This weeks finds:
- The most obvious limiting factor to energy generation from solar panels is overcast weather. Imagine if rainfall on solar panels could also generate energy? A group of scientist have experimented with applying a graphene layer to solar panels and it seems this possibility exists!
- Transparent solar cells is one of my favourite renewable energy innovations but its flaws – not really being 100% transparent and only being about 1% efficient (Greenpurr) – have prevented the tech from being commercial viable. Recent advancements though have guaranteed true transparency and an increased potential efficiency to around 5%. Still a long way off from being a green building or smart phone/tablet material.
- One of the factors that contribute to nuclear power not being a clean or sustainable (I’m potentially repeating myself on this :-)) source of energy is the problem with its resulting high level radioactive waste. Because of the thousands of years the waste needs to safely decompose (250,000 years according to this Scientific American article) the current methods aren’t reliable and a permanent solution is simply not available. Most of the current methods involve burying it in sealed stainless-steel and concrete containers underground or in water-cooled pools onsite at nuclear power plants (yikes!). A new innovation in cement design could potentially increase the safe storage life of nuclear waste to up to 100,000 years (insert praying emoji here).