Volume 3, Issue 10
April 24, 2017 – April 30, 2017
Jason Mulderrig | Will Atkinson | Rohit Dilip | Anushka Dasgupta

Fossil Fuels:
Europe’s Coal Power Is Going Up in Smoke - Fast
April 19, 2017 | Bloomberg | Jess Shankleman, Tino Andresen, and Mathew Carr
Many countries in Europe, including the U.K., Austria, France, Portugal, and Finland, are seeing a decline in coal as it becomes less economical. Since wind and solar energy is often cheaper, the EU is predicted to use 35% less coal by 2030, including a near-complete phase-out in those five countries. Keep these trends in mind as the US continues to formulate its policy towards coal under the current president. -WA

The State and Promise of the Electric Airplane
April 19, 2017 | CleanTechnica | Nicolas Zart
This article highlights 6 electric airplanes that are in the developmental stage or have already made the prototype stage. Personally, I am skeptical that we will see electric airplanes in our lifetime given the immense technical challenges associated with electric airplanes, but I would love to be proven wrong. -JPM

Impacts of nuclear plant shutdown on coal-fired power generation and infant health in the Tennessee Valley in the 1980s
April 3, 2017 | Nature Energy | Edson Severnini
Nuclear power is widely regarded as an attractive alternative to fossil fuels, due to the relatively low environmental impact. However, concerns over incidents such as the Three Mile Island accident and Fukushima accident have raised concerns over nuclear energy’s future. This paper reflects a case study on how nuclear power plant closings affect coal production and, consequently, infant health due to air pollution. The author finds a substantive link between the closings and infant weight, which is, in turn, strongly correlated to long term health. The nuclear plant closings resulted in deleterious infant health effects. -RD

Blockchain is Helping to Build a New Kind of Energy Grid
April 19, 2017 | MIT Technology Review | Elizabeth Woyke
Back at it with the microgrids: about a year ago, the company LO3 Energy launched a system which allows homeowners with rooftop solar panels to sell excess energy to their neighbors, rather than back to an utility company. Based on blockchain, a technology which facilitates and keeps track of electronic transitions, the initiative recently signed Siemens on as a partner. -AD

Solar Energy:
Multiple exciton generation for photoelectrochemical hydrogen evolution reactions with quantum yields exceeding 100%
April 3, 2017 | Nature Energy | Yan et al.
Quantum dots could be used to increase power conversion efficiency in solar cells and solar-fuel productions. This paper examines a phenomenon called multiple exciton generation, which involves absorbing a photon to bypass energy barriers. This paper describes the development of a lead sulfide photoelectrochemical cell that drives hydrogen evolution with high efficiency. These results indicate potentially new avenues to create high-efficiency solar fuels. -RD

How Wall Street Once Killed the U.S. Solar Industry
April 17, 2017 | The Atlantic | Robinson Meyer
In this article, Meyer interviews Swedish economist Max Jerneck, who performed a comparative study of the solar energy industries in the United States and Japan from the 1960s to the 2000s in order to learn how Asian countries came to dominate the solar energy industry even though PV technology began in the United States. Jerneck traces the divergence in the American solar energy sector and the Asian solar energy sector back to the early 1980s when the US government deregulated the business sector. This led to hostile corporate takeovers that killed off solar energy divisions within corporations one by one. Asian solar companies did not experience this phenomenon, which led them to grow into the larger solar energy companies today. -JP