solar energy

Should we turn the Sahara Desert into a huge solar farm?

Should we turn the Sahara Desert into a huge solar farm?

Whenever I visit the Sahara I am struck by how sunny and hot it is and how clear the sky can be. Aside from a few oases there is little vegetation, and most of the world’s largest desert is covered with rocks, sand and sand dunes. The Saharan sun is powerful enough to provide Earth with significant solar energy.

Why the Future of Solar Power Is from Space

Why the Future of Solar Power Is from Space

Over seven decades ago in 1941, Isaac Asimov wrote a short story, “Reason” (PDF), in which energy captured from the sun was transmitted via microwave beams to nearby planets from a space station. Flash forward to today, scientists are looking to make that very science fiction dream a reality for Earth.

Massive solar and wind farms could bring vegetation back to the Sahara

Massive solar and wind farms could bring vegetation back to the Sahara

Switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy is an important and necessary step towards averting climate change. However, in our efforts to go green, we also need to be mindful of other consequences, both intended and unintended – and that includes how a mass deployment of renewable technology might affect its surrounding climate.

With a tight federal budget, here’s where to focus clean energy research funding

With a tight federal budget, here’s where to focus clean energy research funding

The U.S. Department of Energy spends US$3-$4 billion per year on applied energy research. These programs seek to provide clean and reliable energy and improve our energy security by driving innovation and helping companies bring new clean energy sources to market.

The next solar revolution could replace fossil fuels in mining

The next solar revolution could replace fossil fuels in mining

Recently Sandfire Resources, a gold and copper producer based in Western Australia, announced its new solar power plant will soon start powering its DeGrussa mine. By replacing diesel power, the 10-megawatt power station, with 34,000 panels and lithium storage batteries, is expected to reduce the mine’s carbon emissions by 15%.

A new way to store solar heat - Material could harvest sunlight by day, release heat on demand hours or days later.

A new way to store solar heat - Material could harvest sunlight by day, release heat on demand hours or days later.

Imagine if your clothing could, on demand, release just enough heat to keep you warm and cozy, allowing you to dial back on your thermostat settings and stay comfortable in a cooler room. Or, picture a car windshield that stores the sun’s energy and then releases it as a burst of heat to melt away a layer of ice.  ccording to a team of researchers at MIT, both scenarios may be possible before long.

Explainer: what is solar thermal electricity?

Explainer: what is solar thermal electricity?

A large solar thermal electricity plant will soon begin operating near Ouarzazate, Morocco, which will reportedly bring energy to a million people when fully complete. But what is solar thermal electricity and how does it differ from the method used to generate power from the solar panels you might be more familiar with?