Happy Monday everyone. The beginning of the final week of the month brings us great solar energy news from the south, as the University of Central Florida (UCF) has announced the completion of a new energy research facility. UCF has added an energy efficiency testing lab to its Florida Solar Energy Center -- a 20-acre complex that already holds a solar research library, a photovoltaic (PV) materials lab and a solar thermal testing lab.
No, you didn't misread the headline. At a time when scientists are giving birth to solar-powered robots, trash-eating raccoons are being chased away from houses by solar animal repellers and surfers in SoCal are catching swells on solar-powered surfboards, this MAY be the strangest breakthrough of them all... MAYBE.
Today, Caltech Professor of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering Sossina Haile and a team of Swiss researchers are one step closer to developing liquid fuel from sunlight after discovering a commonly used element can do the trick. Earlier this week, Haile shared the findings of her research and her hope for the future with NPR. You can listen to it here, or read the details of the study that we've pulled out.
It seems as though just about anything, if captured correctly, can be turned into clean energy. If you're not a believer, consider the latest clean energy technology developments at the University of Rhode Island (URI), where researchers have developed four different ways to use roads to generate electricity.
A research team at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) just developed a potentially revolutionary solar technology: solar cells that regenerate to limit sun damage. They got the idea from chloroplasts, the cells present in plant tissue where photosynthesis takes place. In case high school biology feels somewhat hazy, photosynthesis is the process by which plants convert the sun's energy into sugars, a form of energy they can use. This process takes place in special cells within plants' leaves called (wait for it...) chloroplasts!
Collaboration between the Sanyo North American Corp. in San Diego, California and the Jacoby School of Engineering at the University of California at San Diego could make southern California even more of a hotbed for solar innovation.