Japanese Scientists Just Beamed Energy Through the Air

Human-made satellites have long been able to harness the sun's energy as it washes over them outside the protection of our atmosphere. But what if we could beam all that solar power down to Earth? The science fictional idea may be a reality sooner than you think. » 3/14/15 4:54pm 3/14/15 4:54pm

Now We Actually Have a Real Reason to Dread Solar Eclipses 

Superstitions have surrounded the eerie solar eclipse since time immemorial. And now, for entirely scientific reasons, it turns out we have good reason to fear them. Earth's biggest solar eclipse since 1999 is happening this March, and it could cause some real disruption—thanks to Europe's reliance on solar energy. » 2/25/15 12:01am 2/25/15 12:01am

What Are Capacitors and Will They Really Charge Your Phone in Seconds?

Your phone died. Again. In these scenarios, who among us has not dreamed the dream of a future where our devices charge instantly and last forever. As capacitors—or even more exciting, ultracapacitors—get better and better at storing energy, they could replace batteries and realize at least one half of that dream. » 2/02/15 1:34pm 2/02/15 1:34pm

An Odd Hypothesis About Bubbles Could Finally Lead to Nuclear Fusion

Nuclear fusion is the dream of energy scientists the world over, because it promises limitless, clean electricity. Most efforts to kickstart the process use high-intensity lasers, insane magnetic fields and super-hot hydrogen plasmas. But there may be a more humble alternative. It's called sonofusion, and it… » 1/30/15 12:17pm 1/30/15 12:17pm

Solar cell efficiency is nearing 50%. Australian scientists have set a new record by converting more than 40% of sunlight that hits solar panels into electricity. These panels could eventually be mounted on roofs, which current have a 15-18% efficiency rate. And in Germany, scientists converted 46% of light into… » 12/08/14 3:40pm 12/08/14 3:40pm

The Largest Solar Plant In The World Is Now Operational

Called Topaz, it's located in San Luis Obispo County, California. The plant recently completed its final 40-megawatt phase, making it the first 500-plus megawatt solar farm to come online in the United States — and the largest online plant in the world. » 11/26/14 2:30pm 11/26/14 2:30pm

Denmark Will Stop Using Coal by 2025

Denmark is already one of the greenest countries in the world, thanks to its offshore wind farms, and now its climate minister has made a dramatic promise. The nation will stop burning coal for energy in ten years. » 11/05/14 4:05pm 11/05/14 4:05pm

Reservoirs and hydropower are often thought of as climate friendly, but new research suggests that we may have underestimated the amount of methane they produce. The methane—which is 35 times as potent a greenhouse gas as CO2 over the span of a century—is produced by bacteria eating nutrient-rich agricultural runoff. » 10/30/14 6:50am 10/30/14 6:50am

Heat Map Shows Where We Can Build Geothermal Plants in the U.S.

Geothermal power, where energy is generated by drawing heat from the fluid found beneath the Earth's surface, is quickly becoming an appealing option. A new mapping tool from the U.S. Department of Energy shows the country's vast geothermal heat potential. » 10/28/14 2:30pm 10/28/14 2:30pm

Satellite Images Reveal How the U.S. Oil Boom Is Creating New Cities

This image from NASA reveals a massive cluster of lights in what was — until recently — desolate prairie. This is the Bakken Shale, an oil-rich rock formation stretching across parts of North Dakota, Montana and Canada. The lights are from the illuminated derricks, local boomtowns and gas flares of the oil fields. » 10/21/14 11:40am 10/21/14 11:40am

A Single Breakthrough That Could Cut Costs on Solar Energy by 25%

Costs on solar are coming down steeply, and now they're about to get even cheaper. A group of chemists at Ohio State University has invented a solar panel that stores energy without an external battery. The self-contained tuner/capacitor panels are already being licensed to industry. » 10/17/14 9:00pm 10/17/14 9:00pm

Lockheed Says It'll Have A Truck-Sized Fusion Reactor In 10 Years

American defense contractor Lockheed Martin has issued a statement declaring it has made a technological breakthrough in developing a power source based on nuclear fusion. It's hoping to have a prototype ready in five years — and a small, functional unit ready by 2024. » 10/15/14 2:55pm 10/15/14 2:55pm

This Revolutionary New Battery Charges To 70% In Just Two Minutes

Whether it's mobile phones or electric cars, consumers tend to be put off by the long recharge times and limited battery life. Now, thanks a team of engineers at Nanyang Technology University, there's a lithium-ion battery on the horizon that dramatically improves both of these limitations. » 10/14/14 8:40am 10/14/14 8:40am

Has America Been Installing Its Solar Panels Sideways For Years?

There's a structure to installing solar panels. The size, the shape, and the configuration are all pretty rigidly prescribed. There's also a direction they face: South. The trouble? They might actually be facing the wrong way. » 10/13/14 11:42am 10/13/14 11:42am

Possibly the World's Silliest (and Most Creative) Protest Against Cars

In Latvia, a group of bicycle enthusiasts decided to show the city of Riga what it would be like if every bicycle turned into a car. So they built these amazing contraptions, and reminded everyone that cars are what cause traffic jams. » 10/10/14 1:01pm 10/10/14 1:01pm

Introducing the world's first solar battery. The device — which is part solar cell, part battery — recharges itself using air and light. Nano-scale holes allow air to enter the battery (inset), while rods of titanium dioxide gather light (larger image). The researchers from Ohio State say it'll help tame the costs of… » 10/06/14 3:40pm 10/06/14 3:40pm

The World's First Clean Coal Commercial Plant Just Opened In Canada

Canada switched on its Boundary Dam Carbon-Dioxide Capture and Storage (CCS) Project yesterday. In doing so, it has become the only country on Earth with a commercial-scale, coal-fired power plant capable of harvesting its own CO2 and sulfur dioxide emissions. » 10/03/14 9:30am 10/03/14 9:30am

Russia Is Building a Star Fort on This Strategic Arctic Island

For decades, Wrangel Island has been classified as a nature preserve. Situated in the icy Chukchi Sea which flows between the Russian and Alaskan coasts, this quiet, hilly island is now home to a rapidly-growing Russian military base comprised of "prefabricated modules" arranged in a star formation. » 9/09/14 11:13am 9/09/14 11:13am

Downloaded Games Have A Larger Carbon Footprint Than Blu-Ray Discs

So, you want that just-released videogame and, if you're like me, you forgot to reserve a copy and you download it. But, a new study that looks at the energy costs of game distribution suggests we'd do the planet a favor if, instead, we waited until the game was back in stock and drove somewhere to buy it on disc. » 9/03/14 3:20pm 9/03/14 3:20pm

A new analysis of U.S. court rulings shows that judges are rejecting claims that acoustic pulses triggered by wind turbines are making people sick. "That's a big deal, because claims about that are used across the globe…to try to slow the development of wind farms," says Gabe Elsner, at the Energy and Policy Institute. » 8/22/14 10:20am 8/22/14 10:20am