Energy

The Corpus Callosum

Category archives for Energy

Water or Power?

Add this to the list of environmental worries:  The generation of electricity is a highly water-intensive process.  It takes three times as much water to produce the electricity needed for a home, than the water used in that home.   Trade-off looms for arid US regions: water or power? Water consumed by electric utilities could…

Ultraviolet LEDs

Everyone’s heard of blue lasers by now.  Some people have them in their homes.  The reason they are important, is that blue light has a shorter wavelength than the red lasers that were used in the first CD and DVD devices.  The shorter wavelength means that the laser can see smaller dots.  Smaller dots mean…

Update on Geothermal Energy

Remember geothermal energy?  It was a popular topic back in the 1960’s, particularly among those who were stridently opposed to the massive investments in nuclear power.  Somehow, though, it was never pursued very aggressively. Now, there is a massive report published by MIT, at the behest of the US Dept. of Energy.  It is a…

Significant Advance in Solar Power

Spectrolab, Inc. has announced that they have developed a way to nearly double the efficiency of solar cells.  They’ve done it by creating semiconductor Dagwood sandwiches, with over 20 layers.  The basic idea is to have different layers that respond to different wavelengths of light.  This way, a greater amount of the total light energy…

Brownfield Development for Biofuels

Rehabilitation of disused industrial sites has been a costly and contentious issue in urban planning.  Sites that are mildly or moderately contaminated are called brownfields.  Research is underway to see if some brownfields can be used to grow crops, specifically for the production of biofuels. Michigan State University, known affectionately as “Moo-U,” in collaboration with…

LED Lighting Update

I’ve long been a fan of LED lighting, thinking that it holds a lot of promise for reducing electricity demands.  Early on in the development of light emitting diodes, it became apparent that they produced a lot of light and not a lot of heat per watt of energy used. There have been two persistent…

Gas Tax: My Two Cents

Jonah and Kevin have already chipping in on this topic.  Bob Lutz, the VP of General Motors, turned a few heads.  Not with an eye-catching new auto design, but with a comment in the Wall Street Journal: “I’d say the best thing the (U.S.) government can do is to raise the gas tax by 10…

The Washington Post today has an article on Brazil’s milestone achievement: this year, their oil exports will equal or exceed their imports.  This is significant for a few reasons.  For one, it shows that it can be done, at least in one sizable country.  Although the fact that they were able to do it does…

Perspectives on Biofuels

A friend and colleague of mine drives around in a cute little VW bug powered by biodiesel.  There’s a peace sign on the front of it, which helps it get better mileage.  But peace sign or not, there has been an ongoing controversy about whether biofuels are worth anything. In this post, I provide a…

The ask-a-scienceblogger question for this week was submitted by a reader, Jake Bryan, who comments on Science Blogs as “chezjake.” “Assuming that time and money were not obstacles, what area of scientific research, outside of your own discipline, would you most like to explore? Why? It did not take long for me to come up…