- Energy Efficient Molybdenite Chips Could Use 100,000 Times Less Energy on Standby
- Sweden is an Energy Leader: 10 Key Points
- Wind Energy Giant Vestas Sees a Future in Romania
- GE, Conoco, NRG Put $300 Million More Towards Clean Energy
Posted: 01 Feb 2011 04:40 AM PST
A serious challenger has emerged to take on graphene’s title as the miracle material of the 21st century, and that is a common, silvery looking mineral called molybdenite. Like graphene, molybdenite occurs in nano-thin sheets. It could play an important role in engineering the next generation of super small, super high efficiency electronics, especially when it comes to saving power while a device is in standby mode.
A New Role for Molybdenite
Molybdenite is commonly used in lubricants and in steel alloys. Researchers at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne have now determined that molybdenite is also a highly efficient semiconductor. It can be fabricated in sheets that are much thinner than conventional silicon sheets, which enables electrons to move around more efficiently. The lead researcher asserts that compared to conventional silicon transistors, a molybdenite transistor would use about 100,000 times less energy in standby mode.
Move Over, Graphene…
Molybdenite also has an important advantage over graphene, because it has an ideally spaced “band gap” (a band gap is an electron-free space, which electrons can “hop” across). Graphene lacks this naturally occuring feature, though researchers are discovering ways that graphene can be manipulated into producing the desired properties.
If cost-efficient graphene fabrication can be commercialized, it could have a long term advantage over molybdenite. As a mineral, molybdenite is a non-renewable resource. Given that the amount of electronic equipment flooding the world right now is nothing compared to what it’s going to be in the future, mining the earth for components may not be sustainable over the long run. In contrast, graphene has potential has a renewable resource: researchers have discovered that it can be made from plain table sugar.
Image: Molybdenite on quartz by John Chapman on wikimedia commons.
Posted: 31 Jan 2011 02:25 PM PST
Ever wanted to know all about the energy history of Sweden? Probably not, but it is actually a pretty interesting history. Additionally, as you can see in the graph above, Sweden is an energy leader when it comes to CO2 emissions per GDP and CO2 emissions per capita.
Evan Mills of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories recently gave us quite an introduction of Sweden’s energy history, situation today, and plans for the future over on Climate Progress. You can read the full piece, Evolving energy systems: The Swedish story, over there if you want to read the whole thing. If you just want a snapshot, I’ve pulled out some especially interesting points.
Posted: 31 Jan 2011 01:23 PM PST
Wind turbine manufacturing giant Vestas is expecting a boom in wind energy growth in Romania and is locating its new Eastern European hub in its capital city, Bucharest.
Vestas cut the ribbon on its new office last week. With Romania’s government recently setting ambitious wind energy targets, Vestas is hopeful that the country will be building a lot more wind farms in the years to come and is putting its money on it.
As of last June, Vestas had installed 22 wind turbines in Romania, the total capacity of which comes to 43.66 MW. It plans to install 450 MW more by the end of this year.
Hans Jörn Rieks, President of Vestas Central Europe, believes that Romania could produce up to 14 GW of wind energy in total.
"Vestas is the world leader in wind energy, and so we feel we have a responsibility to share our 30 years of experience and knowledge with customers, government, communities and others – as they work to fulfil Romania's commitment to a clean energy future,” Rieks says. ”As a wind energy solutions provider, we want to bring the best turbines and the best business case to our customers here, but we also want to build strong and constructive partnerships to shape a sustainable wind industry."
Romania is currently expected to get about 24% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.
Currently, 41,000 Vestas wind turbines are generating power around the world in 65 countries, creating approximately 20,000 jobs and cutting CO2 emissions about 40 million tons every year.
Photo Credit: Raoul Pop
Posted: 31 Jan 2011 12:45 PM PST
General Electric (GE) seems to be in the news almost everyday lately. The latest news regarding this cleantech leader is that it, ConocoPhilips and NRG Energy Inc. are putting $300 million into a joint venture investing in “next-generation energy technologies.”
Energy Technology Ventures is the name of the investment company. It will financially back approximately 30 startups in the next four years.
In addition to financial investment in these startups, it will also offer “commercial collaboration opportunities.”
Working in coordination with ConocoPhilips and NRG Energy, large energy companies, "enables us to pool our financial resources and technological expertise – - along with our extensive relationships — to provide more than money to emerging energy technology companies," said Kevin Skillern, managing director and leader of venture capital at GE Energy Financial Services.
Energy Technology Ventures will mostly support companies in North America, Europe, and Israel.
What Will Energy Technology Ventures Focus On?
This joint venture is reportedly going to put its focus on companies working on renewable energy, smart grid, energy efficiency, biofuels, oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear, emission controls, and water technologies. Hmm, doesn’t leave much out.
Its first investments are officially in:
Photo Credit: @mjb
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