La separación de agua: Una manera para almacenar energía solar

Escrito en inglés por Jimmy Brancho, traducido al español por Jean Carlos Rodriguez-Díaz y editado por Thibaut R. Pardo-García

La fuente de energía del futuro puede ser mucho más familiar de lo que piensas.

Muchas personas están emocionadas por el remplazo de combustibles fósiles por energía solar.
La recolección, tratamiento y quema de combustibles fósiles es uno de los mayores contribuyentes a la contaminación ambiental y conflictos políticos. ¿Podremos reducir estos problemas al usar energía solar? Al parecer, eso es lo que piensa la industria. La estadística más reciente del National Renewable Energy Laboratory Data Book demuestra que la cantidad de energía producida por instalaciones solares ha estado creciendo continuamente en la última década- casi un 75% de 2011 a 2012.

¿Qué se hace cuando el sol se acuesta? ¿Se supone que dejemos de ver Netflix por la noche?

Continue reading “La separación de agua: Una manera para almacenar energía solar”

Michigan Researchers Seek New Chemistries to Diversify Rechargeable Battery Applications

Author: Jimmy Brancho

Editors: Irene Park and David Mertz

Figure 1. Researchers at the University of Michigan are testing new battery materials in coin cell batteries. Locked inside one of these cells could be a breakthrough that will push energy storage forward.

Off the Danish coast in Copenhagen, Don Siegel, an associate professor in the University of Michigan’s College of Engineering, is on sabbatical. He said the ocean is speckled with tall, white windmills. At some sites, they stand in great curving rows; at others, they’re arrayed in a geometrical pattern.

“Denmark’s very windy,” he said over the phone.

He’s right. The country, according to Energinet, receives 42 percent of its electrical power from wind alone. In fact, Siegel said sometimes there are “emergency situations” where the turbines are pumping out electricity faster than it can be used.

“If we had extra energy storage, imagine what we could do with that,” he said. Continue reading “Michigan Researchers Seek New Chemistries to Diversify Rechargeable Battery Applications”

Water splitting part II: Research at University of Michigan

By Jimmy Brancho

You know what they say: “You can’t store solar energy without cracking a few water molecules.”

Or, at least, many scientists around the world are working to make that so. As was discussed earlier on this blog, solar water splitting could enable a cleaner energy future by storing energy from the sun’s rays in a stable chemical fuel like hydrogen that can be used on-demand. Ideally, the only inputs needed would be water and sunlight, and the only waste product oxygen. However, the current state of technology is a long way off. Bart Bartlett, Charles McCrory, and Neil Dasgupta are among several faculty here at the University of Michigan that are working to make solar water splitting devices a reality. Each of them approaches the  problem from a diverse angle.

Continue reading “Water splitting part II: Research at University of Michigan”

Water splitting: One way to store solar energy

By Jimmy Brancho

The fuel source of the future might be a lot more familiar than you think.

Plenty of people are excited about solar energy’s replacing fossil fuels. Harvesting, processing, and burning fossil fuels is a major contributor to environmental pollution and political conflict. Could we reduce those problems by using solar energy instead? Industry seems to think so; the most recent National Renewable Energy Laboratory Data Book statistics show that electricity output from solar installations has grown continually throughout the last decade – nearly 75% from 2011 to 2012 alone.

But what happens when the sun goes down? Are you just supposed to not binge Netflix at midnight? Continue reading “Water splitting: One way to store solar energy”