced that the company is supplying advanced lithium-ion cells to the Airbus Defence and Space Zephyr Program. Using Amprius’ cells, which contain a 100% silicon anode, the Zephyr S flew more than 25 days, setting a... Read more →

A research team led by Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute Of Science And Technology (DGIST) Professor Jong-Sung Yu in Korea, with colleagues at UC Berkeley and Xi’an Jiaotong University in China, has successfully developed a new catalyst synthesis method that can efficiently decompose water into oxygen and hydrogen using solar light. A... Read more →

In the quest to realize artificial photosynthesis to convert sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide into fuel—just as plants do—researchers need to not only identify materials to efficiently perform photoelectrochemical water splitting, but also to understand why a certain material may or may not work. Now scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National... Read more →

Scientists in Japan have shown that an oxyfluoride is capable of visible light-driven photocatalysis—i.e., converting solar energy to fuel energy using visible-light-absorbing semiconductor materials. The finding opens new doors for designing materials for artificial photosynthesis and solar energy research. Pb2Ti2O5.4F1.2. The inset (on the right) shows a photograph of Pb2Ti2O5.4F1.2,... Read more →

Bloomberg NEF forecasts falling battery prices enabling surge in wind and solar to 50% of global generation by 2050

Wind and solar power generation will surge to almost 50% of world generation by 2050 (“50 by 50”), supported by precipitous reductions in cost, and the advent of cheaper and cheaper batteries that will enable electricity to be stored and discharged to meet shifts in demand and supply, according to... Read more →

SoCalGas introduces STARS solar hydrogen generation system at California Air Resources Board Symposium

Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) introduced an innovative new solar-powered hydrogen generation system during the California Air Resources Board Technology Expo and Symposium at the University of California, Riverside. The project is a partnership between SoCalGas, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and the STARS Corporation. The generation system uses sunlight... Read more →

Moving to cut energy use in new homes by more than 50%, the California Energy Commission (CEC) has adopted building standards that require solar photovoltaic systems starting in 2020. The building energy efficiency standards, which are the first in the nation to require solar, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by... Read more →

The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), together with international project partners, has inaugurated the largest solar-chemical installation yet for the production of hydrogen. For the HYDROSOL-Plant (thermochemical HYDROgen product in a SOLar monolithic reactor) project, scientists and companies further developed the process of direct hydrogen... Read more →

A team led by researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory has developed a new way to produce solar fuels by using completely synthetic bionano machinery to harvest light without the need for a living cell. The researchers’ device, reported in the journal ACS Nano as a... Read more →